April 21, 2022

Meet Our 2021-2022 St. Lawrence Scholars

Li Kynvi – St. Lawrence Scholar

Li Kynvi is a Master of Divinity student at Starr King School for the Ministry and a candidate for ministerial fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. Li identifies as trans/non-binary. Having experienced religious rejection as an LGBTQ and AIDS activist, Li had never heard of UU and was shocked to find a neighborhood church with a rainbow flag out front when they moved to Massachusetts in 1995. Although they definitely thought it was a prank call at first, Li followed a distinct call to ministry after a 30-year career in music therapy and mental health counseling, the first half with individuals with special needs and the second half in hospice.

While at Starr King, Li has served on the admissions committee for 3 years and provided music for chapel, symposium, and new-student threshold ceremonies. Li has been deeply influenced by living overseas; by transforming pain; by community and friends; by 10-day Zen Peacemaker retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau; and by raising their 2 young adult children, one with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. Deeply joyful at heart, Li is fueled by music, prayer, meditation, humor, and deep connection. They completed a year of congregational fieldwork in Montpelier, Vermont, and are currently in their second year of internship at the First Parish Church of Groton, Massachusetts.

Jamili Omar – St. Lawrence Scholar

Jamili Omar (she/her) is a third year Master of Divinity student at Starr King School for the Ministry and a candidate for UU ministerial fellowship. She comes to Unitarian Universalism and Starr King School for the Ministry through her family faith of Islam and feels a grounding in Islamic traditions as she learns the expressions of this adopted faith.

In 2017, Jamili left the academic life of Professor of English in Houston, TX to take a position as the Director of Lifespan Faith Development for the UU Church of Tucson, which she still holds. Education, spirituality, and social action are the lifeblood of her current and future ministries.

Jamili is raising two children with a combination of play, music, humor, and generous amounts of patience.

Dana Matthews-Moore – Jeffrey Campbell Scholar

Dana N. Matthews-Moore is a first-year student in the Master of Divinity program at Starr King School for the Ministry in Oakland, California, bypassing her undergraduate degree to advance her ministerial capacity. Dana thrives on the land of her Native Ancestors, the Lenni Lenape Peoples of Northern NJ. An active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, she serves as Founding Coordinator of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) Montclair Haven, Lead Facilitator of the Harvest the Power Lay Leadership Development Program, and member of the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee. In her role as Youth Program Coordinator, Dana delights in witnessing the passion and development of young Unitarian Universalists.

For over a decade Dana has studied as a Spiritual Teacher and Reiki Master helping humans experience positive spiritual connection and healing from religious trauma and sexual abuse. Dana continues to support Spiritual Leadership Development as a motivational speaker of entrepreneurs and women business owners blending core values, spirituality, and business ethics. Dana is looking forward to using her scholarship to uplift issues in Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice through her ministry.

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