November 20, The Finger that Points to the Moon

This Sunday, we share in a pulpit exchange with the Old Meeting House in East Montpelier and welcome the Rev. Rameen Zahed to UCM’s pulpit.

The Good Samaritan is one of the most loved and well-known texts in the Christian Testament.  It is so well known and loved that many non-Christians quote it, quite rightly, to those religious leaders who abuse their faith tradition while people go without basic care, experience homelessness, and food insecurity.  Ironically, this same text is used by the most self-righteous and high-minded Christians as proof of their religious and cultural superiority.  I’d like to take a different approach to this text and do a biblical immersion into the life of a beaten, half dead-man.  The question we will ask and answer is how can the interfaith community work together as we address problems of homelessness, food insecurity, and religious exclusivity.

Reverend Rameen W Zahed is the settled pastor of the Old Meeting House in East Montpelier, VT. He brings a wealth of experience to this position with a background in social justice, lay ministry, and finance. Prior to his call, he has worked both for the church, the UCC National Offices, various roles on energy trading floors, and, lastly, as a director of operations at a large natural gas hedge fund in Houston, TX. Rev Zahed’s journey to ministry is non-traditional and that unlikely path formation allows him to relate to diverse groups of people across many cultures, ethnicities, and vocations. He loves to spend time with members of the congregation and the local communities as well as learning about  the OMH history, and the rich history of Vermont.

Rev Zahed graduated from Union Theological Seminary in NYC with a Master of Divinity in 1996 where he focused on biblical and extrabiblical exegetical studies, cross cultural and historical critical studies, language studies, and comparative studies of religion. His Master’s thesis, Religion and Imperialism, examined the nexus between these two fields using Edward Said’s book, Culture and Imperialism, as a methodological guide. For his efforts in establishing this link, he was awarded credit with distinction, Union’s highest grade. He was also awarded the Maxwell Fellowship for the promise of future excellence in the field of pastoral ministry and social justice. Rev Zahed continues his passion for education, social justice, and pastoral ministry as he learns from the OMH ways to put faith into action as they help people with their unmet needs.

At 3pm, UCM will host an interfaith unity service in collaboration with Montpelier area faith communities. All are welcome.