I grew up in Southern Utah, hiking barefoot in the red rock, and rolling down the pink sand dunes. After leaving the church of my youth, I found an anchor in UU fellowship while attending college in the Rocky Mountains. The commitment I found there to service, inclusion, diversity, accountability, and to self-examination provided a path for me to harness my impact on the world to support the values I believe in. As I connected with congregations in Chicago and Las Vegas while pursuing my Ph.D. in Sociology, I found meaningful community connections and service opportunities that inspired me and made a difference in people’s lives, including creating a support group for queer youth in rural Utah, teaching in youth programs, and working with The Night Ministry to build community and bring resources to people experiencing homelessness.
I have worked in advocacy and education for the past 20 years: anti-violence work in domestic violence and LGBTQIA+ services, economic justice supporting access to careers, education, leadership opportunities and housing for underrepresented populations, and evaluating mental health and addiction services. While teaching at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to help students couch individual experiences into the context of the larger social structures, and give them the tools to understand data and how it can inform our world and our efforts to make change. I look forward to serving the congregation as we all explore life, meaning, and build community!
- Dr. Ray Macfarlane