UUA Board of Trustees appoints two co-moderators

UUA Board of Trustees appoints two co-moderators

Trustee Elandria Williams and Mr. Barb Greve will serve together as co-moderators until special election in 2018.

Elaine McArdle
Elandria Williams and Barb Greve at the 2013 UUA General Assembly

Elandria Williams and Barb Greve—shown here at the 2013 General Assembly, where they led the Right Relationship Team—were named co-moderators of the UUA in a board announcement on August 9, 2017. (© Nancy Pierce)

© Nancy Pierce


The Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees has appointed Mr. Barb Greve and trustee Elandria Williams as Co-Moderators of the UUA to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Moderator Jim Key on May 13. Key, who was four years into his six-year term, stepped down for health reasons; he died June 2. Greve and Williams will serve in this joint role until a special election for Moderator can be held at the 2018 General Assembly.

In a commitment to new forms of leadership at the UUA, the board appointed the two to serve as co-moderators in an executive session meeting on August 1, but announced the appointments on August 9. In its announcement, the board emphasized that it is committed to modeling shared leadership at all levels of denominational life. It noted that the co-moderators have entered into a covenantal process to live up to the “intent and expectation of shared leadership,” according to minutes from the meeting. The co-moderators are non-salaried positions.

In April, upon the resignation of UUA President Peter Morales, the board took the unprecedented step of appointing three interim co-presidents, the Rev. Sofía Betancourt, the Rev. William G. Sinkford, and Leon Spencer, who served until June 24, when the General Assembly elected the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray as president. The board also appointed co-moderators to serve during the General Assembly in New Orleans June 21–25, with Williams and two other trustees, Greg Boyd and Kathy Burek, presiding over debates and discussions. Trustee Denise Rimes, who served as acting moderator after Key resigned, served at GA 2017 as moderator in charge of ceremonies.

To comply with the UUA’s bylaws, the board appointed Greve to the bylaw-defined role of moderator and appointed Williams as co-moderator, a new position the board has created. However, they both will be referred to as co-moderators, and they will jointly share the role and duties of moderator, including presiding together at General Assemblies and at meetings of the Board of Trustees and its executive committee.

“I’m honored to be called to service,” said Greve, a master level credentialed religious educator and member of First Parish in Framingham, Massachusetts. He has served on the board of Starr King School for the Ministry and is a co-founder of TRUUsT, an organization for transgender religious professionals.

“We really want to model what it means to have a beautiful way to work together and a pastoral presence from all sides,” said Williams, a member of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, who was elected to the UUA board in 2016. “We’re really excited to figure out how we can connect even more and better with congregations, with our communities, with UUs regardless, to get people’s input and ideas and what they want to see happen and hope and dream for our faith.”

Williams is a member of the education team at the Highlander Research and Education Center and serves on the board of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network. She was a founding member of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism organizing collective when she was elected to the UUA Board of Trustees.

Greve and Williams served together as chairs of the General Assembly Right Relationship Team in 2013.

Rimes, who served as acting moderator after Key’s resignation in June, has returned to the board as a regular trustee and will continue serving as first vice moderator.

The thirteen-member board still has one vacancy following the resignation of trustee Dorothy Holmes in February.