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Unitarian Universalism saves lives.

For people at the very end of their rope, our faith can be a lifeline, a reminder of meaning and purpose and joy that helps bring them back to “Yes” and “I can” and “I will.” For people in their ordinary daily struggles, trying to keep together home and family and community and nation, our faith can provide a moral framework for living and inspiration for striving and thriving and bending the arc of the universe toward justice.

Unitarian Universalism has saved my life many times. First, back in the 1990s, at age 25, I moved to New York City to find a job in journalism. Alone and broke and despairing, I discovered All Souls Church and the prophetic preaching of Forrest Church. Immediately I signed up to help with their Monday night dinner program, where we served unhoused people — with linen and china and courtesy, as was our UU spiritual practice. I learned that even though I felt low, I could still serve, connect, and renew my spirit. Right then and there, Unitarian Universalism found me and claimed me, gave me purpose and meaning and uplift.

Soon I got a job as an editor at Ms. Magazine, covering news stories like the use of rape as a weapon of war in Bosnia. When I felt overwhelmed or dispirited (often in those five years), my UU faith community held me, and it helped me to imagine — and keep working toward — a world beyond and after misogyny, racism, homophobia and hate.

A few years later, I felt a call to ministry, and I was awarded a scholarship to Harvard Divinity School. This year marks the 25th anniversary of my ordination.

I am a minister because the world needs hope. I need hope too. Our faith provides hope, and as a minister, I help to channel it. I will keep giving and receiving hope until my end.

I am a minister because the world needs joy, compassion, and community. In partnership with churches, I have learned how to create and sustain joy, compassion, and community, for the long haul.

Today, with our democracy and our planet under threat, good people everywhere need and want to ground their lives in values like justice, equity, and interdependence. People everywhere need our life-saving faith!

Worship

Worship is the living center of parish life and ministry. It is where and how and when we unite as a community, connect with one another, gather inspiration, and recommit to our deepest values.

Creating meaningful worship is a sacred responsibility and a deep joy.

Rev. Intriligator is pleased to provide sample worship services she has created.

Ubuntu: Who Are We to One Another?

Family-Friendly Christmas Eve Service, 2023

Indigenous Americans: Myths, Truths, and Our Inheritance

Social Justice

Susanne Skubik Intriligator has studied, chronicled, and participated in movements for social justice for more than 40 years — from her 1980s student activism against apartheid to her 2023 arrest for blocking traffic in downtown Boston with Extinction Rebellion (shown above) . For her, the life of faith — and  basic human morality — call us all to work toward economic equality, full human liberation, and climate justice.

Feminism

It started with campus “Take Back the Night” marches and led to five years on staff at Ms. magazine in New York City. Back then (1990-95), Ms. was completely ad-free, 100 pages of news, essays, and art written and curated by a staff of just 12 people. Susanne covered international news, reporting on stories — women on strike in India or standing up against rape-as-a-weapon-of-war in Bosnia — that were ignored by mainstream media. She also edited the Religion section and served as associate copy editor at the magazine.

Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism

Susanne grew up in a working-class Catholic family in East Dearborn, Michigan, in a majority Lebanese Muslim neighborhood. Religious and cultural pluralism was a fact of everyday life from early childhood. (It proved to be good preparation for later life; today she is married to a Jewish man and their adult son is a practicing Buddhist.)

As an editor on the multicultural staff of Ms. magazine, Susanne worked with feminist organizers from around the world, across divisions of race, class, and faith, and she worked directly with writers like Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem.

Later Susanne lived abroad, in Wales, for 13 years. She earned her PhD in a Welsh-speaking culture and parented children who went to Welsh-language schools. She has first-hand experience as an immigrant and cultural outsider.

Today, Rev. Susanne prioritizes anti-racism work within her ministry. Working closely with lay leaders, she helped the Follen congregation to pass a resolution both to become intentionally anti-racist in all its endeavors and to hang a Black Lives Matter banner prominently.

For 3 years, Rev. Susanne led communications and social media for Moral Movement Mass, a statewide interfaith coalition standing against policies and practices that marginalize poor people, communities of color, and LGBTQ people, based on the work of Rev. Dr. William Barber and his Moral Mondays coalition in North Carolina. In 2023, Rev. Susanne joined Dr. Barber’s Prophetic Council, and in April 2024, she took part in his inaugural conference at Yale Divinity School, titled “What Are the Moral and Spiritual Issues in the 2024 Presidential Campaign?”

Climate Justice

In September 2023, Rev. Susanne connected with Extinction Rebellion Boston, the local affiliate of a global movement to raise awareness and force political leaders to take meaningful action on the climate crisis. The group was preparing an action meant to draw public attention to Gov. Healey’s broken promises, including a plan to block traffic temporarily in downtown Boston. As a UU minister and as someone with race, class, and health privilege, Rev. Susanne decided it was her turn to volunteer for an arrestable role in the protest.

On Thursday September 21, 2023, as part of climate protests happening around the globe, three groups of XR protesters marched around a block near South Station (see photo above). By walking slowly, they disrupted traffic, while handing out flyers to explain their purpose. Police arrived within 10 minutes and they sat down. About 20 were then arrested; Rev. Susanne spent 8 hours that day in a solitary cell in the Southie precinct. Thankfully, the protest earned media coverage locally and even internationally. Check out this story from the Associated Press.

After three court appearances, the protesters were each sentenced to 28 hours of community service, separate from their work or previous activism. Rev. Susanne served her time teaching English to Haitian refugees.

On Saturday April 20, 2024, Rev. Susanne once again stood with XR protesters, this time to disrupt passengers at Hanscom private jet hangars (see photo above). She was once again arrested for trespassing, and she spent 6 hours behind bars, held by MA State Police. News coverage was expansive once again, and the story led Boston TV news that day. Reporters reached out to Gov. Healey for comment, and she was forced to declare her non-position.

 

What Others Say

Rev. Parisa Parsa, UU minister:

“Susanne brings a deep passion for church life in all that it can do to change the world, an excellent strategic mind, a great sense of humor and a true gift with words and presence to her ministry. Her preaching and worship leadership are uplifting and challenging in the right measure. Any congregation that wants to move forward with its vision for engaged spiritual life would do well to call her.”

Rev. John Gibbons, UU minister:

“Susanne is a top-notch UU minister: a passionate pastor, preacher, persuader, and protester.  She’s people-senstive and tech savvy.  She listens well, is non-anxious, and at ease with complexity.  She’s brims with integrity, humility, and warmth.  I value her as a friend and colleague.  She well may be the minister you’re looking for!”

Deb Weiner, Interim Director of Religious Education:

“Susanne has been a valued colleague and partner in carrying forward the faith development mission of Follen Church.  Her knowledge of, and dedication, to lifelong learning and faith development means that she’s always focused on the many ways in which ‘religious education is what we do and who we are,’ wholistically, at church.  She is a team player and affirming of the gifts of all members of our ministry team, with real skill directed toward lifting up the role that professional and lay leaders play in making the church come alive with energy and enthusiasm.”

Praise from church members:

“What a beautiful service this morning. The anthem was gorgeous; the prayer was inspiring; and your sermon was just wonderful. It had humor, insight, entreaty, and great stories. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you so much for all the good work that you do —we are truly blessed to have you among us.”

“Hope you don’t mind a short note to again state how much I enjoyed the service this morning.  As a photographer, you might guess that I am very attentive to watching people’s faces and expressions.  I saw that your many glances to members of the congregation were very warm and sincere. Almost like a touch on the shoulder to make a personal comment.  The manner in which you conducted the service felt as if you were speaking only to me.  I was very moved. And your sermon was wonderful, informative and topical.  . . . Your message was precisely what we all need to hear.”

“I was looking for you at Coffee Hour to tell you what a great sermon you gave today.  Wow.  Funny and thought-provoking, and a call to action to boot.  I was moved by your description of the story arcs, that we are beloved and whole first … and then, bam, experience the Wilderness.  So true, and worth remembering.   I even had occasion to use the line, “There’s a wolf inside me” later in the day. 🙂 ”

For further references, please contact Rev. Susanne