My friends,

It has been a full, long five years since I joined you and the family of Fourth Universalist as your Director of Music in September of 2017. It’s hard to believe all of the life that has occurred between then and now!

Many of you will know that Fourth Universalist was the very first musical adventure I took on upon my arrival to New York. This, along with working at Disney Theatricals, was my first home both musically and communally when I landed here. It’s been a beautiful time exploring musically as a community together.

As many of you also know, I am heavily involved within the theatrical community here in New York and elsewhere in the world, and this professionally shares a great deal of my time. I am pleased to say that I have been given another opportunity to be involved in the development of a new and exciting musical. As such, I'll be engaging in a brief overseas stint as Music Director and Conductor of a new musical that will be developed for New York & London called MANDELA, based upon the life of Nelson Mandela. The musical is being co-produced in collaboration with the Mandela family.

All this to say, I have done some deep reflection on my time and commitment to Fourth Universalist. While it is hard to determine a journey coming to its closing, I have determined that in conjunction with this moment of me departing to spend some time away from the city, as well as in weighing my ability to commit my time and emotion to our community, it is indeed the right time for me to pass my baton along and resign as your Director of Music. 

This church is an exciting space and community within our great city - and together, we have made some amazing steps in the direction of continuing to create a safe community where all people can come and experience a type of church where they feel welcomed and validated. It’s been an honour for me to be a part of this for the last five years. And while it’s farewell for now, it’s not goodbye. My hope is to remain a part of the community in an adjacent way wherever and whenever I can based upon what the future holds. 

My last in person Sunday will be at the end of this month, on Sunday September 25th, and my hope is to have a fantastic time musically and celebrate with some favourite tunes that I’ve loved sharing over the years. I hope that you’ll be able to join me.

In music, love, and with all my best,


A small note from Rev. Schuyler:

I was so sorry to hear Sean's news several weeks ago. He has been such a gift to our congregation and to so many of us. Sean, you will be so missed! And still, I am grateful for our five years together and am glad to celebrate his new position and the impressive accomplishment it represents. 

I hope you will mark your calendars for his final service on September 25th. It will be the perfect time to express your gratitude, well wishes, and congratulations.

We will shortly form a search committee to begin the process of finding a new Director of Music. Graciously, our Associate Director of Music, Cynthia Meng, has agreed to serve as an interim, should there be time between Sean's departure and the position being filled. 

Should you have any questions or wish to discuss this news, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at Thank you, again, Sean, for all you have done for our congregation. You will always have a home with us. 

With love, 
Rev. Schuyler
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Pastoral Care

At Fourth Universalist, we do our best to care for each other. If you could use some support, we hope you'll let one of our ministers know. They are available for pastoral care counseling, general problem-solving, rites of passages, and just to lend a caring, listening ear.

You are also welcome to submit significant life events and prayer requests to our Senior Minister, who will include them in our Sunday pastoral meditation.
Ministers and Staff

Senior Minister
Rev. Schuyler Vogel

Affiliate Minister
Rev. Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone

Affiliate Minister
Rev. Jill Bowden

Affiliate Minister
Rev. Mark Cutolo

Affiliate Minister
Rev. Beth Putnam

Director of Religious Education
Ember Kelley

Religious Education Assistant
Deb Walker

Co-Directors of Administration
Sheila Powers

Melanie Van Orden

Director of Music
Sean Mayes

Director of Membership and Hospitality
Soyal Smalls
(On family leave. Contact Ben Heaney in Soyal's absence.)

Sunday Associate
Ben Heaney

Our Mission

We are a diverse, welcoming community,
connecting people to their spiritual center and to one another, inspiring lives of service through reason and love.

The Fourth Universalist Society is:

a Unitarian Universalist congregation

working for justice and collective liberation

for families and children

for young adults and elders

both gathering both in-person and online

striving to be anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multicultural

a community where you are free to believe what you believe, so long as it is bound by love and justice

looking towards the future

a place to build a life

a place to make a difference and build a better world

a place for community and connection

a place of hope and new beginnings

a place you could call home.

Support from Fourth Universalist

In these uncertain and anxious times, we want you to know that Fourth Universalist is here for you. If you need support in any way, we hope you'll reach out.

If you want to talk to a minister, if you would appreciate a call from a member of our Caring Team, we will happily connect with you on the phone or on zoom.

If you are feeling sick or have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, we want to know and support you in whatever ways are possible.

If you have lost your source of income and are worried about making ends meet, we have emergency funds to support you.

If you need help with getting food or other essential supplies - we will do what we can to help.

Just reach out to our senior minister.

Everything you share will be held in confidence.