The Reverend Dr. Thandeka is cited as one of our most influential contemporary Unitarian Universalist theologians. She is the author of The Embodied Self: Friedrich Schleiermacher's Solution to Kant's Problem of the Empirical Self and Learning To Be White: Money, Race, and God in America, and contributor to books including The Cambridge Companion to Schleiermacher, The Oxford Handbook on Feminist Theology, Religion and its Relevance in Post-Modernism, A Language of Reverence, A Global Conversation: Unitarian/Universalism at the Dawn of the 21st Century, A Theological Symposium June 25-30, 2000, and Thematic Preaching: An Introduction. Her numerous publications in journals include essays in American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, The International Journal of Practical Theology, Harvard Theological Review, Process Studies, The Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Faith and Freedom: A Journal of Progressive Religion, Tikkun, and UU World. She is presently at work on her next book, a systematic theology of personal experience.
Thandeka has taught at San Francisco State University, Meadville Lombard Theological School, Williams College, Harvard Divinity School, and Brandeis University, and has been a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center at Stanford University, and a Visiting Scholar at Union Theological Seminary in New York and the Center for Process Studies at the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California.
Before receiving her doctorate in philosophy of religion and theology from the Claremont Graduate University, Thandeka was a television producer for 16 years and is an Emmy award winner. She directed, wrote and/or produced more than 400 television programs.
An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Thandeka has served as community minister at The Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica, NY; and affiliated minister at The Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, Illinois, and at The Community Church of New York.
She has been a keynote speaker at Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist events in Britain, Paris, and Prague, and spoken to and led workshops for hundreds of our congregations in the United States. She is one of the major voices of the small group ministry movement that has brought this new program initiative into most of our congregations.
The !Xhosa name Thandeka, which means "beloved," was given to her by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984.
She is the daughter of the award-winning American artist Erma Barbour Booker and the American Baptist minister Merrel D. Booker, who trained with Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr at Union Theological Seminary and retired as an adjunct professor of pastor counseling at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.
Educated at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (B.S., Journalism, 1967), The Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University (M.S, Journalism 1968), The University of California, Los Angeles (M.A., the History of Religions), and Claremont, Thandeka believes we can become one of the largest religious movements in America. She has dedicated her life to help make this happen.