CLEVELAND (AP), June 25--The Unitarian Universalist Association elected its first black president in the denomination's 40-year history at its annual convention Saturday.

The Rev. William G. Sinkford, 54, won by a 2-1 margin--2,218 votes to 1,043 votes--over the Rev. Diane M.W. Miller, who would have been the first woman president. Sinkford succeeds the Rev. John A. Buehrens, who served two four-year terms.

Sinkford is not only the first black UUA president, but he also is the first Afican-American to head any predominately white religious denomination.

After a corporate career, mostly in marketing, Sinkford entered divinity school and was ordained in 1995 in Cincinnati. He said he would use his presidency to speak out on racial justice, gender equality and poverty.

``The hurting world in which we live desperately needs our liberal voice,'' he said. ``We can be, and will be, a transformative voice for justice in the world.''

For seven years, the Cambridge, Mass., resident has served as director of congregational, district and extension services for the Boston-based denomination.

Miller, of Belmont, Mass., has been director of ministry since 1993.

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