Spiritual leadership changes for Unitarian Universalists

September 13, 2020

“The better the goodbyes, the better the transition,” said the Rev. Paula Maiorano, incoming transitional minister of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware.

The congregation bid farewell to its outgoing minister, the Rev. Dr. Michelle Collins, in a rousing made-for-COVID automobile procession that snaked around the parking lot allowing members and minister to see and speak with each other one last time. Collins served as settled minister of UUSD for three years, and helped it grow in size, depth and structure. She leaves with the gratitude of the congregation and its good wishes for her new career as an interim minister. Her first appointment is at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, Calif.

The congregation once again welcomed Maiorano on Aug. 1 to guide it through the year until the next settled minister is called in June 2021. Previously she was UUSD’s interim minister from 2015 to 2017 and has deferred retirement to shepherd UUSD through this transition while maintaining a thriving virtual church in the time of COVID.

A native Delawarean and graduate of the University of Delaware and Lancaster Theological Seminary, Maiorano has extensive ministerial experience, having served as a parish minister, chaplain, and interim minister. She was the new congregation organizer for the Unitarian Universalists of Central Delaware.

An advocate for transformative justice, a philosophy recognizing that oppression is at the root of all forms of harm, abuse and assault, Maiorano served as community minister and established a nonprofit agency in the prison re-entry sector. She is the co-founder of the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow and was on the organizing steering committee for the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice.

Another chapter in the history of UUSD has closed and a new one is beginning with the arrival of Maiorano. She said, “The unique work of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware is flourishing, and I am privileged to be a part of it once again.”

UUSD is a welcoming and progressive spiritual community with a mission to nurture spiritual growth, embrace diversity, work for justice and strive for a loving world.

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