|Rev. Darrell Berger
“This Ole House Revisited”
Rev. Darrell Berger. UCSI. June, 2015
One of my first sermons here, back when I was an Interim minister and thought my stay was limited to two years, was titled “This Ole House.” It was based on the 1950’s novelty song about an old man who was not fixing up his house because he was preparing to die, or “meet the saints.”
My point was that, unless one is preparing to die, one ought to fix up one’s house. I think, but am not entirely sure, this has been taken to heart by many in our congregation. I know that the budget before the congregation this year provides for far more money to fix up our old house than ever before.
In the 1970’s, the last time pervasive renovations were done, we had an old building that we were fixing up. Now, almost fifty years later, we have an historic building that we are preserving. We are called to this work by more than just our congregational needs. We also have a responsibility to history and community.
When a congregation in an historic building accepts is responsibility for both ministry and preservation, these two different aspects of church begin to support each other, rather than conflict. It is based on the idea that, while we as individuals will all “prepare to meet the saints,” our old house has a sustainable and exciting future, and so does our congregation.
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About Our Minister
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.
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Contact Rev. Berger:
Church Office: 718-447-2204
Email: minister -at- uucsi.org
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