Rev. Paul Oakley

Rev. Paul Oakley

Raised in a religious home, as a young adult, Paul left religion for 20 years before finding a spiritual home that fits him in Unitarian Universalism. He prepared for the Unitarian Universalist ministry at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, one of two Unitarian Universalist denominational seminaries. He served three years in internships in the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship in Carbondale, Illinois, and Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Springfield, Illinois. Both of these congregations, like the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro, were formed in the 1950s as part of the Unitarian fellowship movement. He served for 15 months of hospital chaplaincy at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Christian Hospital Northeast in St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained in St. Louis on May 31, 2015.

Rev. Paul on the occasion of his installation as the settled minister at UUFW on February 13, 2016

Rev. Paul would describe his personal theology as touched by several spiritual strands, such as naturalism, mysticism, and humanism. He is strongly influenced by Judaism. He believes that religious and spiritual systems are like languages. Some things are expressed better in one language than another. Others just need some translation to smooth the way. He believes that the essence of Unitarian Universalism is to draw the circle of inclusion, love, and support ever wider. A favorite poem that expresses that intention is:

by Edwin Markham (1852-1940)

He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

Rev. Paul and Walter Lazenby, his partner of 31 years, share their home with one large, mixed-breed dog, Marcus Aurelius (Marcus), whom they adopted from a rescue shelter. Rev. Paul has three adult daughters, two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren in central Montana and the exurbs of Baltimore. Walter’s son, two daughters, son-in-law, and five grandchildren live in central Texas, Hawaii, St. Louis, southern Illinois, and Vienna, Virginia. Rev. Paul and Walter are very happy to be living in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and serving the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro.