Minister begins new chapter with Hudson, Marlborough congregation
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – After serving in various capacities, the Rev. Alice Anacheka-Nasemann was formally installed Nov. 3 as parish minister of the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson (UCMH), located in downtown Hudson. She's been an active member of the congregation since she and her family moved to Hudson in 2001.
“There was so much love and joy in the room,” she said. “Typically at an installation, it's a brand new relationship between the congregation and the minister. For me, it was a continuation of a 13-year relationship. It's a change, and that change was very formally recognized in the ceremony, but I already know folks in the congregation.”
The ceremony gave Anacheka-Nasemann a chance to relish that longtime connection.
“A 16 year-old participated in my installation who was part of the church when we first got here, so he must have been 4 at the time,” she relayed. “He played clarinet in a duet with our music director playing the piano. It was fantastic seeing him, this boy who I'se been watching grow up and turning into a young man.”
Anacheka-Nasemann received her undergraduate degree in 1991 from Friends World College in Lloyd Harbor, N.Y., and campuses worldwide. She and her family moved to Massachusetts so that she could attend Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Center.
“I moved to Hudson with a 3-year-old and I was pregnant with my daughter,” she said. “I immediately found it to be a wonderful community for raising young children.”
Her family became involved in community activities and attended the UCMH. When the church's director of religious education left, Anacheka-Nasemann was asked to consider the position. She accepted the role in 2003, while still studying in Newton Center.
“I did school the slow way,” she said with a laugh. “I went to school part-time once I had children.”
As director of religious education, she planned the curriculum and created programming for children, teens and families.
“I love building community,” she said. “Specifically, I love building intergenerational community. That still remains important to me as minister.”
Anacheka-Nasemann graduated from theological school in May 2006. The following day, she was ordained locally at the UCMH.
“It was a weekend of huge joy,” she said. “It had been raining the day of my ordination. In the middle of the service, right as they were ordaining me, the sun came shining through our stained-glass windows. Then afterward, there was a rainbow outside. The whole thing felt very magical.”
In 2007, the Rev. Stephen Shick began as parish minister. A year later, he suggested that Anacheka-Nasemann become associate minister. She accepted the position and her focus grew to include faith formation for the entire congregation. Also that year, she organized the Spiritual Growth Center.
“The whole concept of the Spiritual Growth Center is one that there isn's a model for within Unitarian Universalism,” Anacheka-Nasemann noted. “We were doing something that was really a brand new experiment. I really appreciate that it involves what our denomination has been calling “beyond congregational thinking.” It's looking outside of our congregation and thinking about the needs of the community.”
Activities of the Spiritual Growth Center have ranged from family games night to a Buddhist book discussion group. The program is ongoing and now organized by Deborah Levering, the new director of lifelong learning.
“For a number of years, this congregation has had a goal of growing – not only growing numerically, but also growing in spirit – and having this vision include the larger community,” Anacheka-Nasemann said. “I look forward to continuing that work and seeing the things we'se been planting for many years become manifested.”
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