Around the Island

Rev. Galen Guengerich to Preach at Union Chapel

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTOS The interior of Shelter Island’s Union Chapel.
The interior of Shelter Island’s Union Chapel.

On Sunday, August 19, Reverend Galen Guengerich, Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City, will speak at the historic Union Chapel in the Grove. His sermon is titled, “The Feast of Your Life.” This service, at 10:30 a.m., marks Sylvester Manor Harvest Sunday.

Rev. Guengerich is the 10th person to hold the position of Senior Minister in the All Souls’ congregation’s 197-year history.

His last name is pronounced Ging (rhymes with “sing”) — rich. Galen was educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA, 1982), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1985) and the University of Chicago (PhD, 2004). His doctoral dissertation is titled “Comprehensive Commitments and the Public World: Tillich, Rawls and Whitehead on the Nature of Justice.”

He is author of “God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age” (Palgrave Macmillan) and writes a column on “The Search for Meaning” for, as well as writing occasionally for Huffington Post and for FaithStreet, as well as other national media.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he focuses on how traditional religious beliefs and practices, both in the U.S. and abroad, usually reinforce patriarchy to the detriment of women and democracy.

In addition, he chairs the Multifaith Clergy Advisory Council at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and he also chairs the Advisory Council of the Palestinian Scholars Program at the Minerva Center for the Humanities at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Recently, Galen gave an address at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem titled, “Pluralism Revisited: A View From the New World” for a conference on “Critical Reflections on Alternative Paths to Modernity.” In 2013, he visited Afghanistan with a delegation of CFR members and fellows, meeting with top military, diplomatic, and civilian leaders in Kabul, as well as in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces.

Also in 2013, he spoke in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a visit hosted by Christopher Hudson, MBE, who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement. In 2012, he was part of a 15-member delegation of senior clergy from New York City to visit Israel and the West Bank, the first such delegation to meet with a broad spectrum of religious and political leaders, including Shimon Peres, President of Israel, and Salem Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Galen serves as a Lecturer in Preaching and Worship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. His sermon at All Souls on the Sunday after 9/11/01, titled “The Shaking of Foundations,” was selected as one of seven responses to 9/11, along with speeches by President Bush, Governor Pataki, and Mayor Giuliani, for Representative American Speeches 2001 – 2002.

In the past, he served for 12 years on the Board of Directors of Interfaith Alliance, the national non-partisan advocacy voice for religious pluralism; he served as chair of the Interfaith Alliance board from 2008-2012. He has also served on the boards of Dads and Daughters, the national advocacy nonprofit for fathers and daughters; the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a human rights organization and the New York City Audubon Society.

Galen lives in Manhattan with his wife, Holly G. Atkinson, M.D., who is Distinguished Medical Lecturer and Medical Student Adviser at the CUNY School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor, Department of Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Music will be performed by Chapel organist Linda Betjeman with special guests.