20 years ago... when I found out that I had macular degeneration and was going to go blind… I decided that I wanted to spend whatever time I had left working for one of the best church architects in the country.
After all, I had found my way to architecture when visiting Paris with my mom. I fell in love with St Chapelle, and then while visiting Notre Dame Cathedral... I •knew• that I wanted to design spaces that helped people connect to Spirit.
So, I went to work for the church architect. It was a profound experience... made more so because he encouraged his staff to go to seminary, or to become super involved in their churches, so that they would become experts in the architecture of their religion.
I delighted in the assignment, and went to my Unitarian church and worked with the ministers to create a 200 hour lay ministry curriculum.
After I finished my training, it became increasingly common for friends on the 'spiritual not religious' path to say "Rachel, you are one of the most spiritual people we know... and we would love for you to marry us." Over these 18 years, I've probably married 100 couples and I've helped countless friends as they negotiated the passing of a loved one.
The ministry is one of the single most important aspects of who I am. It is where I found my place in architecture, and in life.