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Service of the Living Tradition
The Ministries and Faith Development Staff Group invites you to join us at this service where we honor fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders, remember those who have died, recognize those who have completed active service, and welcome those who have received fellowship or credentialed status in the past year.
The 2016 sermon will be delivered by Rev. Dr. William G. Sinkford, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR.
Bill, as he prefers to be called, was called to First Church in 2010. He is well known for his service as President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (2001-2009). His tenure was marked by strong public witness for social justice and support for marginalized communities, commitments he continues in Portland.
Bill’s commitment to liberal religion dates to his teenage years, when he was an active member of the First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati, Ohio. He served as the president of Liberal Religious Youth, the continental Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth organization. He had a successful career in the corporate world and ran his own business in the housing field. In later years he returned to Cincinnati and served his home church as a lay leader until he answered the call to ministry in 1992.
After completing his Master of Divinity degree at Starr King School for the Ministry in 1995, Bill joined the UUA staff where he served until he was elected to the Presidency. Bill earned his B.A. from Harvard in 1968 and also holds honorary doctorates from Tufts University and Meadville/Lombard Theological School.
During his years of service to the denomination (“a seventeen year detour,” as he describes it), Bill never lost his goal of being a pastor to a congregation. “My service at First Church fulfills my calling to ministry. I am finally able to preach to congregants whose stories I know, whose children I’ve dedicated and whose elders I have memorialized.”
Bill was the first African American to lead any traditionally white denomination, and was named one of the ten most influential Black religious leaders in the US in both 2005 and 2006. He and his wife Maria have four adult children, and one grandchild, William Rider Sinkford, born in July 2008.
Sermons of the SLT Since 1997
- 2015 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar
Watch the 2015 Service (Video and Captioning)
- 2014 Sermon by Rev. Rebekah Montgomery
Watch the 2014 Service (Video, Script, and Captioning)
- 2013 Sermon by The Reverend Vanessa Rush Southern
Watch the 2013 Service (Video, Script, and Captioning)
- 2012 "NamMyohoRengeKyo—Trespassing Into Prophetic Imagination*" by The Reverend Karen Tse
Watch the 2012 Service (Video, Script, and Captioning)
- 2011 “The Face of God or a Face in the Crowd?,” Michael Schuler
Watch the 2011 Service (Video, Script, and Captioning)
- 2010 "Beautiful Faces and Complex Natures," Paige Getty
Watch the 2010 Service
- 2009 "A Lifetime Isn’t Long Enough (PDF)," Mary Harrington
Watch the 2009 Service
- 2008 "Remind Us Again, Brave Friends (PDF)," Victoria Safford
Watch the 2008 Service
- 2007 Bill and Barbara Hamilton-Holway
Watch the 2007 Service
The following documents are PDF files.
- 2006 "To Live In This World," Judith Meyer
- 2005 "Out From Walden," Patrick O’Neill
- 2004 "Count It All Joy," Rosemary Bray McNatt
- 2003 "Give 'Em The Old Razzle Dazzle," Gary E. Smith
- 2002 "Only By Your Presence," Barbara Pescan
- 2001 "Called! By Whom? To What?" Richard S. Gilbert
- 2000 "Imagining a New World," Marilyn Sewell
- 1999 "Other Pulpits, Other Ministries," Mark Belletini
- 1998 "Truth Telling," Barbara Merritt
- 1997 "Too Swift to Stop, Too Sweet to Lose," William F. Schulz (Schulz gave two sermons with the same title, one at each of the two SLTs; both are included here.)