I am a lifelong Chicagoan with roots in the South Side. I spent most of my years growing up in the suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois where I attended high school, college, and worked for over a decade in the local pharmacy and at the town library. My spiritual upbringing was Catholic and Anglican though I came to Unitarian Universalism in middle school. It was there, in that UU church where I spent my formative years, that I heard the call to ministry most clearly. There was no question as to what I would study in college and so I earned my degree in Theology & Religion from Elmhurst College in 2008. From there I entered seminary in 2011 after a period of discernment and preparation for theological education and graduated from Meadville Lombard in Chicago in 2014. It was my great privilege to serve two amazing congregations as a ministerial intern for three years. Two of those years was spent at Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL and the remaining year was at First Parish in Concord, MA. Through these two congregations, the real learning in ministry happened.
In addition to being a parish minister, I am actively involved with my ministerial colleagues. I serve on the Vision Team for the Heartland UU Ministers Association and look toward nurturing more opportunities that connect myself and the congregation to the wider UU world in meaningful ways. I am passionate about governance, polity, ritual, and empowering people to have ownership in their communities.
The congregation I grew up in had a very strong religious naturalism that was embodied in the life of the community. From vegan potlucks and bake sales to sermons and religious education that taught naturalist values, it was everywhere you looked! Alongside that, there was a deep appreciation for earth-centered traditions and what they teach us about the ebb and flow of the changing seasons, life passages, and our connectedness with the world. My fondest memories of my home church are of Beltane every year and all of us dancing around the maypole, drinking summer wine (or juice for the kids!), and having snacks while retelling the story of May Day. It is for those reasons that I most closely identify myself with naturalist/humanist and pagan theologies and practices.
Outside of church life and ministry, I enjoy reading, writing, trying new foods and experiencing new cultures, hiking, and exploring new places — especially small town America. My partner, Dan, and I are avid comic book fans and boast a collection of over 12,000 comics! We are enjoying Kentucky so far and look forward to making Lexington our home for years to come.
You can visit my website at www.revcheno.com
where I post the occasional blog post and where I post my sermons every single week. You can also sign up to receive those sermons in your inbox in case you miss church or want a copy!