Beacon UU Installs 2 Ministers, Affirms Executive Director

Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit officially inaugurated its new leadership team April 2 with the installation of Rev. Robin Tanner as Minister of Worship and Outreach and Rev. Emilie Boggis as Minister of Congregational Life and the affirmation of Dr. Tuli Patel as the congregation’s executive director.

More than 320 members of the congregation and community attended the afternoon ceremony in the large, modern sanctuary at Congregation Ohr Shalom, 67 Kent Place Boulevard in Summit. The synagogue accommodates a larger audience than the New England-style Beacon building, located at 4 Waldron Ave. Beacon was formerly known as The Unitarian Church in Summit.

Summit Mayor Nora Radest offered greetings. Singers from Fountain Baptist Church joined Beacon’s choir in one of the musical conducted by Beacon Music Director Mitchell Vines. Adults and youth leaders from Beacon marched through the crowded auditorium to take their seats.

Officials of the Unitarian Universalist Association traveled to join in the service, including UUA Moderator Jim Key, the top elected lay leader in the movement. Rev. Cheryl M. Walker, president of the UU Ministers Association, preached the sermon, which was based on similarities between the individual and team leadership required in both ministry and baseball.

In establishing a leadership team model, Beacon’s board of trustees has initiated an unusual pastoral-management model that enables ministers to work with congregants while handing administration over to a lay person focused on such details. The three team members are co-equal in the arrangement.

Beacon UU’s congregation voted to call Rev. Tanner as Minister of Worship and Outreach last May 22 after a nationwide search that included the Leadership Team model. Rev. Tanner formerly served as lead minister at Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Rev. Boggis joined Beacon as assistant minister in 2005 and was called as Minister of Congregational Life in March 2015. She graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School, a UU seminary in Chicago.

Dr. Patel began her work at Beacon in 2004 as Director of Religious Education. The board of trustees asked her to become Executive Director in early 2014. She holds a doctorate in education from UCLA.

For more information, call (908) 273-3245 or visit www.summitbeacon.org.