UUA Presidents are Always Ministers: The Answer to Today’s UU Trivia Question

Chris Walton, the redoubtable Philocrites, is the winner of today’s UU trivia question challenge.  He correctly (and quickly) guessed that all seven UUA presidents have been ordained ministers.  A UU college student chimed in to note that the “tradition” has been that presidents are ministers and moderators (originally a position with significantly more decision-making power than it now holds) are laypeople.

Of course, this claim of “tradition” raises the question of why exactly presidents are always ministers.  What do you think?  Would you conceivably ever vote for a layperson over a minister for UUA president?  Why or why not?  Beyond ministerial experience, what characteristics do you consider necessary or desirable for a UUA president?



Filed under Liberal Religious History, Unitarian-Universalism

3 responses to “UUA Presidents are Always Ministers: The Answer to Today’s UU Trivia Question

  1. Yes, UUA Presidents are always ministers and this is a paid position. Moderators are traditionally lay people and this is a volunteer position. All Presidents so far have been men. I’ll bet that all Moderators have been women. Presidents are addressed by name: “President Sinkford.” Moderators are addressed only by role during Plenary: “Madame Moderator.” Would a male Moderator be “Sir Moderator”? Or would a man be addressed as Moderator Lastname?

  2. Actually the frist two were men, including Joe Fisher who served in the US congress while also serving as moderator, but all since then have been women.

    Marshall E. Dimock 1961
    Joseph L. Fisher 1964
    Sandra M. Caron 1977
    Natalie Gulbrandsen 1985
    Denise Davidoff 1993
    Diane Olson 2001
    Gini Courter 2003

  3. Here’s an interesting tidbit: Moderator Sandra Caron ran against President William Schulz during Schulz’s reelection bid. If she had won, the tradition would have been broken.

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