Elias Ortega-Aponte succeeds Lee Barker at Chicago’s Unitarian Universalist seminary.
Meadville Lombard President Elias Ortega-Aponte. (Courtesy Meadville Lombard)
In April, Meadville Lombard Theological School, the UU seminary in Chicago, named Elias Ortega-Aponte its next president. Ortega-Aponte, an associate professor of social theory and religious ethics at Drew University Theological School since 2011, succeeds the Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, who retired in July after sixteen years at the school.
In nominating him, the search team praised Ortega-Aponte as “an innovative leader, a committed Unitarian Universalist, a celebrated educator, a social justice activist, an accomplished scholar, and an experienced community organizer.”
Ortega-Aponte is a member of the UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change and holds an M.Div. and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. His primary research areas include the sociology of religion, religious ethics, critical theory, Africana studies, and Latinx cultural studies. He is a member of the Morristown, New Jersey, Unitarian Fellowship.
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Christopher L. Walton was the editor of UU World and director of the UUA’s Periodicals staff group until June 2021. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah.