Reverend Wayne Arnason

The Rev. Wayne Bergthor Arnason is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist with a forty-year career of service in UU congregations and institutions. Rev. Wayne served in two long-term parish ministries, at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in Charlottesville, Virginia from 1984-2000, and with his wife the Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church from 2000-2016. With Kathleen, he served during 2015-16 as a part time interim minister for the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton WI. Although retired from full-time ministry, he is excited about the opportunity to be part of the UU Congregation of Sterling as your half-time interim minister this year.  

Rev. Wayne grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has dual Canadian and American citizenship. He has a daughter, Sarah, who lives in Atlanta, GA. He is a 1972 graduate of the University of Toronto and as 1976 graduate of the Harvard Divinity School. Early in his career, he served as a parish minister for congregations in Hayward (1976-80) and San Francisco, CA (Interim Assistant – 1976). In addition to his parish ministry roles, from 1980-1984, Reverend Arnason served as the UUA’s Youth Program Director. He is credited with the leadership initiatives that resulted in the creation of Young Religious Unitarian Universalists, our UUA youth organization from 1982-2007. He is the author of a history of the UU youth movements, re-published in a 2004 edition under the title We Would Be One by Skinner House books.

Rev. Arnason has been well known throughout the Unitarian Universalist Association as an educator. He was the author or co-author of five UUA curricula for both youth and adults, including: “Life Issues for Teenagers,”(1983), “On the Path” (a curriculum on spiritual practice- 1985) and “Faithful Choices” (a curriculum on bioethics choices in family life-1995). In 1990, Wayne Arnason was named a recipient of the annual Angus MacLean Award for Achievement in Religious Education.

With Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. Wayne Arnason co-authored a widely-read book on UU worship practices, Worship That Works in 2008, which has been  published in a new 2nd edition in 2017.   In 2013, with Rev. Sam Trumbore, he published a collection of essays on Buddhist Voices in Unitarian Universalism.

Rev. Wayne’s denominational service outside the parish has regularly been focused on ministerial formation and excellence. He was Chair of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee from 2008-2015, and served a total of twelve years on the MFC in two appointments. He also served as President of the UUMA from 1993-95, and is currently on the Board of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, IL.

Rev. Wayne has served the UUA in continental leadership roles. From 1996 – 2005 he was a Trustee-at-Large on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Association. For four years he was Secretary of the Association, supervising election and certification procedures. In 2013 he was elected by the UUA General Assembly to the Presidential Search Committee that named the candidates who ran for UUA President in 2016.

Rev. Wayne has had significant continuing education during sabbaticals in both clinical ethics and worship. In 1990, he was named a Fellow at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center during a period of sabbatical leave. In 1991, his article on “Affirmative Action in Kidney Allocation” was published in the Hastings Center Report. During a 2005 sabbatical leave he and Kathleen Rolenz travelled the country studying the present and future of worship in the UUA. 

Reverend Arnason has focused his community activism through faith-based community organizing. He has served on the Board of Greater Cleveland Congregations, a coalition affiliated with IAF, and was a leader in Virginians Against the Death Penalty. 

Rev. Wayne personal spiritual practice is rooted in Zen Buddhism. He has served as President of the UU Buddhist Fellowship, a continental network of UUU Buddhist sitting and study groups.

In his free time, Rev. Wayne enjoys golf, films, hiking, cycling and cooking.

Summer Ministerial Intern – Ashley Burczak

Ashley Burczak graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 2010, and went on to serve as a chaplain in Dublin, Ireland, Philadelphia, PA, and locally at the National Institutes of Health and Jewish Social Service Agency Hospice, where she continues to work part-time. Prior to pursuing a career in ministry, she worked in the nonprofit world, and served as the founding Executive Director of the national organization Students Active For Ending Rape. She lives in Bethesda with her husband Derek, son Pearse, and a very large rescue greyhound, Moose. She can be reached at