Viola Abbitt

Viola, also known as Vi or Vee, will be serving as the ministerial intern at UUSGS through June of 2019.  She is currently a candidate for the Unitarian Universalist ministry and is a seminarian at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, IL.  She anticipates receiving an M.Div. in 2019.

Immediately prior to coming to UUSGS, Vee served as an intern chaplain at the Albany Medical Center in upstate New York.  Before that, for ten years she worked as the Director of the Office of the Ombudsman for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.  There she supervised a staff whose core mission was to protect and promote the legal rights of youth in the juvenile justice system.  She considers that among the most rewarding work she has ever been engaged in.  Vee has also been employed by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, first as an Assistant Attorney General in New York City, and later as the Deputy Bureau Chief for the upstate division of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau.  There she was involved in the prosecution of cases involving securities and tax fraud, environmental crimes and public corruption.  She also served as an Assistant District Attorney, and later as Deputy Counsel for the Borough President in the Bronx.  Viola’s interest in a law career arose from her sincere commitment to justice and fairness, and started when, as a teenager, she saw a peaceful protester wrongly arrested by police on the streets of New York City during a demonstration protesting apartheid in South Africa.

Church and religious thought have always played a large role in her life, and she ultimately found a spiritual home in Unitarian Universalism in 2002.  Over the years, she has served in various voluntary and paid positions in congregations in the Hudson Mohawk cluster of UU congregations in New York State, and has given sermons in congregations in Vermont and Massachusetts, as well as in New York.  Vee currently sits on the board of Unirondack, a Unitarian Universalist camp and conference center located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.  Prior to attending Meadville Lombard, Vee was awarded a B.A. in economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton, an M.S. in information science from Long Island University and a J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law.

She is extremely proud of her son Taylor, who she raised a single parent.  Taylor, is currently living his passion, which she believes everyone should be able to do, and is following his dream of making a living as a musician in southern California.

Vee feels blessed to be able to serve this congregation, and is looking forward to the next two years.