|Rev. Darrell Berger
“A Question of Balance”
by Rev. Darrell Berger. UUCSU. May, 2014
Soon after I moved to New York in 1989, I visited the Rev. Donald Harrington, the minister emeritus of The Community Church of New York, one of the most successful and influential ministers in the UUA for decades, and once president of the New York State Liberal Party.
I had just begun a ministry to a congregation in a huge building with decades of deferred maintenance, a dwindling endowment and a significant annual budget deficit. Yet, like almost all ministers, I had received zero instruction in fund-raising. I asked Rev. Harrington how to be a good fund-raiser.
He said, “Be a good minister.” That was it. No elaboration. No further explanation. At the time I felt like Luke Skywalker when Obi Wan Kenobi first told him to “Use the force.” What exactly did this mean and how exactly did it apply?
Now I understand. He was absolutely right.
It is the same with a congregation. Want to raise more money? Be of greater service. While accurate financial records, increased revenues and pledging are great, we gather not to balance a budget, but to be of service. So, to paraphrase what Rev. Harrington told me, “If you want to balance your budget, be of greater service.” Be of greater and kinder service to each other, to the larger community, and to our heritage. “Use the force.”
* * *
Rev. Berger was born in Toledo, Ohio and attended Vanderbilt University and Divinity School. He has over 25 years experience as a UU minister, mostly serving on a full-time basis. He has served churches in North Carolina and Massachusetts.
Closer to Staten Island he has served the Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan and until now as a Halftime Consulting minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County in Orange, NJ. He has experience with smaller congregations and historical buildings.
"This will be the fourth congregation I've served with an historic church building," Rev. Berger said. "The task of ministry to the building and the congregation is the same: carefully maintain what still works and renovate what doesn't."
He enjoys preaching and his topics range widely, always returning to the central themes of social justice equality. "Theologically, I'm a Transcendentalist," Rev. Berger said. "Emerson used Buddhism and poetry to help realize an American spirituality that bends toward justice. I try to follow that path."
He is also an expert on baseball history and memorabilia and has co-written books with former players Roy White and Mitch Williams. He has been a featured speaker at the New York City Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), speaking on "Baseball Players as Human Beings."
He lives in Jersey City with his wife, two dogs and two cats.
* * *
Rev. Berger's Sermons
Rev. Berger's sermons from past services can be found here >
Contact Rev. Berger:
Church Office: 718-447-2204
Email: minister -at- uucsi.org
go to top