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


Standing on the shoulders of giants

Ministers Emeriti

First UU Church of San Diego has been blessed with so many beloved staff, ministers and volunteers it's hard to know where to begin in keeping track of them. Here are a few, please feel free to contact us for more information.

Rev. Tom Owen-Towle

With over four decades in Unitarian Universalist ministry and leadership in the men’s movement, Tom Owen-Towle brings a seasoned perspective to the topics of progressive religion, partnership, gender justice, parenting, and citizenship in the global family. Tom Owen-Towle served as a parish minister since 1967 and is the author of two dozen books on various topics of personal growth, social compassion, and spiritual depth. He has been partnered in marriage for 40+ years to Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, and they are devoted parents of four and active grandparents of six. He is also a guitarist, a Little League coach, a budding magician and merry-maker, especially with seniors. Owen-Towle is a national leader who continues to conduct workshops and retreats on the core themes of his books. Tom served as co-minister of First UU Church of San Diego with his wife Carolyn from 1978 to 2002.

Rev. Dr. Carolyn Sheet Owen-Towle

Carolyn Owen-Towle served as a UU Minster for many years. She is also a published author and popular speaker. As the daughter of renowned watercolorist Millard Sheets, Carolyn has always been immersed in the world of art and continues to be actively involved with many arts organizations. Carolyn served as co-minister of First UU Church of San Diego with her husband Tom from 1978 to 2002.

Rev. Arvid Straube

Rev. Arvid has been helping people grow spiritually for more than 35 years as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister. He has been practicing and teaching Buddhist meditation in the Vipassana (Mindfulness) tradition for more than two decades, studying with many teachers including Joseph Goldstein, Thich Nhat Hanh and Shinzen Young. He took the two year training in Spiritual Guidance from The Shalem Institute in 1994 to 1996 and has been a spiritual companion to people ever since. Shalem is the organization which pioneered spiritual direction training, based on the Christian Contemplative tradition. Rev. Arvid earned a Master of Arts in Divinity from the University of Chicago in 1978 and a Doctor of Ministry from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1979. In 2013, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from his Alma Mater, Meadville Lombard. Arvid served as the Lead Minister of First UU Church from 2004-2014. Read Arvid's archived blog.