At the time of her ordination in 1978, Carolyn joined a group of less than 60 female Unitarian Universalist ministers in the United States. A pioneer in many ways, Carolyn was the first woman President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the first woman President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. After her undergraduate degree in Art she completed a Doctor of Divinity degree at Meadville Lombard Theological School and served as the co-minister, with her husband Tom, of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego for 22 years. Carolyn has also been an unwavering champion of LGBTQIA rights. She offered pastoral care to the gay community from the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, performed civil unions for same sex couples when acceptance in any kind of church was a rarity and championed the rights of transgender people.
Carolyn served on the boards and advisory committees of many social justice and arts organizations including Planned Parenthood, the African American Minister’s Action Committee, the San Diego Hospice, and the internationally acclaimed Mingei International Craft and Design Museum, to name a few. She is the author of the book “Damngorgeous: A Daughter’s Memoir of Millard Owen Sheets” and countless sermons and poems. Now retired, she lives in a lovingly restored home in San Diego and enjoys her kids and grandkids. Thank you Carolyn, you are a shining light on this International Women’s Day 2021!
“Come into this house of worship. Come in bringing all of who you are. Rest and quiet your week-worn spirit, for you are here to touch again eternal springs of hope and renewal.” ~ Rev. Dr. Carolyn Owen-Towle
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