Minister’s Message

The Minister’s Musings

In late 1984, my husband and I began to settle into our new home on Catalpa Drive in Berkely, MI. When we moved in, Westborn Market had not yet been built, Vinsetta Garage was still an auto repair shop, and The Donut Cutter at the corner would contribute to an extra few pounds on my mid-twenties frame. We loved that house and the surrounding area. I cried when we sold it and moved away nine years later with our almost two-year old daughter. I knew that the little yellow house would always hold a special place in my heart.

Fast forward twenty-five years later and here I am; Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Royal Oak. If I could have, I would have told that young wife and mother not to cry so hard as she would be back before she knew it. Although I am sure, that if I told her how it would transpire, she would roll her eyes and look at me like I was crazy.

That’s the way of life, however, isn’t it? We think we have things figured out and God just smiles at us indulgently. I can attest that, if we try our best to follow the urgings of the Spirit, life will never be dull.

We have time to learn about each other, but here are some brief facts about myself. I am the younger of two girls. Both my parents were hard-working, blue-collar people. My roots come from the European countries of mostly Poland and Germany. I grew up in Warren, MI where I met my husband, Ken, in high-school. We married in 1983 and have one adult daughter. Ken is the eldest of eight – all boys. He works at General Motors as an Engineering Group Manager and plays guitar both at the Catholic Church where he worships and as a lead singer in a cover band.

I studied at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and Madonna University where I earned a degree in Pastoral Ministry and Business Management. I was trained as a Spiritual Director at The Dominican Center for Religious Studies and did one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. In 2013 I was graduated from Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit with a Master of Divinity degree. I am a bit of a geek when it comes to school.

I have worked most of my adult life serving the universal church (first in the Roman Catholic Church, then in the United Church of Christ, and now in the Congregational Church), but also have a bit of experience in retail management and accounting. My “home church” is First Congregational Church UCC of Rochester and I come to you after serving as Pastor of First Congregational UCC in Wyandotte. The extravagant welcome of God and using Jesus’ command that we love one another as he has loved us are the cornerstones of my belief.

An Achilles heel of mine though is that I am not good with names. I often joke that I have one child and will sometimes get her name wrong. Sadly, the joke is true. I work very hard at trying to remember names but will often slip up so please don’t take offense. Funny thing, I will remember your story. Go figure.

And speaking of names, some have already asked if I want to be called Rev. Carrie. I am happy to be called “Carrie” while in the confines of our faith community. However, outside these doors, I have found the formal title is necessary as there are still many people who would never consider me an ordained minister solely because of my gender. I can’t tell you how many times someone has looked at me and exclaimed, “You’re the Pastor!? But, you’re a woman!”

I look forward to this time of “coming home” and being a part of this faith community for as long as God calls us to be together. You have already been in my prayers and I humbly ask that you keep me in yours.

God’s Blessings and Peace

Rev. Carrie Orlando