Peter Morales

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Reverend
Peter Morales
8th President of the Unitarian Universalist Association
In office
June 28, 2009 – April 1, 2017
Preceded by William G. Sinkford
Succeeded by Rev. Sofia Betancourt, Rev. William Sinkford, and Dr. Leon Spencer (interim co-presidents)[1][2]
Personal details
Born San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Residence Boston, Massachusetts
Website UUA President's pages

Peter Morales is the former president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, elected in 2009. Morales was the UUA's first Latino president.[3] He was formerly the senior minister of the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Jefferson County, Colorado, a rapidly growing Unitarian Universalist congregation in the northwestern Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area. As the result of a controversy regarding the UUA's hiring practices, Morales resigned as president in 2017, three months before the end of the term.[4]

Personal history[edit]

Morales was born in San Antonio, Texas. His mother, Oralia López, was of Mexican-American heritage; his father, Peter Morales, was an immigrant from Spain. His initial language was Spanish. As a youth he greatly enjoyed baseball. As a young child, he attended a bilingual Lutheran mission church, which his mother had attended growing up.[5] When Morales was ten, his family later moved to a larger, English speaking congregation.[5] He attended Sunday school and was confirmed there, while learned what he called "fundamentalist doctrine."[5]

On graduation from high school he attended Raymond College at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Active in student government, he studied history and social theory. It was also in college, when learning about "evolution and cultural anthropology and comparative religion," that he ceased to belief in his childhood faith, and left his Lutheran denomination,[5]

Upon graduation in 1967, he married his wife Phyllis and taught school for three years. Faced with the draft during the Vietnam War he immigrated to Revelstoke, British Columbia. There he worked in a lumber mill and as a reporter for a community newspaper. No longer in danger from the draft, he returned to the United States when he was 26 and entered a program in American Studies at the University of Kansas. Following a summer in Mexico studying Spanish, Morales was granted a lectureship in 1976 as a Fulbright lecturer in American literature and American history at the University of Oviedo in Asturias in northern Spain.

However, while in Spain, his son (born in Canada and then four years old) was diagnosed with cancer, necessitating a return to the United States, where the son was treated at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Faced with daunting medical bills, Morales accepted a job in 1977 working for the California Department of Social Services in Sacramento where his second child, a daughter, was born. He worked there until 1985 on tasks related to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program.

In 1985, Morales ventured into newspaper publishing as the owner of community newspapers in Rogue River and Cottage Grove, Oregon, being a pioneer in the use of desktop publishing. As an experienced and innovative journalist, in 1995 he was awarded one of the first Knight International Journalism Fellowships and spent 5 months teaching and advising at La Industria de Chiclayo in Chiclayo, Peru.

Unitarian Universalism[edit]

Morales first became involved in Unitarian Universalism at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Eugene, Oregon. Very active, he served on the congregation's board of trustees. He enrolled in Starr King School for the Ministry, a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Berkeley, California and on graduation in 1999 was called to the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado. Active in liberal evangelism while still in seminary, under his leadership the Jefferson Unitarian Church grew rapidly. The leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Association in 2002 asked him to serve as Director of District Services for two years, returning to Jefferson Unitarian Church in 2004. In 2008, in an address to his congregation, he announced his candidacy for the presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association on a platform of inclusion and growth.[6][7][8]

Presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association[edit]

On June 27, 2009, Morales was elected president of the Unitarian Universalist Association at the General Assembly of the Association in Salt Lake City, Utah. Morales received 2,061 votes from delegates to 1,481 for his opponent, Dr. Laurel Hallman.[9][10] In 2013, the salary of the UUA president was set at $222,916.[11]

On March 30, 2017, Morales announced he would resign as UUA president, effective two days later.[4][12] Morales' resignation, just three months before the end of his term, followed a controversy regarding the UUA's hiring practices as they pertained to institutional racism.[13] In a letter to staff addressing the controversy, Morales had called for "more humility and less self righteousness, more thoughtfulness and less hysteria," before realizing that the letter "made matters worse" and that he had "clearly lost the trust of many people."[4]


  1. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (31 March 2017). "Unitarian Universalist president resigns amid diversity controversy". Religion News Service. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Mcardle, Elaine (11 April 2017). "Three co-presidents to lead UUA until General Assembly 2017". UU World Magazine. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b c d "Beyond Belief: UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, Feb. 12, 2012". Retrieved 2016-09-01. 
  6. ^ Campaign Platform Archived January 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Biography of Peter Morales Campaign web site, accessed July 4, 2009 Archived July 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Resume from campaign website Retrieved July 4, 2009[dead link]
  9. ^ "Rev. Peter Morales Elected as Eighth President of Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations" June 27, 2009 retrieved from the UUA website July 5, 2009
  10. ^ "Morales decisively wins UUA presidency: The Rev. Peter Morales elected with 59 percent of the vote." by Christopher L. Walton And Donald E. Skinner UU World 6.29.09
  11. ^ Minutes of the UUA Board of Trustees 18-19 june 2013
  12. ^ Walton, Christopher (30 March 2017). "UUA President Peter Morales resigns amid controversy over hiring practices". UU World Magazine. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  13. ^ Mcardle, Elaine (27 March 2017). "Critics decry ‘white supremacy’ in UUA hiring practices". UU World Magazine. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 

External links[edit]