Meet Our Intern Minister, Mary Early-Zald, Ph.D.


Hello! I am Mary Early-Zald, the Intern Minister here at this year. My favorite Nashville restaurant is Monell's, because we have the chance to sit around a community table, where strangers can share a meal and become friends.

If I were to sum up my ministry in one word, that word would be hospitality.

Mine is a bi-vocational internship, as I spend half my time here and half at Launch Pad Nashville, an organization who focuses on providing LGBTQI+ affirming shelter to young adults. My ministry is radical pastoral care with marginalized young people and my call is to be in solidarity with those most affected by systemic oppression, to heal its suffering- and prevent its death-dealing effects.

My theology grounds itself in the dynamic, imminent, cosmic, cellular, molecular, interpersonal, and intrapersonal power of Love. I seek to integrate a UU liberation theology with this grounding. So, I start from Love and this fuels my connection to being with folks in the margins, centering their experiences, reading text through their "eyes." Justice, then peace. Jeremiah 6:14 speaks to the importance of justice before false Shalom (peace) saying "They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying Peace, Peace, when there is no peace." So, I look forward to taking my theological grounding into caring with young people "beyond the walls," as well as congregational work in creative settings. In this, I seek to create spaces of hospitality, where all feel welcome and affirmed at the community table.

I hold a Masters of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I also hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska. I was born in Santa Monica, California, and have moved quite a bit; the Pacific Northwest is the only part of the Continental US in which I have not lived. I am married to David Zald, a professor in psychology and neuroscience, and our daughter is a senior at Earlham College. I enjoy musical theater, film, all kinds of music, dancing, cooking, hiking, travel, cultural studies, activism, and high intensity fitness. I am a candidate for UU ministry, planning to finish my credentialing process in Spring 2019, and hope to be ordained in August. 

I am thrilled to be in community with you. I invite you to follow my online ministry at Facebook and Instagram.

CommunityKris Thresher