We Unitarian Universalists have always been a small religious group with outsized impact. But with many denominations in decline, and corresponding growth among those who are “spiritual but not religious,” it may seem that our best days are behind us. But what if we’re misreading the signs? In this moment, let’s reflect on what our faith could be—and how we can get there from here.
The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt is President of
Starr King School for the Ministry , a Unitarian Universalist and multireligious seminary in Berkeley, CA. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she is a graduate of Yale University and Drew Theological Seminary. An editor and widely anthologized writer for more than 20 years before answering the call to ordained ministry. The Rev. Ms. McNatt is a former editor at the New York Times Book Review; author of three books, including her memoir, “Unafraid of the Dark;” a former contributing columnist for Beliefnet.com; a contributing editor to UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and a contributing writer to the Huffington Post.
Prior to her appointment to Starr King, Rev. McNatt served for 13 years as Senior Minister of The Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York, a 175-year old Unitarian Universalist congregation on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her years of service to Unitarian Universalism have included work as a member of the Committee on Urban Concerns and Ministry; the Task Force for Strategic Options for Beacon Press; chair of the Board of Trustees of Starr King School for the Ministry, and membership on the UUA Panel on Theological Education, as well as the UUA Board of Trustees. The Rev. Ms. McNatt also served as a faculty member of the 2008 International Council of Unitarian Universalists Leadership Training Conference in Nairobi, Kenya—the first ever such gathering on the African Continent.
The Rev. Ms. McNatt has served as the convener of OccupyFaithNYC, a multi-faith economic justice organization founded in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street; as an adjunct instructor at Union Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School; a founder and active member of the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry, created to provide culturally sensitive liberal religious responses to mass disaster and other significant trauma; and Chair of Disaster Chaplaincy Services of New York, the multi-faith disaster spiritual care service for the metropolitan New York area.
The mother of two young adult sons, Allen and Daniel, Rev. McNatt lives in Oakland, CA with her husband of 35 years, Robert; it was he who introduced her to Unitarian Universalism when they met in college.