Happy Pride Y'all!
June 28, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which is known by many as the beginning of Pride. On June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village NYC, Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson threw the first shot glass as an act of resistance and resilience against routine police raids in the gay community.
In that same spirit of resistance and resilience, let us begin this 50th year of Pride with a BIG CONGRATULATORY SHOUT OUT to Revs. Theresa Ines Soto, Amy Petrie Shaw, Chris Rothbauer, Andrée Mol, and Christe Lunsford for relentlessly shattering binaries and believing in Unitarian Universalism enough to trust us with their truths, gifts, and callings. May each of them continue to find space in Unitarian Universalism to be true to themselves and true to their callings.
We are just as excited for the five congregations who have done the work of preparing for these sacred beings and have committed to supporting and sustaining these five fabulous change-makers, truth-tellers, justice-seekers, and love-bearers. May these beloved communities honor and protect their new servant-leaders, love and encourage them, nurture and follow them.
I charge the UU community at-large to uplift these ministers with blessings, prayers, praise, and gifts as they journey to new cities to make new homes. Remember them as they strive to transform strange pulpits into prophetic ones. Encourage them as they faithfully fulfill their lifelong dream of Unitarian Universalist ministry in a world in great turmoil.
May It Be So!
Rev. Theresa I. Soto (they/them/their)
Reverend Soto has been called as the next lead minister at First Unitarian Church of Oakland and the author of Spilling the Light: Meditations on Hope and Resilience(Skinner House, 2019).
Prior to serving in Oakland, they lived in Ashland, Oregon, with their partner, Rev. Sean Parker Dennison. Rev. Soto also served as a community minister with the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and have also enjoyed interim ministry and chaplaincy with veterans.
Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw (they/them/their or she/her/hers)
Called to First Unitarian Church of Des Moines Iowa! The Reverend Amy Petrie Shaw was born in Kentucky. Raised in a rural area, she spent her formative years blissfully poking at things with sticks, falling into creeks, and being bitten, stung, pinched, or chased by random samples of local wildlife. Shaw is genderqueer, Middle-Eastern and white, and hearing-impaired.
Fascinated by all of life's possibilities, Shaw has been an English teacher, college professor, nurse, and nurse executive. She is a humorist, and her book, The Tao of the Dippy Cat, made the Amazon Humor Best-Seller list, much to her surprise.
After 22 years in healthcare and academia, she chose to answer a call to ministry, and obtained her Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Her ministry is shaped by a gospel of Love, based in radical welcome and intersectional inclusion.
Shaw says "I came to ministry because the cavalry isn’t coming. We have to be the heroes we have been waiting for. As a nurse in the inner city of Cincinnati, I was able to help one person at a time, and it was valuable, but it wasn’t enough. As a minister I can help to overturn systems of oppression, and work to change paradigms that keep us all from liberation. I am excited to be the candidate at First Unitarian Church of Des Moines Iowa and can’t wait for a chance to explore the possibilities with this amazing congregation."
Rev. Chris Rothbauer (they/them/their)
Called to Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Auburn, Alabama! Rev. Chris Rothbauer grew up in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky in the hills of southern Indiana. They earned their BA in Philosophy and English from Indiana University Southeast and a MA in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield. Rev. Chris attended Meadville Lombard Theological School, where they earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Leadership Studies. As a parish minister, Rev. Chris has served congregations in Kentucky, Michigan, and Alberta, Canada, and, most recently, completed a chaplain residency at the University of Louisville Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
Rev. Chris currently serves on the steering committee of Transgender Religious Professional Unitarian Universalists Together (TRUUsT), the professional organization for transgender UUs, and has served on the board of trustees of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, the advisory committee of Unitarian Universalist Class Conversations, as spiritual director for the UUA MidAmerica Region’s Midwest Leadership School, and as a good officer for Meadville Lombard Theological School’s student body.
Rev. Chris currently lives in New Albany, Indiana with their partner, Calvin, a rescue beagle named Courtney, and a spoiled rotten cat named Evander.
Rev. Andrée Mol (they/them/their)
Called to Central Unitarian Church in Paramus, New Jersey! As minister, I consider myself an artist who uses words, music, stories and space to create collaborative, transformational experiences. My ministry centers around community and spiritual development. I work to nurture community relationships, to widen our circle of belonging, and to bring forth more love and goodness into the world.
I am a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School and was ordained in October 2018. I served my ministerial internship at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, VT as Developmental Assistant Minister for Pastoral Care and Membership.
Central Unitarian Church in Paramus, NJ has named me as their candidate for ministry. I look forward to the future we will co-create together, shaping the world we dream about.
Rev. Christe Lunsford (they/them/their)
Called to Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville Florida! Christe holds a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School as well as a Masters in Fine Arts for Theatrical Production and Design from Florida Atlantic University.
Christe is also a UU Credentialed Music Leader and a leader in several UU professional organizations. They believe that the most effective way to change the world is by changing their environment at home, congregation and city, often one person at a time.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Christe was invited into Preliminary Fellowship by the Ministerial Fellowshipping Committee of the UUA in 2018. This last year Christe has served as Intern Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford, Illinois.
As their journey continues, Christe was ordained on June 9 at First Unitarian in Louisville, Kentucky before moving with their partner Dianna Ott, a Communications and Marketing Consultant, to the home town of the Florida Gators. They both look forward to winter month visits from their two adult children and many friends from around the country seeking a seasonal break from colder climates.