Kurt Kuhwald

Assistant Professor of Preaching, Pastoral Care, and Social Change


I was asked to join the SKSM staff in 2008 because I am both teacher and activist—as well as an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister.

After teaching for 23 years in secondary public school special education classrooms, and practicing as a psychotherapist for 15 years, I entered UU ministry with a vision of social justice engagement and counseling/spiritual directions at the core of my Call.  I have served 8 UU congregations as settled, interim or consulting minister, as well as two Community Ministries (one of which is Starr King School).  Additionally, I have served the UU Association as a member of the Jubilee Working Group (previously called the Black Concerns Working Group), the national Interweave Board, and the national Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Team.  I am currently on a Task Group for Environmental Justice/Eco-Justice that is working to embed that consciousness at the heart of UUism.  The Task Group morphed from a two-year Planning Team that held a “Collaboratory” for five days in Detroit with 30 UU leaders; its goal was to kick start a process of Association-wide transformation.

A copy of my guiding personal Trinity hangs over my work desks: A life of Prayer Consciousness, Creative & Prophetic Engagement, and Embodied Joy.

At Starr King I teach/minister in these course offerings:

  • Parish Internship
  • Parish Internship Reflection
  • Congregational Fieldwork
  • Preach It! (finding/embodying/affirming authentic voice)
  • Advanced Prophetic Preaching: This Global Moment
  • Counseling Techniques/Practices in Apocalyptic Times

I have also taught courses on the construction of white consciousness/privilege, and facing the current global storm/apocalypse.

I offer these courses because I believe they fully embody Starr King School’s mission and commitments: (a) Creating Sustainable Communities—by building community within the class setting and by studying the current necessity for communities of resilience; (b) Cultivating Religious Pluralism—by cutting across and drawing from deep interfaith work in the community; (c) Countering Oppression— by standing firmly within a commitment to teach directly to the experience of prophetic engagement.

My teaching philosophy is specifically faithful to and grounded in Learning by Practical Experience and is enhanced by requiring students to rigorously invest in and dialogue about literatures of transformation, embodied presence, justice-making, and the intersection of forces contributing to the current global conflagration.

Lastly, I am deeply committed to the intersection where care for the world meets inner liberation, which I find impossible without engagement in and with the collective human community and the living Earth.