I am an ordained minister in fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. I currently serve First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans. I also offer the following services in the wider community (all fees negotiable):
SPIRITUAL COACHING (AKA SPIRITUAL DIRECTION)
Spiritual direction or coaching is one-on-one shared reflection focused on spiritual practice and experiences of meaning and the sacred, meant to assist your journey of spiritual growth. This New York Times article offers a description of what it is and why a person might want it.
I offer individual spiritual coaching and small group reflection. (These can be in-person or by online video conference.) Fees negotiable. I am a member of Spiritual Directors International.
While preaching regularly at First Church, I am available on some Sundays to preach anywhere that is accessible over a weekend (travel expenses must be covered in addition to an honorarium). References upon request.
I am also available for weddings and memorial services in the greater New Orleans area:
My practice for weddings is to meet with the couple three times before the rehearsal and ceremony. In these meetings we plan the ceremony together and have the premarital counseling conversation. I use a “menu” tool for planning which allows for personalization and customization of the ceremony, and a service called PREPARE/ENRICH to prepare the premarital counseling.
The purpose of the “menu” tool is to demonstrate a structure for the ceremony and offer a variety of possible elements within it. I encourage couples to look beyond the “menu” for readings or other elements, and to edit the material offered. We aim to create a ceremony that expresses who you hope to be and become as a couple, and at the same time ministers to your guests.
Contact me for more information.
Most of my memorial services are crafted following a single interview with surviving family members – a combination pastoral visit and discussion about the service. I bring a few materials – examples of Orders of Service and elements of memorial services – so that we can easily draft a structure and select some elements for the service. I ask if there are family members who want to speak during the service, and if there are readings or music of special significance they wish to include. Then I ask them to tell me about the deceased. I ask questions, take notes, and most of all appreciate the stories. The basic sketch of the service is often complete within half an hour; the typical visit – just following the natural flow of it – lasts between two and three hours, depending on the circumstances.
My fee, sometimes paid directly by the family and sometimes by the funeral venue (ask them if the minister’s fee is included in their price), is normally $400.
DEDICATION OF CHILDREN / BAPTISM
Normally, a child dedication ceremony is an event in the life of a congregation as much as it is in the life of the family. The meaning of the ceremony is that the congregation is dedicating itself to support this family and the spiritual nurture of this child. It is unusual – and indeed an entirely different pastoral ministry to the family – to conduct a child dedication outside a gathered faith community. For me, it rarely arises outside that context, but sometimes – when they are unconnected or disaffected from a faith community, or in a hospital setting – a family will request a private ceremony.
On such occasions, my approach varies with the circumstances. In some cases, the family wants to plan the ceremony with me and we make adjustments together to make the ceremony express the meaning and intention that will best minister to them. In other cases, the family wants a specific ritual (baptism, for example), and I craft an appropriate ritual based on what I know about them (such as their present or past religious affiliation), and accompany the ceremony with pastoral listening and presence.
I have no standard fee for child dedication or similar ceremonies.