On Faith

On Faith: UNC administrator to be ordained Sunday in Unitarian church

October 29, 2013 

A UNC administrator plans to make a big career move from academia to the Unitarian ministry.

“I have thought about becoming a minister for many years,” said Jim Magaw, a public communications specialist with the UNC Arts and Science Foundation.

“As a result of my experiences as a lay leader at the Community Church of Chapel Hill, I found that church work was nourishing my spirit, and that’s when I decided to make a switch.”

Magaw will be co-ordained by his congregation and the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 4907 Garrett Road in Durham at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov 3. All are invited and a reception will follow.

In addition to the actual act of ordination (in the form of a responsive reading), there will be a laying-on-of-hands ritual, which symbolizes the interconnected nature of ministry and all beings. Denny Davidoff, former moderator of the UUA, will deliver the sermon. Various readings, an offering to support scholarships for seminarians and special music from two church choirs are part of the service.

In serving as half-time student minister at Eno River for two years, Magaw said he learned how to bring a sense of pastoral presence to everything he did, from worship to religious education classes.

Magaw received his master of divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago in 2013 and received preliminary fellowship from the Unitarian Universalist Association in April.

While in seminary, he received several awards and honors, including the Billings Prize for Excellence in Preaching. He has begun searching for a congregation to serve full-time, starting fall 2014.

Magaw was raised in Ohio, the son of a United Methodist minister and a public school teacher. He is a graduate of UNC and lives in Carrboro with his wife, Marta, and their 6-year-old daughter, Ella.

Candlelight service

Duke Chapel in Durham will host its annual Halloween celebration harkening back to the holiday’s historic roots with an All Hallow’s Eve candlelight worship service at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.

The free service is open to the public and will begin around a small fire on the chapel steps, followed by a candlelit procession, reflections on the lives of saints and Holy Communion. The Duke Vespers Ensemble will provide music, a mix of ancient chant melodies and other meditative choral repertoire.

“This is a solemn and poignant service unlike any other service at Duke Chapel during the year,” said Brian Schmidt, assistant conductor and administrative coordinator of chapel music.

Church celebration

The four Sundays of November will have special services for dedication of a recently completed renovation of worship space and a fellowship hall addition at The Church of Reconciliation, 110 Elliott Road.

The project was funded by campaign pledges by the congregation and a bank loan. The budget also included funds for mission, both local and international.

“As an integral part of our building project, we raised funds for the construction of churches in the war-torn region of northern Uganda where our congregation sent mission workers with the Mennonite Central Committee and for the InterFaith Council’s men’s homeless shelter in Chapel Hill,” said Pastor J. Mark Davidson.

“We feel strongly that the gospel is not only good news to be celebrated within our fellowship, but lived out in the world. Our beautiful new spaces are for the glory of God, for our grounding in divine worship and the nourishment of community,” he said.

Special services for dedication and celebration of the completed project include the following:

Nov. 3: The 11 a.m. service will feature a bagpiper, handbells and the New Voices Choir. Pastor Davidson, who recently returned from a sabbatical, will preach and the service will include Holy Communion. A fellowship luncheon will follow the service.

Nov. 10: The American Dance Ensemble led by Chuck Davis will provide celebratory dance.

Nov. 17: The instrumental ensemble Brassissimo! Will be part of worship. Associate Pastor Katie Ricks will preach. After the service, there will be a Blessing of the Bounds, a walk around new or upgraded facilities on the church campus. These include an outdoor worship space, a flower garden planted by youth, a labyrinth and a retention pond with native plants.

Nov. 24: This is Christ the King Sunday, ending in Ordinary Time. It is the last Sunday before Advent begins. Worship will feature the New Voices Choir and an introduction to Thanksgiving week.

Brunswick stew

Merritt’s Chapel will host its annual Craft Fair from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1090 Farrington Point Road. A wide array of crafts and products will be sold along with Brunswick stew, biscuits and a variety of desserts. Visit merrittschapel.org or call 919-968-1184 for more information.

Climate reality

Suzanne Tuttle, director of N.C. Interfaith Power & Light, will make a presentation from the Climate Reality Project and lead a discussion regarding how faith communities could bond to effect change from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The presentation will provide an update about how climate change is already affecting people around the globe and a dialogue about what actions can be taken individually and as a group. The event is open to the public as well as to members of area faith communities.

Dean comes home

The former Dean of Duke Chapel, the Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, now vicar at St. Martin in the Fields Anglican Church in London, will preach at the 11 a.m. service Sunday, Nov. 3, at the chapel.

He said in email that he is coming to Durham to attend retirement events on Friday for Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, a Duke Divinity School professor.

Wells said his role at St. Martin’s is different from the one at Duke Chapel. “But as much fun. St. Martin’s includes commercial, cultural and charitable strands and no academic aspects,” he said.

He added that he sometimes misses Southern dishes, such as barbecue, grits, and potato salad, but the view from his fourth floor flat over Trafalgar Square makes up for some losses.

Yes, the family continues to miss Connie, the family pet who followed them to Durham and who was adopted and continues to live in the Bull City.

Send your faith news to flo.johnston314@gmail.com.

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