A Biographical History
The Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist congregation called me to its ministry in April 2007; I began our shared ministry that August.
May 2002, I was awarded a Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry, and the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, CA. Previous to graduating, I spent nine months as Intern Minister in Memphis, TN with the Church of the River/First Unitarian Church and the Reverend Burton Carley.
To further my experience, I served as a chaplain during a year of Clinical Pastoral Education beginning 2002-2003, at the Memphis Veteran’s Administration Hospital.
The UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee awarded me preliminary Fellowship in Unitarian Universalist ministry, October 2002, and permanent Fellowship after fulfilling the ministerial requirements three years later. The Memphis congregation ordained me in November 2003. At the time I was serving two Mississippi congregations in a yoked ministry: the Jackson UU Church and Our Home Universalist Unitarian in Laurel.
I served Our Home for two years halftime, and Jackson two years half-time and a third year fulltime. At the time of hurricanes Katrina and Rita I was the only full-time UU minister serving in Mississippi. The “letters” I wrote for the Mid-South UUA District website reporting my experience as minister and chaplain in Mississippi immediately after Katrina are on the UUA website presently: https://secure2.uua.org/news/gulfcoast/lettershurricane/index.shtml
After Katrina and Rita I served as a member of the national UUA/UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Fund Panel and its Community Working Group, as well as an ex-officio member of the UU Congregations Mississippi Strategic Planning Group. I worked with the Mississippians for Smart Justice (anti-death penalty), the ACLU and the ACLU Women's Reproductive Freedom Coalition, and the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Association (MIRA). I was on the Board of Planned Parenthood of AL, as the PP offices in MS were satellites of the Alabama group. I participated in the Mississippi Liberal Religious Council, as well as an interfaith clergy study group in Jackson.
There were several very memorable moments of justice work within the Mississippi ministry including Jan. 14, 2007 when I was the keynote speaker for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at the downtown St. Peter the Apostle Cathedral in Jackson. Over one hundred people attended of various faiths though namely Catholic. In an effort to defend reproductive freedom I spoke before a committee of the MS legislature. Reporters from the Guardian UK Observer were present. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/02/usa.carolecadwalladr
The hate group Operation Save America came to protest in Jackson and outside the Unitarian Universalist church putting us in the papers nationally again. I was invited to offer prayer for the MS Democratic Black Caucus and later for a MS Democratic Party Dinner, and for the citywide Children’s Sabbath Service—these are the times that stand out in my memory. The MS ministry was an amazing justice ministry.
Thus far in the Tri-cities I am a supporting minister with the local PFLAG chapter; I am a leader in the United Regions Initiative, an interfaith peace group, and a board member of Green Interfaith Network, Inc. (GINI). I continue my interest in Planned Parenthood, and in TADP (TN Against the Death Penalty) and immigration reform. After the shooting in the Tennessee Valley UU Church, I worked to assist the ministers and members of the Knoxville congregations, including Westside UU Church whose members were attending the service and also suffered injuries and death.
Before ministry I was an artist and art teacher in Shreveport, LA. I received a B.S in Art Education from Louisiana Tech, and a M.E. jointly from Bank Street School of Education and Parsons School of Design, Manhattan. The 1988 Masters of Education had a focus of Arts, Administration and Supervision. At various times in my teaching life I have taught art to all ages, from kindergarteners to the elderly. I regularly exhibited my monoprints, and paintings with some local and national recognition. Under a grant program from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, I established a community printmaking studio in St. Catherine Community Center where I was the resident artist for four years.
After 23 years of marriage, I was divorced in 1989. Our four sons are men now and have families of their own in Fairhope, Alabama, Pasadena, Chicago and New York. In 1999, I left all I knew and drove from Shreveport to Berkeley to answer a call to ministry. And now I am minister for a wonderful congregation in beautiful northeast Tennessee!