Ministry Council

The Ministry Council, chaired by Steve Andrews, works to develop a consistent, meaningful, vibrant, and welcoming experience, across the many aspects of ministry, for all Society congregants. Defined broadly, “ministry” embraces the gifts we bring to each other and the sustenance we hope to receive from each other, when we gather as a community: the Sunday service speakers,  music and art,  caring for those who need help in our Society, ensuring a safe and respectful congregation, and connecting us all with the larger Unitarian Universalist faith.

If you would like to get involved or have questions about one of the committees, please submit them to Ann Pareti,  Membership Administrator and the respective committee chair will get back to you.

Art Shows Committee
Chair: Carol Wolf
Schedules shows and hosts opening receptions for artists within and outside the Society to display and sell their works.

Caring Committee
Chair: Julie McMurray
Reaches out to help members and friends in time of need by telephoning, visiting, sending cards, delivering food from our freezer, driving, and shopping for shut-ins.

Committee on Ministry
The purpose of the Committee on Ministry (COM) is to strengthen the quality of ministry within the congregation. Ministry is defined as what we do together as a congregation and minister to further the goals and purposes of our Society, and to realize the Society’s mission. The COM is responsible for monitoring, assessing, educating and advising with respect to the effectiveness of the total ministry

DRE Advisory Committee
Chair: Jeanne Short
Provides advice and guidance to the Director of Religious Education (DRE).  Also assists the DRE in setting and achieving goals for the RE program and for herself as an RE professional.

Intern Committee 
Chair: Marcy Cagan
The Intern Committee provides support and mentorship to ministerial students doing their practicum with USR.

Leadership Leaves Committee
Chair: Caroline Lavanhar
A cooperative program of 11 UU congregations in New Jersey, making it possible for parish ministers to go on a sabbatical. The program requires participation financially and by sharing coverage.

LIFFT (Lively, Interactive Food For Thought)
Chair: Georgetta Walsh
LIFFT meets the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month in the Fellowship Room from 1:00—2:30 p.m. This informal group started at the request of a few members looking for a day-time gathering to share stories, offer personal insights and make new friendships. Facilitated by Johanna Seale, DRE and attended by both Unitarian Universalists and others from outside the congregation, this event hopes to attract new attendees this Fall. A recurring theme has been “Simplicity.” We’ve taken some of Thoreau’s ideas and expanded upon them, especially in the areas of un-cluttering life, exploring spiritual practices and learning to have more fun with less guilt. If you’re seeking a sense of well-being and contentment, have a zest for living, are able to enjoy life, to laugh and have fun, please come join us. For more information, leave your name and number with the office and you will be contacted.

Music Ministry Committee
Chair: Kristen Plumley
The role of the Music Ministry Committee is to act as a liaison between the congregation and the Music Director. Sunday service musicians are hired by the Music Director, who currently is Ron Levy. He also accompanies musicians during services and maintains the Society’s instruments. In addition, the Music Ministry Committee organizes an adult chorus named The Society Singers which rehearses for three weeks prior to performing for a Sunday service about every other month.  There is also a children’s choir which rehearses on the three Sunday mornings preceding the services in which they sing, and they perform in the months when the adult choir does not. The current choral director is Ron Levy. The Committee works with the choral conductor to choose appropriate musical selections. The Society Cafe Concert Series offers three to five concerts of diverse styles (rock, jazz, R & B, folk, classical) to the public, and wine, dessert and coffee are available. The Music Ministry Committee also organizes a Two Piano Festival each spring, where local pianists collaborate on pieces written for four hands.

Pastoral Associates
Chair: Martin Lavanhar
The Pastoral Associates is a lay ministry of the Unitarian Society.  The Pastoral Associates assist the minister in visiting our members and friends who are in the hospital, are struggling with chronic illness, or need a listening ear during a particular crisis in their lives.  If you would like a visit from one of our Pastoral Associates, please contact Martin Lavanhar.

Sunday Services Committee
Co-Chairs: Steve Riskind & Elisabeth Mannschott
Created to assure consistency and excellence in Sunday services, particularly those that are lay led. Meets monthly to review, plan, and envision our services and to coordinate upcoming lay services with the committees or individuals presenting them. The committee coordinates all elements of our Sunday services and is open to feedback as well as ideas and proposals for lay services.

Connections Group
Co-Chairs: Bea Cronin & Debbie Wardell
Connections is the small group ministry program of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood. Connection Groups enable members and friends to meet in small groups to consider major life issues. They provide us an opportunity to speak intimately with each other and listen intently. Connections is a great way for new members and friends to get to know each other and for all to begin or strengthen relationships within the Society.

Children and Youth Religious Education Committee (CYRE)
Chair: Susan Fink
The CYRE Committee provides ongoing evaluation of the religious education program and shares and discusses that ongoing evaluation with the Director of Religious Education. The Committee advises the DRE on CYRE policies, curricula and programs. The Committee also plans programs and events that will build community among the CYRE Community and the larger Society membership.

New Moon Zendo
Co-chairs: Marcia Spitz & Ralph Pleasic
This group, led by a Zen certified teacher, has been offering Zen since 1989 and is “user friendly,” offering an opportunity for genuine self-discovery.

The Library Committee
Chair: TBD
The Library Committee operates under the auspices of the LFD Council and catalogs and manages the growing collection of resource materials. The Library is in the Reeb Board room and on the selection cart at the visitors table.

Chair: Robin Ritter
Members and friends provide flowers for our services every Sunday.