On Sunday, June 26th, our congregation gathered together to bid two very fond farewells: one to our band member Harry Vrooman, who’s been with us on piano since the very first WellSprings service – and one, to our Founding Minister, Rev. Ken Beldon. Our band took one last photo all together with Harry, after a Sunday service featuring two surprise musical tributes: a performance of “A Beautiful Noise” by singers Andrea Tollison and Melissa Davignon, and a moving rendition of Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me In Your Heart” by the full band.
Then, we held the Celebration of Rev. Ken’s Ministry, put together over the course of several months by our Celebration Team. Lunch was served in the Dining Hall, decorated in a “Left Shark” motif, as a nod to one of Rev. Ken’s favorite pop culture moments.
Featured as part of the decor was a WellSprings timeline that members of the congregation worked on together, beginning back in May.
As we gathered together, the Celebration Team presented Rev. Ken with several gifts.
- A donation in Rev. Ken’s name to Father Richard Rohr’s spiritual community, The Center for Action and Contemplation.
- A donation in Rev. Ken’s name to Unity Recovery, to help someone new in their recovery get to treatment.
- A copy of meditation teacher Tara Brach’s latest book, Trusting the Gold, signed by the author herself with a personal message to Rev. Ken.
- And of course… concert tickets to see The Mountain Goats, a band Rev. Ken has incorporated into his preaching many times.
But the biggest gift (and the biggest surprise!) was announced by Rev. Lee, along with our former Ministerial Intern, Rev. Greg Pelley, and current Intern, Beth Monhollen: the newly established Kenneth S. Beldon Ministerial Internship!
Every UU minister-in-training is required to complete an internship in a congregation, as the final step of their progress towards ordination. Some congregations have “named internships” – their internship program is named to honor an important or influential minister in the congregation’s past – and their training of new UU ministers reflects that minister’s spirit, in each successive generation. Our hope is not only to carry on the legacy of Ken’s ministry here at WellSprings – but that all of the UU ministers trained in our congregation will bring his lineage out into the wider network of spiritual communities that every future “Beldon Intern” will someday serve.
We took a special collection Sunday afternoon, to begin to establish and fund the Beldon Internship. If you’re feeling moved to contribute, please consider giving generously in honor of Rev. Ken’s ministry, to support his legacy long into the future.
And of course, the day involved a lot of fellowship, a lot of remembering, and so much gratitude. Thank you, Rev. Ken, for the community you built for us. We wish you all the best on this next chapter of your life!
If you’d like to watch the entire celebration, you can do so anytime on our YouTube channel! Thanks for being part of this incredible day, and helping us all to create such a heartfelt tribute to Rev. Ken’s ministry here at WellSprings.