Generous Boost for Starr King Students

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photo of Rebecca Parker

Dear Friend of Starr King,

I am delighted to announce that Starr King has received $750,000 from the estate of Hilda and Charles Mason.  Earnings from this gift to our endowment will provide tuition aid grants to Starr King students-a much needed boost in these difficult economic times, with enrollment growing and financial aid resources stretched thin. We will use a portion of the earnings to establish Teaching Fellowships in honor of Hilda Mason who was a devoted educator and community activist. The Hilda Mason Teaching Fellowships (read the full announcement) will be awarded to students who have submitted proposals to teach in the community, in congregations, or as part of Starr King’s curricular offerings, including teaching in collaboration with a member of the Starr King faculty.

To teach, we say at Starr King School, is to cooperate with revolutionary grace in unfolding of the powers of the soul, fostering wholeness and liberation. Student-taught courses are a long-standing practice at Starr King, embodying our understanding that teaching and learning are integral to ministry and religious leadership.

Starr King Trustees had a taste of the School’s dedication to transformative teaching and learning at their meeting in November.  They devoted half a day to theological reflection, experiencing some of the pedagogical practice that we use in our foundational course on “Educating to Counter Oppressions and Create Just and Sustainable Communities.”  Through spiritual practice together, responding to testimony from the Truth Commission on Conscience in War ( and studying Sura 49 of the Quran, with leadership from Dr. Ghazala Anwar, they reflected on the moral injuries of war and religious resources for peace-making.

Trustees also heard detailed reports from faculty and students on the School’s progress on implementing our emerging educational model, under the leadership of Provost Ibrahim Farajajé.  Designed to advance our mission of educating people for Unitarian Universalist ministry and for progressive religious leadership in society, our emerging educational model is inspiring a growing number of students to come to Starr King – some of whom are choosing the low-residency options which enable students to study in their home communities. At year three of our six-year implementation plan, we are seeing significant results-not only in enrollment growth (which leaped by 20%) but in “the depth dimension” of our educational work, which trustees observed was strongly evident in student reflections on their experience of the school.

“It is so exciting to see that what was just colored circles on a power-point slide three years ago is now becoming flesh,” one Trustee commented.  Others noted that Starr King’s educational work was fostering “communion with others,” “academic rigor and embodied whole person learning,” “engagement with the world,” and “fluency in other faiths.”  You can read my President’s Report to the Board of Trustees (pdf) if you’d like further details.

We are now admitting students to begin their studies in February.  If you know of a promising candidate for Starr King’s M.Div., M.A.S.C. or M.A. programs encourage them to apply! Visit our website page for prospective students at and learn about the application process at

In grace and gratitude,

Rebecca Parker
President and Professor of Theology


PS  We love hearing from you.  Email comments and responses to me at  Your gifts of financial support are needed and appreciated.  Click here to make an on-line 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.

Pictured above: Mary Anderson, member of Starr King’s Board of Trustees, and Provost Ibrahim Farajajé at a reception during a meeting of the SKSM Board.