Remembering a friend

I was saddened last week to learn that Tari Lennon, a founder of Process & Faith and long-time contributor to the lectionary commentary and Creative Transformation, had died. A former pastor of Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach, Tari also founded Open Gatherings, a series of meetings that invited spiritual exploration and conversation around what it means to be human. She has been described as "that unusual human being who knows that Life is the Teacher,  that she will never be finished learning life lessons, and that there is no embarrassment in not knowing what you don’t know—and making mistakes accordingly."

An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Tari had degrees in theology, ministry, and psychology, and also trained as a spiritual director. She was a creative, vibrant and dynamic woman, with a special gift for creative worship. Tari is the one who encouraged me, by her bold example, to bring more popular music into worship services. She once used the music of West Side Story throughout the Advent season--a brilliant reframing of "Maria," "Could Be," and "Tonight" (the last on Christmas Eve, of course!). Like others, she put together her own pew hymnal for her congregation, but her's included songs like "Imagine."

Tari was a trailblazer for new worship styles, music, and liturgy to reflect the process ideas of a dynamic and ever-present God. Her own compassionate presence was the embodiment of relational theology. I honor her, am indebted to her, and will miss her.