The Reverend Matthew McHale

Your Ministerial Search Committee enthusiastically presents The Reverend Matthew McHale for your consideration as our settled minister. We know you will sincerely welcome Rev. Matthew when he visits us for Candidating Week May 8-15.



A Bit of Background


Rev. Matthew is originally from Long Beach but has lived in Oakland since 2010 (except for ten months when he served as the Intern Minister at West Shore UU Church in Cleveland, Ohio).  He has a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Cal State Long Beach, a Master’s Degree in American Studies from East Anglia in the UK, and a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. He was raised as a UU and has been active in every aspect of the Unitarian Universalist movement since he was a youth – serving as coordinator, presenter, founder, or member of over 20 different groups, committees, and events.


Rev. Matthew was 25 when he first heard the call to ministry.  The call came from a deep desire for a vocation where he could live out his UU values in everything he does.


Rev. Matthew feels deeply called, by our world and all beings, to heal the brokenness that surrounds us. He does this by upholding the vision of the life sustaining society we hope to create: a society that honors our interconnectedness and, despite the challenges ahead, is filled with more justice, more beauty, more peace, and more love than we have known. His call to ministry is about transforming our communities into places of healing, support, justice, vision and hope where all religious communities can and should be models of the larger just and resilient communities we want to create for the future.


He is ready to lead our congregation in a time of so many dramatic shifts —including global warming, economic instability, resource depletion, food justice, and ecological erosion.


Although this is his first called ministry, he brings with him a wealth of experience, finely honed skills, and a compelling prophetic vision grounded in history of justice work in UUism and the wider world. He possesses a warm and engaging personality, a sharp intellect, an empathetic presence, deep self-awareness, receptiveness to critique, a desire for personal growth, and a dash of humility.


Greetings from Rev. Matthew

I am excited and honored to be the candidate for the Minister at Emerson UU Church, and I look forward to getting to know the congregation better. I wanted to share a little bit about who I am and what my vision is for ministry.

I grew up in Long Beach, CA and was raised in the UU Church there. It was in that church that I became a leader, where I served on the Board, and was active in worship, religious education, and anti-racism work, until I left for seminary. I’m currently living in a co-op house in Oakland with my partner, Anna, and our baby, River Grace, who was born in November 2015, and brings much joy into our lives. And I’m excited to move back down to southern California to be closer to my parents and brother and sister.



I received my M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, and also have a M.A. and B.A. in American Studies. I previously served as the Intern Minister and Summer Minister at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church near Cleveland, Ohio, and as the coordinator for the UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory. Prior to seminary, I worked as a Neighborhood Liaison for a Long Beach City Councilwoman.

Even though this will be my first called ministry, I have been a leader for over 15 years at the congregational, district and denominational levels of Unitarian Universalism, within Youth & Young Adult communities, and in Racial Justice and Environmental/Climate Justice work. I currently serve on the steering committees for Young Adults for Climate Justice, Allies for Racial Equity, and the Environmental Justice Collaboratory.

I feel deeply called to heal the brokenness in the world. We live during a time of deepening global crises and dramatic shifts—including global warming, economic inequality and instability, millions of displaced people, and ecological erosion—which threaten life as we know it. In response to this, I see my ministry as about upholding the beauty, the joy, and the holy that co-exists with the brokenness. It is also a ministry about transforming our communities into places of healing, support, justice, vision and hope. I believe our religious communities have a vital role to play, and should be models of the life-sustaining society we are working to create.


I’m not sure what that looks like at Emerson, I imagine we’ll create that vision together; maybe it looks like growing food and sharing meals, hosting community events and workshops, offering sanctuary to undocumented immigrants (and much, much more). It is a church that extends beyond Sunday mornings and committee meetings, and offers something vital to the community within and beyond its walls.


I am excited to bring my vision to Emerson, and I am eager to learn about your visions, passions, hopes and dreams. I look forward to creating an increasingly vibrant and vital religious community—responsive to the deep needs of our world and its people—in partnership with you.



Rev. Matthew McHale