Introducing our new minister,  Derek Washington:


I have been in River Falls since 2004, where my family and I moved from Kathmandu, Nepal.  Originally a southerner, I began ministry work in Episcopal, Methodist and Baptist churches in Florida working with youth and young adults.  I was raised around music and incorporate music in much of my life, including my spirituality.  I play the guitar, piano, and the Celtic harp.  I have produced 8 albums of original music.  I enjoy music production, engineering and creation.

I entered ordained ministry in Florida as an Episcopal priest.  I quickly gravitated towards the arena of pastoral care, as it seemed to be a place of least separation between the people and the institution.  For some time I wrestled with that separation and came to realize I did not like it.  I continued to provide pastoral care and in 2000 moved my family to Asia where my wife, Dorothy, and I provided pastoral care for missionaries and cross cultural workers in Nepal.  We traveled extensively in that work.

We returned from Asia in late 2004 to River Falls, where our 3 children finished school.  Our 2 boys currently live in River Falls, and our oldest, Jon with his wife Katie, have brought 2 lovely grandchildren into our lives.  Our daughter, Addie, lives in South Minneapolis.  My wife, Dorothy, is a hospice nurse and bereavement coordinator.

In my own search for open, inclusive and liberal community, I was invited to UUSRF by some River Falls friends.  Here I discovered a group of people that value asking deep existential questions, and provided a safe place to question in.  I enjoyed the wisdom brought by Rev. Ted and felt welcomed by him into the life of the congregation.  For several years this community provided a safe place for me to continue to grow in my own faith journey.  I became a hospice spiritual counselor for a local hospice and continue to work in that role half time.  In December of 2016, after 16 years of providing pastoral care for missionaries, I accepted the position as minister of the UUSRF in a half time capacity.

I endeavor to promote and cultivate healthy and safe community, which always seems to work into my messages.  I believe in taking risks for love.  I believe that if one is going to believe in a set structure of faith, doing so in such a way that does not cause soul violence and doing so is critically important to cultivating healthy community.  Any beliefs I hold, I do so with a posture of humility, knowing that most aspects of belief cannot be proven.  I find great love and joy in this UUSRF community, where as many people don't believe in a transcendent God, as do.  Watching this unfold and lived out in intentional community is beautiful.  I believe that it is precisely from this type of community that our hope for a better world comes. 

I believe a more beautiful world is possible.  I believe that world has the complexion of each of our faces.  It will be born as we uphold our deepest UU principles and beautiful UU guidelines, and as we build our capacity for extending compassion and grace to the world at our doorstep.

I am honored to be a part of the UUSRF family at this time in our community life.

Blessings, Derek