- Lifelong UU, from Newark, Delaware
- UC Berkeley EECS 1981, Starr King School M. Div. 1989
- Ordained UU minister in Niagara Falls, New York in 1992
- Minister in Port Charlotte, Florida 1993-1999
- Minister in Albany, New York since fall 1999
- Chair, UUA Electronic Communications Committee 1994-98
- Chair, Open UUA Committee 2011-2015
- President of the Florida and St. Lawrence UUMA Chapters
- President of ARISE, Capital District community organizing project
- Board Member, Interfaith Impact of New York State (Interfaith SAN)
- Organizing Team for New York UU Justice (UU SAN)
- Published a Skinner House book with Wayne Arnason on UU Buddhism
- Buddhist mindfulness meditation practitioner for 35 years
- Married to Philomena for over 30 years and have one grown son
Why I Am Running
As a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, my UU identity has been important for shaping my life. My father claims my sister’s and my success in our professional lives was molded by being part of UU Sunday school in our Fellowship in Newark, Delaware. When I moved to California in 1977, the first place I looked for personal connections was the local UU congregation in Palo Alto. I finished my degree at U.C. Berkeley and was part of a UU student group there, serving as its leader. My fiancé at the time (we met in the UU student group) joined the Oakland Unitarian Church where I served as chair of the Finance Committee and sang in the choir.
My call to ministry happened while in that church, partly influenced by our ministers, the Revs. Rob and Janne Eller-Isaacs, and partly from being involved in Pacific District Leadership School first as a student, then as an assistant and the next year as the dean. Interning with the Rev. Dr. Richard S. Gilbert in Rochester, New York and serving in ministry after graduation from Starr King School further shaped me for Board leadership.
Before going into ministry I worked as a test engineer, a software development engineer, a group leader and a supervisor for North Star Computers in San Leandro, California. My background in the business world, as well as electrical engineering and computer science, has helped me appreciate organizational leadership from both the profit and the non-profit perspectives. I’ve spent most of my professional life in institutional leadership positions of one sort or another.
I have also worked with the UUA and the UUMA in various capacities. In 1994 I was selected to serve on a UUA Committee formed to help the UUA deal with the transition into the use of computer technology. At the time, most of the UUA didn’t use email and were concerned that it would overwhelm them with extra work. Our Electronic Communications Committee set up the first email servers at the UUA and the first web pages for the UUA.
That took on yet another dimension when I served with Dick Jacke, Evelyn Spurgin, Carol Agate, and Nancy Bartlett on the Open UUA Committee starting in 2011. The role of this committee was to be a watchdog for good governance practices by the Board. Serving on this committee, I became familiar with Board practices and lapses in openness. We advocated to get the Board to share its recordings of its meetings and get agendas posted before their meetings. In the process, I observed Board meetings and became familiar with Board practices.
I also served on the UUMA CENTER Committee for several years presenting educational programs for the ministers each year during Ministry Days at UUA GA and working to offer ways to stimulate continuing education. I remember all of this committee work as being very rewarding and meaningful.
As far as what we used to call Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Multi-Culturalism (ARAOMC) credentials, I was at the Diversity Day training back in 1995. As a UUA Committee person and a UU minister who goes to UUA GA every year, I’ve taken just about every training that has been offered. I’ve also led that work in our congregation and doing community organizing work in the New York Capital District. I’m committed to making the UUA welcoming and inclusive at all levels as well as leading/participating in dismantling white supremacy at all levels of our Association.
I recognize I come to that work as a cis-gender, heterosexual, temporarily able-bodied, white male. Though I have educated myself and learned a great deal, I remain heavily conditioned by my predominately white cultured upbringing. Yet much of my life has been in UU congregations working on addressing racism. The advantage I bring is my 35-year Buddhist insight meditation practice that has helped me a great deal to recognize quickly when I’ve got something to learn or caused harm and to release ego attachment to toxic dimensions of white culture.
The leadership frame I draw from comes from a deep appreciation of process theology and the many flavors and perspectives of process consciousness. For me, Buddhism is a study of the processes of life in action. Knowing or Believing whether or not God is an active intentional influence in the world or my life isn’t critically important to me. My guide is to love God with all my head, heart and spirit without the need for any belief in God. It is the process of loving God that matters not the ultimate nature of God which may not be knowable by humanity. Whether or not God exists, loving God as a way of being is profoundly satisfying, meaningful and rewarding.
In governance, I have a sense of the spirit moving when a group of people meet. What great group process techniques do is facilitate that energy to move in us and between us. It is common that I go into a meeting not knowing where we are going but knowing the process we can follow to get there. What happens in the meeting as we share our thoughts and feelings allows that spirit to take shape and become real. For me this is a profound spiritually uplifting process. Well run meetings are an absolute joy and I strive to be that kind of leader. As Jesus wisely put it, where two or more are gather, there am I. Meetings are not a chore, they are an opportunity for communion with spirit.
And that, more than anything else is why I want to serve on the UUA Board. I’d like to be part of helping spirit come alive and move and transform the UUA. I know that has been especially true since Peter Morales resigned. A lot has happened to transform our Association. I know it has been hard, but I thrive in that kind of transformational energy where deep conflict changes hearts and minds. As President Susan puts it, this isn’t a time for a casual faith.
There are some strong headwinds the UUA is facing. These are difficult times for the UUA. I recognize I’m not stepping into an easy job. Yet I’ve worked doing community organizing and welcome the spirit of that our President Susan brings to her work at the UUA. This is legacy work for me. I’d like to help move the UUA in a sustainable path to the new future it is creating for itself.
Please support my campaign!