I’m Rev. Mary Gear and I am honored to be serving as the settled minister for OUUC since August 2019.
I have been a Unitarian Universalist for more than 30 years. I have served as a lay leader in many roles and as the first paid Music Director for the UU Congregation of Salem, Oregon (UUCS). I graduated with a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 2017. In February 2018, I was jointly ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister by UUCS and First Unitarian-Portland.
Ministry is my second career. Before taking this path, I worked as a social worker with many kinds of people, from teenage parents to elders at the end of life. I earned a Masters in Social Work from Walla Walla University and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin. The skills I’ve learned and experiences in that earlier career have greatly shaped who I am and inform my ministry.
I first heard the call to ministry in 2001, carried on the wings of a cardinal. The death of my best friend, Jean, in 2010 sounded the call again more loudly, which led me to re-evaluate my life journey and calling. Then, in Summer 2013, the death of my godmother, Marcie, led me to answer the call and step fully into pursuing a new career in ministry.
My ministerial formation included two internships, a parish internship at First Unitarian-Portland, and a clinical pastoral internship at the Oregon State Hospital. I was also honored to serve as the first minister for the UU Fellowship of McMinnville, Oregon. And I learned about transition and change as the Acting Assistant Minister at First Unitarian-Portland for two years after I completed seminary.
I live in Olympia with my husband, John, a black cat named Simon, and a ginger kitty named Lucy. We enjoy walks, wildlife, and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.