William G. Sinkford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William G. Sinkford
Born 1946/1947 (age 69–70)[1]
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Residence Portland, Oregon
Occupation Senior minister (2010–present)
President, Unitarian Universalist Association (2001–2009)
Employer First Unitarian Church of Portland
Title Reverend
Predecessor (as UUA president)
Rev. John A. Buehrens
Successor (as UUA president)
Rev. Peter Morales
Board member of Chicago's Meadville Lombard Theological School[2]
Spouse(s) Maria[2]
Children 2[2]

The Rev. William G. Sinkford (born 1946/47) serves as the senior minister for the First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon.[3] He is more widely known for being the seventh president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), a position he held from 2001 to 2009.[4] His installation as UUA president made him the first African American to lead that organization.[5][6]


Between 1970 and 1980 Sinkford held management positions in marketing with Gillette, Avon Products, Johnson Products, and Revlon; he later founded his own business, Sinkford Restorations.[2] Sinkford "turned to ministry" in 1993.[1]

In 2001 he became the seventh president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.[4] In 2003, Sinkford said the "main goal of his presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association was to reclaim a "vocabulary of reverence" within the association; he had been struck by the fact that the association's Purposes and Principles "contain not one piece of traditional religious language, not one word"; it includes generalizations about human dignity, justice and "the interdependent web of all existence," but does not do much "to capture our individual searches for truth and meaning."[1] Sinkford has previously considered himself a "card-carrying atheist" who in 1997, after his comatose son had recovered, began to develop a "prayer life centered on thankfulness and gratefulness to God."[1] William F. Schulz who had served as UUA president from 1985 to 1993, supported Sinkford's efforts to use a "wide lexicon" of religious language, and had "long been critical of the position of some humanists that would sanctify secular language and lock us into a calcified rationalism."[1]

Sinkford was succeeded in 2009 by the Rev. Peter Morales.[7]


Sinkford was born in San Francisco and attended Harvard University, where he was among those vocal in their opposition to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War; upon commencement in 1968 he joined a group of students calling it "unjust and immoral" and pledging publicly not to serve in the armed forces, even if drafted.[8] He graduated cum laude in 1968, then spent a year in Greece as a Michael Clark Rockefeller Fellow.[4]

In 1995, Sinkford received his M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry.[4] In 2002, Tufts University awarded Sinkford the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Higgins, Richard (May 17, 2003). "Religion Journal; A Heated Debate Flares in Unitarian Universalism". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Board of Trustees - William Sinkford". Meadville Lombard Theological School. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  3. ^ "Ministers & Staff Minister Bios". First Unitarian Church of Portland. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d "The Reverend William G. Sinkford". Unitarian Universalist Association. June 25, 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-07-18. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  5. ^ a b "William G. Sinkford's Honorary Degree". Tufts University. May 20, 2002. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  6. ^ "William G. Sinkford Elected as Seventh President of Unitarian Universalist Association". Unitarian Universalist Association. June 23, 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-07-16. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  7. ^ "Rev. Peter Morales Elected as Eighth President of Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations". UUA. 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2014-07-30. 
  8. ^ "Commencement 1968". The Harvard Crimson. Harvard University. June 13, 1968. Retrieved 2012-04-08. Our war in Vietnam is unjust and immoral. I believe that the United States should immediately withdraw from Vietnam and that no one should be drafted to fight in this war. As long as the United States is involved in this war I will not serve in the armed forces. 

External links[edit]