Anya Sammler-Michael

Board Co-Chair

“To prepare for the ministry, you will need roots and wings. Meadville Lombard education will give you both.”

Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2007. Her first call was to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling, in Sterling, Virginia, where she served for 10 years before joyously accepting the call as a co-minister with Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair in 2017.

In college at the University of the South, Rev. Anya studied philosophy and fine arts, as she worked to build bridges of understanding between diverse social circles. She has worked as a fine art photographer, darkroom artist, caterer, and chef. She first felt the call to ministry as a youth in her Unitarian Universalist Youth Group, but then discovered her call again, in young adulthood, before pursuing seminary.

In ministry, Rev. Anya focuses on building interfaith relationships, reaching across the partisan divide, and honestly confronting the evils of white supremacy, xenophobia, and homophobia. In her sermons, she stresses humility, compassion, and relationship–both with one another and with that which we deem holy.

Rev. Anya has received awards and recognition for her interfaith work and has been elected by her colleagues to serve in many leadership roles. Both Michelle and Barack Obama had Rev. Anya offer invocations at campaign events.

Rev. Anya is an avid cook and lifelong vegetarian. She practices Vinyasa, Bikram, and Yin yoga. She considers yoga, meditation, and prayer all integral to her spiritual practice.

What is your message to a prospective student?

“To prepare for the ministry you will need roots and wings. Meadville Lombard's own roots in our tradition are bequeathed to their students through scholarship and experiential learning. The fine educators and the empowering experiences of Meadville Lombard education will also give you leave to grow your wings — it will help you hone and develop your individual calling. Conviction and capacity in all aspects of ministry demand both this foundation and this flourishing.”

What is meaningful to you in your work for MLTS?

“The preservation of the institution of Meadville Lombard is, I believe, essential for the preservation and thriving of our faith tradition. The work of the school is the work of Unitarian Universalism — preserving a tradition, calling forth and equipping leaders, demanding change and transformation both within its ranks and within our wider world. Like all institutions, MLTS falls short of its highest expectations, but unlike all institutions, MLTS accepts the challenge to evolve. It is my calling to be a part of that evolution.”