Reverend yadenee hailu Joins UUCWC Ministerial Team

by Rev. Kim Wildszewski and Sue Saddlemire, Vice President, UUCWC Board of Trustees

As you know, from May 3rd through July 19th, I will be on Parental Leave, meeting and learning our newest child. After the Board of Trustees, Personnel and Finance Committees all supported hiring a Parental Leave Minister to cover some of my responsibilities during that time, we quickly put a Search Committee of four in place. This committee was represented by the Board, Personnel, Worship Associates and Pastoral Caring Ministry (Sue Saddlemire, Scott Drew, Scott Cullen and Denny Rodgers, respectively). Candidates were interviewed first by this Committee and then the Staff (Robin Pugh, Susan Irgang, Caryl Tipton and me).

We are so pleased to announce that we have completed our process with a clear and unanimous decision, and that our offer has been accepted!

Beginning the week of April 26th, the Rev. yadenee hailu will join our UUCWC ministerial team!

Rev. Yadenee Hailu (she/her) is the community minister of blk earth, a Black centered spiritual wellness project in Tulsa, OK, USA. Rev. Yadenee has served Hope Unitarian Church and All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK and was ordained by the three UU churches of Tulsa, including Church of the Restoration, in 2019. Rev. Yadenee’s ministry is to be an oracle for ease, liberation, and healing; the pathways to wholeness—to life. Life’s nature is to flourish and Yadenee works, speaks, organizes, rests and plays so that we all may remember this truth and become co-conspirators in the liberation of our life force and all others’. Yadenee identifies as bi-cultural, Ethiopian-American, cis, Black and a woman these identities as well as the privliges she moves through the world with shape her perspective and insight on a theology rooted in healing and wholeness. To learn more about Rev. Yadenee visit

Below are reflections from Sue Saddlemire on behalf of the Search Committee, which the staff and I wholeheartedly echo. In addition to Sue’s words, I want to say that paramount in this process and decision for me, was making sure the staff and leadership teams would feel confident and well cared for in my absence.

We’ve had many ministers serve us in different ways over the last decade – from Interims to Interns to our first try at an Assistant Minister. We’ve learned a lot from them and also a lot about ourselves.

As we enter another season of this pandemic, but also another season – like all seasons – in which we sharpen and broaden our ministry in the world, it is essential that we enter this relationship with trust, enthusiasm and curiosity for how we will grow. Considering this, Rev. yadenee was such a clear match for us in so many ways. Truthfully, if I have any regret, it is that I will not be here to experience your shared ministry.

More information will be coming soon, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

With care,

Rev. Kim Wildszewski

The committee was fortunate to be able to choose from four excellent candidates who applied for the position. The committee met in advance to discuss the best approach that would enable us to find the right person to meet our congregational needs.

Initially, we met to discuss our overall goals, choose interview questions and the format we would follow. Our interviews, which lasted a little over an hour, were conducted via Zoom and consisted of a mix of introductions, interesting conversation and Q & A discussion.

The next step was to analyze which candidate would be the best fit for UUCWC. Each member of the team wrote up detailed impressions which we shared with one another and passed on to the staff who conducted their own interviews.

When all was said and done, Rev. yadenee was our clear choice!

Rev. yadenee comes to us from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she serves as a part-time community minister working with local Black-owned businesses. She is also involved in growing “blk earth” which is a digital resource for spiritual wellness and a lifestyle of healing and wholeness by and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) young adults within and adjacent to Unitarian Universalism.

We believe she is well-suited for the Parental Leave position because of her administrative and organizational skills, her in-depth understanding of how to share church digitally, and especially because of her unique combination of warmth, passion and intelligence.

During the interview process, the Search Committee was impressed by her thoughtful responses which gave us a picture of a deep thinker whose natural curiosity has provided her with mature and diverse experiences and perspectives. She came across as authentic, caring and well-rounded. Rev. yadenee has an exuberant delivery combined with meaningful thoughts and ideas. Due to her extensive background knowledge, she is able to incorporate many inspiring literary references while she preaches. In addition, her compassion and concern for others can be felt in her style which she describes as “sitting with someone at the kitchen table over a piece of pie.” Her understanding of, and connection to, the 8th Principal will also be an asset in our journey to spiritual wholeness.

We look forward to welcoming Rev. yadenee to UUCWC and we’re confident that our congregation will benefit from someone with so much to offer.

Sue Saddlemire, Vice President, UUCWC Board of Trustees