Reverend Cynthia Snavely

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Reverend Cynthia Snavely

Reverend Cynthia Snavely became the minister of the Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation in October, 2002.

Reverend Snavely began her ministerial career in 1984 as a United Methodist minister serving congregations in Stroudsburg, Weatherly and Beaver Meadows, Pennsylvania.

In the early 1990's, Rev. Snavely felt a need to move to a denomination with a broader theology and with a congregational polity. She began the process of moving into the Unitarian Universalist ministry. She currently describes herself as a humanist with a respect for the Christian tradition in which she was raised, and she seeks to minister in a way that shares leadership with the laity.

Rev. Snavely admires and has learned from a variety of writers and teachers. She particularly values the writings and lives of Albert Schweitzer and Thich Nhat Hanh. She has read Matthew Fox and Starhawk, and, while not considering herself a neo-pagan, does draw from some of their ideas in her own spirituality.

For fun Rev. Snavely enjoys reading mysteries, playing Scrabble and walking her dogs. She is parent  and grandparent. Rev. Snavely values community involvement and has served as a volunteer police chaplain. She has tutored English as a second language, served on a county food pantry board, been a member of a county prison chaplaincy board, served on county council responding to family and sexual violence, and been a part of a county commission to plan programs for the Martin Luther King holiday. She has recently agreed to serve on the new Board of Visitors at Bowie State University.

Regarding Unitarian Universalist Rituals:

Unitarian Universalists do not have a worship or prayer book which included formulated ceremonies for child dedications, coming of age ceremonies, weddings, union services, or memorial services. Individuals, couples and families are encouraged to take an active role in formulating ceremonies that will be fitting for their faith and their relationship. The minister can guide the process, but the resulting ritual should be reflective of the person, couple or family at the center of the occasion.

Most Unitarian Universalist families choose to do child dedications in which the parents dedicate themselves to the rearing of the child and the child is blessed by those gathered. We often use a blessing with water, using the water collected during our annual water communion service. This water over the years tends to be waters mixed from across the country and the world. Some families choose to include a Jewish naming, a Christian baptism, or a calling of the directions, based on their own particular beliefs. Ceremonies are held at family homes or in congregational settings.

Coming of age ceremonies are generally done in groups following completion of a preparatory class at, approximately, age fourteen. Other arrangements can also be made.

Unitarian Universalist ministers are in great demand for wedding and union services even by couples, who are not Unitarian Universalist. We are open to and encourage ceremonies inclusive of both traditions for couples coming from two different faiths. We will do union ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples. Most of us do require a gay or lesbian couple to also make legal arrangements with an attorney, since, at present, a union ceremony will not reflect any legal rights. Ceremonies are held at homes; in public gathering places, such as parks and restaurants; and in congregational settings.

Memorial services are celebrations of the life of the deceased person. A table or other display area of pictures and mementos is encouraged. The body or ashes may or may not be present, and ceremonies may take place immediately after the death or weeks or months later. As well as planned words and music, those gathered are usually invited to share their own memories of the deceased as they feel led.

If you would like more information on a particular type of ceremony or would like to make an appointment with the minister to plan a service, contact Rev. Cynthia Snavely by email at or by phone at 240-475-2111. There is no charge for ceremonies for members of the congregation and their immediate families. Others will be asked to pay for these services.


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