Originally from New York, Em Kianka most recently hails from Berkeley, California, where she graduated this past May with a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry. Em was raised Unitarian Universalist on Long Island and has felt called to ministry from a young age. As an active leader in her faith community, she co-founded and led the Unitarian Universalist campus ministry at her alma mater, Wesleyan University. As a lay member, she has preached, served as a Worship Associate, led Coming of Age, and created and facilitated a spiritual practice covenant group. Most recently, she served as the Admissions Coordinator at Starr King, where she supported and counseled prospective students and coordinated the institution’s admissions.
“I believe Unitarian Universalism is a faith that saves lives.” – Em Kianka
Em is called to team ministry and large-church ministry. She is also deeply committed to exploring Unitarian Universalist identity and theology in order to identify how we can theologically respond to racism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression in ways that center the embodied spirit of life and the connection we collectively hold with the sacred.
“If Unitarian Universalism wants to realize our multicultural, anti-racist denominational vision, our faith movement must prioritize shared ministry and ground itself in embodied spirituality.”
Em brings to her ministry a wide breadth of experience. She was trained as a community organizer in 2012 and has done faith-based and community organizing work for several organizations, including the Interfaith Center of New York, Connecticut Center for a New Economy, and the Episcopal Diocese of California. Before attending seminary, she co-founded a residential, ecumenical community for young adults in Berkeley, which conducted community outreach, developed original programming, and hosted events. As a trauma-informed yoga instructor and certified provider with The Breathe Network, a network that connects holistic health professionals with survivors of trauma, Em is especially passionate about the intersection of individual and collective healing, physical bodies, and social justice.
In her free time, Em practices yoga, attempts overly ambitious baking projects, reads novels, and shamelessly enjoys “guilty pleasure” television. She looks forward to joining the ministerial team at All Souls Tulsa and becoming part of the community this August with joyful anticipation.
Please join us to welcome Em Kianka to All Souls! Sunday, August 5 will be her first day in service.
All Souls Church serves the Unitarian Universalist faith as a learning institution. Each year, Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary hosts a week-long learning intensive for their students with our ministers and staff. Our lay-led intern committee and ministers work with resident interns to gain real-world experience and achieve their field education requirements.