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Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog 2023-24

Lee Barker | Professor Emeritus

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B.E.S U. of Minnesota, MA U. of Chicago, DMin Meadville Lombard Theological School, D.D. Meadville Lombard Theological School

A life-long Unitarian Universalist, Lee comes to Meadville Lombard after twenty-five years in the parish ministry. He has held pulpits in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Most recently, he served as senior minister of Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, California. Each of his ministries has contributed to a surge in institutional growth, a renewed commitment to social justice and the adoption of a far ranging religious and spiritual vision. Prior to his presidency, he held a variety of leadership roles in Unitarian Universalist theological education.

“I believe Unitarian Universalism offers a route to true transformation both for individuals and the larger world, that our religious perspective has the possibility of bringing all life closer to wholeness. The degree to which we are successful in this venture is directly related to the quality of our ministry. And a ministry of excellence is shaped by a sound education. The mission of Meadville Lombard is sweeping, it is to knit together every part of the fragmented world.”

J. Ronald Engel | Professor Emeritus

A.B., Johns Hopkins; B.D. (with highest distinction), Meadville Lombard Theological School; M.A. and Ph.D. (with distinction), Divinity School of the University of Chicago

Ron Engel is Professor Emeritus at Meadville Lombard and Senior Research Consultant, The Center for Humans and Nature, with offices in New York and Chicago. He taught in the fields of religious ethics, theology and ministry at Meadville Lombard 1964-2000. He also served as Lecturer in Ethics and Society at the Divinity School, University of Chicago 1977-2000 and as a member of the Environmental Studies Faculty, The College, University of Chicago.

Ron helped pioneer the new academic fields of environmental ethics, history, and theology/philosophy. Through his work with the Eco-justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches, and as co-director of the Program on Ecology, Justice, and Faith in the Chicago Association of Theological Schools, he contributed to the movement for eco-justice within the ecumenical religious community. Ron became active in international work on behalf of global ethics in the course of research with UNESCO. He was a core member of the international drafting committee for the Earth Charter and is currently co-chair of the Ethics Specialist Group of the Commission on Environmental Law for the World Conservation Union.

Ron has been a strong advocate for public ministry in the Unitarian Universalist Association and has written and lectured widely on the religious, ethical, and philosophical dimensions of the democratic faith in world history. With Neil Shadle in 1964 he co-founded the Unitarian Universalist Center for Urban Ministry and in 1966 the Neighborhood Commons, the first community-development corporation in Chicago which continues today as the largest black-owned housing cooperative on the northside of Chicago. Ron was one of several co-founders of Collegium: Association for Liberal Religious Studies, and in 1998 was recognized as its Distinguished Scholar.

In addition to numerous essays in books and journals, Ron is the author of Sacred Sands: The Struggle for Community in the Indiana Dunes, which won several book awards, including the Meltzer National Book Award; editor of Voluntary Associations: Socio-cultural Analyses and Theological Interpretation; co-editor of Ethics of Environment and Development: Global Challenge, International Response; and co-author of Justice, Ecology, and Christian Faith: A Critical Guide to the Literature. He is a member of the editorial boards of American Journal of Philosophy and Theology, Environmental Conservation, and Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion.

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