The Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley has been called as associate minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring by the unanimous vote of the congregation. He has served the church as assistant minister since August 2012, joining senior minister, the Rev. Elizabeth Lerner Maclay.
A graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif., Dr. Dunkley also holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh and an undergraduate degree from Tufts University. He brings not only his training and experience as a minister to the church but also his wide-ranging musical interests.
These include the traditional drumming of Ghana and the Republic of Zaire, the Kora tradition of Senegal, the Gamelan traditions of Java and Bali in Indonesia, and jazz traditions in the Americas as well as Bluegrass and Country Blues. He sings and plays several instruments, including guitar, piano, conga, gangogwe (West African double bell) and didjeridu.
Rev. Dunkley previously served Unity Church—Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota. Before deciding to become a minister, he was director of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University and taught music there. He is currently writing a book on spiritual growth and radical forgiveness.