Rev. Thom Belote has served as minister of The Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, since 2014.
With more than 17 years of experience leading Unitarian Universalist congregations, Thom brings to his work both a deep love of ministry and considerable gifts in all facets of ministry. Thom is an acclaimed preacher, a devoted pastor, an innovative teacher, a skilled administrator, and a committed activist.
At age 25, Thom was called as the settled minister of the Shawnee Mission UU Church in Lenexa, KS. During his 11 years in Kansas, Thom helped that church to nearly double in size and successfully complete an ambitious building project. During these years, Thom won awards for excellence in ministry and for service to the community. His book, The Growing Church: Keys to Congregational Vitality, was published by Skinner House in 2010.
Thom earned his Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and his BA in Religion from Reed College. Thom approaches ministry with heart and with a strong academic background in Religious Studies.
Thom is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. He was born and raised in a small town in the Boston suburbs. Thom first experienced a call to the ministry at age 15 as a member of his high school youth group.
Thom’s wife Anne works as an Executive Assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill. Their daughter, Lydia, is in elementary school. In addition to being a minister and a dad, Thom reads fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, participates in justice work in the community, and loves working out at CrossFit Homeward.
Parish Minister, The Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU, 2014-present
Parish Minister, Shawnee Mission UU Church, Overland Park, KS, 2003-2014
Student Minister, First Parish Needham, MA, 2002-2003
Intern Minister, Horizon UU Church, Carrollton, TX, 2001-2002
Student Minister, First and Second Church of Boston, MA, 2000-2001
Intern, Faith In Action Office, Unitarian Universalist Association, 1999-2000
The Growing Church: Keys to Congregational Vitality. Skinner House Books, 2010.
Listening to Experience: 12 Visionary Ministers Discuss Growth (DVD), UUA, 2008.
“Disobeying Herod,” Quest, Church of the Larger Fellowship, January 2018.
“Facing Vulnerability,” Quest, Church of the Larger Fellowship, October 2013.
“Rob Bell’s Case for Universalism,” UU World, Fall 2011
“Covenantal – Not Creedal,” Quest, Church of the Larger Fellowship, September 2009.
Awards, Grants, and Scholarships
Good Guy Award, Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus, 2012.
Next Generation Award, Kansas Choice Alliance, 2012.
Westwood Award, UUA, 2010. Awarded to “ministers who have brought an
entrepreneurial spirit toward spreading our faith and nurturing our congregations.”
Natalie Gulbrandsen Grant, UUA, 2009. Funded sabbatical in Ecuador and Peru.
Williams Fellowship, Harvard Divinity School, 1999-2003.
Phi Beta Kappa, Reed College, 1999.
Leadership and Service
Co-chair, Religious Affairs Committee, Chapel Hill / Carrboro NAACP, 2017-2019
MAINstream Coalition, Vice President, 2011-2012, Board Member 2007-2012.
Chair, Executive Director Search Committee, MAINstream Coalition, 2011.
Executive Committee, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 2006-2009
One of twelve ministers invited to second UUA Growth Consultation by UUA President
Peter Morales. 2010.
History and Theology Lecturer, UU Midwest Leadership School, 2009-2010.
One of twelve ministers invited to first UUA Growth Consultation by UUA President
William Sinkford. 2007.
Presenter, Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute, National Conference, Washington D.C.
2007 and Midwest Regional Conference, Lawrence, KS 2006 and 2007.
Master of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School, 2003.
Bachelor of Arts, Reed College, 1999. Religion major.
The Executive Experience, LeaderPoint, 2004.
Level 1 Clinical Pastoral Education, Parkland Hospital, Dallas, TX, 2001.