ALTON — The First Unitarian Church of Alton welcomed its new interim minister, the Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe, in August following the resignation of its former minister, the Rev. Khleber Van Zandt, who took a new assignment in Florida.
Wolfe has a master of divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. Wolfe served as interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery, Ala., intern minister at West Shore UU Church in Cleveland, Ohio, chaplain resident at Indiana University Health Hospitals in Indianapolis, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, Ariz., as their spiritual development director.
Wolfe’s professional and personal life is focused on countering the damaging effects of poverty, classism and racism. Wolfe has facilitated numerous workshops in the areas of understanding queer identity, classism, racism, self-awareness around manifesting oppression, and theater of the oppressed. Wolfe co-founded the first Poverty Truth Commission at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif.
The Alton UU church, when it learned of Van Zandt’s plan to leave, worked closely with the national and regional offices of the denomination to avail itself of an interim minister rather than embarking immediately on a search for a permanent, settled minister. The purpose of choosing a minister specially trained in interim work is to take advantage of specific skill sets in analyzing the church’s goals, history, membership and finances to ensure that the search for a settled minister yields someone particularly attuned to the life of the local church. While Wolfe is committed to the Alton UU Church for two years and will not be a candidate for the permanent position, the Church Board and membership are already excited about the potential changes to be explored during that time.
Wolfe brings to ministry deep care for those who need pastoral support and a commitment to creating beloved community through healthy communication and resisting oppression. Wolfe is originally from Indiana, and currently lives in Florissant, Mo. Wolfe is published in the anthology “Coming Out In Faith: Voices of LGBTQ Unitarian Universalists,” is a member of Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries and serves on the Steering Committee for Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together. Wolfe also is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association and the Interim Ministry Network.