"I long dreamed of being able to serve Starr King in gratitude for all of the opportunities and blessings that it brought to my life and ministry," says the Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, who directs admissions and recruitment for the school. Jeremiah (M.Div. class of 2009) is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and queer Muslim who returns to Starr King after serving in congregational and community-based ministries in San Francisco, Cleveland, and Tulsa.
"Starr King is a beacon of revolutionary prophetic education and witness," Jeremiah says, "so I feel very blessed to return to the school that served as the foundation for my own spiritual formation and path to professional religious leadership." He recently served as the Beyond Sunday Minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. At the Society, he co-founded the LGBTIQ Refugee and Asylee Guardian Group and the Interfaith Food Pantry of San Francisco.
Jeremiah feels a special connection with prospective students who are answering a call to religious leadership and seminary. "It is a privilege to be able to help recruit and support seminarians, sacred activists, lay leaders, and others who will go on to be the next generation of prophetic voices," he says.
What makes Starr King spiritually transformative?
"Starr King has been at the forefront of Unitarian Universalist ministerial preparation and progressive religious leadership education for over a century," says Jeremiah, "so that is hardly an easy question to answer!" He points to the long lineage of ministers, religious educators, denominational leaders, non-profit directors, and activists who studied, taught, and "helped to shape Starr King into the transformative incubator of spiritual fire that it has become."
Jeremiah talks about five facets that contribute to the success of Starr King graduates:
Individualized Plans of Study
"Our educational model is student-centered and utilizes individualized plans of study that call forth the gifts that each student brings to their religious leadership. Unlike other schools that utilize pre-fabricated curriculums, our students design their own courses of study with their faculty advisor, and I believe this is a major contributing factor to the outstanding success of our graduates in leading the major institutions and congregations in our movement."
"We are Unitarian Universalist and multi-religious, which means our educational pedagogy is rooted in UU values and in the rich interchanges between faculty and students who come from a variety of religious backgrounds and identities, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Humanism, Neopaganism, Indigenous Traditions, among many others."
Social Justice Mission
"We are Educating to Counter Oppressions to Create Just and Sustainable Communities, which means our seminary is committed to a social justice orientation that imbues the lifeblood of our school. We lift up silenced knowledge, feeling and experience, stand in solidarity with communities resisting oppression, and bring an informed analysis of dynamics of race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, gender expression, sexual/affectional orientation, age, and ability to our understanding of oppression in all that we do."
"We are a member of the Graduate Theological Union and are affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley, which means our students are able to enroll in courses at a diversity of seminaries, institutes of religious studies, and at the University of California, as a part of their spiritual formation process."
Global Cultural Environment
"We are located in Berkeley, California, in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, and offer immersion experiences around the globe that allow students to embrace vast cultural resources, locally and globally."
Are You Considering Applying to Starr King?
"Applying to seminary is a period of serious spiritual discernment," says Jeremiah. In his role as the Admissions and Recruitment Director, he wants prospective students to know "I am here to support and guide you through this process as it blossoms."
If you are entering this discernment period, Jeremiah invites you to visit our website, www.sksm.edu, and call him at (510) 549-4704, or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so he can schedule a time to speak about your spiritual journey and answer any questions you might have about Starr King.
Have more questions? See the Admissions FAQ at: http://www.sksm.edu/admissions/admissionsfaq.php.
Ready to apply? Contact Jeremiah today at email@example.com, or by phone at (510) 549-4704, and check out "How to Apply" on the SKSM website: http://sksm.edu/admissions/how_to_apply.php
SKSM Students Write About Their Call to Ministry
First-year student Lauren Way and third-year student Abbey Tennis share their stories of the call that brought them to seminary and a path of ministry.
Read Lauren's story: Why I Chose Starr King.
Read Abbey's story in her sermon: Tell Them I Said Yes to Life.