Below you will find the first of many updates regarding the future of Starr King School for the Ministry. We will be adding to this page monthly with updates of our progress, decisions, and other developments in this process. Please check back often to be kept up-to-date with our journey.
Visit our New Beginnings FAQ page for answers to some common questions regarding changes at Starr King. Reach out to us at email@example.com with questions, concerns, ideas, or comments. Visit our giving page to learn more about how you can help us continue this holy work.
When Starr King School for the Ministry began in 1904, it was a radical idea – one with no guarantee of success. The school’s initial classes were held at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, welcoming not only American Unitarians but also students of other faiths from around the world. Now, 115 years since our founding, Starr King has become one of the most progressive theological schools in North America – a school far larger and with a vision far more expansive than our founders could have dreamed. We were able to transform our founders’ ambitious idea into reality only by taking risks. Our capacity to be at the forefront of change has always required us to evolve to meet the needs of the day.
That’s why it’s now time to take yet another risk, to transition into the next chapter of our school’s history. After long and careful discernment by our Board of Trustees, we are beginning a series of steps designed to ensure a sustainable future for our beloved school. We expect those steps to include temporary relocation of the school to another site in the Bay Area, staff reductions, appropriate tuition increases, and an in-depth exploration of the best use of our current property.
We’re taking these steps because Starr King faces the same financial pressures as other seminaries, as theological education changes and the costs of theological education increase. Other schools are undertaking a variety of creative solutions to address such issues. We’re responding to the challenge by examining several avenues meant to strengthen our ability to provide our cutting-edge theological education for future generations.
We are at the very start of this process. There is much that we don’t yet know, and there are many conversations still to be had. But we do know that these are the initial steps we must take to continue to prepare our students for the work of 21st century religious leadership.
We expect many challenges ahead. But this moment provides us with an opportunity for new beginnings. The work of religious leadership requires fearlessness in the face of challenges, as well as creativity and sacrifice. We are hopeful about the changes that lie before us, and excited about the ways in which these changes will allow us to fulfill the mission that is at our core: to prepare counter-oppressive, justice-seeking, progressive religious leaders for the 21st century.