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Unitarian Universalist Sankofa Project

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1 Unitarian Universalist Sankofa Project


3 UU Sankofa Mission To advance an Archive collection that records and showcases the lives and works of Unitarian Universalist ministers and laity of Color and Latino ancestries.

4 Don Speed Smith Goodloe

5 Don Goodloe By the early 1920s Don Speed Smith Goodloe had accomplished many of his life’s professional goals. During his eleven-year tenure in Bowie, he established a faculty of ten members, student enrollment of 80, an admission requirement of completion of seventh grade, the model elementary school for student teachers at Horsepen Hill School– the first school for black children in Bowie–a summer session, a new dormitory for women, and renovation of living quarters for men. He added one additional year to the course, which led to a second grade certificate and permitted students to do two years additional work to earn a first grade certificate. Goodloe made many pleas for additional funding before the legislature in Annapolis–money that might have brought more rapid development to the school–but the state’s appropriations favored the white normal schools. Life after Bowie Little is known about why Goodloe resigned his post in 1921 at the age of 43. He told a friend that he stepped down because he was simply tired of being principal. It is possible that he was weary of the struggle to find sufficient funding that would enable him to upgrade the curriculum to the standards used at Maryland’s white normal schools in Towson and Frostburg. It was also quite likely that he was tired of dealing with racism and segregation and the inequality of the times and wished to immerse himself in the black community. The Ku Klux Klan was reviving in the South and across Middle America. There were 64 lynching's in 1918 and an astounding 83 the following year. There were at least fourteen blacks hanged by mobs in Maryland in the 20 years before Goodloe arrived and two during his tenure at Bowie. Perhaps Goodloe simply gave up on Booker T. Washington’s dream of gaining equality with whites through hard work, patience, and acceptance of the prevailing social order. It is possible that he had come to accept the call of the more militant W.E.B. Dubois to reject a legal, political, and economic system that thrived on the exploitation of poor African Americans.

6 Don Goodloe After leaving the school, Goodloe moved to Baltimore, where in 1923 he became president of an insurance company, the Standard Benefit Society. He grew prosperous enough to purchase rental housing in the city. Later, he moved to Washington, and it is reported that he owned extensive property in the District. Meanwhile, Fannie and the children continued to live in the house in Bowie. Wallis and Donald both graduated from Howard University, became teachers in Baltimore, and later in Washington. Donald B. Goodloe taught at Washington’s Dunbar High School; one of his former students, William C. Byers, is currently a member of the Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Although there is no record of Goodloe’s religious affiliation after Meadville, his religious leanings did have an effect on his children. One of his sons, Donald B. Goodloe, was an active member at All-Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington. Don Speed Smith Goodloe died in Washington, D.C. in 1959 at the age of 81. His legacy lives on in Bowie. Goodloe’s enormous contributions to the building of Bowie State University will not be forgotten, and members of Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation will remember him as one of the early Bowie pioneers. Goodloe’s life as an educator remains forever consistent with the Unitarian Universalist principles that espouse a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. -- Dick and Barbara Morris, January 2005

7 The Reverend Lewis McGee
Class of 1948 Meadville Lombard Ordained in AME Church, 1917 U.S. Army Chaplain 1918, (captain) First African-American to serve as senior minister of a white Unitarian Church.

8 The Rev. Dr. Amal Kumar Siddhanta
Class of 1925, Meadville Lombard Ordained 1926; Professor, Dyal Singh College, Lahore, India. The Brahmo Samaj (The Society of Worshipers of One God) was founded in 1828 by Raja Rammohun Roy in Calcutta, India. It began as an attempt at religious and social reconstruction in response to the challenges posed by the Christian missionary work and the Western ideas which entered India in the wake of British colonialism. As part of the Bengal renaissance, it aimed to reform Hinduism, purging it of its idolatry, caste system, and other debasing features, while preserving its higher elements of truth, spirituality, and essential religion. It stands firmly on theism — the worship of a single omniscient and omnipotent God. Though distinctly Hindu in its origins, the Brahmo Samaj adopted concepts from other religions, especially from Christian reform movements. It believes that all truth is of God and it respects the prophets of all religions. Raja Rammohun Roy (1772–1833), Devendranath Tagore (1817–1905), Keshub Chunder Sen (1838–1884), and Sivanath Sastri ( ) were key figures in shaping the Brahmo Samaj. Rammohun Roy, born in the eastern state of Bengal, became multilingual, learning Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, and English. He also acquired an intimate knowledge of Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, developing a zeal for religious reform derived partly from Hindu and Muslim thought and later from Unitarian ideas. He rejected worship of religious images as indicative of prejudice and superstition and contrary to common sense. He also rejected the human rights violation called sati (suttee) which was perpetrated in the name of religion and involved the burning of widows on their husbands’ funeral pyres. Roy and his followers formed the Brahmo Sabha (later, Brahmo Samaj) to reform society through promoting these ideals. They met regularly for religious services, during which passages from the Upanishads were read, sermons delivered, and hymns sung. After Roy’s death the Brahmo Samaj went into decline. In1838, Devendranath Tagore, father of the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, revived and reorganized the Samaj. However, Tagore did not share Roy’s cosmopolitan vision and opposed Christian missions. He staunchly believed in the infallibility of the Hindu scriptures and developed the Samaj in accordance with his beliefs. Under his guidance and leadership, the Samaj became an active Hindu missionary organization, drawing adherents from among educated Hindus and establishing branches in several towns in Bengal and other Indian states. Keshub Chunder Sen’s work had a mixed impact on the Samaj, which ultimately fragmented into three factions. Sen rejected the caste system and child marriages and promoted women’s education and the remarriage of widows. Drawing upon world scriptures, he gave the Samaj a universal character. However, by 1865 differences between him and other members of the Brahmo Samaj became sufficiently acute that he split off from the parent group and formed the Brahmo Samaj of India. A further schism resulted from the marriage of his underage daughter to the maharaja of Kuch Bihar. Sen’s claims that the marriage was in accordance with God’s will disenchanted some of his associates, who, in 1878, responded by founding the Sadaran Brahmo Samaj. Sen continued as leader of the Brahmo Samaj of India, and in 1881 his group adopted the name the Nava-vidhan Samaj, or Church of the New Dispensation. Sivanath Sastri became one of the prime movers of the Sadaran Brahmo Samaj, the largest Brahmo group in existence today. While maintaining traditional Brahmo characteristics of faith in a personal God, congregational worship, and condemnation of idol worship, the Sadaran Samaj also emphasized universal brotherhood, opposed caste distinctions, and promoted a well-ordered organization. Today, the Brahmo Samaj is a very small minority with mostly hereditary membership. Though unable to purge Hinduism of what it saw as idolatry and superstition, it did provide a rational critique of religious thought and practice that contributed to the establishment of a secular, democratic Indian society. Abhi P. Janamanchi Sources: Kopf, David. The Brahmo Samaj and The Shaping of the Modern Indian Mind. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979. Lavan, Spencer. “The Brahmo Samaj: India’s First Modern Movement For Religious Reform.” In Religion In Modern India, edited by J. L. Baird. New Delhi, India: South Asia Publications, 1981. ———. Unitarians and India: A Study In Encounter and Response. Chicago, IL: Exploration Press, 1991. Sastri, Sivanath. History of the Brahmo Samaj. 2d ed. Calcutta, India: Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 1974

9 Satyananada Roy Class of 1918, Meadville Lombard.
Lay worker, Brahmo Somaj, India.

10 Dr. Nubuo Nishiwaki Class of 1919, Meadville Lombard.
Professor, Okura Higher Commercial School Tokyo.

11 Totsuan Nomura Class of 1924, Meadville Lombard

12 Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley

13 Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley
Marjorie Rebekah Bowens was born on August 6, 1949, the fourth of 10 children born to the former Bernice Loretta Wheatley and Daniel Lee Bowens. She spent most of her childhood in Philadelphia, the place of her birth; but was acculturated in the ways of the south and the Caribbean through the heritage of her parents. She graduated from Dobbins Vocational-Technical School in 967, having majored in Business Education.  For the next few years, she worked as a legal and medical secretary.  In 1969, she married Alfred Edmonds and from this union, Tonya was born.  The couple divorced in 1973.  A bit of a late bloomer, Marjorie began her college career at Temple University at the age of 25, double majoring in Radio, Television & Film and Pan-African Studies.  She continued graduate studies at the American University where she earned a Master of Arts degree in International Development and Visual Media. Marjorie's career in public television began with a production internship with a weekly program, "Black Perspective on the News," and continued with a nightly news and issue analysis program, "Evening Exchange."  In addition to being nominated for an Emmy Award for a program she produced with writer Maya Angelou, Marjorie received the World Hunger Media Award for her hour-long documentary, "After the Rains," which explored drought and environmental decay across the Sahara desert. After seven years in the media, and after joining All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., Marjorie felt a calling to work full time in a way that expressed her religious values.  She moved to Boston to work as Director of Public Affairs for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.  A year later she accepted a position as program officer for the Veatch Program at what is now the Unitarian Universalist Society in Shelter Rock in Manhasset, Long Island.  During her three-year tenure there, she was responsible for recommending approximately one million dollars per year to fund organizations working for progressive social change.

14 Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley
Her work at the Service Committee and at the Veatch Program, accompanied by independent study on the theology and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman, ultimately led Marjorie to understand her own calling to ministry.  In the fall of 1991, she entered Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC and in 1994, she was awarded a Master of Divinity degree (cum laude), and was ordained in Washington, DC, in December 1994 at her home congregation, All Souls Church Unitarian.  Marjorie became Affiliate, then Associate, Minister at the Community Church of New York City in 1994 and also served as District Extension Minister for the Metro New York District and Field Consultant for the UUA Department of Faith in Action.  These assignments continued until she accepted a position as Co-Interim Minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin Texas in 1999, which she served along with her husband, the Reverend Clyde Grubbs.  In 2000, Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley joined the UUA staff as Adult Programs Director in the Religious Education department.  In 2003, she accepted the call to the UU Church of Tampa, Florida, which she served through 2006.  She had accepted a call to serve as Associate Minister of First Unitarian Church of San Diego, California, but withdrew because of illness. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley's imprint on Unitarian Universalism is significant and has helped shape contemporary Unitarian Universalist Association programs and practices in major ways.  Please see the fuller and more detailed story of Marjorie's life and contributions on the forthcoming story to be posted on the UUA website. Following a short struggle with gallbladder cancer, Marjorie died quietly at her sister's home in Vineland, NJ, on Dec. 10, 2006, with her daughter, husband and close friends by her side.  She is survived by her daughter, Tonya/Talibah Edmonds; her husband, the Rev. Clyde Grubbs; her mother, Bernice; nine siblings, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and colleagues. 

15 The Reverend Dr. William Sinkford
I found Unitarian Universalist at the age of 14 in Cincinnati, Ohio when My mother dragged me to First Unitarian church. The year was We had attended the Episcopal church in Detroit and the Black Baptist Church in rural North Carolina. I decided that neither fit my humanist (and arrogant) soul. I’d given up on organized religion. But I found at First Church a religious home where I could bring all of my questions and my arrogance, my need to rebel and my need to be accepted without having to check any part of myself at the door. I was welcomed by Pauline Warfield Lewis, perhaps the first African American religious educator in our faith. And because that congregations, like so many, had been active in the Civil Rights struggle, there was enough dark faces that I knew it was all right to be black in that sanctuary. The youth group became my home. Ultimately, I served as President of Liberal Reogious Youth. I imagined become a UU minister. But when Unitarian Universalist withdrew its commitments to racial justice in the early 1970’s, I, too, withdrew, feeling betrayed by my church. It was not until 1985, at the death of my mother, when my home church reached out to me, that k was able to return.

16 President Wm. Sinkford Becoming and being President of the Association has been both deeply gratifying and deeply frustrating. That story is not yet fully told. But the experience has reinforced the adage that one of the most valuable skills of leadership the ability to tolerate repetition. My election and service are not a testimony to how far our faith has come. Rather, my presence bears witness to how far Unitarian Universalist has to go. No other faith could be my religious home. That makes it essential for me to help shape this fiath into a community which is hospitable to me, and my children.

17 Betty Bobo Seiden

18 Betty Bobo Seiden Betty Bobo Seiden was born during the Great Depression (December 22, 1929) the fifth child of Fred Douglas Bobo and Cecelia Phillips in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Her father was just finishing Dental School at Marquette University and telegraphed his mother in St. Paul, Minnesota to come help with the new infant.  Delighted to find a daughter she had always wanted, Grandma Lillie took the baby back to St. Paul where she remained for the next 14 years.  Lillie Harrison Bridges had recently converted to the Pentecostal Church.  By the time Betty completed the 10th grade her rejection of her Grandmother's faith resulted in her return to her family in Milwaukee.  There were now 8 children in the Bobo family, all active members of St. Benedict Catholic Church where her mother was organist.  Her parents' church fared no better than her grandmother's church at convincing Betty that the Holy Bible was the Word of God.  That God was weighed and found wanting.

19 Betty Bobo Seiden It was 1955 in New York City that Betty discovered the Unitarian Universalist Church on Lexington Avenue.  An advertisement on the bulletin board at Columbia University for a Sunday School teacher attracted her attention.  After receiving a Bachelor of Science in English Education and a Master's in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison Betty had taught one year at A and T College in Greensboro, N.C., another year at A and M University in Tallahassee, Florida and in public schools in Chicago, Betty was taking a few classes at Columbia.  The idea of teaching religion was an intriguing one.  When she studied the religious education program at All Souls Church she felt that she had found a faith that was meaningful.  However, it was not until she had married Richard Seiden and had begun a family in Berkeley, California that she sought a congregation in which to educate her children.  At the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley Betty assumed several responsibilities beginning with teaching in the Church School, joining the religious education committee, the denominational affairs committee, the social concerns committee, the pulpit selection committee, and becoming a delegate to PCD meetings and the General Assembly.

20 Ms. Betty Bobo Seiden At the Cleveland General Assembly in 1968 Betty was elected Secretary of the newly formed Unitarian Universalists’ for Black and White Action, BAWA.  For the next several years she edited the Newsletter, wrote Project Papers, and was especially inspired by composing two television public affairs announcements for BAWA.  One pointed out how the history of the USA was the history of all the people who came from other lands and contributed to American culture, the other defined who is an "American".  Meanwhile, the Seiden family had moved to Oakland, and for several years Betty sang in the choir of both the First Church of Berkeley and the First Church of Oakland.  In Oakland she also became secretary and then President of the Board of Trustees. At the denominational level, Betty's involvement included attendance at the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) meeting in Japan, service on the Meadville Lombard Board of Trustees, the Independent Study Committee as it made the transition to the Modified Residency Program at Meadville Lombard,  the UU Funding Panel and the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. Betty's professional life was as busy as her religious life.  In 1984 she was awarded the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute's Distinguished Educator Award for her outstanding teaching in a program for pregnant high school students in Oakland, California.  She retired in January 1990, but continues to be active as a docent at the Oakland Museum of California.

21 Rev. Alicia Roxanne Forde

22 Rev. Alicia Forde I lift my eyes up to the hills –
from where will my help come? my help comes from Love abundant my help comes from the hills my help – my help it comes from ancient mothers – whose hearts beat in mine It comes from the trees that sway & the breeze that sways them…my help comes from all that was and is and will ever be… I lift my eyes…hushed by the soothing touch of waves caressing wounded shores wounded souls I lift my eyes…to the horizon bathed by the hum of mothers & mother’s mothers cradling – gently rocking I lift my voice – call of sea hum trees sister moon mother earth my soul weeping – a symphony of life overflowing I give myself I too hum through every pore… with every breath… I give myself… an extension of all that is was and will ever be. - Alicia Forde Rev. Alicia Forde

23 Rev. Alicia Forde At thirteen I sat on the beach watching the sun set. Do you know that moment…the moment when the sun first meets the horizon? The kiss lightly “hello” – then the embrace begins? That moment when sun and sea seem to melt seamlessly into one effortless creation…new every evening and at the same time birthing dusk – if you are observant, careful – you will see the moon and maybe, just maybe a brave star. Depending on your angle, it will seem as though the coconut trees are offering a blessing – and the waves are humming a prayer. At thirteen – just for one evening, one private moment, I had the right angle and there was an instant in all of this that I could not tell where I began/ended – it was not the sun, but I who melted seamlessly…and it was I who nodded my lean body offering a blessing…my tears were waves praying for World. In that one moment, god was everywhere in all things and beyond all; transcendent and immanent – in that one moment, I heard the sea calling…. Calling. And without knowing why, I gave myself. …At the cornerstone of that calling and my own theological outlook is “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part” as well as a deep appreciation for the “direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder…which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life.” Coming to this ecclesial body has been a blessing…in many ways, it had to be this one “free church movement” and no other. While the U.U. movement remains a work in progress, what is significant at this time for me is that we remain so – willing to engage and live into what it means to be wholly alive, struggling with race/class/gender/sexism/religious pluralism/political conflict and so on – all of which shapes us as we seek to shape and influence them. As challenging as it often is, what draws me and keeps me here is the opportunity to wrestle in community – as well as opportunities to live out my authentic theological praxis. As bell hooks posits: Any classroom that employs a holistic model of learning will also be a place where teachers grow, and are empowered by the process. The empowerment cannot happen if we refuse to be vulnerable while encouraging students to take risks. The same can be said of our Unitarian Universalist community. The calling, my calling is not to be a pastoral presence or spiritual guide in the absence of a communal context, but to do and be in a community committed to a holistic way of being, of teaching/learning…a community that cares deeply enough to risk vulnerability as a way of being empowered and empowering. A community wise enough to pay attention to the World’s ever-present, polyphonic hum.

24 Rev. Addae L. Watson

25 Rev. Addae Watson I am Addae L. Watson. I was born an only child to Willie E. Watson and Marion A. Skinner. Raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi, I grew up in an extended family of parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Baptist by denomination, my family’s Christian centered values seemed similar to those reflected in most African American’s lives of the day, however, in retrospect; I recognize that their approach to community action was very liberal. My great grandparents had an open door policy that was extended to anyone in need, regardless of race, creed, or color. My great grandmother embodied the practice of the “Good Samaritan” that she read about in her daily scriptures, as she clothed the naked, and feed the hungry. It was through her modeling that I learned how to give unselfishly. I truly believe that giving and receiving are linked together in the flow of the universe. I entered St. Mary’s Catholic School in Vicksburg, Mississippi, when I was five years old, and it was at this tender age, that I discovered a connection to the Holy. In those days, it was common practice to keep the doors of Catholic churches unlocked around the clock. I loved slipping inside whenever I could, and while kneeling in the cavernous sanctuary, surrounded by silence, I felt a mystical presence that spoke to my young spirit. It was through those experiences that led to my converting to Catholicism as a teenager. My conversion began a relationship with the church that lasted through a marriage, the rearing of five children, and a divorce. After the disintegration of my twenty-eight year marriage, I experienced what I considered a crisis of faith. I severed my ties to the church, and withdrew from any form of organized religion for two years. As I went from church to church seeking solace to filling the spiritual void that I felt, I continued to come up empty. After an introduction to publications on metaphysics, I became intently engrossed in the subject, and I began to read every book that I could find on the subject. So rather than continue to church shop, Sunday mornings became a time to curl up with a good book for the edification of my soul.

26 Rev. Addae Watson During my two year hiatus, I left the mainland, and moved to Maui, Hawaii, where nature became my church without walls. This was a major turning point in they way I began to view my connection to every living thing on the planet. I began to feel less like a child that needed to be protected by the divine, and more like an en extension of a divine universal presence that I believe is accessible to each of us. After moving to San Francisco in 1996, I began to seek again, only this time the seeking was in the form of a request to God for direction to a higher purpose for my life. The response to that request came in the form of an experience that I can only describe as mystical. I believe that any call to serve is a response to some void that is felt by those who ultimately serve. So that whatever forms my ministry takes, I am ultimately filling answering a call to my higher self in connection to the Holy. Knowing that I was headed toward ministry, once again I began to search for a spiritual/church home. I found it in the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco. I became a member in the spring of 1999, and entered seminary at Starr King School for the Ministry in the fall of I was finally home, and excited at the possibility of finding a community of nonjudgmental, free thinkers. I consider myself a liberal Christian, inasmuch that my theology is rooted in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as a master teacher. However, I draw on the wisdom found in the major world religions, believing that each small truth that we all gather together with, adds to the larger Truth that we can all learn from

27 Rev. Jennifer Youngsun Ryu

28 Rev. Jennifer Ryu When I was 6 years old, I emigrated from South Korea and grew up in a small town in Ohio. My parents were, and still are, members of the Korean Presbyterian church. I never felt comfortable in that religious tradition and stopped going to church as soon as I left the house. As a young adult, living and working in Baltimore, I would walk to work, often taking a path next to the Parish House of the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. Hanging on the exterior brick wall a poster called the Wayside Pulpit displayed a different quote every month. They were sometimes funny, sometimes irreverent, but always thought-provoking. I wanted to know who these people were, with their eclectic spirituality. But the solid wooden doors looked formidable, and it took some time before I walked through them. Once inside, I found a loving and welcoming community. The congregation was elderly and their numbers were small, but there was great hope in the air. They were in search for a new minister, and the congregation soon voted to call a husband-wife co-ministry team. I was invited to join a visioning task force to help the new ministers plan their first year. I soon took on the leadership of the Social Action committee. We cooked meals for the soup kitchen next door, we repaired homes in low-income neighborhoods, and we started tutoring neighborhood children. I was also their newsletter editor for several years.

29 Rev. Jennifer Ryu Over years, I learned about the Unitarian Universalist faith, social justice, and my own spirituality. I started questioning every part of my life and even considered entering the ministry. One significant event during those years was meeting the Rev. Cheng Imm Tan, the first UU of Asian decent I had ever met, and a minister too! Though we were strangers, we plunged into an intensely personal conversation about our shared experiences of being a racial minority in this religious movement. A few months after that meeting, I sent away for brochures from Starr King School and Meadville Lombard. I immediately filed them away, rejecting the idea that I could ever be wise enough to be a minister. Instead, I completed an MBA program in Human Resources Management. I worked in that field until the year 2000, when I finally found the courage to leave the well-worn path of corporate life to experience life on the edges of that path. I spent the next year in Seoul, studying Korean Zen, re-connecting with family, and re-learning my native tongue. While there, I decided to apply to Starr King, and I entered seminary in I met my husband there, and we now serve the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists as co-ministers.

30 Rev. Jacqueline Rae (Jackie) Clement

31 Rev. Jackie Clement I was born in Newark, New Jersey, the youngest of two daughters born to Harry L. Clement and Daisy Caban Clement. At my birth, my parents decided to move from the city to the New Jersey suburbs where I was raised and attended school until I went away to college. In my early years my maternal grandmother, Margarita Maria Soto Rodriguez Caban, lived with us. Born in Aricebo, Puerto Rico, my grandmother was, and remains, one of my greatest heroes. A devout Roman Catholic, she was also a strong influence on my early theology teaching me that one did not have to be in a church building to pray and that our actions spoke more strongly of our character than did our espoused beliefs. Both very Unitarian Universalist concepts in my view! My paternal grandmother, Blanche Bouchet Clement Shorr, was a frequent visitor and also a strong influence in my life. From Enzac, France, she had, like my maternal grandmother, brought a young family to build a new life in a land where she did not speak the language. From my grandmothers I received a sense of possibility, a sense of the strength of women and an appreciation of the cultures from which I come. Food figured prominently in their lessons of home!

32 Rev. Jackie Clement Although our family attended the Presbyterian Church until I was ten or eleven years old, my father had a strong interest in all religions, a trait I think I picked up from him. I remember him attending services with Catholic, Baha’i and Jewish congregations and speaking to me about different beliefs. This, in my teen years, turned into my own religious questing, but it was not until I moved to Massachusetts and married my husband, John Ford, that I found the Unitarian Universalist movement. Both trained as engineers, my husband and I worked in what we found to be a somewhat isolating high tech industry. While we had good friends at work, few were fully part of our lives, and at home our neighborhood had little social interaction. We found ourselves wanting a stronger community bond, and began attending the First Church Unitarian in Littleton, MA, in We quickly became engaged in the life of the church my husband joining the choir while I baked several thousand brownies for the Neighborhood Supper. Then committee work, committee work! And we were home. Over time and through involvement in the church my commitment to the Unitarian Universalist movement grew, as did my need for a work environment that both embraced and expressed my values and spiritual life. I attended Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, MA graduating in I was ordained by my home congregation of First Church Unitarian in Littleton in October of that same year. I was also the very luckiest of ministers to serve my first congregation in Rockland, Maine as interim minister. The following year I served as Interim Minister in Saco, ME, and then on to Saugus, MA. As I slowly float my way down the east coast of the US I continue to deepen in love and appreciation from this amazing opportunity to minister in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, where my full being and my heritage are embraced.

33 Rev. John Thomas Crestwell, Jr.

34 Rev. John Crestwell Rev. John Thomas Crestwell, Jr. is a native Washingtonian. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and earned his Master's Degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.  Rev. John serves as the Senior Minister at Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Camp Springs, Maryland, where he is active in a diversity growth plan that has assisted Davies into becoming one of the most diverse churches in the UUA. On June 24th, 2005, at the UUA's annual General Assembly, John received his certificate of Preliminary Parish Fellowship at the Service of the Living Tradition in Fort Worth, Texas.  He was ordained and installed in September, 2005 of that year as the first African American minister of Davies, in a ceremony that included a visit from the UUA's first African American President, Bill Sinkford. John has authored two publications:  "Charge of the Chalice", due out in 2007, which tells the story of how Davies church went from 8% diversity to nearly 40% diversity, in three years; and he also wrote "Conversations: The Hidden Truth That Keeps The World From Being At Peace," published in 2001, which highlighted his ever-evolving theological beliefs after graduating from a Methodist seminary to become a UU minister. John is active in the UUA, serving as co-chair of the Baltimore-Washington Diversity Committee, and he serves on two boards: The Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), and Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULMM). He continues to be an adjunct professor at Potomac College, in Washington, DC, teaching Comparative Religion, Public Speaking, and Principles of Marketing & Advertising.

35 Sunrit Mullick

36 Sunrit Mullick Back in the early eighties, I got interested in the Brahmo Samaj, the faith of my ancestors. I wanted to become a minister of the Brahmo Samaj. I obtained a Master’s degree in Comparative Religion in 1984 from Visva-Bharati University, India. Then I met Spencer Lavan in Kolkata who arranged a grant for me to come to Meadville/Lombard Theological School where several ministers of the Brahmo Samaj had trained between 1900 and The tradition broke off at that time and I re-started it. I obtained a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in My doctoral dissertation “Protap Chandra Majumdar in America: Missionary of a New Dispensation” documents, for the first time, Brahmo Samaj leader Protap Chandra Majumdar’s three visits to the USA in the late 19th century, the first being ten years before Swami Vivekananda’s historic visit to the USA. In 1988, just after I graduated, I was invited to Boston for a meeting with Bill Schulz, the then UUA President and Spencer Lavan, both of whom I knew very well. Melvin Hoover, whom I met for the first time and who handled international congregations at that time, was assigned to be my supervisor. The UUA agreed to fund a ministry in India through a program called Project India. I returned to India and started a ministry with the Brahmo Samaj and Unitarian groups. For the first time, the Brahmos and Unitarians saw professional ministry in practice. The youth enjoyed my reformist ways and styles of preaching. But the leadership of the Brahmo Samaj, which over the years had ossified into an orthodox community, didn’t. They killed the program. And the UUA supported them against their own employee. I learned later from a Unitarian friend in India that the Brahmo Samaj representative in the IARF, Punyabrata Roychoudhury, had successfully influenced John Beuhrens, the then President, whom I had never met, telling him that I was over-qualified for India and that I should be recalled by the UUA.

37 Sunrit Mullick Every summer I would return to Boston to report on my work, and attend GA. The reporting was one way, though. I never got any feedback from the UUA, though they had assigned Mel Hoover to be my supervisor. In the summer of 1994, I walked in to the office of John Beuhrens, to do my customary reporting. I was meeting him for the first time. He told me curtly that the Project was over and handed me over to Ken MacLain to discuss my separation formalities with the UUA. Ken took me to his home, not far from Beacon Street, but seemed more interested in his gin and tonic and afternoon nap than my future. I was married then with a young son of three years. No one at the UUA was interested in the sudden separation; no one called for any explanation. Except Max Gaebler, Minister Emeritus of the First Unitarian of Madison, Wisconsin. I was his intern during my student days. But his was a voice in the wilderness. In the winter of 1995 I came to Harvard Divinity School as a Merrill Fellow. My family accompanied me. I read a lot on Islam and wrote several articles that were published in the Statesman of Kolkata. In August we returned home, and Project India was over. I struggled for five years doing this and that, including weddings, funerals and christenings. In 1999 I joined the United States Educational Foundation in India as the Regional Officer of its Eastern Regional Office at Kolkata. My office is a Fulbright Commission, administering the Indo-US Fulbright Fellowship Program. It is also a US Department of State affiliated Educational Advising Center, advising students on the procedures for pursuing higher education in the United States. I love my job. I have lectured widely on the subject of Comparative Religion in India, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. I have published around ten scholarly articles, around forty human interest articles and seven short stories. I have been learning the sitar under a guru for over ten years now. My wife Jyoti and I have a son who is fifteen and a daughter who is nine. Abhi Prakash Janamanchi, minister of a UU church in Florida, came under my influence during my ministry years in India. I returned to India to practice ministry, as was my intention when I went to Meadville, but Abhi stayed on in the US. Who was the wiser?

38 Mary L. Knight

39 Mary Knight I am a Latina minister whose specialty is Community Ministry. I am a chaplain and have served as a hospice bereavement counselor. I also lead workshops, retreats, and Sunday worship. My path to Unitarian Universalist ministry began when I was born the seventh child and only daughter to a large working class, Catholic family. It was my maternal grandmother who contributed our Latina heritage. Clotilde Viela emigrated as a young woman from Mazatlan. She sought economic opportunity as she, too, was the youngest in a large family. Her father had died when she was a young child, and her mother died after Clotilde nursed her through her final illness. Clotilde worked in the cotton fields in New Mexico until the field supervisor insisted she “belonged” in the house because of her beauty and light complexion. She and the supervisor were married and had two daughters. The younger of the two was Sara, my mother. When I arrived, the Knight family lived in a small town in Eastern Oregon. My parents had very little means. They married at age 18 in 1940 before my father joined the Navy during World War II. All their lives, they worked hard and resourcefully to support their family. It was understood that each child would also “pull their weight” to contribute to the running of the home. The town’s Catholic Church and parochial school formed the heart of our community. There was very little cultural diversity there. But in the mid-1960s we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I was immersed in diversity at the impressionable age of 10; my peers as well as my teachers were of many colors and ethnicities. A child of the sixties, I grew up surrounded by the struggles of minorities. Thus, when I discovered Unitarian Universalists in Hawaii during my twenties, I knew I had found a faith that honored diversity. It could grow as a community where people of any identity might be an integral part of the whole. As a woman and as a Latina, I hold dear this faith that honors and supports a truly inclusive community.

40 Rev. Dr. John Gilmore

41 Rev. John Gilmore Dr. John W. Gilmore entered the ministry with the promise that he would receive funds to do a church startup in a disempowered, African-American community. He waited for this to happen throughout his ministry and it never did. He began his ministry as 3/4 time Associate minister at First Church of Chicago and 1/4 Diversity Outreach Consultant for the Central Midwest district for one year. He was called as Senior minister at UU Church of Manchester for five years, 1/2 time Interim minister at UU Church of Gardner, MA for one year, and 1/2 time Social-Justice minister at First Parish Framingham for one year. He was the Co-Director and then the Director of UUJEC. Dr. Gilmore was a volunteer for the UUA Journey Toward Wholeness program in various forms from 1993 to 2005 and is presently a JUUST UU consultant. He served on local and UUA boards during his ministry. Dr. Gilmore decided to become a community minister in 2001, when he discovered that the association would not permit outreach to disempowered African-American communities. He worked with the disempowered part time, and received no UUA financial support. His Speaking the truth in leadership circles, led to a slow, but consistent withdraw of support from UUA officials leaving him, like many African American ministers, in limbo. Dr. Gilmore is presently writing, and working with individuals in Costa Rica, providing teaching and alternative health practices to reduce stress and improve health, and doing his ministry through The Circle, on the internet.

42 Rev. Rebekah Ann Montgomery

43 Rev. Rebekah Montgomery
I have been a Unitarian Universalist all my life. I am a person of color, from a rich diversity of family traditions - including African-American, Greek and Jewish. As an interracial couple in the late 1960's, my parents were drawn to the open and welcoming message of our UU movement. I was raised in a congregation that loved me and my family and gave me a safe place to blossom as a young woman. The seeds of my present calling directly relate to my UU youth group experience as a junior and senior high school student. I felt drawn to positions of leadership and deepened my love for my faith group. As a college student, I studied religious traditions from all over the world, emphasing non-Western traditions, as well as Women's Studies. It was by accident I landed at seminary - my college advisor steered me away from a master's degree program in Religious Studies and I had the sense to listen. At seminary, in all the beauty and urban cacophany that is New York City, I bounced back and forth between the answering the call to ministry. Over the three years, my calling swelled and grew in my consciousness. A few years later, I completed my ordination requirements and found my final true calling as an Army chaplain. This too was quite a surprise to me...actually, a shock. In the depths of professional uncertainty and feeling a profound need to serve our country after September 11th, I turned towards the military and by accident, I found that I not only thrive, but love my ministry. After less than a year in, I was called to serve in Afghanistan - and along with my husband, a fellow officer - we served 18 months in this war torn country, wobbling on new found legs of stability.

44 Rev. Rebekah Montgomery
As an Army chaplain, I feel that being a UU is invaluable to serving the maximum number of soldiers and service members. My daily duty is to provide a calming pastoral presence, counseling and religious support to my troops - or as I call it...I get to love all over them. No matter who they are when they walk through the door, it is my responsibility to care for them and help them. No judgment. No prerequisite of being a person of faith. Just love and acceptance. I have walked with men and women through intense pain and loneliness - and countless suicidal crisis. I have held my troops racked with guilt for surviving when a buddy didn't. I have honored fallen heroes who have paid the ultimate price for freedom. I have laughed, danced and celebrated what makes the human spirit so great - our love and sacrifice for one another and our collective hope for a better and more peaceful world. My picture is from a wedding I attended last summer in Kabul, Afghanistan. The groom is the nephew of an American woman who married an Afghan decades ago and has lived in Kabul ever since. Six American female soldiers were invited to attend the wedding - this is a picture from the women's side of the event.

45 Barbara P. Avent

46 Barbara Avent I applied to Iliff School of Theology January 2004, and was accepted in the Summer Quarter. I left Religious Science February that same year. I knew that I had to go church shopping, that's not an easy task. On my spiritual path I have been Baptist, Methodists, Buddhists, and Religious Science. I had several meetings with Rev. Joan Van Becelare, Iliff Vice-president of Student Affairs, and told her about my spiritual journey. Joan suggested that I visit UU churches or fellowships because of its intellectual flavor. UU people who covenant together are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Earth Religions, or humanists, atheists and agnostics. On UUA’s web site, I read about UU’s active stance for social justice from the time of the abolitionists, woman's rights, civil rights, gay rights, and now civil marriage and civil liberties. I signed the book at First Universalist September 2004, and became a member of the congregation. As a member I feel that becoming a UU continues to allow me to explore and experience more spiritual guidance. I do know that community ministry and social justice will shape a lot of my ministry. In the mean time I continue to work with the MDD Social Justice people under the leadership of Rev. Deborah Holden. I have served on the worship committee at First Universalist, and am a Beyond Categorical Thinking trainer. I am in the candidate status on track to become an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. Barbara is working in the Mountain Desert District doing a community ministry internship. As a seminarian student at Iliff School of Theology, I am obtaining a Masters of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Peace and Justice. I have two married adult daughters. My oldest daughters family is composed of Billy, Tracey, Mustafa and Marquis Tilmon. My other daughters family consists of Neo and Nicole Avent-Henry and son, Gerald Avent and baby Natalia Patrice born in December 2006. When I have free time I like to paint contemporary watercolors, and abstract acrylic paintings, as well as, collect various dolphin artifacts.

47 Rev. Donald E. Robinson

48 Rev. Don Robinson Often, life with all its detours and tribulations leads us to where we are supposed to be I was born in West Virginia in My father was a coal miner, and my mother was a housewife. My father struck out on his own at age 10 and became a coal miner at age 16. My mother struck out on her own at age 16. I was the 12th of fourteen children. My family was a member of a coal mining company town. The company town provided your housing and other life sustaining needs. My father would later be laid off and providing for his family became a day-to-day struggle. At times, he bent under the enormous pressure. Life was hard in the hills of West Virginia for every one and for every family. Poverty was high and even today, the economy of the state is considered one of the most fragile of any U.S. state. To survive, White and Black worked together, played together, borrowed from each other, and lived next door to each other. Poverty, the threat of death, and death were the great equalizers. However, church and school were strictly segregated. Growing up in the mountains of West Virginia, revivals were my biggest exposure to institutional religion. But for the most part, I learned religion in my home and in the coal mining community where I was reared. I learned that religion was how we related to one another and how we treated one another, including the people outside our home. When I was twelve years old, my family moved to Rand, West Virginia near Charleston. Most of the children in Rand attended Sunday school. I also decided to attend. I went a few times, but I did not or could not connect the teachings to my life. After becoming an adult, I made an effort to connect to the Fundamentalist Churches, but the messages were not relative to my life condition. I stopped attending any church at all. In 1970 while attending graduate school, another student asked me if I would come to her church (All Souls Unitarian Universalist) and help her organize and facilitate a youth group for grades 9 through I did. During the summer months, we visited the children’s homes to talk and meet with the parents (and the youth). This project went very well and at the same time, a connection came alive inside me. At the time, David Eaton was the minister. He was the church’s first Black-American minister. One Sunday, I heard David speak. He talked about the here and now and not just the hereafter. I was won over. I found a religion that wanted to deal with the problems of the world TODAY. In I and Thy, Martin Buber says, you have to engage people and if you don’t, you cannot connect with God. I learned that Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to keep open minds, to do something about the ills of society, and to affirm and promote, among other things, justice, equity, and the worth of every person.

49 Rev. Don Robinson I was an elementary school teacher in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools. I saw children and families in trouble and children without sufficient food and guidance. I knew I had to do something. My growing Unitarian Universalist (UU) involvement and the connections with my life in West Virginia interconnected. If there was an intersection, it was my need to make the world a better place for children and families, and my growing UU involvement had directions and encouragements on how to make the world a better place. At the Unitarian Universalist church, people would identify a problem and automatically get together to organize to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT PROBLEM. I took a detour and decided to become a counselor working with troubled children and their families. The more I worked directly in the communities, I decided even more was needed. I also decided to formally study to become a UU minister. I went to divinity school and at the same time, I started to identify a community to help in any way I could. I started with one run-down room. I graduated from Howard University Divinity School, became ordained, and more committed and connected to the UU principles. Little by little and with the assistance of many people and many UU churches, Beacon House came to life. Beacon House is today a viable organization serving children and their families in order to provide children a way to make it in life through educational attainment. Many supportive activities are in place to make this happen. Beacon House provides food, homework assistance, a warm and safe environment, college information and assistance, and a place where all races and ages interact – just like we did in West Virginia. I started this search for a religion with the statement about every road and detour eventually leading us to where we are supposed to be. Every life experience I have ever had has led me to the Unitarian Universalist church and to dedicate myself to helping children, their families, and to helping communities. In the hills of West Virginia, we had to help each other in order to survive. In our urban and suburban communities of today, we must help each other in order to survive. In the World community, we must help and understand each other in order to survive. I took detours and life, at times, has been difficult ─ but I am where I was meant to be. It all started in the hills of West Virginia with a coal miner father with a third grade education and a housewife mother.

50 Rev. Dianne E. Arakawa

51 Rev. Dianne Arakawa I somehow always knew that I was being called to ordained ministry. Though I currently hold standing in the United Church of Christ and am serving one of its congregations in Massachusetts, I was fellowshipped by the Unitarian Universalist Association in During my sojourn with the UUA, for which I am grateful, I participated in a variety of religious communities, explored the strengths and weaknesses of liberal theology and pluralistic worship, engaged in a number of significant educational and social action programs and projects, and made several dear friends. My journey began in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I was born and raised as a sansei in an interfaith Japanese American family. Like my eldest brother I attended the Punahou School, the oldest private school in the West, which had been founded by Congregational missionaries from Boston in 1842 for the education of their own children. There I became involved in the Chapel program with the Rev. David Steele, conducted my first worship service as a sophomore, enrolled in a Comparative Religions course, and coordinated the senior Baccalaureate worship service as Co-chair of Graduation. I also assisted the Chair of the Art Department with the Art History program, and received the President’s Award at graduation. I enrolled in Wheaton College in Massachusetts, then a women’s college. I majored in Religion and Art History, concentrating in Medieval Art, and also worked for the College Chaplain. My mentors were the Rev. Drs. J. Arthur Martin, Charles C. Forman and Harold F. Worthley. During my junior summer I studied German at the University of Salzburg on a Georgetown University program and traveled throughout the British Isles and western Europe. For the summer following graduation I enrolled in a Theological German course at Harvard Divinity School and worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, where I was offered a position. In the fall, however, I decided to accept a position at the Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston, where I worked for a year. I became an active parishioner at King’s Chapel, which was served by the Rev. Carl Scovel, and where I met my fiancé and his parents. From I attended Harvard Divinity School, and studied with Profs. George MacRae and C. Conrad Wright. For three years I served as a ministerial intern at the First & Second Church of Boston with the Rev. Rhys Williams and in my senior year student-taught Religion through Social Studies at Belmont High School. When I graduated I was awarded the Master of Divinity, Certificate in the Program in Religion and Education, offered jointly by HDS and the Harvard School of Education, Certificate to teach Social Studies from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the American Bible Society Prize for excellence in the reading of Scripture. The following summer I served as a Chaplain in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with the Rev. Alan Reed.

52 Rev. Dianne Arakawa In the fall I married Stephen Washburn, who was a member of King’s Chapel and a US history teacher in New York City, was ordained and served as an Assistant Minister at the Community Church of New York, UUA, a multi-racial ethnic and activist congregation, with the Revs. Donald and Vilma Szantho Harrington. I was active with the Social Action Committee, Planned Parenthood, RCAR and WILPF in NYC. Upon the couple’s retirement and Steve’s graduation from the Master of Divinity program at Union Theological Seminary, Steve and I accepted a call to serve as Co-ministers at the Congregational Universalist Church, a federated UUA/UCC congregation in Woodstock, Illinois. During those many years I served as president of the local Clergy Association, represented the UUA to the National Council Churches in NY, lectured on feminist theology, was active on the Board of the International Association of Religious Freedom/U.S., which hosted the World Congress in 1987 and met in Hamburg, Germany, in 1990, contributed to the UUA Racial Justice Curriculum and UU Christian Fellowship. While in the Chicago-area I also entered a pre-doctoral program in the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Profs. Lawrence Sullivan and David Tracy were inspiring. I was awarded a Master of Arts in 1996 and continued to study Japanese and Sanskrit at Harvard. In 1991 I was elected by the UUA General Assembly to serve for six years on the UUA Commission of Appraisal, which produced the study on Ministry as well as Congregational Polity, and from served on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, chairing the Process Committee that dealt with ministerial reentry and misconduct cases. Since 1998 I have served as an intentional Interim Minister/Pastor at UUA and UCC churches in the Boston area, where Steve and our son, Jonathan, make our home. Some of these churches have included the United Parish of Westford, UUA/ UCC, Payson Park Church, UCC, of Belmont, the Congregational Christian Church, UCC, of Somerset, and the East Congregational Church, UCC, of Milton, MA. Currently I am also active on the Transitional Ministry Committee of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC, the Timothy Project of the MACUCC, and various other programs to support my family. I anticipate continuing to serve in ministry in the UCC and to find creative ways to use the particular gifts that God has given to me.

53 The Reverend Dr. Bill Jones
Theologian Retired Professor at Florida State University Elder Author

54 Dr. Denise Hall

55 Dr. Denise Hall In 1994, while assisting with the organization of an interfaith service for the annual Gay Pride Parade in Oklahoma City, I was unable to locate the Queer Pagans group. Unfortunately, I had to plan the service without their input. On the day of the parade, while approaching the parade route, someone from my church, New Horizons Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), mentioned they had found the Queer Pagans. They were in the spot ahead of us in the parade. This is where I met my future partner, Virginia Savage. Soon after we met, we started teaching adult religious education classes together; leading the Women’s Spirituality Group and planning and participating worship services at the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, where Virginia was a member. Within MCC, there was overt oppression based on race, gender, sexual orientation (bisexuality), religious plurality, and a lack of respect for other faith journeys. Sadly, I decided to leave MCC in order to honor all of who I am. I resisted becoming a member of the UUA for some time because I felt it would be disloyal to my religious past. On April Fool’s Day of 2001, however, I officially joined the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley, along with my partner. In the Fall of 2003, after much careful thought and reflection with Virginia, I applied and entered seminary at Iliff School of Theology (Denver, Colorado). I am so thankful to be studying for the ministry. My emphasis is on peace and justice and I have specifically named my ministry: “Inclusivity, Hospitality, and Grace.” As I co-create my ministry, it will be manifested through my skills, knowledge, and abilities acquired through veterinary medicine, work with large animals, and community ministry through my organization: Mother Earth Reverence Farms (MERF). MERF is called to assist in the co-creation of sustainable community agriculture, research and development, and community outreach, following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. George Washington Carver, and Dr. Wangari Maathai among many others. MERF hopes to partner with many entities with similar callings, both domestic and international. The community outreach component will focus on healing individuals and communities via experiences in agriculture and the arts. MERF has the courage and capabilities to work with a variety of marginalized groups. We seek the political savvy to reach those who can help us make MERF’s calling a reality.

56 Wendy Pantoja Recent Meadville Lombard Theological School Graduate

57 Rev. Mitra Tarlan Jafarzadeh

58 Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh My mother had left the mountains of Kentucky, married an Iranian and traveled between her home country and Dad’s.  I was born in Lexington, but we soon returned to Iran. There we stayed until someone had fired a gun from the street through our second floor apartment’s kitchen window. It was the eve of the revolution.  We arrived in America having left everything behind.  Sleeping on a stack of blankets and keeping our milk cold in an ice-chest, we began again. Most children were cruel. Even after the 444 days of the hostage crisis ended, hostility persisted. We were living in Oklahoma then and many folk were looking for the end of time and the coming of their savior.  They zealously advocated bombing my other home.  They probably still do. Somewhere in all the mess of international strife personally felt, I found a best friend, Kristin, and her UU family. They lived their values as a family of liberal religionists and in doing so, they provided me an oasis. From Oklahoma we moved to North Carolina where I met another UU family whose youngest son, Greg, became my husband and father to our two children, Roya Irene and Anthony Rostam. Since my mother was raised in a predominantly Baptist environment and my father’s growing up was in a mostly Moslem context, Unitarian Universalism is a good fit for me.  But my affiliation with this tradition is more than an accident of mixed parentage. Growing up I thought UUs were as common as Methodists.  I resonated not with abstract principles of Unitarian Universalism, but with the lives those principles help inform. Among the UUs I knew as a youth, disagreement on matters political never devolved into personal attack. It was as though differences held together in one common place were expected and valued. I do not know if I am more Persian or more Appalachian but I know that this faith’s demand that we honor each other as we struggle and search for truth has sustained me.

59 Rev. Janet Johnson

60 Rev. Janet Johnson I was born on June 4, I am the only child of two transplants from the South to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Mine was a comparatively traditional family. My father was the supervisor of a clerical department in a bank in Manhattan and my mother was a housewife until I was twelve, when she went to work as an office manager. My rather large extended family lived within an eight-block radius of each other. Family gatherings were frequent until older relatives died and the younger ones reached adulthood. Jobs and school took us away from our community of origin to almost every region of the United States My parents were the most influential people in my life. They were educated people and valued education. They instilled in me an appreciation of the arts, especially music, poetry and literature. They had friends whose ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations were vastly different from their own. Because of the diversity of my parents’ social network, I grew up believing that it was possible for various racial and ethnic groups to live together in harmony. I graduated from Hunter College in New York City in 1966 and in 1968, I moved to Chicago to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago. This was when I met Salina Reed (mother of Mark Morrison Reed). She was a social work supervisor at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics. We became very close friends. She invited me to her church one Sunday. I had never even heard of Unitarian Universalism until that time, and as they say the rest is history. That church, First Unitarian Society of Chicago, offered me an environment where I felt theologically free to sort out the meaning of life and the nature of the Divine for myself while being part of a community.

61 Rev. Janet Johnson After graduation from graduate school I was offered a social work position and remained in Chicago until I moved to California in I officially joined First Unitarian Church on December 26, 1976. I have been married twice and had one daughter from each marriage. The oldest was born in 1965 and the second was born in 1972. My call to the ministry came at a time in my life when I wanted to make a deeper commitment to our movement and preach the “good news” of Unitarian Universalism not only in congregations, to others in the larger community as well. I entered Starr King School for the Ministry in 1998 and graduated in I became a community minister in association with Mount Diablo UU Church from 2002 until My community ministry consisted of working with cancer patients at Kaiser Hospital in Richmond, CA and providing spiritual direction to individuals and groups. I also served as treasurer of CENTER from 2005 – 2007.

62 Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith

63 Rev. Carlton Smith From infancy through adolescence, Carlton Elliott Smith had Asbury United Methodist Church, an African American congregation established after the Civil War, as his church home. On his father’s side, he had close ties to black Pentecostalism. After high school, he attended Howard University on a National Achievement Scholarship. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and, after five months in France, returned to the D.C. area to take an entry-level position at The Discovery Channel. He began attending Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church. As he became increasingly devout, he sensed his calling into the ministry. He enrolled at Howard’s School of Divinity, and soon left Discovery to study full-time. At seminary, he became friends with Rev. Alma Crawford, who was already a Unitarian Universalist minister. He found himself more aligned with UU principles than with Pentecostalism, and left Greater Mt. Calvary. He graduated summa cum laude and went to study at the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland for five months. He returned to the States and was soon awarded a one-year journalism fellowship at Religious News Service in Manhattan. At the end of that year, he pursued UU ministry as his vocation. He interned for a year with two New Jersey congregations, followed by two years as Extension Minister at the Hollis Unitarian Church (Queens). The next two years, he was Extension Minister at First Unitarian Church of Oakland, California., During a three-year break from ministry, he relocated to the Boston area. He was hired as the Interim Assistant Minister at Arlington in the fall of Early in the second interim year, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee temporarily suspended the ‘three-year rule’ that prohibits interims for applying for the settled positions they hold. The suspension only applied to ministers of color and other marginalized groups in interim assistant, associate or minister of religious education positions. This opened the door for Carlton to apply for the settled Assistant Minister position, to which his was unanimously voted by at a congregational meeting in the March He was installed the following fall on his 40th birthday. After a challenging ministerial transition, he and Rev. Patricia Brennan were appointed to serve as Acting Co-Ministers through June 2007.

64 Rev. Marshall Grigsby

65 Rev. Marshall Grigsby Educational adviser Marshall Grigsby was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on August 18, After earning his B.A. in political science from Morehouse College in 1968, Grigsby relocated to Chicago, where he pursued a master's of theology and doctorate in ministry from the University of Chicago, completing his program in 1972. Grigsby began his career after earning his master's in 1970, working as the executive director of the Black Legislative Clearing House, which provided educational and research services to the nation's black legislators. After completing his Ph.D., Grigsby moved to Ohio, where he became the associate director of the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada. In that capacity, he worked with the schools to address the concerns of the minority students of the programs. In 1975, Grigsby was named assistant dean and an associate professor at the Divinity School at Howard University, where he remained for the next ten years. Continuing on in the academic world, Grigsby was named president of Benedict College in 1985, and in 1993 he was appointed to the positions of executive vice president, provost and CEO of Hampton University. After serving only a year at Hampton, Grigsby was summoned to Capitol Hill, where he served as the senior higher education specialist for Democratic members of Congress and as special adviser to Congressman William Clay. Grigsby left in 2001 to form his own company, Grigsby and Associates, an educational policy development consulting firm. In addition to his consulting work, Grigsby serves on the Board of Trustees of USA Funds, which provides guaranteed loans of more than $10 billion a year to students across the country. He is also a managing consultant with the Council for Opportunity in Education and is the senior scholar with the Claiborne Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Education. Grigsby was one of five college presidents in 1991 to receive the Knight Foundation Presidential Leadership Award. Grigsby and his wife, Harriet, live in Maryland.

66 Walter LeFlore

67 Walter LeFlore I, like many, came to Unitarian Universalism late in life, at the age of 50. After moving to a new home, in a new community, my partner and now wife, introduced me to UUism as we sought to establish roots in a new environment. After a somewhat tentative start, I began to feel a real sense of belonging at the First Parish of Stow and Acton, MA. As a Black man, however, my sense of belonging was not matched by my sense of comfort, that took much longer to achieve, and frankly required effort. The UU philosophy, reflected in the seven principles, aligned very nicely with my own worldview. In fact, they matched remarkably well with values I tried to live by and infuse into my professional work. It was not easy however, to find a sense of religiosity, nor to fully relax in the lily-white church environment I otherwise enjoyed. My sense of connection with what the church represented and perhaps more importantly, its potential, held me fast and pulled me into greater involvement. My spiritual life has long been of central importance in my life. My spirit life is a source of strength in times of strife, as it grounds me, feeds and emboldens me. For many years, as an organizational consultant, I tried to infuse my sense of universal connectedness, belief in the dignity of every human being and strong commitment to justice, into my corporate work with individuals, teams and organizational processes. Corporate America, I found, did not see spirit development as a core competency. While working with a subgroup at church to design and implement a small group ministry program, it occurred to me that in my own way, I had been “ministering” to people and organizations for most of my life, both personally and professionally. I quickly came to understand that UU ministry was a perfect way for me to combine my professional skills and interests with my deeply held beliefs and sense of spirituality. Currently, I serve my home church as a member of the board of trustees, as a facilitator of small group ministry and as a co-facilitator of a group focused on exploring issues of white privilege and racism. I serve the larger UU world as a member of the board of the Small Group Ministry Network. I am currently half way through my training as a minister at Andover Newton Theological School.

68 Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed

69 Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed
The Reed family came to Unitarian Universalism because my father, while watching my brother and myself starring out the window at our neighbors going to church, said “I don’t like this void. We’ve got to be something.” A colleague invited us to accompany him to the First Unitarian Society of Chicago, which was actively trying to become integrated, and subsequently in 1953 the three Reed children became the first African American children christened there since the congregation’s founding in 1836. Our family life revolved around the church; my parents became leaders while I attended Sunday School and later joined what would become the Chicago Children’s Choir. By the time I was a H.S. senior I was already working as the assistant janitor and the Sunday office manager when I was elected president of the congregation’s LRY. Immersed so deeply in church-work, the idea of entering the ministry naturally arose. In 1974 I enrolled in Meadville/Lombard Theological School; in 1977 I married, fellow seminarian, Donna Morrison; in 1979 we were called to the First Universalist Church of Rochester N.Y.; and in 1989 we became co-ministers of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto where we served until we retired in 2005. While at M/L, driven by curiosity and fueled by the need to know, I began to track down my African American ministerial predecessors; it took years, but one by one I found nearly all of them. One product of that quest was my thesis “Black Pioneers in a White Denomination.” It was published in 1980, followed by an adult religious education program entitled How Open the Door? Afro-Americans’ Experience in Unitarian Universalism (1989) and a meditation manual, Been in the Storm so Long (1991), which I edited with Jacqui James. During 26 years of ministry I also served both the UUA and CUC (Canadian Unitarian Council) in many capacities, among these were the UUA Committee on Urban Concerns and Ministry, Commission on Appraisal, and Ministerial Fellowship Committee; I also served as Co-convener of African American UU Ministries and President of the CUC.

70 Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman

71 Qiyamah Rahman My spiritual journey has been a long and circuitous one. My spirituality was nurtured early in life through my Baptist upbringing, influenced by my mother’s Southern roots. My mother was a Preachers Kid (PK), and so my ten siblings and I had a very religious upbringing facilitated by Greater St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church. Shortly after I went began college I went through my “God is Dead” period. I became a Marxist-Leninist and traveled to Cuba for three months in My sense of social justice as a change agent was being nurtured but I was still spiritually restless. So I continued my journey. Soon afterwards I became a practicing Muslim for ten years. First in the Nation of Islam, then the American Muslim Mission, then the Sunni community and finally, Sufism. Christianity gave me my religious foundation including Jesus, and sacraments such as prayer, worship, and giving. Islam gave me the discipline of praying five times a day, piety and sisterhood. Separation of sexes, that is, purdah, provided a strong compulsion toward the embrace of sisterhood since it was almost the sole social outlet. Sufism and Islam in general deepened my spirituality through spiritual practices unique to Islam. And when the prohibitions as a woman and mother became too restrictive and no longer allowed me to express fully who I was, then I moved on. My next phase was a “non-denominational” one. Theologically, the church I was affiliated with was non-denominational within Christianity, but not interfaith or ecumenical. So I continued my spiritual journey. Then I found UUism. I knew absolutely nothing about UUism. I had seen flyers over a period of time and they were always connected with social justice issues. As an activist, looking for a new church home I was initially attracted to the strong social justice orientation. But what has kept me UU is the theological diversity. It allows me to bring all of who I am theologically, and the best of each faith tradition I have experienced. UUism encourages me to build my own theology and allows me to reflect on who I am in the world and what kind of world I want to live in. UUism trusts us to build our own theology and to be pro-active in learning and growing. My religious upbringing, my blue-collar background and experiences with racism, sexism and classism have informed my values and who I am. I have developed a great sensitivity for those less fortunate and I believe we as a community have an obligation to others and to creating a world of justice. So here I am, on the journey toward ministry. And it feels so right. The space and freedom to create a theology that reflects my values and resonates with me is stronger than the challenges of race and class. And so here I am!

72 Reverend Karen Tse Karen Tse is the CEO of International Bridges to Justice, a global legal rights organization she founded in In addition to being a UU minister, Karen is an International Human Rights lawyer. Previously, she served as a public defender in San Francisco and as a United Nations Judicial Mentor. Tse is pioneering Rule of Law Initiatives and building global Communities of Conscience. She has negotiated and implemented groundbreaking judicial reforms and trained hundreds of judges, prosecutors, police and lawyers across Asia and is now starting in Africa and Latin America. She also launched a government-sanctioned legal-rights campaign in all 31 mainland Chinese provinces. Karen is a graduate of UCLA Law School and Harvard Divinity School. She is a social entrepreneur, mother and wife, and was recently named one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World report.

73 Rev. Mitra Rahnema

74 Rev. Mitra Rahnema Mitra Rahnema is a life long Unitarian Universalist bi-racial Iranian American. Mitra was born in Los Angeles, California. She moved and spent her childhood and teen years in Ventura, CA where she was raised in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura. In 1992, she moved to Portland, Oregon to attend undergraduate school at Lewis and Clark College. While in undergraduate school she worked as a cook in various restaurants. After completing her Bachelors of Arts degree in Religious Studies she remained in Portland and began to work for Project Alliance from the University of Oregon, Child and Family Center, a social research project looking at adolescent transitions and parenting. In 2003 Mitra moved to Oakland, CA to attend Starr King School for the Ministry, in pursuit of her Masters of Divinity. During the first three years of her seminary education she worked at the Universality of California, Berkeley to coordinate a statewide parenting project looking at father involvement. She is currently completing her fourth year of seminary as the Intern Minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Kansa City, Missouri. Mitra is grateful for the many opportunities of her life that have come through the gifts of friends, family, and the power of justice projects that challenge her communities towards hope.

75 Rev. Cheng Imm Tan

76 Rev. Cheng Imm Tan I was born in Penang, Malaysia. The youngest of eight children. I have two brothers and five sisters. On both sides of my family, my great grandparents were immigrants from China,. Both families were very traditional and both practiced Buddhism and Confucianism. In third grade I was greatly influenced by a nun who taught us about God’s unconditional love. At the same time she also taught us that because Eve was female, she like all females were more susceptible to the devil’s temptations. Our redemption as females lay in complete self denial and subservience to the male God. In 1978 I decided to attend college in the US. Despite protest from my parents who saw the U.S as a very dangerous place for a young woman, I managed to earn a scholarship to attend Wilson College in Chambersburg PA for a year and then transferred to Dickinson College in Carlisle PA. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in three years and graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1986 with an Mdiv. Throughout my college years, I had thought of myself as a Buddhist Christian - until I discovered feminist theology. I felt so betrayed by sexism within the church, I stopped identifying myself as Christian and began practicing Buddhism seriously. Since then, I have been a regular at Vipassana Buddhist retreats and have incorporated Buddhist wisdom into my everyday life. While I was at Harvard, I was introduced to UUism through Reverend Elizabeth Ellis, with whom I interned as an advocate at Renewal House, the shelter for battered women that the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry operated. In the late 1980s, as the Society of the Larger Ministry (SLM) was starting, both Rev. Ellis and I got involved. It was my encounter with other lay and community based ministers that convinced me that I might have a place within UUism. At SLM, I not only met other ministers of color, I met ministers and lay people with a commitment to social justice ministries outside the walls of the parish. In 1992/3? I became ordained as a Unitarian Universalist Community Minister.

77 Rev. Cheng Imm Tan My ministry around women’s empowerment started at Renewal House in I saw that Asian woman were having a hard time getting support from other families and shelter staff. Language and cultural barriers were driving Asian woman back to the familiarity of their violent homes because they did not feel supported or understood at the shelter. In 1987 I gathered Asian community leaders and providers in Boston to discuss domestic violence in the Asian community. Out of this the Asian Taskforce Against Domestic Violence, a movement to break the silence of domestic violence in Asian communities was born. In 1993, the Asian Shelter and Advocacy project, the only Asian battered women’s shelter in New England opened its doors. As the Senior Associate Minster at the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry till 1998 , I not only served as the Director of the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, I started the first Asian food pantry program called, “Ricesticks & Tea” which provides dry foods that Asians eat such as rice, noodles, cooking oil, sesame oil, and food vouches for fresh meats and vegetables. In 1997, I convened a group of refugee and immigrant women to identify key issues and to formulate a common refugee and immigrant women’s agenda which was clearly articulated at the Massachusetts Conference on Women that same year. In response to the issues identified by the group, I developed a woman-focused English as a Second Language Program. The program aimed to empower refugee and immigrant women to become confident leaders in their community as well as in the mainstream community. In 1998, Mayor Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston asked me to direct a new department he had initiated – the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians with the charge to ensure that Boston’s diverse immigrant communities are fully integrated into the social, economic, civic and cultural life of Boston. I am still serving in this capacity and finds her work both rewarding and challenging. In 1998 I also started Gund Kwok, Asian Woman’s Lion and Dragon dance Troupe. I created Gund Kwok to give Asian woman the opportunity to learn and perform the lion dance, an art previously denied to women. Gunk Kwok is an opportunity to celebrate and show off Asian women’s strength and power as well as to reclaim our heritage and culture. Today 19 strong Asian woman perform the lion dance all over the city and state and each has an inspiring story to tell about how they have grown as Asian woman who are supporting each other to live bigger lives

78 Rev. Chester McCall

79 Rev. Chester McCall I was called into the ministry in 1960 at the age of twelve. I grew up Catholic in the fullest sense of what it means to be Catholic. At the age of twelve (12) I knew that I wanted to be a minister and publicly proclaimed my ministry in a Pentecostal church in the neighborhood. Interestingly enough my parents did not allow me to fully develop my ministry, believing that I was to young at age twelve (12) to know what I wanted to do and advised me not to play with God. It was in 1967 that I resumed my ministry fully. I joined Antioch Baptist Church in San Jose under the leadership of Rev. C.W. Washington and began a “street ministry” with Rev. Henry Rountree, Jr., Community Services Director of the San Jose Salvation Army. This team-partnership ministry relationship lasted over 20 years and the ministry still continues today. In 1972 I graduated from Cal State University of San Jose and applied for admissions at Pacific School of Religion. The admissions office informed me that I was not accepted. Finding this unacceptable, I informed the school administrator the it was God's will that I attend PSR and that the basis for my denial was rooted in human understanding and that if they were able to transcend the worldly criteria that they had established that they would find me acceptable and needed to reconsider there decision. I arrived on the day of registration, registered and began attending classes. Three weeks after school began I was informed that I had been accepted since three other students that they had accepted did not accept their admission. I graduated in 1977 with a focus of New Testament Biblical Criticism, Counseling and Religious Education. In 1977, I graduated from PSR and was employed by the Sequoia Young Men's Christian Association in Redwood City as the lead counselor at its youth runaway house. In April 1979 I was Ordained into a specialized Ministry for Families, Youth and Seniors prior to the existence of the Specialized Ministry Committee. To my surprise it was announced at my ordination that I was the first African American (Black) to be ordained in the Northern California Conference of the United Church of Christ and to this day the conference has not yet ordained another African-American. In August 83, I began working for the San Mateo County Service League as the Correctional Services Director whereby I worked in the seven (7) San Mateo County jails creating and implementing rehabilitation programs, pre-release program for inmates and their families. In August 84, I was terminated from my employment with Service League when my advocacy for the inmates in regards to the construction of a new jail, forced the inclusion of a needed child care center and renovation of the old jail visiting room, was supported by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors over the wishes of the County Sheriff, who took my advocacy as a personal affront to his authority.

80 Rev. Chester McCall By January 1985, I had run out of unemployment benefits. That same month my landlord sold the condominium I was renting and all of a sudden I was homeless, unemployed and nowhere to go. From June 83 until June 85 I was employed by the Campbell Congregational Church as the Christian Ed. Director but the church was unable to provide any assistance that would have gotten me off the streets. But I used this opportunity to fully experience my faith and homelessness, which still contributes to my ability to serve the homeless today. In May 1985 a seventeen (17) year old Black youth was shot and killed by a San Jose undercover police officer. I became the pastor to the family, providing pastoral care services for the entire family, assisting them to cope with the young man's death, adjust to life without him especially his brothers and sisters and struggled with them as they dealt with death and dying issues. My last act of ministry included coordinating a public hearing into the death of this young man on behalf of the Truss family and the Human Relations Commission of Santa Clara County. In October of 1985 David Jamieson came and visited me in San Jose in my homelessness. At the time I was living in the unheated garage of the Truss Family with the rats, spiders, fleas and roaches. An old couch was my bed and I had my own private bathroom off the garage. Basically living out of boxes, but off the streets, he found my situation to be totally unacceptable and requested a grant from the ministerial association fund. ONE OF MANY MIRACLES: On December 24th, 1985 (On Christmas Eve) I received a check for $ dollars. I used these funds to secure an apartment the same day. In addition, a job that I had applied for came through and I began work on Christmas day 1985 as a retail clerk for Stop N' Go markets. Life began once again and my transformation began as well. By March 1986 I became the Assistant Store Manager and in May 1986 I became the regional Training Supervisor for all new clerks from Sacramento to Salinas. In August 1986 I became the Executive Director of the East Palo Alto Senior Center in my hometown of East Palo Alto (a predominately Black Community). I ended my employment with Stop N' Go in March I moved back to East Palo Alto across the street from the Senior Center. While employed I secured the funding to build a new senior center, worked closely with the City Council who donated the land, developed the plans, etc. In May 1988 while at the Senior Center and out shopping for a new stereo I ran into Rev. Harold Rucker who I had met one time at an annual meeting. He invited me to come to his church and visit. Shortly there after, he went on sabbatical for six months. In October 1988 his wife who was working for Satellite Senior Homes quit her job as the Administrator of a low-income housing project in Newark and encouraged me to apply for her position. I did and rather than giving me her position in Newark they offered me a position in Oakland which I accepted. I began working at Satellite Central in downtown Oakland on December 1988 as the Administrator, which entailed property management and the coordination of support, services for the senior residents. My car broke down on the San Mateo Bridge in Jan 89 and I moved to Oakland to live with the person who later became my partner. I remained a member of Island United in Foster City and was elected to the Board of Directors. Served as the President of the Board participating in the UCC Bay & Santa Clara Association regional activities.

81 Rev. Chester McCall It was in 1989 that I met Rev. Jerry Montgomery. When he left the Oakland UCC church he joined Island United. We became instant friends as a result of our interest in ministry, chaplaincy, criminal justice and computers. One day he told me that a friend of his who was the CEO of Volunteers of America was looking for a Black male in his forties to be his Assistant and serve as Chief of Operations and wanted to know if I would mind if he gave Rev. John Olmsted my name. I agreed and the interview resulted in my being employed by Sue Olmsted as her administrative assistant. I began work eight months after being employed by Satellite Senior Homes, and two (2) weeks after my 41st birthday for Volunteers of America. Two (2) weeks after I was employed my Supervisor took a three (3) month sabbatical. My first task was the creation of the Midway Multiservice Homeless Shelter in Alameda, Ca. that included the purchase of the modular buildings, creation of budget and program services, hiring of staff, coordinating volunteers, etc. On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1989, while purchasing gifts for the homeless children in the shelter, the Executive Director was hit by a drunk driver and killed. I was appointed acting director and assisted staff, her family and the clients in dealing with death and dying issues. I organized a memorial services for the agency and the community to honor her and her commitment to the community. In May of 1990, I officially became the Program Director of Midway, which as a result of the innovations of the many homeless services we provided, led to my becoming the Homeless Program Supervisor for the City Oakland and my meeting of Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs, chairperson of the City of Oakland Homeless Commission. Shortly after beginning my work with the city, Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs extended an invitation to me to consider a ministry with the UUA. Shortly there after I attend a meeting with the President of the UUA, the Rev. John Bruehrens with other ministers of color who were interested in becoming UU ministers. I attended my first General Assembly in Fort Worth as John Buehren's guest. It was during this event that I meet Barbara Majors, was introduced to the Journey Towards Wholeness Program, meet with the MFC, etc. which led to my acceptance of the invitation to join with the UUA and bring it’s vision and message to communities and people of color. AND TO THIS DAY THE MIRACLE CONTINUES! I lived in Oakland from 1989 until I moved to Tulsa Oklahoma to fulfill the MFC ministry requirement of serving a Unitarian Universalist congregation for a year in order to be granted ministerial standing. I served the City of Oakland as the Homeless Program Supervisor in the Office of Health and Human Services, Floretta Chisom, Director. While employed with the City of Oakland, I was also on the ministerial staff of First Unitarian Church Oakland (FUCO) where I served as the Justice Associates Coordinator and Pacific Central District Diversity/Multicultural Consultant. The position was funded as a result of a $10,000 grant from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a matching grant from the Extension Ministry & Faith In Action Department. Six (6) months after beginning at (FUCO) the ministers went on sabbatical, the congregation began its renovations as a result of the devastating earthquake. In September 96, I began my ministry officially with the UUA. Before leaving the Bay Area for Tulsa I had the opportunity to serves as an Adjunct Professor at Starr King Seminary teaching a course in Institutional Racism and other forms of oppression in the local church. I used the workbook and materials tha I had developed for the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. My ministry today still includes being a UU trained, national anti-oppression trainer and consultant for the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ, assisting local congregations, districts, associations, etc., in becoming and being an "antiracist and non-oppressive" “spiritually centered” faith communities and religious institutions. I serveD as the Chaplain of the African American Unitarian Universalist Minister Association (AAUUM) and Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM). In addition to my in-depth knowledge of homeless issues, my ministry encompasses traditional and non-traditional ministerial services and includes providing a variety of workshops and seminars in the areas of Spiritual Growth and Development, Intentional Caring, Institutional Racism and Oppression, Achieving One's Human Potential, Diversity and Multicultural Relations, Youth Violence, Creating Non-Oppressive communities and institutions, and a variety of other workshops that deal with community and social justice issues. I have worked in the religious and non-religious non-profit sector for well over 40 years. I have served assisting community based organizations in becoming 501 (C3) non-profit organizations, providing staff and board training, taught case-management process and procedures, worked with community based non-profit housing development organizations, served as project site manager for several construction projects and has worked with a variety of social service community based and governmental agencies. I welcome the opportunity to continue my blended ministry in the UUA in whatever form and structure that it may take.

82 Reverend Rebecca Sienes
Meadville Lombard graduate 1999 Past President of the UU Congregations of the Philippines Known for her radical hospitality And Courage to BE

83 Rev. Dr. Michelle W. Bentley
Class of 1986, Meadville Lombard Founder, North River and South Loop Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Chicago, Associate & Interim Sr. Minister, First Unitarian Society Chicago Chaplain, BRASS Foundation (Substance Abuse Comprehensive Program) and LaRabida’ Children’s Hospital for the Chronically and Terminally Ill Dean of Students/Faculty Meadville

84 Rev. Dr. Michelle Bentley
Sr. Minister Third Church Chicago Professional Development Director, Ministry UUA Expert Pastoral Consultant for Cook County Public Defenders’ Capital Cases Sankofa Project Archives Founder & Director 2006 Grandmamma to Kasiya Michelle Wells - 2yrs.

85 Rev. Marta I. Valentin

86 Maria Cristina Vlassidis

87 Joseph Santos-Lyons

88 The Brahmo Samaj The Brahmo Samaj (The Society of Worshipers of One God) was founded in 1828 by Raja Rammohun Roy in Calcutta, India. It began as an attempt at religious and social reconstruction in response to the challenges posed by the Christian missionary work and the Western ideas which entered India in the wake of British colonialism. As part of the Bengal renaissance, it aimed to reform Hinduism, purging it of its idolatry, caste system, and other debasing features, while preserving its higher elements of truth, spirituality, and essential religion. It stands firmly on theism — the worship of a single omniscient and omnipotent God. Though distinctly Hindu in its origins, the Brahmo Samaj adopted concepts from other religions, especially from Christian reform movements. It believes that all truth is of God and it respects the prophets of all religions. Raja Rammohun Roy (1772–1833), Devendranath Tagore (1817–1905), Keshub Chunder Sen (1838–1884), and Sivanath Sastri ( ) were key figures in shaping the Brahmo Samaj. Rammohun Roy, born in the eastern state of Bengal, became multilingual, learning Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, and English. He also acquired an

89 The Brahmo Samaj, pg 2 intimate knowledge of Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, developing a zeal for religious reform derived partly from Hindu and Muslim thought and later from Unitarian ideas. He rejected worship of religious images as indicative of prejudice and superstition and contrary to common sense. He also rejected the human rights violation called sati (suttee) which was perpetrated in the name of religion and involved the burning of widows on their husbands’ funeral pyres. Roy and his followers formed the Brahmo Sabha (later, Brahmo Samaj) to reform society through promoting these ideals. They met regularly for religious services, during which passages from the Upanishads were read, sermons delivered, and hymns sung. After Roy’s death the Brahmo Samaj went into decline. In 1838, Devendranath Tagore, father of the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, revived and reorganized the Samaj. However, Tagore did not share Roy’s cosmopolitan vision and opposed Christian missions. He staunchly believed in the infallibility of the Hindu scriptures and developed the Samaj in accordance with his beliefs. Under his guidance and leadership, the Samaj became an active Hindu missionary organization, drawing adherents from among educated Hindus and establishing branches in several towns in Bengal and other Indian states. Keshub Chunder Sen’s work had a mixed impact on the Samaj, which

90 The Brahmo Samaj, pg 3 Abhi P. Janamanchi
ultimately fragmented into three factions. Sen rejected the caste system and child marriages and promoted women’s education and the remarriage of widows. Drawing upon world scriptures, he gave the Samaj a universal character. However, by 1865 differences between him and other members of the Brahmo Samaj became sufficiently acute that he split off from the parent group and formed the Brahmo Samaj of India. A further schism resulted from the marriage of his underage daughter to the maharaja of Kuch Bihar. Sen’s claims that the marriage was in accordance with God’s will disenchanted some of his associates, who, in 1878, responded by founding the Sadaran Brahmo Samaj. Sen continued as leader of the Brahmo Samaj of India, and in 1881 his group adopted the name the Nava-vidhan Samaj, or Church of the New Dispensation. Sivanath Sastri became one of the prime movers of the Sadaran Brahmo Samaj, the largest Brahmo group in existence today. While maintaining traditional Brahmo characteristics of faith in a personal God, congregational worship, and condemnation of idol worship, the Sadaran Samaj also emphasized universal brotherhood, opposed caste distinctions, and promoted a well-ordered organization. Today, the Brahmo Samaj is a very small minority with mostly hereditary membership. Though unable to purge Hinduism of what it saw as idolatry and superstition, it did provide a rational critique of religious thought and practice that contributed to the establishment of a secular, democratic Indian society. Abhi P. Janamanchi Sources: Kopf, David. The Brahmo Samaj and The Shaping of the Modern Indian Mind. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979. Lavan, Spencer. “The Brahmo Samaj: India’s First Modern Movement For Religious Reform.” In Religion In Modern India, edited by J. L. Baird. New Delhi, India: South Asia Publications, 1981. ———. Unitarians and India: A Study In Encounter and Response. Chicago, IL: Exploration Press, 1991. Sastri, Sivanath. History of the Brahmo Samaj. 2d ed. Calcutta, India: Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 1974.

91 Sankofa Archive Staff & Contributors
Rev. Dr. Michelle W. Bentley Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed Joseph Santos-Lyons, M.Div. Joe Cherry Dr. Qiyamah Rahman Michael R. Bentley Christopher Simms

92 Peace Please visit the web site:
detailed and further information on Unitarian Universalist Laity and Clergy of Color and Latin descent, to enter your photo and life narrative, to show your support with a generous financial pledge and/or volunteer efforts. You may also phone us at to ask questions or find out about research possibilities.

93 Unitarian Universalist Sankofa Project
For more information contact: Rev. Dr. Michelle W. Bentley, Project Director 5700 S. Woodlawn Avenue (Physical Archive) Chicago, IL Fax


95 Maria Cristina Vlassidis

96 Maria Cristina Vlassidis

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