When I first met Susan, I noted that she demonstrated a laser-like presence as a leader, colleague and minister. Initially I struggled to articulate that quality—until one day when I asked her about her first job. She responded with a smile and said, “From 13 years old to 17, I umpired little league and softball.” That’s it! That quality—-She calls it like it is!! She observes the field of play. She is present to each moment. If it’s a pop fly, she will throw away the protective mask to zero in on the truth. This woman was an umpire as a teenager! Susan’s fierce and focused truth speaking grounds her bold vision for our Unitarian Universalist Association. We have three excellent candidates. I endorse Susan Frederick-Gray.
When I hear Susan speak, I hear my faith and I hear the future. In Susan, I see someone who builds boundary-crossing relationships that anticipate the future and someone with a theological savvy and openheartedness and courage that allows her to respond to an unanticipated present. Susan understands that personal spiritual transformation is connected with the work of social justice, that one doesn’t happen without the other. When she speaks, when she acts, I see a Unitarian Universalist faith and a UUA I want to live into.
Lead Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville
Susan Frederick-Gray has a power-analysis of the UUA that is spot on as it continues to drill ever deeper; the expertise to lead change that can transform real groups of people into institutions that live up to our principles of justice and our dreams for beloved community drawing on her managerial and administrative expertise; and the emotional-social intelligence to form and maintain strong working teams to do the tough work ahead. I believe this is exactly the leadership we need at this time.
Lay Leader, East of Midnight Blog; Candidate for UU Ministry, St. Louis, MO
Susan and I both grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis. This is the shallowest reason that I think Susan should be the next UUA President. And while there are times where I can be both shallow and provincial, this is not one of them. In a lot of ways, the UUA is like St. Louis. White supremacy is ever-present, seldom talked about or acknowledged, vociferously denied or rationalized when brought up, and has a tendency to historical amnesia or willful ignorance. And it is highly provincial.
St. Louis will never be the same after the killing of Michael Brown and the aftermath of the events in Ferguson, although there are plenty of forces that would love to see it return to the way it was. (just look at the fight and vote over an MLS stadium that happened last month as an example) Hopefully, the UUA will never be the same after this current crisis. Although, given UUA history, we must fight hard against the forces of inertia. What does this have to do with me believing that Susan is the President the UUA needs in this time?
In one word: trust. I trust Susan.
Susan gets it in a way that only somebody who grew up in provincial waters can get it. Susan understands the power dynamics of provincialism better than most. (just listen to her talk about her power analysis of UUism in any of the Presidential forums that are online) There is one place that can rival St. Louis in its provincial-ness, and that place is Boston and the UUA. Susan knows what it’s like to be in an area that is in the midst of a major upheaval. Susan knows churches and believes in them. Susan is not afraid to say the word “theology”. She also understands that liberal theology needs to speak to the world in need of liberation theology through partnership. Susan has a “make a way out of no way” kind of spirit.
I know all three candidates for President. I respect and like all three. But I believe we have one chance to not repeat the mistakes of the past. For that reason I believe the best person for the job is the one who has the “make a way out of no way” spirit.
I’m with her…as long as “her” is Susan Frederick-Gray.
Associate Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis
Susan is the right leader for this time in our Unitarian Universalist religious history. She knows key faith leaders, has been active in human rights and was a part of one of the most successful GA’s I’ve been a part of at the 2012 “Justice General Assembly.” Susan is bold, direct and a strong leader. She has an old-soul and is ready to be the first female president of the UUA.
Acting Dean of Students and Community Life, Starr King School for the Ministry
As a lifelong UU, Susan knows that a spiritual vitality is the essential foundation for our ministries – fostering hope, inspiration and resilience in these uncertain times.
As a leader, Susan brings many personal gifts to the role of UUA President. She is visionary and strategic. She listens well, fosters other leaders, welcomes input, and can make decisions. Susan can inspire a crowd and connect one on one with an individual. Compassionate and courageous, enthusiastic and tenacious, she is willing to take some risks and also knows that real change requires significant commitments over the long haul. She even enjoys fundraising and is excited by the opportunity to bring additional resources to empower our faith! Susan’s leadership prioritizes relationships. She builds trust. From trust grows authentic and effective collaboration.
When I was serving as Executive Director of the UU Legislative Ministry of California, I asked Susan to be part of my small “justice ministry think tank”. Her spiritual depth, on-the- ground experience, intelligence, insight, imagination, humility and practical ideas were most helpful to me as I worked to establish a statewide ministry that was charting new ground. Susan is an outstanding religious leader with compelling priorities for such a time as this. I wholeheartedly endorse the Rev. Susan Frederick Gray for UUA President.
Senior Minister, River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Susan has a rare combination of strategic thinking and ministerial presence that is essential to the effective functioning of the President of our Association. We ask our President to be a poet in the public sphere and to speak theologically and morally on behalf of our faith. We also expect our President to work collaboratively with staff and board members to manage the affairs of the Association in a matter consistent with our values. Susan is capable of holding both roles with care, courage, and deep intention. I’m proud to offer her my support.
Director of Music, River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation
I am excited about our future Unitarian Universalism with Susan leading the way. I think she has a great vision and leadership ability – especially for our denomination to be effective in making a difference in these troubling times.
Director of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito
I have appreciated and admired Susan’s social justice work within her state of Arizona for years. Through community cooperation with other faiths and community groups, they were finally able to elect local officials that reversed illegal and immoral laws against immigrants. During the campaign for the past two years, I have had opportunity to attend many candidate forums and I really appreciated the way Susan listened to my stance on religious educator issues. She even did online meetings with people who couldn’t attend conferences or had more in depth questions. That sort of access and willingness to be available to constituents is so important. As a former elected official, I can tell you that this willingness to be available is essential to a productive and effective leader. I feel heard and valued when talking with Susan and that is why she has my whole hearted endorsement.
Director of Children’s Ministries, UU Congregation of Phoenix
As a UU Religious Professional, my words come from experience at UUCPhoenix. As chief of staff, Susan trusts the team. She gives us room to collaborate, share our knowledge, and build amazing, creative programs. Susan is a strong advocate for religious education and religious educators. She speaks up and speaks out for the needs of DREs throughout our community. She invests time, space, and financial resources to our work. The close partnership between ministers and RE is essential our worship planning, our justice work, our mission, and our vision.
My congregation is a place of joy, community, trust, and justice. I think the entire UUA deserves the wisdom, vitality, and strength of Susan’s leadership.
Many attest to Susan’s leadership, depth, passion, and insight. I’d add to that list: she’s incredibly kind. I’ve witnessed Susan act in love and faith while tired, be in solidarity with those most marginalized, and be fully present at all times. As President of the UUA, I trust she will lead with that same groundedness, connectedness, and openness.
What we need in the next President of the UUA is (1) the ability to see into the future and grasp what is possible now — to see what is being born as well as what is dying away and (2) the ability to lead in those breakthrough moments when water freezes, or the dams burst, or the butterfly emerges, the unpredictable and unrepeatable moments of genuine change, and (3) the ability to offer the people an experience of the Spirit that can hold us all steady in the struggle.
I see in Susan that ability to be present, to lead, in the unpredictable moments of real change. I see in the way that her talk seems to always return to “mission,” a clarity about how we can shape the future. I think that she is brave, and faithful, and accomplished.
No UUA President can lead all of us where we don’t want to go. But if UU’s are ready “to trust a dawning future more,” I believe that Susan Frederick-Gray can lead us there.
Minister of Music and Worship Arts, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego
We need leadership with a strong vision of partnership and collaboration in our work of love in the world. Susan has a clear vision of the call of Unitarian Universalism and an understanding of how to be a partner in the work of justice.
Senior Leader (Minister), Washington Ethical Society
Like so many, I am inspired by Susan’s justice work, and I believe she will represent us with passion and a true sense of solidarity on the national stage. But I am also inspired by her organizational sense. I support the ways she wants to revitalize our structures, to make our UUA more nimble and more effective. And as the leader of an intentionally humanist congregation, part of the Ethical Culture movement (and also a member congregation of the UUA), I trust Susan to welcome and celebrate all the strains of UU identity that make up our pluralistic movement. I am proud to add my voice to the many endorsing Susan’s candidacy for President of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, Ohio
I followed Susan as the settled minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, Ohio. That church was her first settled ministry. Her work in this congregation was apparent. I found a healthy, mission-focused, outwardly-facing congregation of people that were proud of their accomplishments with Susan, and were ready to keep the momentum up. I am impressed with her work, grateful for her ministry here, and heartily endorse her for UUA President.
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis
Susan’s leadership and ministry have helped shape Unitarian Universalism’s clear and prophetic response to systematic injustice and violence. I know she will bring that same clarity and boldness to the UUA presidency.
Minister, First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Mass.
I support Susan Frederick-Gray for UUA President because of her leadership and vision for our faith. In Phoenix, she has built a spiritually vital congregation and helped connect Unitarian Universalists to a vision for justice in the world. She has built relationships with leaders of diverse faith groups and social justice movements to help heal our world. (more…)
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota
I grew up in the Phoenix Unitarian Universalist Church, starting as a baby in 1951. After leaving Arizona in 1974, I attended Starr King School for the Ministry and I have served as a minister in five of our congregations. Having grown up in the Phoenix church, I have watched Rev. Frederick-Gray’s work from a distance. I am grateful for her excellent leadership in a church that I love. She is a skilled minister who works in harmony with her church and community leaders. In her life she has modeled high ethical and moral standards.
In her campaign events she is an attentive listener. When she speaks, she offers insightful perspectives and specific, practical steps to address both the emotional issues facing our association and our Unitarian Universalist role in the larger world. In answering questions she is steady, rational, supportive, calm and friendly, not overbearing or controlling. I am happy to endorse Susan Frederick-Gray for President of the UUA.
As an immigrant and long time immigration justice advocate, I am so grateful for Susan Frederick-Gray’s leadership and commitment to transforming our broken immigration system. Her ministry models cultural humility and encourages all of us to recognize that immigrant people’s rights are human rights.
I have known and worked with Susan since she was first called to Phoenix. I have witnessed her deep and skillful collaboration with other leaders in what was sometimes difficult work to realize common ground. We are a land of many peoples and diverse cultures. Susan’s ministry has proven how deeply she is open to that reality and how thoughtfully she engages its challenges.
Our Unitarian Universalist Association has much to offer the world, in order to realize that potential we must boldly join with interfaith partners in principled partnerships. We need a leader who has shown that rare ability to lead, while also uniting with others.
Susan has a deep and practiced understanding of our liberal religious way. Her leadership will be grounded in both the wellsprings of our heritage and a deep personal spiritual practice.
I reached out to Susan in the preparations for Justice GA, and in the years since, I’ve seen again and again how deeply grounded Susan is in a faithful practice of Love that infuses all that she does. Her faith and spiritual practices are the foundation for her ministry. Susan’s commitment to justice as solidarity with movement-builders is grounded in relationships with key movement leaders, especially but not only in immigrant justice work. Susan’s vision and accountability to broader movements for justice have the potential to widen and deepen our prophetic work as a faith tradition. She’s a leader who I turn to for ideas on how to make my ministry more effective and impactful within the congregation I serve. I admire and respect Susan’s vision for Unitarian Universalism, her commitment to building a just and sustainable world, and her capacity to shift institutions to match this vision and commitment. She will serve our movement well as UUA President.
Co-ministers, Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists
We have witnessed Susan’s clarity and sense of purpose strengthen with each passing year. From Justice GA 2012 to this Presidential campaign-Susan IS spiritually vital! Susan IS deeply committed to creating accountable relationships, grounded in love. Susan IS organizing and organized for impact-the impact that will help dismantle white supremacy culture that is harming all of us. We trust that Susan can lead our association to greater health, grounded in our UU principles and values, persistent in the quest to build a multicultural, anti-racist, anti-oppressive beloved community. Rock on Susan! We are WITH you!
Minister, May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society of Syrcuse
Susan Frederick-Gray is a candidate prepared to deal with the trying times of our society and denomination today. Connected with coalitions and speaking truth to power, she has worked toward a more just, caring, and whole world. I support her because of her experience, her lived values, and her ability to be humble while holding power and authority. She is what our denomination needs to face an ever difficult and changing future.
Through all the years I’ve known Susan, she has been able to hold both a strong vision and the immediacy of the moment in balance. She is committed to the outcome and honors the process. She loves our association and sees a purpose and a path into our future. With her people skills, she can excite Unitarian Universalists into paying for that future! I endorse her without hesitation.
Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church of San Jose
Susan’s keen mind and loving heart, her capacity to bridge differences, her eagerness to learn from every experience, her clear analysis of power structures, her courage to put herself on the line in words and deeds, her authentic spiritual depth, and her understanding and humility in the face of this very moment of unfolding growth in our religion—all these qualities make Susan uniquely qualified and called to serve as the next president of the UUA. Her gifts for leadership have inspired my own growth throughout the 20 years since we first met. I have witnessed how, in Phoenix, she has built a diverse staff of equal voices, has co-led with congregants a robust visioning process, has managed some pretty powerful conflict, and has partnered accountably with communities of color. I love the work that she does, the way she does it, and the person that she is. In a field of truly outstanding candidates for the presidency, I heartily endorse the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray! May we all work together for this faith that we love.
Susan has a deep appreciation of the role of global majorities beyond the USA in defining our faith identity. She has actively sought to understand the international U*U faith communities and has articulated great depth of insight in our intersubjective attempts to understand the greater context in which we all succeed or fail as one human race. She has shown great leadership beyond show-up posturing. And more importantly, she has shown maturity in opening up to our non-linear, multi-narrative, multi-racial, interfaith strands. She will help us launch with confidence into even deeper conversations in the coming year.
Minister Elect, First Unitarian Church of Memphis, TN
Rev. Susan Frederick Gray has a clear vision of the UUA as a force for justice and compassion in our world. I am inspired not just by the work that Susan is prepared to do with our denomination, but by the spiritual depth with which she approaches that work. Susan is driven, has a track record of work with marginalized communities and is willing to have difficult conversations. As a young minister and a lifelong Unitarian Universalist who cares deeply about the future of our movement, I am excited to support a candidate for UUA president who can connect with a new generation of Unitarian Universalist leadership.
Come have lunch with Susan Frederick-Gray, Candidate for UUA President, from 12-2pm on Friday, June 23rd. The lunch will take place in the General Assembly convention center in the Rivergate Room. Sus...
Visit with Susan Frederick-Gray, Candidate for UUA President, in the General Assembly Exhibit Hall at Booth #307. Susan will be at the booth on Thursday, June 22nd, from 1:30-3pm and on Saturday, June...
Q: In our times there are shrinking budgets in the UUA, regions, and congregations for supporting programs including credentialing, services to all professional groups and congregational education aro...