On October 1st, the First Unitarian Church of Oakland (FUCO) ordained Kevin Alan Mann to church ministry, making him the First Queer Filipino-American Unitarian Universalist minister in the Bay Area. The ordination service took place on the first day of both Filipino-American and LGBTQ+ History Month.
“The theme of the ordination is Centering Love As Hate Rises. In a time when Asian American, LGBTQ+ and other vulnerable communities are increasingly under attack, may our Universal Love be fearless and may our Unitarian Universalist legacy empower us to build the Beloved Community right where we are,” said Rev. Mann.
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition of many beliefs and backgrounds, with a deep social justice history. The First Unitarian Church of Oakland has been serving the religious needs of the East Bay since 1869.
FUCO Minister Rev. Laurel Liefert said, “Rev. Mann’s ordination is a celebration and reflection of our church’s vision: to build a radically inclusive community, to grow the beloved community by expanding the welcome table and deepening our commitments to countering oppression as an intentional multiracial, multicultural, multigenerational congregation.”
FUCO Board President Nicole Fitzhugh said, “Oakland and the Bay Area welcomes Rev. Mann’s bold and progressive spiritual leadership that affirms and reflects the community’s diversity, especially in a time of rising anti-AAPI hate, and anti-LGBTQ legislation fueled by the conservative and religious right.”
“Rev. Mann’s ministry has its origins in our youth movement and as a longtime lay leader. He will also be an important conduit between the Bay Area and our Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines, which is known for their leadership on LGBTQ+ issues and comprises 25 congregations and 2,500 members,” said Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Community Minister for Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universal Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), a Unitarian Universalist People of Color organization.
The Ordination Service featured an all Asian-American team of worship leaders, including Rev. Jonipher Kwong who led the service, Rev. Leslie Takahashi who gave the sermon, Administrator of the UU Church of the Philippines Rev. Arman Pedro who made the generosity ask, and with support from Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Rev. Cathy Chang, Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, Rev. Micah Ma and Rev. Sangye Hawke. Aria Querubin, Evelie Delfino Såles Posch and Mahal EthnoFusion Music Myth and Magic provided the music.
The Ordination Service was attended by more than 160 participants dressed in ancestral formal attire. The Service was followed up with a reception that included Filipino food, tinikling dancing, and presentation of commendations from the offices of Oakland Councilmember-At-Large Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, and Colma Mayor Joanne F. del Rosario
“As a Queer Person of Color whose parents immigrated from the Visayan Islands of Central Philippines, my ministry is rooted in centering people from the margins and creating healing spaces of compassion, vulnerability, empowerment, and liberation. Our vision calls us to be an anti-racist, anti-oppressive people, church, and faith. May we build a world where no one is left behind, no one forgotten.” said Rev. Mann.
Rev. Kevin Alan Mann | MDIV., MASC. (he/him/siyá) currently serves as a Chaplain with Sequoia Hospice, the Assistant Professor of Multicultural Chaplaincy and Community Ministries at Starr King School for the Ministry, and on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Diversity Advisory Council.
He completed his Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Social Change from Starr King School for the Ministry in 2016 and his Chaplaincy Residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco in 2018. Kevin also worked with the Shanti Project serving long-term survivors of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and as the Community Advocacy Intern with the Faithful Fools Street Ministry.
After ordination Kevin plans to become a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) and will continue to minister as both a Hospice Chaplain and a Community Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland.
Daisy Quan, Kevin Mann Ordination Committee
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