The 4th Unitarian Universalist Congregation follows a shared ministry model. Our ministers have served in part-time capacity, sharing administrative, pastoral, and Sunday worship service responsibilities with the congregation as a whole. As a result, on any given Sunday, the morning service may be led either by a minister, a guest speaker, or by one of our lay members.
The Board of Trustees consists of four officers and three trustees elected by the congregation. We interact heart to heart and hand to hand with the congregation and minister to fulfill 4th UU’s mission and purposes and to further and refine its strategies. Each board member’s dedication and high level of participation embodies the core values and ministry of the congregation; together we work to make a difference and add strength to 4th UU’s collective purpose and identity.
The board is responsible for supporting the spiritual and fiscal health of the congregation and overseeing the collective effort to achieve mutually developed goals. The board empowers and encourages the congregation’s ministries and committees to pursue activities that positively impact members and the greater community. The board develops and implements policies to help the congregation maintain its strong spiritual presence and active engagement within and beyond the congregation on social justice issues.
With committee assistance and oversight, the board meets monthly to manage 4th UU’s resources and assets, set the annual budget for congregational approval and adopt appropriate policies to protect the welfare of the congregation and ensure its well-being. The congregation holds periodic Membership Meetings at which members of the congregation vote on pertinent issues; actions taken at Membership Meetings take precedence over all other decisions.
Board Members for 2023-2024 are:
President: Marc Bernstein
Vice President: Vincent Arcery
Treasurer: Mike Heffernan
Secretary: Ralph Wood
Trustees: Erik Brown, Judy Schavrien, and Sharon Bouman
Our Minister Emerita
In June 2016, the members of Fourth Unitarian Universalist Congregation voted to confer upon Rev. Dawn Sangrey the title of Minister Emerita. Rev. Sangrey was the first minister to be hired by 4th UU, after having spent 47 years as a lay-led congregation. She was our Consulting Minister for seven years.
Rev. Sangrey was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2001 and is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. During her tenure with us, Rev. Sangrey (along with Rev. Kay Greenleaf of the UU Fellowship of Poughkeepsie) was a public witness for marriage equality. Together, they officiated dozens of same-sex weddings in New Paltz, NY, receiving widespread media attention when they were the first clergy to be arrested and charged with a crime for solemnizing gay and lesbian weddings. At their trial, the charges against both ministers were dismissed. A July 2004 New York Times article chronicles her thoughts on the experience.
The membership chose to honor Rev. Sangrey in recognition of her seven years of kind, inspiring, and skilled ministerial service to our congregation; her patient and persistent guidance of our community in our early years of co-ministry; and her friendship and caring toward our community members.