Position: Parish Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica, N.Y.
How did Hamilton get you where you are today? In Professor Ambrose's class "US Religion and Slavery," I spent all of Christmas break reading about Theodore Parker for a paper and feeling closer to and more energized by my faith than I had in a long time. I learned during my history classes at Hamilton about Buddhism, Taoism, the Russian Orthodox Church schism of 1666 and the historical Jesus. All of this fed my curiosity about theology and religious history and helped motivate me to attend seminary. My four years on the swim team and my one season playing rugby reinforced how much I love being part of a team working toward a common goal, which is really what ministry is about. When I attended Rainbow Alliance meetings at Hamilton, I began the process of committing to LGBTQ justice, which continues to be a strong theme in my ministry. I also enjoyed taking theater classes with Mark Cryer, and often when I am preaching I think about lessons Mark taught me, especially "don't apologize, go all in without fear of failure."
What was your involvement in religious life when you were a student? While I was at Hamilton we had a small Unitarian Universalist student group who met on the third floor of the chapel on occasion to eat cider donuts and catch up with one another. I enjoyed theological conversations with our chaplain, Jeff McArn and always felt he supported my spiritual development. I attended the church that I now serve from time to time in college and enjoyed interfaith opportunities like the Seder and Eid dinners that had campus-wide invites.
Recent Involvement at Hamilton: Co-leading the Wellspring Covenant Group, a monthly discussion groupd founded in the spirit of Unitarian Universalism and the United Church of Christ faiths.
Positions: Rabbi Emeritus of congregation Beth Israel W. Hartford, CT
Former President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism
Author of What's In It For Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives
How did Hamilton help get you to where you are? At the time I was a student there was no Jewish life of any kind at Hamilton. The neo-Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell was brought in as a speaker. Some Hamilton students actually cheered him. It was a chilling moment. The Jewish vacuum compared to the warm Jewish home and synagogue where I grew up in East Orange, NJ really made me take a serious look at becoming a rabbi. Something was missing in those days from the atmosphere at Hamilton, and the vacuum taught me how previous that missing component was.
What was your involvement in religious life when you were a student? In my Junior year I had a car on campus. For some reason while other students were doing what students did/do on Friday nights, I found myself attending religious services regularly in Utica. Hamilton is very different today, as I recalled in the speech I gave in the Hamilton chapel on April 16, 2015 to commemorate the Holocaust and in the talks I gave as Scholar in Residence at Temple Emanu-El in Utica the following weekend. The changes in the 50 years since I arrived on the Hill are most welcome.
Recent Involvement at Hamilton: Gave a talk entitled: "Holocaust & Memory" in honor of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Position: Assistant to the Bishop for Stewardship in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
How did Hamilton get you where you are today? Most importantly, Hamilton prepared me as a public speaker. Much of my work in stewardship formation involves speaking to groups, whether it involves preaching lay sermons or leading stewardship formation workshops. Without the training I received in public speaking at Hamilton, I would not be doing this ministry work.
What was your involvement in religious life when you were a student? When I was on the Hill, Hamilton had a mandatory chapel requirement that one could fulfill by attending worship services elsewhere. I worshiped regularly at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Clinton, even teaching Sunday school one year.
Recent Involvement at Hamilton: Assisting in alumni week services.