Talitha J. Arnold, MDiv
Rev. Talitha J. Arnold is the senior minister of the United Church of Santa Fe. She was called as the pastor of the church (located in Santa Fe, New Mexico) in 1987. Since then, the church has grown from 90 to over 300 members; paid off a half-million dollar debt; completed three building expansions; and is known in Santa Fe for its education, outreach, worship, and music.
A native of Arizona, Arnold graduated cum laude from Pomona College with her B.A. in religion and government in 1975. After receiving her Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 1980, she served as interim associate university chaplain for Yale for one year, followed by a six-year tenure at First Church of Christ (UCC) in Middletown, Connecticut, as an associate minister. While an associate minister, she co-led the resettlement of over 100 Cambodian refugees in Middletown; this interfaith program served as the model for resettlement work throughout New England.
Arnold has been president of Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity and the Ministerial Alliance; served on the city's first Youth Commission; and been recognized for her human rights work in the city and state. She also helped start a "sister church" relationship with a Roman Catholic parish as well as Muslim-Christian and Jewish Christian dialogues in Santa Fe. She currently serves on the Bioethics Committee for Christus St. Vincent’s Hospital and is active with the Santa Fe Council on International Relations. Her congregation has hosted journalists, political leaders, and religious leaders from diverse countries such as Russia and the Ivory Coast. She also serves on the Alumni Board for Yale Divinity School, and organized the Women’s Reunion Celebration, “Eight Decades of Women at YDS.”
The United Church of Santa Fe was awarded the Arthur Tappan Award by the United Church of Christ for its witness as a multicultural and just peace church. Arnold was also been the recipient of a Lilly Fund Pastoral Renewal grant to study in Italy in 2003 and a Louisville Institute fellowship in 2000 for a sabbatical focused on desert spirituality. In 1996, Yale Divinity School honored her with the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, and in 2007 she was honored as Outstanding Clergy Woman in the United Church of Christ with the Antoinette Brown Award. In 2010, she was recognized as one of “Ten Who Make a Difference” by The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.
She writes regularly for The Santa Fe New Mexican and has also had articles published in The Christian Century and aired on National Public Radio. She recently wrote Worship for Vital Congregations, published by Pilgrim Press, and has essays in the Feasting on the Word series, published by Westminster John Knox.