Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd Appointed Director of Communications and Public Ministry

Media Contact:
Suzanne Morse
Ph: (508) 259-9354

Boston, Mass. (May 23, 2024) - The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is very pleased to announce the appointment of Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd as Director of Communications and Public Ministry. In the executive position of Director of Communications and Public Ministry, Rev. Ladd will lead the development and implementation of the UUA’s communications strategy; ensure that strategy addresses the UUA’s intersectional justice priorities, development engagement, and relationships with significant constituencies; set central messages for the Association; oversee a planning process for communications priorities across the UUA; and manage Communications staff.

Nancy smiles softly with her head tilted, wearing glasses, a pink blouse with puffed sleeves and her brown hair tucked behind her left ear.

Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd

“We are so excited to welcome Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd to the UUA as Director of Communications and Public Ministry,” said Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt, the UUA’s President. “In addition to being a minister, she is a contributor to UU World and a published author. She is, in fact, a leading public voice in our Unitarian Universalist faith. Nancy is also a well-respected community organizer and brings strong interfaith relationships into her work. She will bring deep theological understanding along with strong strategic and management skills to our Communications team.”

Prior to this appointment, Rev. Ladd served as Senior Minister of the River Road Unitarian Universalist congregation beginning in 2012. At River Road UU, Rev. Ladd led a vibrant multicultural, multiracial staff team through challenges, changes, and rewards. Under her leadership, River Road became both a beacon and a beta-test for new forms of lay, staff and clergy collaboration within and across congregations. Along with the Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti, she co-edited a new volume (published by the UUA’s publishing imprint Skinner House Books), Seeds of a New Way: Nurturing Authentic and Diverse Religious Leadership, which explores the unique demands and possibilities such collaboration can bring to leadership in the progressive faith tradition of Unitarian Universalism.

Informed by her longstanding service as a national leader in broad-based interfaith community organizing, her first book, After the Good News: Progressive Faith Beyond Optimism engaged the tragic dimension of history and explored the liturgies of lament that can sustain people in the hardest of times.

Rev. Ladd was raised by big-hearted, justice-centered Catholics in the rural Midwest and credits a Jesuit education steeped in liberation theology as the impetus for her path toward Unitarian Universalism. On the first Sunday she attended a Unitarian Universalist congregation, members of that small church took her to Red Lobster and made her laugh over a giant plate of biscuits. The path was clear enough and she has seldom looked back since.

Nancy holds a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School and a degree in Theology and Communications from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her spouse Jon, her always-fascinating children Ruth and Josiah, an elegant cat she feels somewhat indifferent toward and an elderly dog who is an angel in canine form. She is perhaps exceedingly evangelical about CrossFit, progressive theology, and the great Hoosier state of Indiana.

“My deep roots in our Unitarian Universalist faith are reflected in the fact that I served as a parish minister in our tradition for twenty years. I am eagerly anticipating the chance to work with colleagues across the UUA to highlight the life-saving nature of our faith tradition, to promote our justice priorities, and to craft impactful counter-narratives to the rising religious authoritarianism of our time,” said Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd.

Rev. Ladd will begin as Director of Communications on a part-time basis on May 28th and then full-time on July 16th.

About the UUA

The UUA is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States. Our faith is diverse and inclusive and the UUA’s 1000+ member congregations are committed to principles and values that hold closely the worth and dignity of each person as sacred, the need for justice and compassion, the right of conscience, and respect for the interdependent nature of all existence.