Parish Co-Minister Kathleen Rolenz

Kathleen Rolenz has served as co-minister at West Shore with her husband Wayne Arnason since 2000. Reverend Rolenz discovered Unitarian Universalism at the First Unitarian Church of Kent,  in Kent, Ohio, while attending Kent State University. Kathleen graduated from Kent State in 1983, with a bachelor's degree in Speech Communications. She attended the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado from 1989-1993 and graduated cum laude with a Masters of Divinity degree. The First Unitarian Society of Denver ordained her on October 3, 1993. Kathleen previously served West Shore as an intern minister in 1992.

First Congregation:  From 1994 to 1998, Kathleen served as parish minister of the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. While in Knoxville, she chaired the Knoxville Interfaith Network (KIN), a grass-roots organization for economic justice in Knoxville. Additionally, she served as co-chair of the annual Interfaith Worship Celebration at Knoxville's annual Cultural Arts Festival. For two years, she served on the Board of Trustees at the Jubilee Community Arts Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Marriage and Ministry: Kathleen left Westside and Knoxville in 1998 when she moved to Virginia following her marriage to Reverend Wayne Arnason on July 4, 1998.  From 1998 - 1999, she worked as a full-time chaplain at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, specializing in both inpatient and outpatient cancer care, as well as providing pastoral care to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, the Psychiatric Unit, and trauma victims.  Kathleen was the interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Glen Allen, Virginia from 1999-2000, before coming to West Shore with her husband, Wayne, to serve as parish co-ministers.

A New Chapter Begins.   When Wayne and Kathleen were called to West Shore in 2000, little did they know that they would be the ministers at the helm at one of the church’s most exciting times—a major renovation of their 50 year old building!  During construction, Kathleen and Wayne took a sabbatical to study worship, which produced the book Worship That Works: Theory and Practice for Unitarian Universalism, published in 2006. In 2012, Kathleen published Sources, a devotional handbook of readings based on the UUA's seven sources. Both books are available on-line from Skinner House Books, or at the bUUk store at West Shore.  Kathleen is also the editor of a book published by Skinner House Christian Voices in Unitarian Universalism.  She has served as President of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship national organization, and as President of the local chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association.  She is a member of the Network of Spiritual Directors (Unitarian Universalist), and Spiritual Director’s Network (national organization.)

Continuing Education.  In 2000-2002, Kathleen became certified as a Spiritual Director for one-on-one Spiritual Director by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.  She offers Spiritual Direction on a one-on-one, limited basis to the larger community.  During 2006-2007 church year, Kathleen completed a second certification program “Leading Contemplative Prayer and Retreat Groups,” also at Shalem.  This has certified her to lead retreat groups and contemplative prayer sessions.

Awards.  Kathleen Rolenz has been recognized for her preaching abilities, having won a top award in the prestigious Richard C. Borden Sermon Contest. She has also been the recipient of the Beacon Press Sermon Award and the UU Men’s Network Sermon Award.  She and co-minister Wayne Arnason have been asked to preach/lead worship in several venues, including the Mid-South & Ohio Meadville District meetings and General Assembly workshops. Kathleen is the co-dean of the UU Minister's Association continuing education program in worship leadership, entitled Beyond the Call.

Background.  Kathleen grew up in Goodyear Heights in Akron, Ohio. She has two older brothers, a sister-in-law, niece Jenny and step-daughter Sarah.  Some of her spiritual disciplines include lectio divina (Bible reading & reflection), zazen (sitting meditation), attempting to garden, playing the piano, running and strength training, writing poetry as a daily spiritual practice, singing and listening to old-time Gospel music.