Worship is the central shared experience of a congregation. I believe that worship is experienced with our body, mind, and spirit, and has the capacity to be a transformational experience that fills us up, allows space for our whole selves, and calls us into living with greater authenticity. Music and art help worship to come alive, allows us to express our emotions, and inspires us to imagine new possibilities for ourselves and our communities. I believe that music and art is something we create together; it is not just reserved for the professional musicians, dancers, and sculptors. In worship we sing hymns together, move our bodies to the special music, engage in ritual, and take in the colors, sounds, smells, and tastes of the worship experience.
One of my greatest joys in ministry is co-creating worship that weaves together story, song, spiritual practice, and reflection. I am especially passionate about storytelling and multigenerational worship. I love the way that a good story can help a worship service to come alive and can convey the central insight of the service to children and adults alike.
I balance services built around a standard order of service with multigenerational and creative services. I find meaning in honoring the important rituals in the life of a congregation, such as water communion, blessing of the animals, Christmas Eve candlelight service, child dedication, and the blessing of new members. During the pandemic, I focused on offering an experience in worship that could help sustain people in times of great uncertainty. This often took the form of spiritual practices like lovingkindness meditation, centering prayer, embodied settling practices, and other forms of contemplation.
As the Minister of Saltwater Church, I have four years of experience crafting the arch of a church year around monthly themes. In addition, I spent five years serving on a worship team and regularly leading bi-lingual worship services as the South Bay Ministry Teams Coordinator at First UU. Through this experience, I honed my presence in the pulpit and my skills in worship planning. In my writing section, you can hear and see examples of some of my sermons.
Altar for the earth and wild creatures created for a Samhain worship service: "They Are Still With Us: Honoring All of Our Kin"
Blessing of the Animals
“Kristen’s gifts are immense and many. She is an exquisite writer, a wonderful organizer, a ritual artist, a deep listener, and a woman of enormous creativity and compassion…Kristen has a gift for finding and drawing out beauty wherever she is.”
-Rev. Christine Fry
The worship leadership team for a Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead worship service at the South Bay Campus of First UU