Kent McKusick’s Resume
BASIC INFORMATIONKent C. McKusick 153 Pleasant St. Laconia, NH 03246 kentmckusick@metrocast. net Home: 603-527-8716 Cell: 510-299-0783
Minister (half-time), UU Society of Laconia NH
Granted Preliminary Fellowship on September 25, 2009
Ordination to be scheduled My vision of ministry:
I seek to serve a congregation as a parish minister who is responsible for and leads the spiritual life of the church, celebrates ceremonies and passages of life, provides pastoral care, collaborates in lifespan religious education, shepherds administrative and financial stewardship, and guides anti-racist, multicultural, and anti-oppressive initiatives in the life of the church and community. By nature and experience, I am a collaborative leader. As a member and lay leader, I have served a family size church that was growing into a program size church in Bangor, Maine. As an intern minister, I served a large and growing program size church in Kansas City, Missouri. Currently, I am serving a family size church of 75 members in Laconia NH.
I am excited by my call to ministry as an artist. My work as a minister and theatre artist take inspiration from a moment or moments in life when a sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, connection or intuition sparks the mind or sometimes stops the world for an instant. Being aware of those moments is the beginning of ministry and holy work. Witnessing the use of arts as an expression of individual and collective spirituality is uplifting and transformative.
As a parish minister, I look forward to leading the worship life of a congregation and being a welcoming and liberal religious voice in the community that focuses on the articulated mission of the society/church that calls me and on the covenanted principles of Unitarian Universalism. I have always been interested and committed to find a way to discover and share the truth about anything that interests and involves me and/or the people I serve whether that is an artistic truth, a spiritual truth, or a business truth.
Having been the recipient of excellent pastoral care, my calling is inspired by a desire to be present with and provide comfort to those who are suffering or experiencing some form of crisis. This work is a privilege and an honor.
As a religious leader/activist, my calling further inspires me to recognize, name, and stand in the face of oppression on a face-to-face or systemic level wherever I encounter it. It requires me to be a bridge builder between people and groups of people. Included in this activity of building bridges is healing, teaching, and enabling people to connect to and reflect on the sacred.
Published Writings“Afterward” to Standing Just Outside the Door and Two Other Plays by Sanford Phippen; 2003, Blackberry Books, Nobleboro, Maine “We Come Together: A Prayer,” Starr King Threshold Booklet, November, 2005 “Airport Reflection,” Edges ( Starr King Student Journal), 2006 “Another Day, Another Test,” Edges, 2006 “Stress Fractures,” Edges, 2007 “We Sat Together In Silence,” Edges (Starr King Student Journal), 2007
Personal and Family Situation
In my first year of seminary, I met a man who was attending the Graduate Theological Union and living in the same dormitory. James completed an MA in Biblical Languages in May 2008. We will celebrate our fourth year as a couple in January 2010. Our life together has included CPE in his hometown of Ft. Worth, TX where I have enjoyed the great pleasure of being accepted into his family. Working summers at Ferry Beach in Maine has provided us the opportunity to spend time with my family, who has become very fond of James as my partner. During the internship in Kansas City, we experienced navigating the waters of ministry as a couple and found the congregation to be warm and welcoming. Seminary life presented a challenging environment for a relationship, and I believe that we handled the rigors of graduate school and found mutual support and growth from our relationship to be more stabilizing, nourishing, and sustaining than distracting. Given the multi-faceted and emotional challenges of the life transitions taking place, I greatly value the love, support and stability of relationship that James provides me along with that of extended family, collegial relationships, and friends.
My family of origin lives in my home state of Maine. I am the youngest of three. My widowed sister and brother and sister-in-law still reside in Guilford, Maine where we were raised. My family has shown nothing but love and support for this ministerial journey, even when the seminary I chose to attend required moving more than 3,000 miles away. As in any family separation, there have been difficulties and fears to face.
My brother John has successfully operated the family fuel supply business for the last 28 years. He is a quiet man who holds his emotions tightly and is intensely devoted to family.
My sister Sharon is a widow and lives alone a few blocks from my dad. She was 14 when I was born, and I don’t remember her living at home. Growing up, I remember her as an adoring presence, particularly during the polio recovery years and as a quasi second mother. The week before I moved to Berkeley in August 2005, she underwent surgery for cancer. She was diagnosed as having 3 to 6 months to live. Four years have passed, and although her disease has progressed, it does not define her.
Our families have faith that my call to ministry is genuine and one I must answer. We are blessed to enjoy the love, support, and encouragement that they provide.
BACKGROUND AND DEVELOPMENT
While this question invites a response that begins with the late teenage years, I feel that it is important to briefly include a significant and earlier part of my life that gives context to the evolution of my personal, professional, and spiritual life.
On October 26, 1955 at age three, a one and one half inch report in the Bangor Daily News (Maine) reported me as a statistic: “Guilford Boy Is 40th Case of Polio.” I was one of the fortunate ones. At a time when children and adults were not surviving the tale-end of this viral epidemic or were left confined to iron lungs or wheelchairs, I regained mobility after an 8-month rehabilitation at the Hyde Home for Crippled Children.
My parents did everything possible to ensure a “normal” life for a child who walked with a limp and wore a visible leg brace. By age nine, I wanted to supplement the activities they encouraged. I wanted to go downhill skiing with my friends. Mom and Dad needed to “think about it” which I later learned meant having a worried discussion with the orthopedic surgeon. The doctor eased their concerns somewhat by saying, “Sure, let him try. He’ll fall and give up.” I did try. I did fall, but I didn’t give up. In fact, I discovered a sense of freedom, joyfulness, and inclusion greater than I had previously experienced. The surgeon was surprised and very pleased to learn that I was a ski instructor by the time I was fifteen.
The year before skiing became a ritual and passion, another pursuit impacted my life: music. Music became the medium through which I felt a connection to ancient souls and the inspiration of composers I would never meet.
Attending college at the University of Maine expanded my horizons. I ended my career in music and made a false start in a pre-dental program. After experiencing academic probation, I understood that the best outcomes are usually motivated by passion, not materialism. Intrigued by introductory courses in broadcasting, theatre, speech pathology, and communication, I changed my program of study to Speech Communication and completed a BA in 1974. That spring at the same campus, I was granted admission (without submitting an application) to the Maine graduate program in Speech and awarded a full teaching assistantship. I changed the focus of my studies from speech communication theory to theatre. This change represents a life benchmark: a return to my passion, performing arts. Theatre has been the one constant in my life since 1975 and one of my strongest spiritual retreats and ministries.
After the two year teaching residency (public speaking and interpersonal communication), I moved to the woods and made the family ski camp my home for ten years. My original goal was to rewrite the text of a creative thesis and move on with my life in the theatre, but living in the woods offered many gifts beyond solitude. The decade I lived there was filled with the entire spectrum of emotions and unexpected sacred and spiritual discoveries. There were many adventures. The first was directing a resident theatre company of actors who lived, worked, and performed at the ski resort. This project evolved to founding and directing the first community theatre in the remote village of Greenville, teaching an adult education acting class, facilitating theatre workshops for children, and directing high school one-act plays. My life took on a seasonal, recreational hodgepodge approach to year round employment: teaching skiing, waiting on tables, managing the dining room, managing another restaurant outside of the resort, owning and operating a stained glass shop out of my cabin during “off season” months, working the front desk, acting as deckhand on a restored steamship on Moosehead Lake, directing theatre whenever possible, and working as a food manager and licensed Whitewater raft guide in Maine and New York. This eclectic employment approach to surviving in the Maine woods provided a great deal of enjoyment and two significant gifts: on-the-job management experiences to help with future employment opportunities and finding the sacred in my graced life, a life that developed in ways beyond the expectations of medical experts, naysayers, and even my own. What I accomplished required a great deal of independent effort, but I never felt on my own. I had a lot of help from people, yet there was more. The presence of a powerful, indescribable and creative force that I used to call the Spirit of the Mountains and Rivers (and I now call God), inspired me, held me, and accompanied me throughout, even when I tried to ignore it.
A river rapid accident ended my guiding career and affected my ability to ski. After my second winter as ski school director, one door closed in my life and another opened. With my ten years of management experience and people oriented skills, I was hired as a management trainee for Bangor Savings Bank in 1986 and moved from the woods to a small city. For the next nineteen years I worked in several positions ranging from retail management to employee development. The experiences I gained in the financial world have been invaluable. The most satisfying parts of banking were helping middle-to-low income families purchase their first home or guiding people through the maze of sometimes confusing financial concepts, services, and products. During the last six years at the bank as an employee development coordinator, I enjoyed teaching new and seasoned bankers the complexities of a customer driven, fast changing financial services industry.
Life “out of the woods” brought other significant opportunities in addition to what many referred to as my first “real” job at the age of thirty-four. In 1989,1 finally completed the MA in Theatre with a concentration in directing. Community and board work in theatre and dance in Bangor and professional acting opportunities inspired me to found Northern Lights Repertory Theatre in 1995. Dedicated to providing Maine artists a venue to study the complexities of the human spirit in modern tragedy and comedy, Northern Lights was a touring company that traveled to rural areas and performed locally. My work as a community banker and a community artist often seemed similar to community ministries.
After the deaths of my mother and brother-in-law in 1997,1 was struggling with many spiritual questions and hoped to discern some answers by visiting the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bangor. After a year of visits, I became a member of the church, because it had become my spiritual home and community. By walking through the church doors, I gradually found a wholeness in myself that encompassed and transcended life after polio, the deaths of loved ones, my sexual orientation, and the performing arts. I found balance and realized that sometimes the questions are more important than the answers. I also realized that my life was dedicated to a broad spectrum of service whether leading a ski class to a spectacular view from the ridge of a snow covered mountain, guiding a team of new acquaintances through powerful and inspiring waters, mirroring a facet of life on the stage, unearthing the mysteries of checkbook balancing, leading a congregation in worship, or facilitating a Unitarian Universalist OWL (Our Whole Lives – Sexuality/spirituality) class.
Finding a spiritual home and dealing with the death of my mother brought the seeds of resolution to another of my life issues: coming out as a gay man. Coming out to the Unitarian Universalist community was a relatively easy first step. I was filled with angst and fear of rejection as I decided to reveal myself to my then 83 year old father. We sat at the kitchen table, the traditional center of our family life where all information was shared. His quiet look of concern did not flinch or change when I told him that I was gay. After a long pause, he asked, “Are you sure?” I laughed and affirmed that there was no doubt concerning my orientation. After another long pause, he continued by saying, “I am a bit old fashioned and straight laced about these things, and I am not sure that I really approve.. .but you are my son. I love you, and I would never do anything to alienate you.” With those words, 45 years of hiding and leading a double life were over and my father’s love and availability remained. We continued to grow together until his death in January 2010. He was warm, welcoming, and eager to know people who play an important part in my life, and I am ever thankful for his presence in my life.
Another door closed on November 3, 2004 when I was unexpectedly laid off from my job of almost twenty years at the bank. After the initial shock, I knew that growth and goodness would follow. A few days after the layoff, I was co-facilitating a class with our minister on “The Art of Worship” when I felt a sudden (and not altogether unexpected) “kick in the head” from the force I call God. The “call” I had been resisting for over a decade renewed itself and spoke to me with a strength and clarity I could not deny. It has been holding the proverbial door open for me ever since the other door closed, and I walked through the door to enter another new phase of my life, the path to Unitarian Universalist ministry.
Attending and graduating from Starr King School for the ministry, being chaplain at the Samaritan House (a residential community in Ft Worth for people living with HIV), and serving as intern minister at All Souls in Kansas City have significantly expanded my skill set and focused my identity as a Unitarian Universalist minister.
In August of 2010,1 was chosen and agreed to serve as half-time consulting minister for the UU Society of Laconia. It continues to be an excellent pairing for the congregation and for me. I preach twice a month, have office hours two half-days a week, provide pastoral care when needed, celebrate passages of life, and attend Parish Committee and Worship Committee meetings monthly. There is an air of excitement and growth in the church.
Religious Leadership Experience Unitarian Universalist Society of Laconia
- Half-time Consulting Minister: August 2010 to Present
- Current Priorities for Half-time Ministry
- Worship Service ~ 2 a month
- Pastoral Care and Office Hours
- Church functions ~ service planning, monthly newsletter, committee meetings
- UU Identity ~ Monthly meeting for members and interested non-members and one adult education class (Evensong)
- Leadership development
- District connection ~ two monthly cluster meetings and ministerial retreats
- Current Priorities for Half-time Ministry
AH Souls Unitarian Universalist Church ~ Kansas City MO
- Intern Minister: August 2008 to May 2009
- Worship Arts ~ Developed my understanding and ability to integrate worship and the arts in a large congregation that identifies primarily as humanist and embraces multiple traditions
- Planned and Coordinated
- 11 Sunday worship services ~ Explored multiple sermon development and presentation styles
- 2 Vespers Service
- 2 Memorial Services and 2 Weddings
- Pastoral Care ~ Expanded and developed caring skills and experiences
- Weekly pastoral care visits, home and institutional
- Worked with Caring Connection Committee
- Active in Outreach Programs
- All Souls Social Responsibility Board
- Teaching ~ Transferred experiences from corporate experience to a church context
- Collaborated with Minister of Lifespan Religious Education
- Facilitated Building Your Own Theology
- Assigned responsibility for coordination of all adult religious education
- Designed class development system and logistics checklist for Adult Education Committee when a leadership position was not funded
- Recruited new members for the Adult Education Committee
- Mentored Reading Program in World Religions with Vern Barnett ~ Deepened my understanding of multiple faiths and the possibilities of differences bringing people together
- Special Project: Planned, organized, and implemented a monthly theatre group to read plays as a means to focus discussions on ethical, spiritual, and social justice issues
- Keynote Speaker: All Souls Recognition Dinner, Nov 20, 2008
- Self Care and Personal Spiritual Practice ~ Broadened and strengthened my own care/spiritual life
Starr King School for the Ministry ~ Berkeley, California
- Work Study Positions
- Jan 2006 to May 2006 ~ Asst. to Communications Director
- Review of Website
- Podcast development
- School mailings
- Sept 2006 to May 2007 ~ Asst. to Prof. Patti Lawrence (Congregational Studies)
- Organized internship gathering in Jan 2007
- Teaching assistant
- Jan 2006 to May 2006 ~ Asst. to Communications Director
- Worship Participant and Coordinator
- Nov 6, 2007 ~ Imperfect Heroes: Reflection & Ritual Creation
- Oct 9, 2007 ~ Secrets: Coordinator, Reflection & Multi-Media Creation
- May 7, 2007 ~ Planning & Presenter ~ Transgender Transition Ritual
- March 6, 2007 ~ Stress Fractures: Reflection
- Jan 30, 2006 ~ Anticipation: Reflection
- Sept 2007 to May 2008: Admissions and Scholarship Committee
- Summer, 2007: Clinical Pastoral Education
- The Samaritan House ~ Fort Worth, Texas
- 10 week program ~ Community Placement
- Residential community for individuals living with HIV, addiction, and mental illness
- Pastoral care, counseling, weekly worship & spirituality class
- The Samaritan House ~ Fort Worth, Texas
- March, 2007 to May 2008 ~ Production Team: Edges, student journal
Other Professional Experience
1985 – 2004 Bangor Savings Bank ~ Bangor, Maine
- 1998 to 2004: Eames Learning Center ~ Employee Development Coordinator
- Conducted New Employee Orientation & Mandatory regulatory training
- Project leader for evaluation and implementation of a Computer Based Training vendor
- Co-Project leader for Annual Community Lecture Series
- Designed, Implemented and Facilitated Classes
- Customer Service
- Interpersonal Communication
- Product Knowledge
- Public Speaking
- Basic to Intermediate Lending
- E-learning classes for employees
- 1995 Promoted to Assistant Vice President
- 1988 to 1998: Broadway Branch, Bangor ~ Branch Manager
- 1986 to 1988: Belfast Branch – Assistant Branch Manager
- 1985 to 1986: Bangor ~ Management Trainee
1995 to 2005 ~ Founder/Artistic Director Northern Lights Theatre, A Rural Touring Theatre based in Bangor, Maine
- Theatre resume below
1976 to 1984 Recreation Instruction & Management ~ Greenville, Maine
- Ski School Instructor and Director: PSIA Associate Certified
- Whitewater River Guide & Guide Instructor: Maine and New York
1974 to 1976 University of Maine at Orono
- Two year Teaching Assistantship
- Interpersonal Communication
- Public Speaking
- Acting and Directing
- Northern Lights Theatre ~ Bangor, Maine ~ Founder and Artistic Director ~ 1995 to 2004
- Penobscot Theatre Company/Maine Shakespeare Festival ~ Bangor, Maine ~ Actor~ 1992 to 2002
- 10 Bucks Theater ~ Brewer, Maine ~ Actor ~ 2002
- Winterport Open Stage ~ Winterport, Maine ~ Actor ~ 1998 to 2002
- The Assembled Players ~ Belfast, Maine ~ Actor ~ 1999
- Teaching Experience
- Rural Theatre Tours & Acting Workshops – Maine Arts Commission/BART Grant: 2003 and 2004
- Depot St Development: Theater Director and Theater Education Coordinator: 1985 – 2002