Rev. William G. Sinkford, former president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), is the 2009 recipient of the Angus H. MacLean Award for Excellence in Religious Education. Judith A. Frediani, UUA Director of Lifespan Faith Development, presented the award to Sinkford on October 25, 2009, at the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) annual conference in Providence, RI.
Sinkford was cited for his leadership of the UUA, which brought initiatives and institutional changes that enhanced the capacity and expanded the role of Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious educators to guide and support faith development of Unitarian Universalists at all ages and stages of life. Sinkford also secured staffing and funding for the Tapestry of Faith curriculum project. Additionally, Sinkford promoted and supported the professional status of religious educators in Unitarian Universalism with the migration of religious educator credentialing into the Ministry and Professional Leadership staff group, the enhancement of professional development opportunities through programs such as Renaissance religious educator training, and the launch of a job search system for religious educators.
Sinkford initiated the UUA-wide Consultation on Ministry To and With Youth to engage UU youth, ministers, religious educators, musicians, and district staff in strengthening youth ministry. The process generated several new task forces and groups and, ultimately, a comprehensive re-visioning of Unitarian Universalist ministry to youth and young adults.
The Angus MacLean Award was established in 1972 by the Alumni Association of the St. Lawrence University Theological School and the Religious Education Department of the UUA. The award is administered by the UUA. Each spring, a committee chaired by Judith Frediani, Director of Lifespan Faith Development, selects a recipient.
2009 Angus H. MacLean Award Citation
Presented by the Unitarian Universalist Association
and the St. Lawrence Theological School Alumni
As president of the UUA from 2001 to 2009, Reverend William Sinkford served Unitarian Universalism and religious education prophetically in Angus H. MacLean’s spirit of excellence, justice and liberating love.
Recognizing the role of lifelong religious learning in nurturing our liberal faith and growing vital congregations of justice and love, President Sinkford initiated institutional and cultural changes that enhanced the capacity and expanded the role of religious educators to guide and support the faith development of Unitarian Universalists of all ages.
Recognizing the true calling of religious education, President Sinkford renamed the UUA’s Religious Education Department the Lifespan Faith Development Staff Group to inspire an expanded vision of this core ministry in our congregations.
Recognizing the need for a compelling 21st century liberal religious voice for members and seekers alike, President Sinkford secured staffing and funding for the Tapestry of Faith curriculum to further the goal of growth in faith, in public witness, and in numbers.
Recognizing the urgent need—and our collective responsibility—for a more robust, diverse, inclusive and congregationally-based ministry to our youth, President Sinkford initiated and co-led an Association-wide Consultation on Ministry to and with Youth to engage youth, religious professionals, lay leaders, parents, and UUA staff in reviewing and re-visioning our youth ministry. The process generated the Youth Ministry Working Group, the MOSAIC consultation, the Youth Ministry Advisory Committee, the new Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office and, ultimately, a strategic imagination for a revitalized Unitarian Universalist ministry to youth and young adults.
Recognizing both the importance of religious educators and the justice issues in religious education leadership, President Sinkford promoted and supported the professional status of religious educators with the creation of the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group, incorporating a new religious education credentialing program, enhancing the professional development opportunities of religious educators, and launching the first association-wide job search system for religious educators.
Always aware of who is, and is not, at the table, President Sinkford brought religious educators to key leadership committees. Throughout his presidency, Reverend Sinkford’s social justice ministry embodied the vision of religious education and social justice as branches of the same tree of liberal faith.
Initiating institutional and cultural change is difficult and sure to provoke anger from some. This award recognized the courage, as well as the integrity and love, of Bill Sinkford’s prophetic leadership on behalf of Unitarian Universalist religious education.
Presented to Rev. William G. Sinkford
October 25, 2009