Fifty Years of Unitarian Universalism

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Dear Starr King Friend,

Happy Anniversary Unitarian Universalism! Fifty years ago, on May 15, 1961, Unitarians and Universalists consolidated to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.  Many of us from Starr King School celebrated in style on May 15, 2011 by gathering in Portland, Oregon for the ordination of Leisa Huyck.  What better way to express gratitude and hope for Unitarian Universalism than to ordain a new minister who is gifted, called, and prepared to lead Unitarian Universalism into the future!  Beautiful music, inspiring words, and a jubilant congregation made the day ring with joy.  President Peter Morales (SKSM, 1999) preached that morning. Rev. Dr. William Sinkford (SKSM, 1995) gave the call to worship.  Rev. Kurt Kuhwald, Starr King’s Visiting Professor of Practical Ministerial Arts and Prophetic Engagement, offered the charge to the minister;  Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake, Starr King’s Visiting Professor of Spirituality and Prophetic Justice prayed; and I preached the ordination sermon.  In her benediction, Rev. Huyck sent us forth singing.

Just a few days later we gathered again at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco to bless the commencement of our 2011 graduating class, and bestow honorary degrees on Rosemary Matson and Esin Celebi Bayru. See photos from Commencement 2011.

In May we also honored Rev. Tom Disrud (SKSM, 1994) on completion of his term as chair of Starr King’s Board of Trustees.  Under Tom’s leadership, Starr King School has entered a new era of educational excellence, creativity, and vibrancy.  The School has deepened its commitments to the Unitarian Universalist values of “countering oppressions, creating just and sustainable communities, and cultivating multi-religious life and learning,”  opened its doors to more students through the integration of on-line learning, expanded its degree and certificate offerings, and established global inter-faith study programs abroad for seminarians, ministers and lay leaders.

Helio Fred Garcia

Helio Fred Garcia

I am delighted to announce that Helio Fred Garcia is our new board chair (Fred’s bio).  We’ve also welcomed two new trustees: Glenn Farley (SKSM, 2010) (info) and Vanessa Lowe (info).

Festivities will continue in June, as Starr King trustees, faculty, staff, students, supporters and grads join the 50th anniversary gathering of the Unitarian Universalist Association at General Assembly in Charlotte, NC.

If you are in Charlotte, plan to join us for our events and offerings, listed below!

In grace and gratitude,

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

We look forward to hearing from you.  Email comments and responses to me at      Starr King Events at UU General Assembly, Charlotte, NC  Susan Ritchie

Susan Ritchie

Susan Ritchie

Unitarian Universalist Polity Immersion
June 22 – 26

Led by Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie, Starr King’s Visiting Professor of Unitarian Universalist Heritage and Ministry, this 5-day immersion class in Unitarian Universalist polity is open to UU seminarians from across the continent and will be held in conjunction with the General Assembly in Charlotte, NC. See our website for course description and how to register.

Gabriella Lettini

Gabriella Lettini

 Starr King President’s Lecture
Thursday, June 23

The Transformative Power of Truth Commissions”  Featuring Dr. Gabriella Lettini, Starr King’s Director of Studies in Public Ministry and Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Professor of Theological Ethics,  10:45am-12 noon, Charlotte Convention Center, room 213 ABC .

Learn how  offering and receiving witness on injustice and violence can spiritually transform individuals and communities, and promote social change. Dr. Lettini will share insights from her experience as lead organizer of two truth commissions, including the “Truth Commission on Conscience in War”, a ground-breaking national event that has raised awareness of moral injury among service members.  (Link to

Fiftieth Anniversary Address,  Friday, June 24
Rebecca Parker will responding to the 50th Anniversary Lecture by Dr. Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Prof of Social Ethics at Union, (The Spirit and Necessity of Liberal Theology), 1pm-2:15pm, CCC Ballroom A&

The Second U: Universalist Legacies and Lies  Friday, June 24
Lecture by Dr. Susan Ritchie,  1pm-2:15pm, CCC 207A,

Media Skills for Changemakers  Friday, June 24
Workshop by Helio Fred Garcia, chair of SKSM Board, 2:45pm-4pm, CCC room 218-219.  Learn how to generate effective media coverage and rally support for social justice advocacy.

Graduates’ Association Reception, Friday, June 24
5:30pm-7:30pm, Westin Charlotte Hotel, Independence Room.  Rev.  Lynn Ungar will be the speaker.  Registration forms are available now online at:

SKSM Supporter’s Breakfast, Saturday, June 25
7:30am-8:45am, Hilton Charlotte Center City, Ardwell Room.   Contact Rev. Kelly Flood, Starr King’s vice President for Advancement to make a reservation.

Crystal Weston

Crystal Weston

For Prospective Students

SKSM Booth #926, is the place to go if you are interested in attending SKSM, or would like to learn about our M.Div. degree, Master of Arts in Religious Leadership for Social Change,  Certificate in Unitarian Universalist Studies, Certificate in Multi-Religious Studies, or Online Courses.   Crystal Weston,, Starr King’s Recruitment Director, will be on hand to speak with you personally and connect you for further conversation with Starr King faculty, trustees, grads or current students.

Your gifts of support are needed. You can make a gift online right now! Your gifts of financial support are needed and appreciated.  Click here to make a secure online donation.

Donations by check may be mailed to:

Starr King School for the Ministry
2441 Le Conte Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709-1209
Attn: Donor Relations

Educating Unitarian Universalist ministers and progressive religious leaders for society since 1904.

If you are interested in exploring a Starr King education, or know someone who is, visit and contact our Recruitment and Marketing Director, Crystal H. Weston, at   Starr King School for the Ministry | 2441 Le Conte Ave. | Berkeley | CA | 94709