Updated: Oct 5, 2022
I am Rev. Joe Rettenmaier and I’m honored to be serving as Evergreen's new minister as of August 1st, 2022.
I want to thank Evergreen’s Search Committee and Board for their vision and hard work leading this faith community through this transition. This is an exciting time for EUUF and for the shared ministry movement within our denomination. I’m looking forward to meeting each and every one of you as we begin a new journey together, so allow me to kick that off with a bit about my journey....
I was born and raised in Kansas. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, I moved to Seattle in 1988 and began working in corporate communications. For the next 25 years, video would be my primary storytelling tool as I served design firms, community non-profits, tribal organizations, and high-tech corporations in our Salish Sea. I discovered Unitarian Universalism in 2009 and found fertile soil for developing beloved community, and decided to redirect my vocation to fulfill my growing call to UU ministry. In 2019, I received a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School; I’m currently in Preliminary Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.
As a minister, I’ve come to believe each soul’s theology evolves throughout their lifetime based on their unique lived experience. My theology is shaped by Unitarian Universalism, Buddhism, Humanism, Religious Naturalism, Judeo-Christianity, and more. I find spiritual renewal when I’m able to freely wander in the natural order of our gorgeous world on my own or with friends and family. I find inspiration when divine sparks of ingenuity and interdependence fuel a team’s work sessions. I especially enjoy developing small group ministry, pastoral/theological conversations, interfaith alliances, and collaboratively crafted worship experiences.
My service in ministry has included internship with the Duwamish tribe, Sabbatical Ministry contracts for Edmonds UU Congregation and Tahoma UU Congregation, lifespan religious education contracts, indigenous allies ministry, and steady rotations guest preaching for our Salish Sea congregations. Another unique influence on my ministerial formation has been serving as a city bus driver. What I thought would be a brief, part-time, grad school job has instead expanded my consciousness of what it means to minister to one another. When I drive the bus I experience gritty blessings of the gritty truths impacting all souls in our cities. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve experienced this real-time practice of gratitude, humility, and empathy generating a little bit of beloved community in our Salish Sea streets, one bus ride at a time.
In my free time, you’re likely to find me hiking or walking -- at Mount Rainier, on the beach, around the neighborhood -- or doing some local park stewardship near my house. The film buff in me loves kicking back with friends and a favorite movie. I’ve always had a knack for home improvement projects and COVID shutdowns vastly improved my home cooking and baking skills (super moist low carb chocolate cupcakes anyone?), and I adore taking trips to explore some new cultural nook or cranny near or far....
So Beloveds, thank you for reading through this brief initial introduction. I am so eager to meet each and every one of you and learn about your journeys!
EUUF’s freshly reimagined mission as well as Marysville’s continued growth as a community of diversity, love and justice compel me to your service as your half-time minister.
With honor and excitement for all the good that lays ahead for us,
Warmly, Rev. Joe