The Art of Meaning
Art matters. In this aching world, full of pain, trauma, hardship, and tragedy, art matters.
Imagine if we prioritized the things that feed us, that are deeply a part of the human experience, that tell our stories, that bring meaning into our lives. Creativity and artistic structures help make space so we can approach the difficult sideways, creating a shared experience through which we can connect and understand in relative safety; as George Bernard Shaw quipped, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
Kimberley is a community minister affiliated with the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, NE. Ordained in 2017, Kimberley has previously served One Island Family UU Congregation in Key West, Florida, and the First Universalist Church of Southold, New York. She currently serves as the Nurture Staff Director for the Southeast UU Summer Institute, and is a writer and facilitator the UU Wellspring Spiritual Deepening Program.
Kimberley was raised by Unitarian parents and returned Unitarian Universalism in the 1990s during her years as an activist in North Carolina’s LGBTQ community. As both lay leader and minister, she has presented workshops on generational theory, the worship arts, and stewardship.
Kimberley has been known to burst out in song and will wax poetic about British panel shows, mysteries, and The West Wing. A native New Yorker, she makes her home in Takoma Park, MD, with her three tabby cats.
Approach to Ministry
Kimberley’s ministry is the inescapable consequence of the life she has lived; she comes from a family for whom the arts are an essential part of our lives. She has always sung, often been on stage, and always dabbled in some sort of visual art. As a young adult, she was continually drawn to the arts as her avocation, and theater became an essential core of her undergraduate experience. Through her 30s and 40s, the arts – writing, acting, singing, even arts management – were central to her life.
As the choir director at the UU Congregation of Saratoga Springs, she got her first taste of liturgical arts and became the worship coordinator for our local cluster’s joint services. Soon after, she recognized the call to ministry, and that Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York would provide grounding in theology and the arts.
While at Union, she had the opportunity to learn from a variety of artists, and for two years co-created Broadway revues that explored Biblical texts through the lens of musical theater. Her thesis project further explored the intersection of art and worship, exploring the stories of unnamed women in the Old Testament as a way to understand the deleterious effects of othering and disenfranchisement.
These experiences inform Kimberley’s approach: one of love-driven optimism, vibrancy, and engagement with our faith through the visual and performing arts, deep listening, and rituals that help us heal our brokenness.