I am a Unitarian Universalist Minister, currently serving as Family Minister at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church in Hayward, CA and the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Organizer for the CA Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. In addition to my congregationally-based work, I am a teacher, facilitator, and public speaker in the broader community on issues of reproductive justice, faith and religion, movement vitality, and the moral/theological legitimacy of progressive politics.
Prior to pursuing liberal religious ministry, I worked at the National Abortion Federation and Howard University. I currently serve on the UUA’s Reproductive Justice Advisory Council and on the board of directors of the Abortion Conversation Project. I am a member of the Center for American Progress’ Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute, and a member of the Reproductive Health Technologies’ Project Speaker Bureau on Abortion Access and Reproductive Equity.
My Ministerial Vision:
I am called to a ministry that facilitates and nurtures the unfurling of our most authentic selves; a ministry that cultivates deepening connection to where we come from and where our values guide us to go; a ministry that bears witness to and helps alleviate injustice and tragedy. In my ministry, I hope for a lot of storytelling and story sharing, coming from within our congregation and from beyond. I believe that regular, beautiful worship guides us in developing frames of meaning for living, sustains us through hard times, and provides an experience of sanctuary for its participants.
I believe our liberal churches have signicant roles to play in helping to ground progressive social justice work. I have found that many working for progressive causes are not connected to the long history of fighting for justice– they may have wings, but are lacking roots. As 19th century Unitarian minister Rev. Theodore Parker said “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways..and from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” To be part of this arc requires deep patience, community support, spiritual practice, and abiding faith in human resilience. I am called to a ministry the nurtures us in our work for justice, compassion, and dignity, within and beyond congregational walls.
How I Got Here:
Raised in liberal religious congregations in Upstate NY, I have long had a passion for social justice, health and sexuality education, and feminism–all of which which were nurtured and sustained by religious community. After completing my undergraduate studies, I worked as a health and sexuality educator at Howard University and as an abortion counselor at the National Abortion Federation’s national hotline. While I had considered the ministry, I thought it was something I could only do as a second or third career. Fortunately, during my time in Washington DC, I was an active member of All Souls Church in Washington DC, led at the time by two young ministers Rev. Rob Hardies and Rev. Shana Lynngood.
In was in this context that my calling to ministry became crystallized. In my professional life, I routinely encountered skepticism, fear, and disdain for religion, despite the need many expressed for dealing with spiritual issues when it came making decisions about their health, sexuality, and relationships. Few in my professional circles seemed at all familiar with my liberal religious experience. It was in church where I got the best comprehensive sexuality education growing up. It was my church community that really supported my activism and feminism when my peers in high school dismissed and ridiculed it.
With the support of my spouse and partner, Katherine, I decided to officially begin my journey towards ordained ministry, knowing that reproductive justice was core in my calling.