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Second Parish

     I was settled as fortieth minister of Second Parish in Hingham in August 2006 and served there until June 2013. One of the most significant challenges I faced in coming to Second Parish was the fact that there had been considerable turnover in recent ministers; none of the three ministers who immediately preceded me had served more than four years, and two of them left as a result of a negotiated termination – as did the next previous minister, though he had served for a longer period. As a result, my first and most important job as their minister has been to provide stability and to help to defuse the kinds of conflict among members of the congregation that had previously resulted in membership loss as well as a failure to work successfully with prior ministers. Over these past six years of ministry, I have helped to heal many of the bad feelings and to provide a degree of stability they have not experienced in the past several decades. I therefore regard the primary mission of my ministry at Second Parish as having been accomplished.

     I realized during my last year of service there that the congregation and I had become too comfortable together.  They loved me and were shocked when I decided to leave, but up to that point they had been content to put much of the responsibility for the health and growth of the congregation on me.  I decided that my departure would be the best way to enable them to take back the responsibility for the health of a congregation most of whose internal conflicts had been laid to rest.

     I chose to spend the first six months after my resignation in a personal sabbatical for spiritual and physical renewal, and then to begin serving as a replacement for a minister away on sabbatical and as a volunteer at the UU Urban Ministry in Roxbury.