The Unitarian Universalist Church of Wakefield is delighted to announce the appointment of Rev. Elizabeth Assenza as its new minister. Her tenure officially begins with her new congregation at 326 Main Street, Wakefield on August 1, 2020.
After graduating from Union Theological Seminary, Rev. Elizabeth accepted a Chaplain Residency in San Diego. Since then she has served congregations in Cleveland and Boston, as well as a combined parish internship and campus ministry in Davis, California.
When asked how it feels to be serving the wider community of Wakefield, she responded that she’s “so excited to get to know the town of Wakefield and its people! People walk past our church, pause on our lawn, use it as a landmark, and come inside for our church life and our broader community events. Being in the heart of town, we have a responsibility to our town, both to be a place of welcome, justice, and advocacy, and to be engaged with and committed to our community beyond our own walls.”
The Rev. Ms. Assenza began her professional career as an elementary teacher in 2005, and she has many years of experience as a Girl Scout leader. Asked about the value of religious education for children, she replied in part, “I believe religious education begins as a place of curiosity, joy, and exploration. Children are naturally curious, and all parents know that sometimes they ask really tough questions! Our religious education spaces can be places where we explore those questions, with children and their parents. We may be answering specific questions, but what we teach over time is that we own our individual spiritual exploration, and we are more spiritually nourished when we explore together, in community.”
She was then asked how her extensive experience as a healthcare chaplain influences her pastoral role as a parish minister. “What chaplaincy has taught me is how to ask questions that invite someone to share deeply. It’s taught me to be a better listener, to always approach pastoral care with curiosity, to challenge my own assumptions, and to make space for silence, for discomfort, and for the expression of emotions.”
With a background in theater, Rev. Elizabeth “discovered that profound spiritual experiences are found throughout the arts, and those are accessible to all of us, whether we create art or take it in as viewers. My time in theatre also influences how I create worship. People find many different entrances into worship, some through words, some music, some through embodied practices…”
When asked what else she’d like the Wakefield community to know about her, she mentioned her love of ice cream (“I even have a sermon where ice cream serves as the metaphor for my message!”), her passion for running (“outside in any weather”), and a particular fondness for post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction.
Contact Rev. Elizabeth Assenza on August 1 or later at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church at 781-245-4632. After the summer recess, church services resume on Sunday, September 13 at 10:30am. For more information, go to www.wakefield-uu.org.