All Things Creative by Vicki Carter


I was born into a creative family. My father was a writer and my mother was a photographer. She and her siblings sang, often at church revivals, and she was always singing to or with her children. My parents, my siblings and all our children have acted. My sister and I have danced. My older brother and I have directed plays. In fact, my brother has directed a Shakespeare camp for children and youth for more than twenty years. His son is a professional drummer. There were many different instruments played in all these generations. My younger brother and his daughter are artists who work in unexpected mediums. In addition to two dimensional art they use welding and cake decorating, respectively, as creative outlets.

The family my husband Robert and I formed revolves around creativity as well. Robert is an incredible guitar player, has written songs, and sings as well. Our son Graham has so many talents (writing, directing, writing music, playing instruments, singing, acting, still photography, film) that he found the only medium that could accommodate them all was filmmaking.

I think all my family has a need to let that creativity out. Once, when I was on an acting hiatus, my older brother gave me a button that said “Put some drama in your life!” But I don’t have to do drama all the time. If I’m singing a lot, that satisfies me.

Since October 2011, I have mostly satisfied my creative needs by being your DRE. Both in RE and worship, I have to be a storyteller, and sometimes I need to sing as well. Just finding ways to flesh out the theme of a lesson or worship service is exciting. This month I am teaching about Harriet Tubman in RE, so I had to bring in an old favorite picture book, Follow the Drinking Gourd. I can’t believe I’ve never learned the song that the title is taken from. I just listened to it on YouTube and it is so beautiful and sad, yet still hopeful. I can’t wait to learn it. After seeing the movie Harriet recently, I am very excited about this lesson.

On December 15th, I had the joy of “directing” the pageant, “Would You Like to Hold the Baby?” There is nothing like the adrenaline rush I get from thinking there won’t be enough volunteers, but it always works out in the end. It’s the same for the stage fright of singing a song that I know is a little out of my range. Doing something artistic I didn’t think I could do feeds something in me.

I look forward to many more opportunities to create something of value for this church. The shared ministry model that we have undertaken for the last 9 months allows me to give whatever creative gifts I may have to people of all ages. This has been a long journey for me, and for this church. It began with Reverend Sam and the Time for All Ages and, later, making Easter a shared ministry experience. I will never forget how nervous and proud I was to be delivering half of the homily for Rev. Sam’s last Easter service. He embraced me in congratulations, dressed in full ministerial robes. I felt officially welcomed into shared ministry.

Thank you for embracing the future of religious education and shared ministry, and for helping me to grow into my role as a religious professional. I couldn’t have done it without your support!

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Rev. Donna Renfro began serving UUCBV in September 2018, with an extensive background in directing religious education and a passion for equality, Rev. Donna is a calming and inspiring presence for people of all walks of life.

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