Minister's Musings
Saturday
Jun292019

Welcome Rev. Patty!

Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation welcomes its new settled minister, Rev. Patty Willis, to Prescott. She will begin preaching in mid-August.

Reverend Willis spent her childhood in South America and the Middle East where she gained a love of languages and travel. As a member of the LDS Church, she attended Brigham Young University studying French and Spanish. Shortly after arriving in Paris as a French teacher for the University’s study abroad program, she met her life partner, Mary Lou Prince, who was studying music composition. Because of their religious beliefs, they separated for five years. After reuniting, a chance to work overseas presented itself and the two moved to Japan where they lived and worked together for more than two decades, performing and traveling throughout the world. Their work in theater has been closely tied to social justice. Performances of their play “Man from Magdalena,” about the true story of a migrant who saves the life of an Anglo boy and gives up his chance to live in the United States, has fulfilled over $160,000 in micro-loans to people in Central America and Mexico to heal the poverty at the root of the migration across our borders.

In 2007, Reverend Willis returned to the U.S. and settled in southern Arizona where she began attending a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Over the next year, Willis felt a strong calling to pursue ministry, and received a full scholarship to the Quaker-sponsored, Earlham School of Religion. While there, she was awarded a Ministry of Writing Fellowship to write about the intersection of her pioneer midwife ancestor Patty Bartlett Session’s life with Native American narratives. This work, “Dancing Bird’s Apprentice,” was transformed into a theater work “Midwife” and premiered at the Great Salt Lake Fringe, followed by performances in New York City in 2016. The net proceeds of this play support the Northwest Band of the Shoshone’s Language Program for children. In her six years of ministry in Salt Lake City, Utah, at South Valley UU Society, she was involved in Interfaith work and often wrote editorials published in the Salt Lake Tribune. She and Mary Lou wrote cantatas performed by interfaith choirs at the Parliament of World Religions and around Salt Lake City. You can read more about her work in Salt Lake City at her website www.revpattywillis.com.

Rev. Patty and Mary Lou are looking forward to making a home in Prescott and and are taking a class in kayaking to prepare!