Unleashing courageous leadership and collective power
to realize a just and loving world.
A Message from the Executive Director
MUUSJA has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past several years, and we have reached a new milestone: with support from a generous grant from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which several of our Minnesota UU congregations have promised to match, we are thrilled to be able to hire a Statewide Organizer to join our staff! This is the first time that MUUSJA will have both an Executive Director and a staff member whose portfolio focuses explicitly on organizing, and this opportunity will help us expand our capacity to serve Minnesota Unitarian Universalists and our interfaith, justice-oriented partners.
After a rigorous interview process that included several extremely qualified candidates, I am thrilled to announce that Pastor Danny Givens, Jr. has accepted our offer to become MUUSJA's half-time Statewide Organizer, starting on August 21. I have known Pastor Danny personally for several years, as a colleague in both ministry and activism, and I am so very excited to collaborate with him. Many of you will know Pastor Danny from his public role as an organizer with Black Lives Matter - Minneapolis over the past several years; you have also probably seen him speak and teach in one of our local UU congregations or interfaith gatherings (including as one of the keynote speakers at our 2015 MUUSJA Fundraiser & Celebration!). He brings a depth of experience in both faith-based leadership and community organizing, and he already has strong relationships with our UU congregations, many of our interfaith partners, and powerful organizers and entities working for justice in Minnesota. He is warm, thoughtful, inspiring, faithful, strategic, and deeply committed to MUUSJA's mission of building a more just and loving world. He has devoted his life and his heart to healing the profound brokenness caused by racism and and all other forms of injustice, and he wields his faith and his ministry as tools for building new and visionary ways of embodying collective liberation. We are blessed that he has enthusiastically agreed to bring his gifts to the service of MUUSJA.
Pastor Danny's portfolio will include many things, including continuing our online ministries (Convening Calls and Covenant Groups), working with congregations in Greater Minnesota, and representing MUUSJA in several interfaith and secular coalitions for justice. I am also sure that Pastor Danny will bring a wealth of new ideas and potential projects to the table as he settles into this work. If you'd like to send Pastor Danny a message of encouragement, congratulations, and welcome, you can send him an email here.
Read on below to learn a little more about Danny's background. And, if you are as excited about Pastor Danny's new role with us as I am, please click here to become a monthly sustainer or make a one-time donation to MUUSJA . This exciting new position is currently part-time and funded by short-term grants, but your gift will help us move toward making this position a permanent one. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
In faith and solidarity,
Rev. Ashley Horan, Executive Director
After receiving his B.A. in Christian Ministry from Bethel University in 2011, Pastor Danny completed a three-year residency as Interfaith Minister at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul in 2016. There, Pastor Danny began to explore and deepen his convictions as an inclusive, aspiring interfaith leader through the co-facilitation of Beloved Conversations, an experiential curriculum that provides a space to re-form/re-fuse the brokenness of racism into new patterns of thought and behavior.
In addition to the litany of organizing strategies, actions, and non-violent demonstrations Pastor Danny has planned and led as a frontline activist, he has also brought both traditional and non-traditional faith leaders of diverse backgrounds to the table at the intersections of faith, race, and justice. Pastor Danny has provided racial justice consulting for Temple Israel of Minneapolis, Mt. Zion Temple of St. Paul, the Minnesota Rabbinical Association, St. John Neumann Catholic Church of Eagan. He has also created a praxis curriculum for faith leaders looking to deepen justice work from the pulpit and beyond. Starting in 2018, Pastor Danny will be pursuing an M.A. in Leadership Studies with a Concentration in Social Engagement from Meadville Lombard Theological School.
A native of the Rondo community in St. Paul, Pastor Danny now lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Natasha, and his son, Adonaiah.