Rev. Jason was called as minister of UUSGS by unanimous vote of the congregation in 2012. Prior to arriving in Springfield, Jason served vibrant congregations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New Jersey. Jason holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he studied social ethics with Dr. Gary Dorrien. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Hartford Seminary. Jason’s professional interests include: arts & worship, anti-racism & social justice, and youth ministry.
Working with staff and volunteer leaders, and reporting to the UUSGS Board of Trustees, Rev. Jason oversees the shared ministry of the congregation. The congregation and the Board sets the vision; Rev. Jason’s role is to help the congregation to live into that vision, to coordinate and to inspire.
Although Jason is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, ministry is a second career for him. After growing up in New Jersey, just outside of New York City, Jason double-majored as an undergrad at Bucknell University, studying Business Management and Music (trombone). Upon graduation, he worked joyfully in advertising and public relations before feeling a call to move on. For a year, he helped care for his maternal grandmother, a woman of deep devotion, in what would be the last year of her life… and that same year he began serving his home congregation as a Senior Youth Advisor. He was part of a national initiative to cultivate youth leadership, and was trained to offer comprehensive sexuality education (OWL). After his grandmother’s death, Jason enrolled at Union Theological Seminary… not because he wanted to be a minister, per se, but because he was full of questions – big questions! – and a progressive seminary like Union seemed like a good place to ask them.
Jason chose to attend Union Theological Seminary because of its historic commitment to urban ministry and social engagement, and because of its strong academic reputation. While at Union, Jason took classes with Cornell West, James Cone, Gary Dorrien, Serene Jones, and others. Working with interdisciplinary scholars at Columbia University, Jason helped to organize a conference on environmental ethics, and his thesis was a call to re-envision the work of faith-based food justice, away from charity and toward a new way of belonging to ourselves, our communities, and our ecosystem. While at Union, Jason also completed a unit of clinical pastoral education at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and engaged in frequent work with the Poverty Initiative.
Upon graduation, Jason served Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul as Hallman Ministerial Intern. A year later, he joined the staff of the Fox Valley UU Fellowship in Appleton, Wisconsin, as Assistant Minister. Jason remains grateful for the connections and memories he carries from his time in the Midwest.
Jason came to UUSGS in 2012, inspired by the congregation’s depth of worship, embrace of the arts, and commitment to social justice. In his time as Minister, the congregation has grown, in membership, in programming, and in impact. Jason is an active participant in the wider community, through his participation as President of the Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts and past Board member of the Pioneer Valley Project, an interfaith community justice organization. Jason believes deeply in the loving and liberating promise of liberal religion to improve lives not only within but also beyond the walls of the congregation.
Jason plays trombone. One of his favorite projects was playing with King Chango, a bilingual ska-reggae group based in New York City. Jason enjoys used books, vinyl records, and many sports. Jason lives in Springfield with his wife, Jen, and two young boys: Jonny and JJ. Jason’s favorite things about living in Springfield are: the natural beauty of our area, the diverse people and cultures here, local arts in abundance, and a wealth of history to explore.