About Senior Minister Jay Leach
When the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte called me to be its minister in 2003, I was delighted. I was attracted to this large, vibrant congregation and pleased to have the opportunity to move from the west coast back to my native region. Now, more than a decade later, I remain delighted to be the person called to offer spiritual leadership and pastoral presence to the congregation and a progressive presence and voice in the larger community.
I was born and raised about a hundred miles from here in Greenville, South Carolina. I’m a third-generation alumnus of Furman University where I graduated with a major in philosophy. I had a very winding path in seminary that took me to Rüschlikon, Switzerland, Louisville, Kentucky, and Wake Forest, North Carolina. I completed a second Master of Divinity degree at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California, where I also taught preaching and worked in the area of new student recruitment.
In a ministerial career of three decades I’ve served prior congregations in Charlotte, New Orleans, Houston and Napa. Among my many community activities, I served on the Board of Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans and the Board of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, worked as a clergy counselor at a hospice for people with HIV/AIDS and helped initiate the work of a Corporate Responsibility Committee for a major Catholic healthcare system.
I’m a Class XXVII graduate of Leadership Charlotte, have been deeply involved in North Carolina’s “Moral Monday Movement,” and I served on the Clergy Advisory Committee for Mecklenburg Ministries and the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent’s Interfaith Council.
I am a past-president of the Senior Ministers of Large UU Congregations and served on the Presidential Search Committee for the Starr King School for the Ministry where I am now on the Board of Trustees.
I have a deep personal and spiritual interest in poetry, a passion that is often reflected in our services. I also have a deep interest in the American Transcendentalists, especially Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, an affinity that also frequently informs the content of our services. I’ve been an on-again, off-again runner — I completed two marathons, I love baseball and travel, and I have a burgeoning interest in photography and a lifelong love of music of all kinds.
My wife, the Rev. Melissa A. Mummert, is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She is a graduate of the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley and is an Affiliated Community Minister of the UUCC. She is on the staff of Changed Choices where she works with incarcerated women and women in transition from incarceration. Her work as a documentary filmmaker includes “A Perversion of Justice” and “Life Without.” She is also a singer/songwriter with a recording of original songs called “Ready.”
We are the proud parents of a daughter, Emerson Anne “Annie” Leach, who was born in 2006.