May 9, 2018
Dear friends of Meadville Lombard,

Serving as President of Meadville Lombard Theological School has been the highest calling I can imagine for my ministry. To work on behalf of the future in such a consequential way is a humbling privilege that I treasure every day. But the years are gathering and the time is approaching for me to move into a different phase of my life. And so, I am writing to let you know that I have recently informed the Board of Trustees, our staff, and faculty that when my contract expires on August 31, 2019, I will retire from the presidency of Meadville Lombard. My retirement will coincide with the conclusion of my sixteenth year as president of the school.

I am announcing my plans now because I want to give the Board of Trustees the time it needs to conduct a well-planned and thorough search for the next leader of the school. The Trustees will begin that process when they convene their meeting in Chicago next week.

This is a good time in the life of Meadville Lombard for a presidential transition. So many people have joined together to oversee an innovative theological school that has become a leading institution in theological education and Unitarian Universalism—and this when there is such dramatic change and instability across the American religious and educational landscapes.

Even as the school moves forward with the selection of a new president, there remains much to do. I welcome your continued support as we shape religious leaders who serve our Unitarian Universalist values. Our alums are doing amazing work in a world that sorely needs their leadership.

As for me, I am thankful for the confidence that has been placed in me over these many years. I expect that the closer my retirement date approaches, the more sentimental I will become. I cannot state it enough times: serving as Meadville Lombard’s president is the most worthwhile endeavor of my long ministry and I will always be grateful for it.

With deepest appreciation,
Lee Barker

President, Meadville Lombard Theological School
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Meadville Lombard Theological School | 610 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605