"I came to Union 34 years ago as a young adult with lots of questions. I was from an interfaith family; I was a feminist; I was gay; and yet I felt deeply called to ordained ministry. Union seemed to be a place where I could sort it all out. And boy did I wrestle with my faith, identity and vocation during that first year. Thankfully, on a cold January afternoon, I met God in a McDonald’s on 42nd Street and finally got some clarity and direction. I also got lots more questions with which I would wrestle for years to come."
"I believe I attended Union during one of its Golden Eras. Under the presidency of Donald Shriver and the academic deanship of Mac Gatch, I studied with some of the greatest theological thinkers and teachers of the late 20th century. The list included: Phyllis Trible, James Washington, Ann Ulanov, James Forbes, James Cone, Dorothee Soelle, Beverly Harrison, Tom Driver, Raymond Brown, Christopher Morse, Walter Wink, Richard Norris, Roger Shinn, Janet Walton, and Cornell West - actually, I had to drop his Introduction to Philosophy because I couldn’t keep up with him. "
"During our first year, I did weekly faith formation with a group of peers (some of them are still dear friends today) and a very wise woman named Ardith Hayes. And, I got to live in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s old dorm room. I used to lie awake at night wondering what he was thinking about when he slept in that bed. I concluded his thoughts were far more profound than mine!"
"When people ask me if I regret not having attended an Episcopal Seminary, I respond, “Are you kidding?” I am grateful that my bishop Paul Moore was wise enough to realize I should study on the Upper West Side rather than Chelsea Square. I wouldn’t have traded my Union education for any amount of Episcopal networking that I might have gained at one of our denominational seminaries. I got my Episcopal formation through field education at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; Trinity Church, Wall Street; St. Clement’s in Hell’s Kitchen; Bronx Youth Ministry; and the Episcopal churches of the South Bronx. What more did I need? Although come to think of it, maybe I have dementia because I bumped my head against the stained glass ceiling too many times!"
"At Union, I developed a deep appreciation for the Episcopal Church and a profound respect of other denominations and faith traditions. I learned how to think theologically and ethically and apply that thinking to both parish ministry and pubic leadership. I learned the importance of inclusive language, and how to adapt worship and music to speak of God beyond gender without losing the poetry. I daily read, marked and inwardly digested both the Bible and the New York Times – a practice that has served me well in many years of preaching. Most importantly, following in the footsteps of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Tich Naht Hanh, William Stringfellow, Malcolm Boyd, Carter Heyward, and so many others, at Union I learned how to be an up-stander rather than a by-stander. I have tried my best to embody the teachings and values of Union Theological Seminary throughout my career."
"In fact, when my friend and colleague Jawanza Colvin, Class of 2000, asked me to join him in the establishment of Greater Cleveland Congregations, I said that I would do it under one condition: that we bring the values of Union to the process. We agreed and formed what has become a powerful, interfaith, broad-based, community organization."