We are a welcoming congregation.
View our Covenant of Good Relations.


Dr. Melissa James

Director of Family and Lifespan Ministry

Melissa JamesJoined the staff in 2014.

I have a great passion for learning and teaching. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to create programs for children and families in settings ranging from congregations to farms. I am seminary trained and credentialed in my home tradition, Lutheranism. I came to California from the Midwest via Berkeley where I earned a Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union. In both my seminary and doctoral studies my focus was on the connection between faith and social justice. I continue to teach at the university level as an adjunct in sociology and philosophy at local universities.

I came to Unitarian Universalism through the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Oakland. I began teaching there as the toddler instructor as I worked my way through graduate school. Even though I come from a different religious tradition, I fell in love with what Unitarian Universalism offers in terms of a foundation for learning, identity and connection to the needs of the world and pursuit of justice. As I moved into more and more leadership, eventually becoming the Children and Family Ministry Coordinator, I realized that there is a great gift in the UU tradition that allows for a depth and breadth of exploration for all ages. I am very excited to be a part of this community as we learn and grow together.

Learn more about Melissa's work at our Children's Religious Education Program page.

Phone (619) 398-4438 | Email melissa@firstuusandiego.org

Return to Staff Directory.