Montana Interfaith Power & Light

Answering the Call by Rev. Duffy Peet

There is a phrase that is well known and commonly used between ministers that often arises when we talk about the path that led us to enter the ministry. The phrase is often stated as a question, “How did you come to answer the call to become a minister?” However the question is asked or the answer is given, the phrase “answer the call” is always either stated or implied. Answering the call in this context refers to the compelling draw a person feels that leads them to become a minister.

It is understood that the “call” comes not just from within the person but from beyond the person. The “call” originates from something that is greater than the person who answers it. That which is greater than oneself is referred to by many different names—names such as God, the Divine, the Great Spirit, and the Holy Mystery to name just a few.

Answering the call to ministry, in my experience, isn’t a one time event. Once the decision to enter the ministry is made the call comes again and again. As a minister, I have committed myself to be of service, as best I can, to that which calls me. Over the course of the past 4+ years, I have been answering the call to serve as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman.

Because I serve this faith community, there are many times when I am called on by members and friends of the congregation to address issues that are larger than the Fellowship itself. An example of this occurred in 2018 when the congregation adopted a new Mission Statement. The new Mission Statement is very short with 17 words on 7 lines. The first word is “We:” and the last line is “Sustain Our Living Planet.” Fulfilling the intent of this line is no small task. The task, if it is taken seriously, requires far more people than the Fellowship encompasses.

Not long after the adoption of this new Mission Statement, I was approached by a local minister. The minister asked if I would be willing to serve on the Board of a newly forming organization, an organization whose purpose would be to do just what the last line of the Fellowship’s newly adopted Mission Statement indicated, namely, to “sustain our living planet.”

Some might say the invitation to serve on the Board of a new organization shortly after the adoption of the new Mission Statement was an interesting coincidence. I say it was an example of being called. The organization I was asked to be a Board member of is the one I am writing this blog post for, Montana Interfaith Power and Light. I feel honored to have the opportunity to be a member of the Montana Interfaith Power and Light Board, and I feel humbled by both the call and the task that lies ahead.

So far the scope of my comments have been limited to ministers and how they “answer the call.” But I know that ministers aren’t the only people who receive the call to serve something greater than themselves. At some point in life, all of us are called to do so. Just because a person is called, however, doesn’t mean they answer. For one reason or another a person may not respond when the call comes. We may feel that the call is too large, or that we are inadequate to what we are being called to do.

I will admit that I feel inadequate to the task of sustaining our living planet. I know that alone I am unable to do all that will be needed to accomplish what is required. While I can’t accomplish the task alone, by joining with others who have received and accepted the call, there is hope. Maybe you feel the call to join us in our efforts. If so, we welcome you to work with us as we all seek to address the climate crisis we are all facing.

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