The Rev. Susan Karlson is the minister of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island. Susan moved to Staten Island after receiving and accepting the call to be the settled minister here on May 4, 2008. She officially began her ministry on September 1, 2008.
The Rev. Susan Karlson
On June 1, 2013, Susan accepted the position as the Central East Regional Group (CERG) Disaster Response Coordinator. Her resignation as the called minister at the Unitarian Church of Staten Island will be effective September 1st. In her new position, Susan will still be working on bringing Unitarian Universalist volunteer groups to Staten Island but she will serve New Jersey, Long Island and other parts of New York as well. She and her partner, Alan, will continue to live on Staten Island.
Ordination and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship:
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wilmington ordained her to the Unitarian Universalist ministry on November 2, 2003.
She received Preliminary Fellowship in May of 2003, recognized at the Service of the Living Tradition during the 2003 General Assembly in Boston, Massachusetts.
Susan received Final Fellowship in the fall of 2006, recognized at the Service of the Living Tradition in Portland, Oregon. She was ordained as a Minister of Integral Yoga in 1982 in Santa Barbara, California.
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Education and Former Professional Experience:
Masters in Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. in May of 2003. Susan had a prior career as a clinical social worker and still holds a License in Clinical Social Work in Virginia.
She received her Masters in Social Work from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia and obtained her B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare from Old Dominion University, also in Norfolk.
Susan had an Integral Yoga Teaching Center in Los Angeles, California, teaching hatha yoga, prenatal yoga, and meditation classes.
Social Justice and Community Involvement:
Susan has a passion for social justice work, born out of a lifelong desire to be of service and her social work background. She served as the co-chair of the Metro New York District Antiracism and Diversity Committee and is secretary of the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry. Susan is a member of the New York Disaster Chaplaincy Services. She is a member of the Staten Island Clergy Leadership, the Building Bridges Coalition and has worked with the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City.
In her previous ministry, she was an active participant in the Steps Coalition, a grassroots community organization working on recovery and transformation in the Gulf Coast area after Hurricane Katrina. Susan also served as co-chair of the Ministerial Roundtable, an interfaith clergy group dedicated to healing the racial wounds in Wilmington, North Carolina and a Board member of the African American Heritage Foundation, also in Wilmington. She was a member of the Thomas Jefferson District's Antiracism Transformation Team and chaired the Identity Task Force for that District. She participated in three interfaith panels in Wilmington, NC on clergy responses to marriage equality and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender concerns, the difference between religion and spirituality, and the significance of the first amendment concerning religious freedom.
Hobbies and Interests:
"I regularly practice Insight meditation and yoga," Susan says. "I have an active prayer practice and spend time each day with devotional readings. I love to write, walk, and travel. Since planning a trip to India, I enjoy Indian films and literature.”
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Church Office: 718-447-2204
Email: minister -at- uucsi.org
For Susan's blog, click here