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Interim Minister - she/her

Rev. Lara Cowtan

I am a life-long Unitarian Universalist, and daughter of a UU Minister as well, so this faith tradition is part of the fabric of my being. My previous career in nursing taught me about empathy and making human connections, about prioritizing and about healing, and about things that sometimes don’t heal, and then how to move forward in spite of loss to find a new way of being and living in the world.

I have learned about being in community with ourselves and others despite one’s brokenness, and even maybe because of it, to learn to simply “be” in a different way.

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Moving and travelling much in my life, I’ve witnessed and learned many different ways of doing church; the challenges, the blessings the complicated systems so dependent upon one another, so rich in giving and also needing, needing to know love and support. I’ve what it takes to bring health and hope into community and individual lives.

It was in Hoboken, New Jersey, working as a nurse, where I met my partner, and we moved in 2005 back to his native Switzerland. There I became involved with international Unitarian communities, starting a new UU fellowship in Basel, serving on the Executive Committee of the ICUU (International Council of Unitarians and Universalists) and gained more than 10 years of leadership experience in local, regional and international UU organizations.

After receiving my Masters of Divinity degree (Mdiv) from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2017, I was ordained by my internship congregation in Westport, CT, and welcomed into preliminary fellowship by the Unitarian Universalist Association. I began an entrepreneurial consulting ministry to support and develop existing and emerging Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist communities across Europe, providing worship, workshops, training and leadership support for multiple congregations.

Returning to Canada in the Fall of 2019, I landed in my hometown of Winnipeg, where much of my family lives, and was able to continue to provide worship and ministry consulting services to congregations across Canada, the US and Europe. (thanks to online worship platforms!) and also had the amazing privilege and experience of serving as a Chaplain at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg for 6 months, providing Spiritual Care as the Covid-19 Pandemic changed the shape of our lives. I also continue to serve the Church of Larger Fellowship as the Affiliate Minister for International Outreach, which keeps me in contact with UU’s around the globe.

I am called to be an advocate and give voice to those who are voiceless, to care for those in need, offer safety for those who are afraid, comfort to the afflicted, sometimes challenge those who could use a little less comfort. This is ministry. I believe the future lies in saying yes to opportunities. Yes to leading the way and making space for others to move into their potential, empowering leaders to rise to meet their own challenges and bringing more compassion and justice to our world.

I feel especially called to transitional ministry, journeying with congregations as they move through change and challenges, envisioning and reaching into the future.

So begins this next chapter, as the Interim minister to the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. I couldn’t be happier or more excited about being with UCV at this unique and challenging moment in time.