EUU’s “UUA Ambassador”
The Reverend Diane Rollert, Minister of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and theme speaker at our fall 2017 retreat, is the UUA’s Ambassador to EUU, visiting EUU twice a year, in February and in June/July, for about 10 days each time.
During each visit, Rev. Diane conducts two Sunday services (for two Fellowships). Visitors are especially welcome at these services. During a visit, she also offers her expertise in counseling, conflict resolution, mentoring, officiating ceremonies, fellowship development and religious education. She may meet with other fellowships during the week between services.
The core goal of the UUA Ambassador Program is to create shared experiences between both EUU fellowships and individual members. The direct relationship we build as individuals with the UUA Ambassador helps provide EUU with a context for its own interactions – increasing solidarity, creativity, coordination, flexibility and growth.
Talking to our ambassador
As UUs, we have the freedom to chart our own spiritual paths,” said the Rev. Diane Rollert. “We draw from many sources, but we get caught in our heads. We question, and we analyze. We think a lot about our seven principles, but our hearts cry out for deeper spiritual experience.”
“I am always seeking,” she said. Like many other UUs, “I thirst for a spiritual practice, and there are times when prayer and meditation hold a significant place in my daily life. There are times when I feel truly connected to the holy or the sacred, when I still feel that connection to God that I felt as a child. There are other times when I struggle and lose connection to the sacred. That’s when I have to get out of my head and back into my heart.”
Rev. Diane’s background did not predestine her to contemplate spiritual practice of any kind. “I come from what you might call a faithless, non-religious family,” she said. “My parents identified as ethnically Jewish, but they were adamant atheists. Still, they raised me with an incredibly deep, religious faith in humanity.”
Her parents were working-class kids from Brooklyn and the Bronx with a passion for social justice. They had discovered Communism without the guidance of their parents. After they were married, “they were sent by the Party to ‘liberate the masses’ in Cleveland, Ohio,” she joked. “For ten years, they were part of the underground Communist movement, and I was born a red-diaper baby. By the time I was four years old, my parents had become disillusioned with Stalin and the party. Their dream had been to improve life for the people they had come from, the poor and marginalized. It was a dream they never abandoned. I was taught that what mattered was what you did in this life, not just how you treated others, but what you did to bring justice to the world.”
Later on, after Rev. Diane married and had a child, she discovered the Unitarian Universalist Church in Montclair, New Jersey. There she found her religious home. “I stuck one toe in the door, and that congregation pulled in my whole body. It was a place that allowed me to hold on to my humanist upbringing and gave me room to explore other sources of religious inspiration.“