The Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt has served Unitarian Universalism for more than twenty years as a religious educator, minister, scholar, member of the UUA national staff and many volunteer committees at regional and denominational levels, and as interim co-president of the UUA in the spring of 2017.
As a parish minister, Rev. Betancourt served as senior minister of the First UU Church of Stockton, California; consulting minister at the UU Fellowship of Storrs, Connecticut; and interim minister at the UU Church of Fresno, California—in addition to serving as intern minister at the UU Church of Berkeley, California, while completing her M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry. From 2005 to 2009 she served as Director of the UUA’s Office of Racial and Ethnic Concerns, and she has served on numerous appointed and elected UUA committees including the Appointments Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Cultural Misappropriation Task Force, and the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee. Rev. Betancourt has also held leadership roles within the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) including serving on the Berry Street Executive Committee and the UUMA Coaching Task Force, and has also served on the boards of the Church of the Larger Fellowship and the UU Justice Ministry of California.
From 2009 to 2022 Rev. Betancourt devoted herself to scholarship and the education of future faith leaders at Yale Divinity School, Starr King School for the Ministry, and Drew University Theological School. She taught courses on UU ministerial leadership, UU theologies, preaching, environmental ethics and liberation, womanism and Earth justice, mujerista and Latina feminist theologies, and combating oppression. As a scholar Rev. Betancourt served as a teaching fellow, associate professor, acting president, and academic dean. She continues her research and writing on the staff of our Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
In 2017, when the president of the Unitarian Universalist Association resigned a few months before the end of the term amid a call to reckon with the impacts of white supremacy culture on the systems and structures of Unitarian Universalism, the UUA Board appointed Rev. Dr. Betancourt, Dr. Leon Spencer, and Rev. Bill Sinkford as interim co-presidents. For three months, they supported UUA staff and the wider denomination in facing the past, grappling with the present, and building toward a future more in line with the values of our living tradition. (Read their reflections at the close of their co-presidency.)
As a scholar, Rev. Betancourt has spent many years researching, writing, and presenting on the environmental ethics of liberation through a womanist and Latina feminist frame. In addition to her M.Div., she holds a Ph.D. in religious ethics and African American studies from Yale University, a B.S. from Cornell University with a concentration in ethnobotany, and an M.A. and M.Phil. from Yale University in religious ethics and African American studies.
She is the author of Ecowomanism at the Panamá Canal: Black Women, Labor, and Environmental Ethics (2022) and her writing is featured in many other books, including BLUU Notes: An Anthology of Love, Justice, and Liberation (2021); Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment (2018); Ecowomanism, Religion, and Ecology (2017); and Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry (2017), as well as the journals Religions and WorldViews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology. (Explore Rev. Betancourt’s sermons, talks, and writings.)
Rev. Betancourt currently serves as Resident Scholar and Special Advisor on Justice and Equity at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, working to center the institution’s internal policies and practices on the core values that ground UUSC’s mission.