Theme Speaker

Social Justice as a Spiritual Practice: A Central UU Path

Rev. Art McDonald will share thoughts on the theme including personal, congregational, and larger community perspectives on social justice. Ideas and questions to be considered will include:

  • A Story of Conversion: Confessions of a Slow Learner.
  • Social Justice and the Congregation. Will social justice grow or divide the congregation?
  • Religion, Politics and Democracy. Do we mix religion and politics? If yes, how? Are we democrats and/or republicans? We’ll use the concept of the common good to critique our individualism. What does it mean to say the congregation has a public ministry?
  • Social Analysis. We’ll discuss the importance of social analysis and how gender, race and class and environment intersect. How would a faith-based social justice viewpoint critique our own society?
  • Social Justice Beyond Our Borders. We’ll discuss how to do social justice work internationally – we’ll discuss how U.S. foreign policy has an effect on our lives at home. What’s the role of the church congregation concerning issues of war and peace and U.S. foreign policy?

Our theme speaker, Rev. Art McDonald was ordained to the ministry in 1978 and joins us from the First Universalist (Unitarian Universalist) Church of Essex, MA. Art is familiar to many in the Ohio-Meadville District following his years of service to the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church in Pittsburgh. He was called as minister to Essex in September of 2003.  Along with traditional pastoral duties such as preaching, conducting rites of passage, worship-leading, counseling and adult education, Art believes that religious congregations have a major role to play in community outreach and organizing. Thus he sees much of his ministry as involved in community issues of justice and peacemaking. Art holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, focused on the relationship between religion and politics. His dissertation research was conducted in Peru, South America. Art is also adjunct faculty at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. More recently Art has been teaching as a part time faculty member at Merrimack College, North Andover, MA and Salem State College in Salem, MA. Art has been married to Melanie (Hodorowski) McDonald for 30 years.