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Rev. Dr. Fred Howard

Leonard “Fred” Howard, MD is ordained as a minister by the Christian Universalist Association.  His roots are deep in Georgia soil, as he was born and raised in Macon, attended Valdosta State College and then the Medical College of Georgia, and then practiced medicine as a family physician in Cairo and Douglas for twenty years.  In 2002 he heard the call to ministry and closed his medical practice so that he could attend seminary.  In 2003 he began studies at Candler School of Theology at Emory.  After graduation in 2006, he spent a year in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Emory Hospital.  Though the wards of a hospital were quite familiar to Fred, he was now assuming a very different role, that of a hospital chaplain.  The final leg of his ministerial training was completed in 2007 at the High Street Church in Macon where he did his ministerial internship.  At present Fred continues to work part time in the emergency rooms of Appling County even as he serves as minister of the Valdosta Church.

Fred has special interests in contemplative spirituality, mind body medicine, and interfaith and intercultural exchange.  He is on the ordination committee of the Christian Universalist Association.  In addition to his work in the fields of ministry and medicine, he also works with several nonprofit organizations.  He is on the Board of Directors of Peacemakers, an organization that fosters world peace by teaching children ethical values common to all religions and denominations in a summer camp program, and past board member of Project Harvest Hope, an organization that works with our sister Unitarian congregations in Transylvania to promote sustainable economic development.  In conjunction with Project Harvest Hope Fred has traveled to Transylvania many times and loves to lead pilgrimages there to the birthplace of the Unitarian Church.

He is author of Transforming Faith: Stories of Change from a Lifelong Spiritual Seeker, recipient of numerous awards including the coveted Nautilus Book Award.  More recently he published  Children of Covenant, a tale of mystery, intrigue, and friendship between a Unitarian minister and a Muslim professor in a small college town.


He is married to Kathy Riggins Howard of Blackshear, Georgia.  Kathy and Fred met while attending Valdosta State University.  They have three grown children, all of which attended VSU as well – Mandy, an optometrist, Misty, a first grade teacher, and Dustin, now a graduate student at Georgia Tech.  They also have six grandchildren, Bennett, Kade, and Hallie, who reside in Valdosta and Jake, Mary Kathryn, and Griffin who reside in Fairhope AL.