Our Minister

Dr. Douglas Wadkins - Out Minister

August 19, 2012 was Rev. Doug's first service with us as our interim minister and members and friends welcomed him with open arms. For the last 13 years, the Rev. Dr. Douglas Wadkins served the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Bellingham, WA but has also worked as a hospice chaplain, campus minister, and served congregations in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Wisconsin and Washington. For the last six years, he has been working with the Pacific Northwest district on their Transition Team, helping congregations share the ministry during times of change.

Rev. Doug is in the office on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and is available to meet with members and friends by appointment.  Please call the office or contact him at minister@uucleveland.org.


Notes From Our Minister

The Beacon - July 1, 2014

Goodbyes & Hellos

It is hard to conceive that it is time to say goodbye to you all! What a busy and deeply meaningful two years it has been! Truly, I have learned so much from you over the many months. We have explored so much together and I feel deep gratitude for my time in Cleveland. It is helpful as an interim minister to be charged with saying goodbye to each congregation. It is NOT something that is naturally easy for me, but I have discovered again and again its importance! I hope that we will get a chance to say goodbye to each other some time in July, when I am leading the services on the 6th and 13th. We have shared an important chapter in the life of the congregation over these two years, and I have grown to appreciate and care so deeply for you. I am excited about your future with Rev. Joe! So as we bid our fond farewells, it will help open up our mind and heart for new beginnings. Well-realized goodbyes prepare us for meaningful hellos. They help us honor the past but not live there. Goodbyes help us think about what is possible for the future, but most of all they are an experience of being in the moment: this is the time of our parting and this is what our time together has meant to me.

Soon you will have the opportunity to offer a meaningful hello to Rev. Joe as your newly called minister. It is a new beginning and I preached about some important ideas in that beginning last month. Many of you asked for the summary of the points in my Shared Ministry sermon. These are they :}

In starting your work with Rev. Joe, I invite an awareness of the intention and spirit you bring to your first few months together. If you begin the first weeks well, you are much more likely to foster healthier patterns of interaction, and develop deeper trust and goodwill. As I indicated in my sermon, healthy congregations have certain consistent attitudes and behaviors that help one not only say hello well but maintain long term health. The essence involves emphasizing and amplifying some behaviors and attitudes, and working to decrease the frequency of others.

I wish for you more of the following between you, Rev. Joe, the staff and the entire congregation:

  • More Good-Natured Humor when possible.
  • More Affection & Gratitude, don’t assume that people know they are appreciated.
  • More emphasis on your areas of Shared Interest and work together to strengthen these shared areas.
  • More moments of shared Joy!

I also wish for you all, when tempted to focus too much and too often on the following to do some internal work to find healthy outlets and alternative ways to think about the situation. Spend less energy and time on:

  • Expressions of anger
  • Contempt or Disgust
  • Whining
  • Sadness
  • Fear & Tension

These are all perfectly human feelings and will be present at times in all communities, but healthier communities are aware of how often such feelings predominate and the damage that they can bring when not addressed.

In general, continue and expand your great gifts of fostering “we-ness” and offer the gift of companionship to all in your community — congregant, staff and minister alike.

Thank you again for the time we have shared. I will carry a heartfelt bit of Society in my heart and mind as I journey forth.

With great love and admiration,


PS: Many of you have asked about the “rules” for contact when I leave. The crucial outcome is that you place your energy in engaging Rev. Joe as your newly settled minister. To assist in that worthy endeavor I will practice what might be called a “ministry of loving absence.” I will refrain from contact and will not seek out interactions with members of the congregation after I say goodbye on July 13. It is especially important as an interim to support this healthy boundary. I encourage you to actively build a close ministerial connection with Rev. Joe. If staff or leaders have questions that only I can provide, I will gladly answer. I won’t unfriend you on FaceBook, but I will keep my own presence low key. I will be supportive of Rev. Joe’s ministry in whatever way he finds helpful. I will continue to cheer you on from afar and will look forward to the wonderful things you will do together.


June 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

April 1, 2014

March 1, 2014

February 1, 2014

January 1, 2014

December 1, 2013

November 1, 2013

October 1, 2013

September 1, 2013

August 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

June 1, 2013

May 1, 2013:  Leading from Strengths

April 1, 2013:  The Gift of Time

March 1, 2013:  Building A Healthy Foundation

February 1, 2013:  What Gifts Can We Bring?

January 4, 2013:  The Work of a New Year

December 1, 2012:  Inns, Ancient Stories, Open Hears and Open Doors

November 1, 2012:  Things to Make the Season Bright

October 1, 2012:  The Stories We Carry

September 1, 2012:  What DOES One Do at a Transition Workshop?