Galen Guengerich

Senior Minister

Galen Guengerich is Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, an historic congregation located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He is the tenth person to hold this position in the congregation’s 199-year history. He has served as a minister of All Souls for 25 years, the last eleven as Senior Minister. His last name is pronounced GING (rhymes with “sing”) — rich.

Galen was educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA, 1982), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1985) and the University of Chicago (PhD, 2004). His doctoral dissertation is titled Comprehensive Commitments and the Public World: Tillich, Rawls and Whitehead on the Nature of Justice.

Galen is author of God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and the forthcoming The Way of Gratitude: A New Spirituality for Today (Random House, 2020), and he writes a column on “The Search for Meaning” for He has also written for Reuters, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, TIME magazine, as well as writing occasionally for Huffington Post and FaithStreet, as well as other media. He has appeared on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Galen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he focuses on how traditional religious beliefs and practices, both in the US and abroad, usually reinforce patriarchy to the detriment of women and democracy. In addition, he chairs the Multifaith Clergy Advisory Council at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and he also chairs the “Humanities in a Conflict Zone” initiative at the Minerva Center for the Humanities at Tel Aviv University.

Over the past several years, he has spent time in numerous areas of both Israel and the West Bank, as well as visiting Gaza in 2018. In 2017, he gave an address at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem titled “Reflections on Martin Luther, Individual Agency, and Collective Responsibility” for a conference on “Narratives of Progress: Critical Reflections on Alternative Paths to Modernity.” In 2013, he visited Afghanistan with a delegation of CFR members and fellows, meeting with top military, diplomatic, and civilian leaders in Kabul, as well as in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces. Also in 2013, he spoke in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a visit hosted by Christopher Hudson, MBE, who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement. In 2012, he was part of a 15-member delegation of senior clergy from New York City to visit Israel and the West Bank, the first such delegation to meet with a broad spectrum of religious and political leaders, including Shimon Peres, President of Israel, and Salem Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Galen has served as a Lecturer in Preaching and Worship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. His sermon at All Souls on the Sunday after 9/11/01, titled “The Shaking of Foundations,” was selected as one of seven responses to 9/11, along with speeches by President Bush, Governor Pataki, and Mayor Giuliani, for Representative American Speeches 2001 – 2002.

In the past, he served for 12 years on the Board of Directors of Interfaith Alliance, the national non-partisan advocacy voice for religious pluralism; he served as chair of the Interfaith Alliance board from 2008-2012. He has also served on the boards of Dads and Daughters, the national advocacy nonprofit for fathers and daughters; the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a human rights organization; and the New York City Audubon Society.

Galen lives in Manhattan with his wife, Holly G. Atkinson, MD, who is Clinical Medical Professor and Medical Student Adviser at the CUNY School of Medicine and Assistant Medical Professor, Department of Medical Education, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Read Galen’s latest sermons.
Send us an email to sign up for Galen’s daily email meditation “A Common Meditation for All Souls” – a daily spiritual practice to help spark our moral imagination and establish a common spiritual conversation.

Articles and Colunms by Galen Guengerich

Read Galen’s 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Unitarian Universalism from

Read Galen’s latest in his column The Search for Meaning.

Read Galen’s Washington Post column on “selfie” culture (click here

to read the print version).

Read Galen’s columns on religion and science in the Huffington Post.

Read Galen’s column on Texas textbooks in the Washington Post “On Faith.”

Read Galen’s column for TIME magazine on the death penalty.

Subscribe to the “Search for Meaning” RSS feed and be alerted whenever a new column is posted.

Cover of God Revised by Galen Guengerich

Purchase Galen’s book, God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age

Read an interview with Galen in Pacific Standard magazine.

Read Galen’s column in the Huffington Post.


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