Renewed and Rested: A Word of Gratitude

Message from the President banner

Rebecca Parker

Dear Starr King Friend,

I’m pleased to be back at work at Starr King renewed and rested after a sabbatical.

A thousand thanks to our Provost Ibrahim Farajajé for his generous and sustaining leadership as acting president while I was away, and to Helio Fred Garcia and the Starr King board for granting me the gift of time for renewal and rest. Also, I am deeply grateful to all of Starr King’s faculty, staff and students for the on-going good work of the School which is flourishing in wonderful ways.

During my sabbatical, in addition to taking time to read, rest, cook, walk, and relax with my beloved spouse, we had the joy of participating in Starr King’s Rumi Pilgrimage to Turkey.  The learning and illumination we experienced will bless and inspire us for years to come.


Rebecca Parker in Turkey


Rebecca Parker and SKSM M.Div. student Emily Webb









Over the course of the fall and early winter, while I was resting from my usual pace of activities, I followed with great interest the unfolding events of the Occupy movement.   In Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco, Starr King students, faculty, trustees, visiting scholars and graduates have been offering religious witness and presence.  I prayerfully accompanied them in spirit when members of the Starr King community were arrested (but thankfully released).  Their courage and activism is inspiring and I will be learning more from them in the days to come.  This week, we’ll be participating in the national gathering of faith leaders engaged with the Occupy Movements  which will be taking place at the Ecumenical Center next door to Starr King School. (Read about the Occupy Faith National Gathering.)

Looking ahead to the Unitarian Universalist Justice GA in Phoenix in June, I will be working with Starr King leaders who have been active with immigrant issues in Arizona and with the Occupy movements.  We will be supporting Justice GA by offering a three-hour workshop, In the Age of Occupy: Theology for Activists.  In the Starr King President’s Lecture, Standing On Holy Ground, I will be articulating theological and spiritual sources for UU social justice work.

This spring semester, I’m teaching a course on Saving Paradise (see course details) based on the book Rita Nakashima Brock and I have co-authored (Beacon Press, 2008).  Nothing is more gratifying to me than to be in the company of Starr King’s devoted and enthusiastic students who are on fire with commitment to think deeply and act boldly as religious leaders.

For all these gifts, I give thanks.

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

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