(RNS) The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC) both made history this week by selecting minority presidents at their annual meetings.
The Boston-based UUA elected its first Latino president, the Rev. Peter Morales; the Cleveland-based UCC nominated its first African-American president, the Rev. Geoffrey Black, as its next general minister and president.
“I believe this says that Unitarian Universalists are eager to open our doors wider and to welcome the changes that becoming more diverse will bring to us,” said UUA spokeswoman Janet Hayes by phone from the General Assembly in Salt Lake City.

Both leaders will be the second minorities to helm their faith traditions. The Rev. William Sinkford, an African-American, preceded Morales in the UUA’s top post. Black is the second African-American leader of the UCC; the first, Joseph H. Evans, served only a partial term after the death of an acting president.
Black, as the only presidential nominee at the 27th General Synod in Grand Rapids, Mich., was scheduled to be officially elected during the evening plenary on Monday (June 29).
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, a UCC spokesman, said Black, leader of the UCC’s New York conference, is a “charismatic leader” with plenty of experience.
“He has a depth of pastoral skills and understanding that will help him to work with the broad constituency of racial ethnic groups and theological perspectives that make up United Church of Christ,” said Guess.
Both of the liberal denominations have overwhelmingly white constituencies. The UCC estimates that 9 percent of its membership is made up of minority racial and ethnic groups. The UUA said roughly 7.2 percent of its membership identifies as people of color.
In his election, Morales, of Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colo., defeated the Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman by a vote of 2,061 to 1,481.
There have been no female presidents of either denomination.
By Tiffany Stanley
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

A new video by The Lincoln Project, a newly formed Republican organization against Donald Trump, mocks Trump supporters for worshiping “The MAGA Church.” The ad intertwines clips of Trump talking about faith with videos of him speaking crudely. It also features Bible verses, such as Matthew 7:15 which states “Beware of false prophets, which come […]

Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk is generating a lot of buzz right now for comparing the impeachment process of President Donald Trump to the Trial of Jesus. Loudermilk whose district covers a large part of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, spoke at Trump’s impeachment hearing and made these controversial remarks: “When Jesus was falsely accused of Treason, Pontius […]

Less Americans are giving to charity and it may not be for the reason you’re thinking. Giving has dropped significantly between 2000 and 2016 according to a study released from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable. This decline points to 20 million fewer households donating to charity versus 2000. Money […]

By Kenneth Foard McCallion Impeachment has often been described as a political process. But the current impeachment inquiry unfolding in Congress is also, in a fundamental sense, a moral and ethical challenge for all Americans. Before we can take a position as to whether a sitting president should be impeached and removed from office, we […]