Originally Published: July 31, 2018 9:05 p.m.
One of the first things Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist congregants and guests may notice on Sunday morning is that the woman in the pulpit is not from around here — her British accent will give her away.
What will be familiar, though, is Pastor Terry Cummings’ open spirit to a growing, and diverse liberal religious community where no one is to be treated as a stranger, according to church leaders.
“Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist members and friends are delighted to welcome Pastor Terry Cummings in service as our interim minister for the August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019 congregation year,” said Marianne C. Erickson, president of Granite Peak’s Board of Trustees.
Cummings is an interim replacement for the Rev. Karla Brockie, who was hired in 2016 to serve the congregation of about 135 members that was launched in 1999. The church is located at 882 Sunset Ave.
Erickson said Cummings strong pastoral skills and leadership development experience were key factors in her selection. The board, too, appreciated her interest in facilitating congregational growth and outreach with younger adults as well as serving senior citizens. Erickson said the board sees Cummings as the “perfect fit” as they continue their search for their next “settled” minister.
Cummings, a multi-hobbied mother and grandmother, comes to Granite Peak as someone relatively new to the ministry; she spent 25 years in New York as a lawyer before earning her Master of Divinity Degree at Union Theological Seminary in 2016. A native of England, Cummings earned her law degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
She was granted a preliminary ministerial fellowship by the Unitarian Universalist Association in May.
In a letter to the congregation, Cummings expressed appreciation for her selection to what appears to be a “warm and welcoming” congregation committed to social justice and “making the world a better place through the convenantal relationship that is the foundation of liberal religion.”
In this time of transition, Cummings encouraged the congregation to “take stock of where you are in your trajectory, to ask yourselves what is working for you, and what, if anything, needs to be changed.” She expressed an understanding of church and personal transitions, noting the call to ministry was part of her journey, one she described as a determination to “respond spiritually to fear and oppression.”
To date, Cumming’s ministry has included time as a student minister at Central Unitarian Church in Paramus, New Jersey, and as a student chaplain at Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey. She was most recently a ministerial intern at The First Parish Church in Lincoln, Massachusetts and her ordination is scheduled for October in Montclair, New Jersey.
“I’m delighted to have an opportunity to serve a growing liberal religious community in a part of the country that is unfamiliar to me,” Cummings said in a written message on Monday. “I was attracted to Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation’s commitment to working for good in the local community, and by the warmth and friendliness not only of the members of the congregation, but also by everyone I have met in Prescott and the Quad Cities.”
Watch for a Life feature about Cummings, in the coming days.
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