I’m a somewhat regular opinion columnist for a couple of media outlets. You can find my writing with Boston’s local NPR station WBUR, the national Religion News Service, and Leadership Education at Duke Div’s magazine Faith & Leadership. I really enjoy writing meditative, spiritual reflection for a broad public audience. If you are interested in hiring me as a writer, reach out through the contact page. Here are a few of my recent favorite columns:
At WBUR’s Cognoscenti:
Maura Healey, ‘first of her name’: May she be unabashedly herself Nov 9, 2022
Before last night, of the 75 people to serve as governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts over the past 242 years, only one had been a woman; and no woman had ever been elected to the post. Yesterday, that changed.
There’s room for all of us on the Celtics bandwagon June 16, 2022
Fandom should not be like the coolest band you’ve never heard of: inaccessible and smug. This city has far too much culture that is unapproachable by class, race, gender or social location. What these Celtics have offered as a team is a broad invitation for everyone to get on board.
At Religion News Service:
Respect for marriage, reconciliation and being seen on the White House lawn December 15, 2022 co-authored with Jeremy Burton
Visibility has a cost, and enormous power. On Tuesday (Dec. 13), we stood together — Jeremy in his rainbow kippah, Laura in her clerical collar — on the White House lawn to bear witness as President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. We had traveled from Boston, foremost as friends, but also as leaders in our respective Jewish and Christian communities. We were there to see this law be signed, and to celebrate, but also to be seen.
The spirituality of mending April 10, 2019
In practice, most Americans know very little now about mending. I have set out to learn with my hands what I longed for in my life: to repair what is torn.
At Faith & Leadership:
Working online from home is fraught for queer clergy July 26, 2022
Now, in the halting reopenings and the murky mix of in-person gatherings, I worry about a return to “normal.” I fear a reversion to a previous norm in which the church breached our boundaries without consent. It is an act of violence to take what you have not been given.
My Feminist Strategy for Dealing with Criticism as a Christian Leader April 4, 2017
Instead, I have stumbled into a paradoxically feminist strategy for dealing with the pain and isolation of criticism: not “get a thicker skin” but “feel deeply”; not “ignore it” but “share your pain.”
Humanity & Vulnerability:
The Associated Press took a ride with me in Boston.
“Bicyclists have the experience of knowing our own vulnerability, and knowing that in some ways our safety is dependent on the actions of others,” she said.
Read more here: https://apnews.com/5a078edb655c45ac81e82f61482c2537
Bicycles & New Ways We Gather:
I gave the keynote sermon for the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, with the exceedingly smart Angie Thurston, Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and On Being.
My day job is as executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. But by night, I get to turn into a neon-clad cyclist traveling the streets of Boston. None of this was intentional. I fumbled into this ministry. I began riding a bike as my primary form of transit because my car died, and I was in a bible study on economic discipleship with some other Christians who convinced me that it was cheaper and more fun to travel by bike. These bicycle evangelists taught me how to ride in the city and fix a flat on my own. I fell in love with my city by traveling it by bike.
Over all those miles and through the rain, snow, and sleet of Boston, I’ve discovered the deep convictions of cyclists. Historically, monastic communities would call this a “Rule of Life,” a set of patterns and norms that govern communal living. Practical cyclists aren’t so much rule-bound to never take a car or a train or walk. Rather, in the sense of a “Rule of Life,” the bicycle becomes the regularizing frame for other decisions.
You can watch the whole sermon here:
Ministry in the Bike Lane:
I’m featured in the June 2016 Sojourners Magazine article, “Why Some Pastors are Taking Up Bicycles to Better Love their Cities, ” by Steve Holt.
“Everett is one of just a handful of ministers across the nation- from New York City to Minneapolis to Denver- whose parish extends outside of traditional church structures to include bike lanes and cyclists. She says cyclists know the risks of the road and yet choose to bicycle- “a rule of life that many pastors would give their right arm for.”
“These are people who have said, ‘There’s an easier path, but I’m going to do this,’ she says. ‘That’s remarkable.”
If you’re a Sojo subscriber, read it here, otherwise here.
The Spirituality of Bicycles:
I spoke at Harvard University’s Memorial Church on “The Spirituality of Bicycles”
The idea that every mundane thing, even bicycles, can be a pathway to God has not always been well received. Back during the turn of the previous century’s cycling boom, New England’s religious conservatives did not appreciate the spiritual potential of bicycles, especially when they were ridden on Sunday. At the time, Harvard President Charles Eliot countered by saying, “God delights in every innocent pleasure. I ride a bicycle or a horse for pleasure on Sunday, without feeling that I have desecrated the Sabbath Day.”
You can listen to the sermon here: https://soundcloud.com/memorial-church/laura-everett-mdiv-04-september-23-2016-morning-prayers?in=memorial-church/sets/morning-prayers
I’m quoted in this Boston Globe article about the emergence of the “Ghost Bike” as a memorial ritual to cyclists killed in cities.
The memorials are coordinated by a private Facebook group made up of dozens of cyclists who see communal mourning, and the resulting protest against unsafe streets, as a sacred responsibility.
“For me, it’s a funeral guild,” said the Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches and the officiant at the vigil for Phillips, which drew perhaps 250 people. “These are the faithful people who are committed to memorializing the dead.”
You can read the entire article here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/06/30/urban-ritual-marks-life-loss-and-love-cycling/bp8y6ROmwiWvJgwZ40UBJM/story.html
I wrote for the Christian Century’s blog on praying with the words of the arrested.
I believe the city is full of scripture, words that guide us closer to the one full of infinite compassion and perfect justice for the innocent and the guilty. Yet the arresting words are not just about others, but also about me; they condemn my complicity in a system that criminalizes poverty and addiction.
I’ve prayed with these words over the past few weeks, as part of learning to pray for the whole of my city. Meditating on these arresting words challenges me to pray for the person so broken that they’d say to a child, “Pick a bullet for you and me and mommy.”
You can read the full essay here: https://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2016-04/voices-arrested
About Institutional Leadership:
I write a lot for Faith & Leadership about how I’m learning to lead a vibrant institutions. You can read my essays here: https://www.faithandleadership.com/people-news/writers/laura-everett
Two essays that get requested often:
The sacramentality of tattoos: https://www.faithandleadership.com/laura-everett-sacramentality-tattoos
Ecumenical awkwardness as a spiritual discipline: http://fteleaders.org/blog/ecumenical-awkwardness