As requested by the UUA Board, the Presidential Search Committee met with members of the Election Campaign Practices Commission and a member of the most recent Moderator Search Committee.

The charge by the UUA Board is to present recommendations for bylaw and policy amendments to implement our joint recommendations for how to conduct elections in general, and elections for the President of the UUA in particular. Part of this charge includes a request to present to the Board a few questions for a study guide to be distributed to congregations, regional assemblies, and others.

Task Force members:
Matthew Johnson
Liz Jones
Michael Tino
Wayne Arnason
Joanna Fontaine Crawford
Elandria Williams
Jacqui C. Williams
Beth McGregor
K.C. Slack
Manish Mishra
Chip Roush

While waiting on budget approval, we are making preliminary plans for an in-person meeting in February/March.

The Moderator Search Committee requested information about our process. We sent them links to our blog and survey.

Interviews are to be completed by the end of November. The survey is live, posted on our Facebook page, and shared with interested parties.  Survey:

We will send a brief report to the UUA September Board meeting, with a proposed budget request for an in-person PSC meeting to draft our final report, to be delivered at General Assembly 2018.

The PSC will be interviewing former candidates and others about the search committee process used for the 2017 election. Interviews, as much as possible, will be on the record and interviewees will be able to approve quotes before they appear in our report. A survey will also be sent out to all UUs.  A historical record of the process will be compiled and part of the report.

The Presidential Search Committee met May 12, 2017, via Zoom. Our term runs through 2019; we discussed future work to be completed. We scheduled a time to meet in-person at GA 2017 to finalize our process to receive feedback on this first ever presidential search process, and to craft a final report.

It is with great enthusiasm that the Presidential Search Committee submits for the nomination process the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray for President of the Unitarian Universalist Association.  We unanimously endorse her candidacy equally to that of the Rev. Alison Miller.

The Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray has served as Lead Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix since 2008.  She previously served as minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, Ohio, where she was a local and state-wide leader in congregational based community organizing efforts. Additionally, she was the Intern and Sabbatical Minister at the First UU Church of Nashville, TN. After leading the Unitarian Universalist response to Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws in 2010, she became the Lead Organizer for the Arizona Immigration Ministry, holding primary responsibility for both the vision and local political relationships, as well as the service and witness events of the 2012 Justice General Assembly.  Susan came of age at Eliot Unitarian Chapel near St. Louis. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a degree in Molecular Biology and from Harvard Divinity School. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Brian Frederick-Gray, and their nine-year-old son Henry.

A few words about our committee’s process:  In making our initial nominations, we came to a consensus decision. From a group of highly-qualified, dynamic candidates, we chose two individuals we knew would be tremendous leaders for our association of congregations. Continuing to believe that a two-candidate race offers a deeper and clearer conversation, we present to you now these two strong, visionary, and spiritually-grounded leaders.

We previously presented for nomination the Reverend Alison Miller. Alison has served as Senior Minister of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship since 2005.  She serves as Chair of the Board of Church of the Larger Fellowship, and on the Boards of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of NJ and United Way of Northern New Jersey. Alison also served as Assistant Minister at All Souls New York City, and as Intern Minister at All Souls in Tulsa, OK. She lead the Mind the Gap Campaign, the largest stewardship campaign for Youth and Young Adult Ministries to date, which included fundraising, education, support and resourcing over 300 congregations’ participation in the UUA’s Capital Campaign and led to the expansion of youth and young adult programs locally and nationally.  She is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist from an interfaith family who felt called to serve our faith from a young age. Alison graduated from Bryn Mawr College and from Harvard Divinity School. She lives with her husband, David Snedden, and their four-year-old son Asher.

We feel confident that the election of either Rev. Frederick-Gray or Rev. Miller will ensure a strong future for our Association, and we look forward to Unitarian Universalists getting to know them and their visions.

On Thursday, February 18, Rev. Sue Phillips notified the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) and James Key, Moderator of the UUA, that she has formally withdrawn her candidacy for President of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We are disappointed, but we are grateful for her current work and hopeful to see her continue in leadership roles within the UUA.

The Secretary of the UUA Board, Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs, has asked the Presidential Search Committee to nominate another candidate to run for the presidency. The PSC has accepted this charge. We received applications from some of the finest leaders in our association during our initial process, and we have full confidence that we will be able to provide the name of another strong candidate. The decision and the announcement of the nominee will be made as soon as possible, so that both candidates may continue introducing themselves to our association.

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Presidential Search Committee is pleased to announce that our chosen nominees for UUA President in the 2017 election have accepted our nomination. We nominate the Rev. Alison Miller (Senior Minister, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, New Jersey) and the Rev. Sue Phillips (New England Regional Lead for UUA Field Staff) for UUA President. The selection of these two candidates was a unanimous decision by our committee, and we fully and equally endorse both candidates.

The Reverend Alison Miller has served as Senior Minister of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship since 2005.  She serves as Chair of the Board of Church of the Larger Fellowship, and on the Boards of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of NJ and United Way of Northern New Jersey. Alison previously served as Assistant Minister at All Souls New York City, as Intern Minister at All Souls in Tulsa, OK, and as part of the UUA Development Staff for a $32 million Capital Campaign. Alison graduated from Bryn Mawr College and from Harvard Divinity School. She lives with her husband, David Snedden, and their four-year-old son Asher.

The Reverend Sue Phillips has served as a District Executive and now as the UUA’s Regional Lead in New England, since 2007. After graduating from Colgate University and Episcopal Divinity School, Sue worked at Partners for the Common Good, a socially responsible loan fund, the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK, and the Housing Assistance Council, a $55 million community development loan fund serving the poorest rural communities in the US. She served as minister of the Keene (NH) Unitarian Universalist Church before joining the UUA field staff.  Sue is married to the Rev. Tandi Rogers. Together they have five children. She lives in Boston, MA and Tacoma, WA.

The Presidential Search Committee was charged with nominating at least two candidates prior to February 1, 2016, the starting date for formal campaigns leading up to the June 2017 election at the UUA General Assembly in New Orleans, LA. Nomination petitions from additional candidates may also be submitted according to the procedures described in the UUA by-laws and rules. The incumbent UUA President will reach the end of his term limit and is not eligible for re-election. The next UUA President will serve a single six-year term and will not be eligible for re-election.


In June 2010, the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations voted to create a Presidential Search Committee, composed of 5 elected members and 2 members appointed by the UUA Board. In Section 9.5 of the UUA Bylaws, they were charged:

The Presidential Search Committee shall submit no fewer than two nominations for the office of President for an election at the end of a presidential term or for a special election. The report of the Presidential Search Committee shall be announced by February 1 of the year before the General Assembly at which there is to be a presidential election, except in the case of a special election, in which case the report of the Presidential Search Committee shall be announced by December 10 of the year before the election.

The UUA Presidential Search Committee members were elected or appointed at General Assembly 2013 and began working together at that time. The members are: Wayne Arnason, Joanna Fontaine Crawford, Matthew Johnson, Liz Jones, Michael Tino, Elandria Williams, and Jacqui C. Williams.

As this was the first ever Presidential Search Committee (PSC), we began by creating a nomination and selection process. This included crafting a job description based on UUA bylaws, interviews with previous presidents, moderators, and stakeholder UU organizations. A preliminary job description was shared publicly, with an accompanying feedback survey. All surveys were discussed by the committee before the PSC finalized the job description.

In October 2014, the PSC published the finalized selection process, timeline, and job description. The application and forms for suggesting potential applicants was published November 1. All individuals suggested to the PSC were contacted and encouraged to apply.

At the 2015 General Assembly, anyone considering applying for the position of president was invited to meet privately with the PSC for the purpose of asking questions about the position as an aid to the individual’s discernment.

The deadline for applications was July 15, 2015. Each of the PSC members read every application and met in closed session to discuss applications and the results of confidential reference calls. Finalists were chosen and were interviewed in person by the PSC in Fall 2015.

Finalists were notified in November 2015 whether they had been selected as candidates for UUA President.