UUA president accepts one-year appointment after conclusion of term.
Sinkford will be starting shortly after Catherine Senghas takes over as UUUM’s new Senior Minister/Executive Director on June 1. (Senghas expects to be ordained shortly.) She will be replacing the Rev. John Hickey who will be leaving the Urban Ministry after six years.
The UU Urban Ministry, founded in 1826, offers a broad range of programming for youth in Roxbury and surrounding Boston neighborhoods. Its signature programs, Hickey said, are a comprehensive set of after-school and weekend academic and enrichment youth programs, and Renewal House, a shelter for adults and children escaping domestic violence.
Not only do the Urban Ministry programs provide direct services to recipients, they offer UUs a chance to become personally involved in social justice work, Hickey said, noting that the majority of volunteers are Unitarian Universalists. “The challenge is to get people involved,” Hickey said. “Bill’s presence and his commitment to issues of race and poverty will bring an increased awareness and recognition of this unique Unitarian Universalist ministry.”
In addition to bringing guidance to the staff, Sinkford will be working to help UUUM align its vision with its income. “I’ll be helping their board to get centered on a mission and working to create an imagination where their mission and their programs are appropriately matched with resources,” he said. “They’re always struggling to find enough money to do what they want to do.”
Approximately 50 area UU congregations provide financial and volunteer support to the ministry.
Sinkford is completing his eighth year in the UUA presidency. A graduate of Harvard University and Starr King School for the Ministry, he is the association’s first African American president. During his tenure as president, he distinguished himself as the denomination’s spokesperson on social justice issues, especially marriage equality and immigrants’ rights.
“We’re delighted by this special opportunity to get Bill’s expertise as a leader and person committed to the social justice work we do,” said Ned Leibensperger, president of the UUUM board. “We’re looking to him to increase our profile in the UU world and the larger community.”
Sinkford expressed his special pleasure at the prospect of the new job. “This is a wonderful fit in terms of skills and in terms of time,” he said. “Whenever I think about it, it makes me smile.”
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Jane Greer is a former senior editor of UU World magazine.