Greetings! I write to bring you news of our life and work at Starr King. At our November board meeting, the Starr King Trustees made several important decisions about Starr King's core faculty. Here's the news.
Rev. Alma Crawford’s contract with the school will conclude at the end of June 2008. She has been granted a study leave for the spring 2008 and will be continuing her studies towards the completion of her Ph.D. at Chicago Theological Seminary. Alma has brought many gifts to Starr King. We wish her the best as she moves ahead with her ministry and scholarship.
Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake has been appointed the Dean of the Faculty. Dr. Blake, Starr King's Visiting Professor of Spirituality and Prophetic Justice, brings extensive experience in congregational ministry as well as academic leadership to this role. He is minister of the Church of the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, following in the footsteps of Dr. Howard Thurman. Most recently, he directed the D.Min program at the University of Creation Spirituality, and is well known to many Starr King graduates from his years as Director of the Center for Urban Black Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and as a long-time member of Starr King's adjunct faculty.
Rev. Dr. Gabriella's Lettini's contract has been renewed and extended to an ongoing appointment as Starr King's Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Director of Studies in Public Ministry and Associate Professor of Theological Ethics. Dr. Lettini's scholarly expertise and publications in ethics, religion and film, and feminist theologies inform her passion for ministries that address poverty and oppression in its many forms. Before coming to Starr King, Dr. Lettini served as a parish minister and taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York where she completed her Ph.D. Dr. Lettini directs the school's Master of Arts in Religious Leadership for Social Change, and advances student's knowledge and skills for ministries in congregational and community settings that embody Unitarian Universalist commitments to "justice, equity and compassion."
In other news of our faculty, Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé, the school's Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Luce Project in Multireligious Education, has been honored by the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) by being appointed "Senior Research Analyst" at the newly opened Center for Islamic Studies. As the former chair of the Islamic Studies Task Force, Ibrahim led a GTU-wide effort to bring the first intentional instruction in Islamic Studies to the GTU, planned and hosted several conferences, and formed key relationships with Islamic communities across the Bay Area. In making the appointment, Acting GTU Dean Judith Berling wrote,
"This appointment honors Professor Farajajé's leadership role in the conception and development of the Islamic Studies Center ... He also helped to create the strategic plan for the Center which led to program funding.
"It is no exaggeration to say that without Professor Farajajé we would not now have a Center at the GTU. The position of Senior Research Analyst ... does not detract him from his instruction and administrative duties at Starr King School for the Ministry. It recognizes his seminal contributions in the past, but also his ongoing role as an advisor, faculty, and contributor to the intellectual substance and program directions of the center."
The strengths of our gifted faculty members make Starr King an excellent school for the preparation of people for Unitarian Universalist ministry and progressive religious leadership in society. It is a joy to serve with them in the good work of the school.