The Reverend Allison Barrett

Loving the World with Words

About me

Just after Ordination, wearing a stole made for me by my sister Joanie.

This website was birthed on the anniversary of my Ordination into the ministry. It was a special day in a special place, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, Massachusetts and celebrated both the culmination and commencement of my call to Ordained ministry. 

In our faith tradition, it is the congregation that sees that call and with words and the laying on of hands of the people, bestows that honour upon you. I was and remain humbled by that honour and call to service. 

But one of the unique things about Ordination is that it is forever and is not defined by a relationship to a particular group of people, ministry settings, or era in your life. 

Ministry is with you throughout your life, wherever you happen to find yourself. It is, above all, an approach to life, an attitude of reverence, respect and gratitude toward the world that you carry with you wherever you go. 

I believe it was this approach to life in my early years that prompted my call to ministry and it is still my guide to the ministries I find in my life going forward. 

This ministry of “Loving the world with words” is a continuation of those vows and a pledge to help others with what I have experienced along the way.

Some of it arises from ministry and some of it from life, some from inner and some from outer journeys to many different places, but all of it is part of a universal experience of what it means to be human and that is the spirit in which it is offered. 

Stained glass window by incomparable stained glass artist Katherine Wakely, gifted to me by Peter on the occasion of my final fellowship. 

Painting: George Lake #3 by Dylan Swan

I hail originally from the Ottawa River Valley, so a pine tree growing out of a rock feels like home. It’s also a great metaphor for how I see the world; sometimes beauty and new life can grow out of seemingly harsh and broken places.

On the way to finding my vocation, I attended the University of Toronto (B.A.) and Emmanuel College of the United Church of Canada (M. Div.) I was Ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, Massachusetts, and served congregations in Reading, Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario as parish minister.

I have training in counselling (including as an accredited Prepare/Enrich marriage enrichment and pre-marital counsellor), justice ministry, hospital and mental health chaplaincy and training, have taught preaching to UU students at Emmanuel College and for several years lectured on Spirituality and Health for McMaster University’s Michael G. Degroote School of Medicine.

After more than 25 years in service as lay person, chaplain and Ordained Minister, I retired from full-time parish ministry to serve the Spirit of Love wherever I find her. It turns out she finds me on a pretty regular basis! 

In ministry and in life, I believe we are called to respond with love and to walk with each other into the heart of the human condition.

Everyone of these moments has asked me to dig deeper to try and find the words, gestures or ritual that might make a happy occasion more joyful, or a tragedy hurt just a little less. I offer them to you in case they help, in case something I have been through or helped others with finds an echo in your own life. 

I believe we are here for each other to hold, to heal, to inspire and above all, to love

Visiting farmers in the Himalayas in Nepal with USC Canada (now SeedChange).