Rev. Leslie Becknell Marx is our minister at Wy’east. She works with the members of Wy’east in a robust shared ministry. Leslie serves us at the level of quarter-time ministry starting in December 2022.
About Our Minister
In my ministry, I wish to seek deep truths, pursue genuine justice, care for the needs of individuals and the whole, listen deeply, provide inspiration, and provoke introspection. We come to Wy’east to become our “deepest and truest selves” while always tenderly loving each other and ourselves exactly as we are.
Being together as Unitarian Universalists, we experience the joy of being in community, support for stretching toward our vision of what is possible and opportunities to connect and contribute.
Some of my particular joys of ministry include designing and delivering Sunday worship services, writing and telling stories, connecting across religious traditions, and leading interactive classes and workshops. An important part of ministry is advocating for social justice, equity and belonging. Causes that are particularly close to my heart are: peaceful resolutions across differences; equity and inclusion for LGBTQ+, disabled people, women and children. Non-violence is my core spiritual practice.
My personal passions include Playback improvisational theater, dancing of all kinds, reading and talking about novels, and the Oregon coast.
Journey in Ministry
Leslie discovered Unitarian Universalism in young adulthood. The spiritual inspiration, intellectual engagement, and supportive community soon became a central part of her life. In the large Atlanta UU congregation, she became a lay minister focused on worship and young adult programming.
After more than a decade of contemplating UU ministry, Leslie attended Andover Newton Theological School outside Boston, was intern minister at First Parish in Brookline, MA, and was an intern chaplain in a retirement community. Her studies and experiences in seminary (including a course/trip to Nicaragua and El Salvador) kindled her commitment to social justice and non-violence.
With her husband, Adam, and then-infant son, Aaron, Leslie moved across the country to serve as minister in Ashland, OR at the Rogue Valley UU Fellowship. Strengths of ministry were vibrant worship services, engagement with inter-faith clergy, and engaging workshops and events. A particular honor was being named Grand Marshall for Southern Oregon’s Pride Parade.
In 2014, Leslie shifted away from congregational ministry toward a community ministry focused on supporting leaders in organizations to lead with integrity, authenticity and connection. This provided more flexibility for parenting her young child and supporting him with his muscular dystrophy chronic condition. Her work includes coaching, role plays, simulation exercises, and facilitated learning conversations.
Leslie and her family relocated to Portland in 2017. Leslie has been an affiliated community minister at West Hills UU Fellowship in SW Portland since then. She occasionally preaches, tells stories, and facilitates workshops there and contributes to the Family Ministry (Religious Education) committee.
Leslie has Final Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and is a member of the UU Ministers Association (UMMA), regularly attending UU ministry retreats in the Pacific Northwest district.