The Reverend Laurel Dahill

I am the youngest of seven children in a family of artists, raised in a typical Irish Catholic neighborhood just outside Boston.  I can remember feeling the call to the priesthood as a young child, but responding to that call was discouraged.   I was encouraged to pursue the arts, which I did for many years until I found my early feelings pulling me in a different direction.  Like so many others, I denied God’s call, insisting that I was an unlikely candidate for the job; or tried to answer my call in my own terms, thinking I knew better than God what God needed.laurel-dahill

I worked as an artisan and designer for theatre, film, museum installations, corporate production, and event design for 15 years.  My first misguided response to God’s pursuit of me was to become an Emergency Medical Technician.  I’d convinced myself that serving others is serving God; that God would want me to do something totally outside my comfort zone, and that God would be satisfied with my being an EMT, and leave me alone.  This is not so, and God proves to be more tenacious than that.  After three years on the ambulance, realizing that that kind of service is not for me, and having lost the strength to fight God any longer, I put myself in God’s care completely.  It was the best decision I ever made.

I would characterize my ministry as one of always seeking to reconnect with God.  Human beings are hardwired to be spiritual beings, but life and the world often get between us and the Divine and we lose our connection to God.  My joy and purpose in life is to help people get reconnected to the God that loves them and desires to be in close communion with them.  Whether it’s through service, education, or worship everyone has a special way that makes them feel God’s presence in their lives.  My calling is to connect people with whatever it is that reconnects them with God.  I get great joy when I see the look on people’s faces when they’ve found that particular thing.

I can tell you that God’s gifts are abundant.  Doing the work of God does not require stepping so far outside yourself that your own selfhood is lost or denied.  In my own journey I have experienced the greatest joys while doing those things that are authentically who I am – an artist, a poet, a creative and imaginative person, an extrovert, God’s own work of art.  I believe that encouraging others to discover or reveal their authentic selves is doing the work of God, and building up the body of Christ.  I believe God is still in creation mode, and that Jesus continues to make scales fall from our eyes to see all that God has in store for us and our place in God’s unfolding creation.