Meet Rev. David H. Messner, our Candidate for Settled Minister

Dear Members of the First Unitarian Society of Chicago: 

I feel so fortunate to be your candidate for settled ministry. I graduated from Divinity School at the University of Chicago 12 years ago, and on that day, I remember walking across the street and standing outside First Unitarian.

In my heart, I hoped I would come and serve this church one day, when the moment was right. My family and I then returned to Rochester, New York, I served at First Unitarian there, did hospital training, and then went on to my settled ministry in Savannah, Georgia. The subsequent years with that church taught me how to really be a pastor to a congregation and what it means to grow a shared ministry. I then served two transition ministries with larger churches in Charleston and outside Philadelphia. I now feel a sense of being called home. It is time to begin our Ministry together! 

I have enjoyed a variety of vocational activities over my life, including doing growth strategy for organizations and executing corporate partnerships. Two of my favorite smaller jobs have been teaching ethics to college students and being a grill cook at a pizza shop (one of these was this year, and the other was when I was 17). However, what puts the vocation of ministry at the center of my life’s work is the incredible freedom it grants to take time with people and to put relationships at the center of everything. In church, we “produce” compassion, insight, and good relationships. When we do it right, we nurture the people we have, bring all kinds of new people in, and continue to surprise ourselves with what we create together. 

I am committed to being part of a church community that cares for each other, supports each other, forgives each other, and laughs together. Some of the church activities I love include preaching, cooking, teaching, and working for change with others out in the community. I believe First Unitarian is a special church, and I think Hyde Park is a unique place, a fertile ground upon which we can continue to grow the rare kind of community that connects across difference, is unafraid of joyful experimentation, and pays attention to leaving no one behind. 

I look forward to coming out to Chicago for ten days at the end of the month for conversation, listening and learning, breaking bread, worshiping, and imagining our possible futures together. I can’t wait to meet you and hear what you want to share about your history and your hopes. I’m grateful and humbled by this opportunity, thank you. 

See you soon, 

Rev. Dave
Rev. David H. Messner, Ph.D.
UU Profile

Candidating Week Schedule

  • First Forum after service on Sunday, April 16 for a presentation by Search Committee members describing the Rev. David Messner’s background, experiences, skills and strengths.
  • After the Sunday, April 23 service, at which the Rev. Dave will preach in person, we will hold a Q&A session.
  • After service on April 30, which Rev. Dave will conduct in person, we will have a congregational vote. It is critical all voting members attend!
  • Candidating Week is Sunday April, 23 through Sunday, April 30. Please see the Schedule, available on April 9, of all the opportunities for you to meet and talk to the Rev. Dave in person throughout the week.

Please be sure to sign up for at least one event and meet Rev. Dave! We are looking forward to a resoundingly affirmative vote on Sunday, April 30 to welcome him as our new Minister!

Your Search Committee
Daughon, Evelyn, Leslie, Margie, Natasha, Ross and Virginia