Many Beliefs, One Faith


from our new Consulting Minister,
Rev. Matthew Cockrum

Greetings Friends:

It is a pleasure and an honor to join you in ministry! As I write your Board and I are continuing to finalize the details of the agreement for me to serve as your Consulting Minister for the coming church year. I look forward to exploring your hopes and dreams for Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation, diving into the history of this community and learning together how you can best prepare for another minister to join you in the longer-term.

My ministry with you will be time-limited and focused. When I first began conversation with your Board President, Poppy Sias Hernandez, she asked me to support you in exploring “What do we need to know and do in order to get ready to have another minister?” In pursuit of that, I plan on being with you two Sundays monthly September through June, offering a workshop once a month and consulting with your Board and Worship Committee. My deepest hope is that by June 2023 you will have a fuller sense of your congregation’s past, present and future and greater clarity about your next steps in ministry. I am excited that you have chosen to commit your resources to this next step in the life of this congregation.

We will begin our work together in earnest with a workshop on Saturday, August 27 to be held in your building (see details elsewhere in this newsletter). I hope you will plan to attend and will bring your memories, and dreams as well as your gifts and energy. Your leadership and I plan to post updates of our work together on the church website in order to record our progress and keep this work as accessible as possible.

Please know that while I welcome opportunities to get to know you better, I will also continue several other work projects while I consult with you. I serve as a Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator with Kindred Hospice in Grand Rapids, teach yoga at The Funky Buddha and maintain a few private clients for spiritual direction and companioning. I live in Grand Rapids with my husband, Chad, and his parents (who snowbird in Florida). I hope you will help me to get to know you and Muskegon as best as possible within the limits of our time together during Sunday services, workshops and leadership groups with whom I consult. Feel free to reach out to me via telephone (206.849.9171) or email ( and I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion given the constraints of my other commitments. Your Board will serve as the primary congregational contact for feedback and questions about this consulting \ process.

In closing and as a way of framing our work together for the coming year I offer you the following words from one of the traditions I follow. The quote is found in the book “The Geologist of the Soul” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi: “Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (7th Lubavitcher rebbe), in response to the question, ‘What’s a rebbe good for?’: “I can’t speak for myself; but I can tell you about my own Rebbe. For me, my Rebbe was the geologist of the soul. You see, there are so many treasures in the earth. There is gold, there is silver, and there are diamonds. But if you don’t know where to dig, you’ll find only dirt and rocks and mud. The Rebbe can tell you where to dig, and what to dig for, but the digging you must do yourself.”

Here’s to the digging ahead, Friends. As always, here’s to The Work.

Peace, Faith & Passion,