It is our pleasure to announce the formation of the new Unitarian Universalist (UU) College of Social Justice and our great delight to announce the appointment of the Rev. Kathleen McTigue as its inaugural Director.
The UU College of Social Justice is a formal collaboration of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Its mission is to increase the capacity of Unitarian Universalists to catalyze justice. Building on several years of successful UUA-UUSC partnership, especially in the area of disaster response, the College will combine resources of both organizations to offer current leaders and future activists of any age a broader and more effective portfolio of service learning and justice education experiences.
Our vision is to provide transformative learning experiences that equip our current and future leaders with a deeper first-hand understanding of the roots of injustice, direct experience in successful social change, a deeper grounding in Unitarian Universalism and their own spiritual resources and encouragement to put their own call to justice into action. Beyond the service learning and justice education programs which will serve as the starting point for the College, we aspire over time to assist congregations in discerning their own focus for social justice work, to more effectively harness our collective UU power for change on selected issues of central importance to our faith, and to build our capacity for advancing justice in the local communities we serve. In all these respects, the College is intended to be an enduring educational institution that transforms lives and shapes our shared ministry for the years to come.
We could not be more fortunate than to have The Rev. Kathleen McTigue lead the start-up of this new venture. Rev. McTigue brings an activist’s passion to the work, having studied fascism in Spain, researched and written about economic strategies to end apartheid in southern Africa and witnessed for peace through years of work in the U.S. and Central America. Most importantly, she brings 25 years of experience in parish ministry, having served for the last 21 years as senior minister of the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT. She has not only helped build a thriving congregation there but has been an extraordinarily effective alliance-builder and strong public voice for justice on behalf of peace, marriage equality and immigrant rights. In addition, Kathleen has served in the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA). In all these forms of ministry she has distinguished herself as a passionate, grounded and highly accomplished leader. She was recently selected by her colleagues celebrating 25 years in ministry to speak on their behalf at this year’s UUMA meeting in Phoenix, an honor that recognizes their esteem for Kathleen’s ministry.
Kathleen will begin in her new role on a limited-time consulting basis as of May 21 and will be present for the official launch of the College at this year’s Justice General Assembly. She will begin as the full-time Director of the College on July 16.
From the moment 74 years ago when American Unitarian Association President Frederick May Eliot asked The Rev. Waitstill Sharp and Martha Sharp to undertake the work that ultimately led to the formation of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, our two institutions have been on a joint mission to cross boundaries that separate people, to become true allies with those who are marginalized and oppressed, and to be more powerful religious catalysts for justice. Today’s announcement represents an exciting next step on that faithful journey.
Please join us in celebrating this new milestone for Unitarian Universalism and offering our hearty congratulations and full support to Kathleen in this vital work.
In faith and witness,
Rev. Peter Morales Rev. William F. Schulz
Unitarian Universalist Association Unitarian Universalist Service Committee