For over a century, Starr King School for the Ministry and its graduates have embodied a living legacy of theologians, activists, ministers, artists, religious educators, and lay leaders who have changed our understanding of Unitarian Universalism and progressive religion. This academic year, we will be recognizing the latest chapter in our dynamic legacy in our celebration of the 10th anniversary of our Master of Arts in Social Change program!
Established in 2005 as the very first program of its kind, the M.A.S.C. program prepares students for transformative leadership, helping them to become agents of sacred social change. Spearheaded under the leadership of Starr King’s Dean of Faculty The Rev. Dr. Gabriella Lettini, this program responded to those students and graduates who did not pursue ordination but instead were called to spiritually grounded justice work for the larger community and had not found a degree program that fully embraced their vision. Dr. Lettini, alongside other Starr King faculty, staff, and board members, and made possible by a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davies Foundation, created a degree program that integrated theology, spiritual practice and professional development to help students grow in vision, skill, and spiritual grounding to make a difference in the world.
M.A.S.C. students come from many spiritual and philosophical traditions, and leave the program prepared to support and lead institutions and organizations working for sacred social change. For example:
- Graduate Christine Boyle co-founded Fossil Free Faith, the multi-faith consortium of volunteers from across Canada committed to engaging communities and faith institutions to commit to climate justice. As the General Council commissioner of the United Church of Canada, Christine played an integral role in UCC’s recent decision to divest in fossil fuel assets in favor of renewable energy.
- Kevin Mann brought his experience with social justice organizing overseas, where he joined 11 other Unitarian Universalists in strengthening relationships with the UU Church of the Philippines. A long-time community organizer, Kevin is deepening his skills as an organizer with greater theological grounding as a dual M.Div. and M.A.S.C. student. This fall he will be teaching at Starr King as a Hilda Mason Teaching Fellow on Antiracist Theologies & Praxis.
- Graduate Shannon Frediani is pursuing her PhD at Claremont School of Theology on spiritual formation and practical theology with an emphasis on inter-religious education and curriculum development. Shannon’s studies are focused on cognitive justice efforts relative to the Global South, based on the premise that people will not be equal until other ways of knowing, understanding, viewing and experiencing the world are held equally and not always viewed through a Western lens.
In celebration of this pioneering program, Starr King will host a series of events throughout the 2015-2016 academic year. These events will serve as special opportunities to celebrate and strengthen our community. As we continue to plan, we ask that you stay tuned for more updates on the celebrations to come. Things to look out for include special profiles of M.A.S.C. graduates, students, and professors; a commemorative video on 10 Years of M.A.S.C.; special M.A.S.C. dinners; guest lectures; and much more.
In closing, we would like to acknowledge all of the unwavering support we have received over the last 10 years from students, graduates, donors, faculty, and staff. The accomplishments of the M.A.S.C. program are a direct reflection of your dreams, commitment, and faith.
Let the celebration begin!