Welcome to our new minister, Dave Dunn! He was voted to be called to service on May 8th, 2016.
From 2014-2016, Dave served as an Intern Minister at the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, and he joined UUMAN at the beginning of July.
Dave has an MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and in May he will receive his Masters of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School.
Dave and his wife Tammy have been together for 30 years. They are a mixed race couple. He is white; she is African American. They live about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh with a daughter, four dogs and two cats. Their children are: Austin (23) is studying economics and political science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is a senior at Howard. Brice (22) graduated from Temple University and is working in Philadelphia in the field of digital marketing. Sully (Sullivan, 21) is a “starving artist” and a great musician/songwriter living in Chicago. He was featured on America’s Got Talent in 2013 and many people throughout the Ohio-Meadville District simply know Dave as “Sully’s dad.” Their “fearless” daughter Isabella (18), recently graduated high school and will move here with Tammy and Dave.
He is an engineer and has continued to work a full-time job while attending seminary part-time over the past six years. He worked for the same engineering firm for the past 25 years; the first 14 doing engineering automation and the past 11 years in sales. Tammy is an elementary school teacher and currently teaches at a charter school near Pittsburgh. She and Dave homeschooled their children for many years. Tammy will be looking for work here as soon as Dave is called by the Congregation.
Dave’s interests are music, specifically jazz & blues harmonica, chromatic harmonica, piano and guitar. He is a runner and he did yoga regularly for the past 15 years. He also loves reading and is looking forward to the time when he can read a non-theological book. He is considering learning and performing improvisational theatre together with Tammy, who is experienced in theater.
Pastor Dunn was a Youth Program Coordinator for five years and has been an Instructor for About Your Sexuality (AYS) and Our Whole Lives (OWL) to senior high school youth. For eight years he was an RE Instructor for Grades 4-8. He has served on the board and a search committee for his home congregation.
He was asked, “What is your dominant theology, and how do you deal with other Unitarian Universalist theologies with which you may not be in sympathy?” This is his answer.
I am a religious humanist – and this religious humanism is also informed by Taoist, Buddhist and Postmodern theologies and ideas. I am agnostic about god. I seek to maximize human flourishing and human community while being a responsible steward of the earth.
I was raised Catholic – and that was generally a positive experience for me; yet as a young adult, I grew away from this faith as I was exposed to other ideas. As one of my fellow seminarians put it, “Jesus didn’t have to be God to be interesting.”
Simply put, there is not any UU theology with which I am not in sympathy. Postmodernists are skeptical to any absolute views of truth. What we experience is open to interpretation. For example, we can’t know someone else’s experience; only they can know it.
As a pragmatist and as one’s minister, I will encourage congregants to follow and deepen whatever theology resonates with them. Part of my role in this regard will be to provide questions, not answers. Hopefully, these questions will help deepen the varied theologies held by those I am called to serve.
This begs my thoughts regarding religious language. Sometimes I use it. Sometimes I don’t.
More often than not, people first come to our congregations when they are experiencing brokenness. They’re hurting. There’s wreckage in their lives. They need to be ministered to. We owe them that. And sometimes they need to hear and be comforted by a certain word or a certain ritual from their religious past that they can grab onto. It comforts them.
When I am sitting in the pews and the minister says a comforting word that doesn’t resonate with me, or with my particular theological orientation, I let it go. I let it slide by. It’s meant for someone else. And it is an easy gift for me to give to one in need.