William G. Sinkford, 2001-2009

William Sinkford

President, Unitarian Universalist Association from 2001 to 2009

Biographical sketch

The Rev. William G. Sinkford, 62, served as president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) from June 2001 to May 2009. In his position, he was responsible to the UUA Board of Trustees for administering staff and programs that serve its more than 1,000 member congregations. He also acted as principal spokesperson and minister-at-large for the Association.

Prior to becoming the seventh president of the UUA, Sinkford served as the Association's director of Congregational, District, and Extension Services. Supervising both in-house and field staff, he managed the largest departmental budget in the Association in support of the health and growth of Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Born in San Francisco in 1946, Sinkford'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, and as a high school senior was one of the first U.S. Presidential Scholars. While an undergraduate at Harvard University, he advised youth groups at UU churches in Boston and Lexington, MA; served as Assistant Director of Rowe Camp; and directed the Harvard-Roxbury Summer Project. He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1968 and spent the following year in Greece as a Michael Clark Rockefeller Fellow.

After college, Sinkford worked in the field of marketing. Between 1970 and 1980 he held management positions with Gillette, Avon Products, Johnson Products, and Revlon. During this time, he received the Black Achievers in Industry Award from the Harlem YMCA. He later ran his own business, Sinkford Restorations, Inc. He was also active as a volunteer with community action groups and in not-for-profit housing development.

Sinkford heard his call to ministry after returning to Cincinnati, where he was an active lay leader in his home congregation. He also served on the UU Urban Concerns and Ministry Committee and as an officer of the African American Unitarian Universalist Ministry. Toward the end of his theological education at Starr King School for the Ministry, Sinkford joined the staff of the UUA. He earned his M.Div. in 1995, and was fellowshipped as a community minister and ordained by his home congregation in the same year.

Sinkford and his wife Maria live in Boston. He is the father of two children: Billy, 26 and Danielle, 23; and grandfather to William Rider Sinkford born in July 2008.