MINISTER’S COLUMN: Journeying and Arriving

By Rev. Matthew McHale

Minister, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church



Every endeavor begins with a first step, and encounters darkness and difficulty along the way.

We know the darkness of ignorance, of fear, and of tyranny.

Yet we know the dawning of the light, the beginnings of hope, and the renewal of life.

Blessed be the eternal power which inspires us to kindle this light.

Blessed be the source of light and of life.

—Charles F. Flagg


Journeying and Arriving

Eight years after starting discernment about entering the ministry, and six years after kicking off a process that began with seminary and involved congregational and chaplain internships, becoming fellowshipped and ordained, and going through an intensive search process, I almost can’t believe that I am now starting as your congregational minister.


It’s been a long, frequently difficult, and, ultimately, incredibly rewarding road to travel. It challenged me to grow in ways that I could not have imagined. I have encountered the voices of uncertainty, inadequacy, and self-doubt, and yet I kept going. It deepened and strengthened my resolve to work for justice in a world in desperate need of healing.


Whether moving, a death, a birth, a change in relationship or employment status—the only one that I haven’t dealt with in the last 12 months is death (fingers crossed)—times of transition can be really stressful, as we leave behind one phase in our life and adjust to a new one that is unfamiliar.


This Saturday, Anna and I are moving into a new house in Winnetka, a short bike ride from church. And we hope/expect that by the end of the weekend, we will have found all of the housemates for the co-op we are turning the house into. After 7 weeks of staying with my parents in Long Beach and living out of boxes, it finally feels like I am truly arriving here in the Valley and at Emerson.


Rev. Matthew with wife Anna and daughter River Grace

And yet this is not the end of my journey, but rather the next section of a larger journey that I will continue traveling until I can journey no longer. And this journey will continue to be filled with unexpected twists, challenges, and uncertainty. But in this brief moment, at least, I am grateful to have arrived. And as we move forward into an uncertain future, I am truly looking forward to traveling this next part of the journey alongside all of you!

Rev. Matthew