Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City Announces New Minister
In a jubilant, bordering-on-raucous congregational meeting on Sunday, April 29, 2012, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City, CA voted overwhelmingly to call the Rev. Darrel Richey as its next settled minister. Joining the congregation’s own UU2 Band and UUCSC Choir, members sang and danced wildly to a riveting version of “Love Train” as Rev. Darrel and his family were escorted into the sanctuary to hear the good news.
Rev. Darrel began service to the Studio City congregation on July 15, 2012, succeeding the Rev. Dr. Jay Atkinson, who retired in June 2011, and the Rev. Mike Young, who served as Interim Minister for the year preceding Rev. Darrel's arrival.
In addition to his talent as an orator, Rev. Darrel has brought with him to Studio City a broad portfolio of skills in organizational and leadership development, in organizing and collaborating on behalf of social justice, and in nurturing members through personal challenges. Proud of his mixed European and First Nation (Native American) ancestry, Rev. Darrel promotes worship that is both theologically and culturally diverse, embraces inclusive language, and addresses the whole person, not just the intellect.
For eight years prior to moving to Studio City, Rev. Darrel served as minister of the James Reeb UU Congregation in Madison, WI, where he strengthened their membership and financial condition as well as helped them become a more cohesive and vital community. He earned his Master’s in Divinity degree from the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley, CA in 2004, a year in which he also completed his ministerial internship in nearby Walnut Creek. Prior to his calling to Unitarian Universalist ministry, he was a successful furniture and interior designer in his home state of Texas for over 20 years.
After an exhaustive exploration of the church’s needs and aspirations as well as of the pool of ministerial candidates who applied for the position, the seven members of the congregation’s elected Ministerial Search Committee early in April presented Rev. Darrel as the singular candidate for the church’s consideration.
Upon making the announcement of his appointment, Reid Swanson, president of the Studio City congregation, said “Rev. Richey’s warmth and compassion endeared him to our community from the moment he first stepped through our doors eight days ago. From that point on he has made a point of meeting with all the key church stakeholders, and at every turn we have heard high praises for his ability to listen, and for his insightful comments on how we might proceed into the future.”
Rev. Darrel in a “Meet the Ministerial Candidate Q&A Session”
Rev. Darrel comments “I'm excited and enthused to accept this call of settled ministry with the Studio City UU congregation. From early on in my search, the heart of this community grabbed a hold of me and would not let go. And in return, I have opened my heart to them. I know that together we will create an ever more amazing and thriving community.”
Rev. Darrel joins the Studio City Unitarian Universalist Church at a moment when the congregation is manifesting healthy growth, not only in numbers, but also in cultural and generational diversity. A thriving family group has been developing over the past decade, followed more recently by a vibrant contingent of young adults. The LGBTQ community finds here a welcoming home, as do members of diverse ethnic groups. The church is also well regarded for its abundance of creative musicians who contribute to the spiritual fabric of Sunday services.
Rev. Darrel will be joined in his move from Wisconsin to the San Fernando Valley by his partner, Daniel Fogel, and their college-bound teenage daughter, Alyson.
For more about Rev. Darrel, see his Information Packet.