Rev. Dr. Margret A. O’Neall began her service with this congregation as interim minister on August 1, 2014.
Margret is a professional interim minister, and she is credentialed both as an Accredited Interim Minister through the Unitarian Universalist Association, and a Professional Transition Specialist through the interdenominational Interim Ministry Network. She also holds a Certificate in Appreciative Inquiry through the Corporation for Positive Change.
Born in White Plains, New York, Margret became a Midwesterner after high school, earning a BA in Latin American Studies and MA in Sociology at Michigan State University, an MS in Community Development at the University of Missouri, and a PhD in Sociology at the University of Michigan. After spending most of her professional life in the Midwest, she is pleased to be back in the Empire State for a while in her service to the church. Margret enjoys spending time with family, so this location is a treat; she has a cousin and an elderly aunt in the Schenectady area, and her son and his wife live in Brooklyn.
Margret’s entry into ministry in 2009 was the capstone to a 35-year career, bringing together many streams of her experience in complex organizations and as an independent consultant. She has done outreach and development work in communities, helped found a rape and abuse crisis program, created and directed a grant-funded not-for-profit agency, served as an administrator in a metropolitan health department and as administrative faculty in a School of Public Health. As a staff member and consultant, she has hired and supervised staff, built collaborative teams, led and facilitated participatory processes of planning and change; she has counseled and facilitated individual intentional change through movement and bodywork. She describes herself as “a manager, an educator, community activist and team-builder – and perhaps most of all, as a facilitator of intentional transformation.”
Margret went directly into interim service after her ordination as a UU minister, serving as interim minister for two years at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Florida, where the work focused on collaborative leadership, staffing and policy development. She then completed a 3-year intentionally extended interim ministry at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, New York. The interim time in Buffalo focused on articulating mission, implementing policy-based governance, revitalizing covenantal relationship and increasing the practice of engaged stewardship in the congregation. Margret’s approach to the work of the interim time begins with getting to know the congregation, and asking church leaders to set goals for the ways in which they want to develop capacity in the congregation as they prepare for their next settled ministry. She then supports the congregation to help them achieve those goals in their time together.