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Our Minister

Our Minister Rev. Abbey Tennis

On April 24, after an eight-month search process and an intensive, joyous Candidating Week, the congregation voted unanimously to call the Reverend Abbey Tennis as our new settled minister.

Rev. Abbey Tennis is a life-long Unitarian Universalist from the Boston area. She is passionate about building vibrant, spiritual, urban ministries in a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-generational setting. Some of her greatest joys in ministry include leading spiritually- and musically-rich worship services, collaborating with lay leaders, working to oppose racism and supporting resilient networks of pastoral care. You can learn more about Rev. Abbey at her website.

She is a graduate of the Starr King School for the Ministry and was ordained in 2015 at All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC, where she had previously served as Intern Minister. (Our former music director, Jen Hayman, collaborated with Rev. Abbey on her ordination service and also served as a strong reference for her.) Following the completion of her service overseeing fundraising as Starr King School for the Ministry’s Interim Advancement Director from 2014-2015, Rev. Abbey has been serving as the Minister for Worship and Pastoral Care at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in Oakland, California.

Rev. Abbey is very strongly endorsed by many leaders in the Unitarian Universalist movement, including those with special interest and expertise in urban ministry. Here is what the Unitarian Universalist Association says about Abbey’s record of ministry:

"Abbey is noted for being mature, passionate, intelligent, funny, graceful, engaged, present, transparent and compassionate. She is a source of hope and light. [Her evaluators] noted she had great spiritual depth, excelled at preaching and worship, held a caring presence with others, understood organizational dynamics and took criticism well. She was lauded for empathy, thoughtfulness, maturity, professionalism, and having extraordinary leadership potential."

Prior to entering the ministry, Rev. Abbey was a lay leader in Unitarian Universalism for fifteen years on a local, regional and national level. Her previous career included Climate Change and Renewable Energy policy and grants work for several Executive Agencies in Massachusetts State Government, and professional facilitation and conflict resolution. In addition to her Masters of Divinity from Starr King, Rev. Abbey has a Masters of Business Administration with a focus in nonprofit management from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College.

Rev. Abbey identifies as a white, queer, cis-gendered woman. Her household also includes two snuggly cats, and she is an avid gardener, hiker, and singer.


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