The First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh will celebrate the installation of the Church’s settled minister, the Rev. Dr. Kate Walker, on May 15 at 3 p.m. The installation, a sacred service in which a congregation and its minister pledge deep commitments to each other, will be held in the Church’s Sanctuary with an outdoor reception to follow. The ceremony will also be live streamed on YouTube. Rev. Walker is the first woman called to lead the congregation as a settled minister.
“I am delighted and truly honored to be called to serve First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh,” said Rev. Walker. “My husband and I have dreamed for many years of living in Pittsburgh, so it is with deep gratitude that this wonderful group of loving, committed and thought provoking people want to engage in a rich ministry with me. I look forward to guiding this religious community of Unitarian Universalists as we engage in radical hospitality in Pittsburgh.”
First Unitarian called Rev. Walker to its pulpit after conducting an exhaustive search and selection process. “The challenge that every ministerial search committee faces is how to match the needs of the church to the gifts of the many wonderful ministers in search,” said Brian Junker, who chaired the Ministerial Search Committee. “As we examined portfolios and interviewed ministers, Rev. Walker kept reappearing at the tops of our lists. Over the past year, we have all seen what attracted the committee to her: her sharp intellect, her sense of humor and joy in life, her experience as a mentor and as an institutional leader, and most importantly her deep understanding that ministry is a journey together in love. We couldn’t have been more fortunate than to have found Rev. Kate.”
Born into a Unitarian Universalist family, Rev. Walker was ordained in 1998. After her internship at First Universalist Church, Denver, she served as Minister to Meadville Unitarian Universalist Church in Pennsylvania until 2008. From 2008 until her arrival in Pittsburgh in August of 2021, she was Minister at the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, VA.
Participating Unitarian Universalist clergy will include the Rev. Dr. Rebeckah Savage, Rev. Walker’s former mentee, who will deliver the sermon; Rev. Tyler Coles (former intern); Rev. Kären Rasmussen and Rev. Alice King (former interns); Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (former mentee); Rev. Dr. Marlene Walker (her step-mother), and Rev. Sunshine Wolfe. In order to accommodate physical distancing, in-person attendance will be limited.
Founded in 1820, First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh is a loving, open-minded, welcoming spiritual community guided not by creeds or dogma, but by a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. The heart of our mission is to promote love, reason and freedom in religion, to foster lifelong spiritual growth, and to act for social justice.