312 FILLMORE STREET, STATEN ISLAND, NY 10301 PHONE: 718-447-2204
a HISTORY OF leadership
Current leadership team
A cohesive leadership team is important to our congregational health, vitality, and purpose. Our leaders include:
• Our Minister, Emily DeTar Birt
• Our Staff
• Our Board of Trustees
• Our Program Committees
Each person plays a vital role in the shared ministry of our church.
Minister EMILY DeTAR BIRT is a Unitarian Universalist minister and the half-time consulting minister for the Unitarian Church of Staten Island. She served as the sabbatical minister for the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, after serving as the ministerial intern there. She also served as the first intern for the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association. She mainly facilitated and plan for the Beyond the Call: Entrepreneurial Ministry Program, which helped to train ministers and lay leaders in non-profit business skills to better plant new ministries and revitalize churches. She graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 2015. Over the span of the last seven years, Emily has served six congregations, as well as other organizations.
Director of Music, CAROLYN CLARK, D.M.A., (above) holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Manhattan School of Music. As a French hornist, she has performed throughout the US and Canada. She is Executive Director of the Staten Island Philharmonic and a Staten Island Advance 2014 Women of Achievement award recipient.
Church Administrator, KELLY COLLINS
Biography to come...
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Superintendent, DEBRA MONTE
Building Attendant, TBA
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2018 - 2019
President Susan Flynn
Vice President Linda Santlofer
Secretary Ruth Benson
Treasurer Maureen Curran
Trustees '19: Sally Jones, Christine Johnson
Trustees '20: Nancy Ikeda, Kevin Clark
Trustees '21: Diane Azar Colon, Michael Esposito
BOARD NOMINATING COMMITTEES
Nominating Committee, 2019
Bob Pipkins and Tom Seluga
Nominating Committee, 2020
Mary Hernandez and Randy Leason
Committees form the backbone of our congregational life. You are warmly invited to participate in the committees, except as noted. For information about a committee and how to become a member, or to express a concern in a particular committee's area of interest, please contact us.
A PROUD AND LIBERAL History
Since its founding by abolitionists almost a hundred and fifty years ago, our church has had a proud and liberal heritage. Our leaders and members have included civil rights activists, champions of women's suffrage and women's liberation; antiwar and antinuclear activists. In 2005, our membership voted unanimously to become a Welcoming Congregation, opening our hearts to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities.
The Unitarian Church of Staten Island is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Unitarian Universalism is the result of the merger of two separate denominations: Unitarianism and Universalism.
Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who did not believe in the Holy Trinity. Instead, they believed in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Unitarianism emerged in America in the early 19th century, stressing the importance of rational thinking, of each person's direct relationship with God, and of the humanity of Jesus.
American Unitarianism went through many changes, from the introduction of transcendentalist thought in the mid-1800s and humanist thought in the early 1930s. These contributed to the evolution of American Unitarianism into a more broad and flexible faith.
As a theological doctrine, Universalism was a direct response to the Calvinist concept of predestination, that only the elected are chosen by God for salvation. Universalists held that all human beings will eventually be saved. Because of its loving and inclusive doctrine, Universalism quickly became popular in America, and the Universalist Church of America was formed in 1793.
After growing increasingly theologically and ethically close, the Unitarian and Universalist denominations consolidated in 1961 to form the new religion of Unitarian Universalism. Although Unitarian Universalism no longer solely holds traditional Unitarian or Universalist beliefs, it does draw directly on its heritage for much of its inspiration and grounding.
During the mid-nineteenth century, the population of Staten Island numbered just over 15,000, with many newcomers from New England settling on the North Shore in Stapleton and New Brighton. On October 24, 1852, two congregations of liberal Christians, the New Brighton group known as the Congregational Church of the Evangelists and the United Independent Church of Stapleton, incorporated in what then became the Church of the Redeemer.
Established in the Unitarian denomination, in 1853, the Church of the Redeemer opened its first building near what is now Victory Boulevard and Cebra Avenue. It called the Rev. John Parkman, a Unitarian minister originally from New Hampshire, to lead the conjoined congregations, which he had served separately prior to their merger.