Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

Rev Amy Zucker Morgenstern

Today we are featuring Rev Amy Zucker Morgenstern, parish minister with the Palo Alto Unitarian Church in Palo Alto, California since 2003. She previously served congregations in Rutland and Middlebury, VT and is best known in the UU world for her blog, Sermons in Stones, which have won several district and continental awards. Amy lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter.

When Amy was informed that she had been named as exemplary, she responded, “I am seriously not fishing for complements when I say my work on behalf of women and girls is simply what ought to be expected  and what comes naturally to any feminist working in a congregation… not extraordinary.”

Describing herself as an ardent feminist, she has what she calls “an old fashion definition, the radical idea that women are people, that we are fully human. All sexism falls before that.”

“I pay attention to gender,” she says. In her parish ministry, she looks at the ways in which this notion of equality is carried through congregational life. In the creation of Sunday services, Amy looks for a balance in the choice of readings; in the selection of  her worship associates; in the topics she preaches on three times a month: e.g. violence, poverty, and her extraordinary passion around stopping modern day slavery and sex trafficking, all of which often have a disproportionate impact on women and children.

She is thankful to the woman in her congregation who asked if there could be a Girl Scout Sunday. For two years, there has been  a focus in a March service on this organization, with messages directed especially at girls including one taking on the phrase “throw like a girl” and the way this limits and discourages gender equity and liberation.

Having entered the ministry around the time when the ranks of female UU ministers reached 50% of the total number, she is both grateful for those women who went before her when the numbers were small and determined that there be no sliding back in terms of our power and parity.

The work is not done yet, Amy believes. Having read and been informed and inspired by the history of the original Prophetic Sisterhood of pioneer Unitarian and Universalist women clergy, she is curious about and eager to learn the stories of the new prophetic sisters of the 21st century.

Amy Zucker Morgenstern has been Parish Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto since 2003. She previously served congregations in Rutland and Middlebury, VT and is best known in the UU world for her blog, Sermons in Stones, and her sermons, which have won several district and continental awards. Amy lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter.

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