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The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt (© Dominika Bizi Bray)

Starr King names Rosemary Bray McNatt its next president

The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt to follow the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker as president of Starr King School for the Ministry.
By Donald E. Skinner

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Starr King School for the Ministry has named the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt the next president of the Berkeley, Calif., seminary. McNatt, the senior minister of Fourth Universalist Society in New York City since 2001, will succeed the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker, who will retire June 30 after 25 years as president.

McNatt served on the Starr King Board of Trustees from 1992 to 1999 and was board chair from 1999 to 2001. She served on the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2009 and on the UUA Panel on Theological Education from 2001 to 2007. She is a founding member of the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry and Disaster Chaplaincy Services. Both organizations grew out of the 9/11 disaster. A UU World contributing editor, McNatt is the author of Unafraid of the Dark, a memoir about her Chicago childhood.

Starr King announced the appointment on April 7. Helio Fred Garcia, chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, said McNatt “brings unique and powerful gifts as a preacher, activist, memoirist, journalist, and storyteller. She has consistently raised a strong public voice for progressive religion and social justice. In New York, her work with Moral Mondays and Occupy Faith have established her within a multi-religious activist network that is both local and national in scope.”

McNatt told UU World, “I am humbled and honored and totally psyched. I’m thrilled about the idea of helping shape the next generation of progressive religious leaders, including that third of Starr King students who come from other faith traditions. I’m really happy to be a part of Starr King’s next chapter.”

She noted that management of resources will be a top priority in her new job. “Pretty much every theological school except for Harvard is facing the same financial issues. We all need to think about what the cost will be to Unitarian Universalism if we don’t support our theological schools. Half of our ministers will be retiring in the next ten years. We need to be ready for that.”

Rebecca Parker has been “an outstanding mentor to me,” McNatt said. “Rebecca is one of a kind. I can follow her but I can’t replace her. I will naturally do things differently just because I’m not her.”

Photograph (above): The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt (© Dominika Bizi Bray). See sidebar for links to related resources.

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