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, Rev. Darrell Berger
• Our Staff
• Our Board of Trustees
• Our Program Committees
Each person plays a vital role in the shared ministry of our church.
We are pleased to welcome Reverend Darrell Berger back to the UCSI as pro tem minister.
Reverend Berger is well-known to us from his four years as Developmental Minister at the UCSI, from August 2013 to June 2017. He piloted us through a challenging transition, from a church with budgetary constraints in need of renovations to securing the funding necessary to bring our 19th century buildings into the 21st century. Working closely with then Church Treasurer, Stanley Hellman, he addressed the scope of work and the funding necessary for the improvements, including an efficient modern heating system, while at the same time serving the spiritual and pastoral needs of the congregation.
"This is the fourth congregation I've served with an historic church building," Rev. Berger said. "The task of ministry to the building and the congregation is the same: carefully maintain what still works and renovate what doesn't."
He enjoys preaching and his topics range widely, always returning to the central themes of social justice equality. "Theologically, I'm a Transcendentalist," Rev. Berger says. "Emerson used Buddhism and poetry to help realize an American spirituality that bends toward justice. I try to follow that path."
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, TBA
Email at email@example.com.
Building Superintendent, DEBRA MONTE
Building Attendant, TBA
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2022 - 2023
President Christine Johnson
Vice President Mike Stein
Secretary Linda Santlofer
Treasurer Susan Flynn
Trustees John Walker, Virginia Allen, Tom Seluga, Kevin Clark, Randy Leason, Janet Mahoney
BOARD NOMINATING COMMITTEES
Nominating Committee 2022 - 2024
Mary Hernandez, Kate Nielsen
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.