PRAIRIE STAR DISTRICT ARCHIVES
Because Prairie Star District has become part of MidAmerica Region, this page has been archived as of July 15, 2013, for reference purposes. It will not be updated in the future, and some links may no longer work properly. For more up-to-date information, please visit the Mid America UUA site. Thank you!
Leader for the Morning Celebration and a workshop later in the morning
The Reverend Doctor Kendyl Gibbons is a life-long Unitarian Universalist, who currently serves as senior minister of the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. She graduated from the College of William and Mary and Meadville/Lombard Theological School, and now teaches at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and the Humanist Institute. She has served as President of the UU Ministers Association, and is a published author in Parenting Beyond Belief and the hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition.
Rev. Jim Eller Host for Camp StarTrail
Rev. Jim Eller will provide our welcome, our announcements, and will be a “go to” person for us. He has been serving All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Kansas City, MO, as senior minister since1999. He has been a UU minister for more than 25 years, previously serving churches in Peoria, IL, and in Tulsa and Tahlequah, OK. Jim also has been a hospital chaplain and is an AAPC-certified pastoral counselor. A life-long Unitarian, he is a religious liberal and a graduate of the Starr King School for the Ministry, a UU seminary in Berkeley, Calif.
Jim is President of the UU Council on Congregationally Based Community Organizing and serves on the national IOI –Interfaith Organizing Initiative – the council of CBCOs and Interfaith Justice Funding organizations. Jim is also on the citizen’s advisory board for KKFI-the Kansas City community radio station. Jim was the President of the Prairie Star UU District Minister’s Association for four years. He is active in BGLT cultural and civil rights. He has been President of the Board of the Oklahoma Regional AIDS Interfaith Network.
Jim describes himself as a “practicing pluralist” because his wife, Jeannie Himes, is a United Methodist minister. They have two sons, Sam and Shaun. He is an avid cyclist, an active parent, and a social activist.
Rev. Mark Stringer Chaplain and Evening Vespers leader
Mark has been serving as minister of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines since August 2001. Mark, a native of Akron, OH, is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago and holds an MA degree in theatre from Bowling Green State University and a BA degree in theatre and English from Ashland University. Mark has been an active leader in the central-Iowa Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) and has served as a board member of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, an organization he chaired from 2004-2006. On August 31, 2007, in the front yard of his Des Moines home, Mark had the honor of officiating Iowa’s first (and only, for now) legal same-sex wedding. He received the UUA’s 2007 Westwood Grant, an award that “goes to a UU minister who has shown an exceptional entrepreneurial spirit in congregational leadership over a period of five years.” Mark and his wife Susan are proud parents of their daughter, Leah.
Moira Leu Music Director for Camp StarTrail, working with the Morning Celebration, the Children’s Choir, and other musical events
Moira has been the Director of Music at First Unitarian Church in Des Moines IA since July 2008. She graduated from Morningside College with a Bachelor of Music Education in 1999. She is a member of UUMN (Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network) and ICDA (Iowa Choral Director’s Association). Moira lives in Des Moines with her husband Brad and two dogs, Sydney and Stella.
Bruce Van Bronkhorst Accompanist working with Moira on the Morning Celebration, the Children’s Choir, and other musical events
Bruce really enjoys music and sharing music. He’s the music director at Michael Servetus Unitarian Society in Fridley MN, where he directs the choir, the wind ensemble, and leads and plays in the Delphi Jazz Trio and Class Act Quintet and saxophone quartet.
Laura Shennum Leader of the Children’s Program
Laura is the Director of Religous Education at Second Unitarian Church in Omaha, NE. She is very active in promoting family and children involvement in the church. She is the mother of three children. She enjoys reading, playing with her kids and cooking. Laura has recently been accepted as a seminary student at Meadville Lombard.
Workshop Leaders Eric Banner, Anna Kohler Smith, and Sherry Warren Leader of OWL for Young Adults workshops
Eric is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, and former chair of the Board at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan. He’s currently working as an environmental scientist for the Kansas Department of Health & Environment specializing in water quality. He has a wife and two daughters, and spends his free time riding his bicycle and landscaping. He’s been accepted to theological school and will begin working on his Masters of Divinity in preparation for UU ministry in the fall of 2009.
Anna is a tall glass of water. A Kansas City native, she has worked in several areas of public health: the Breast Cancer Survivorship Center at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, Planned Parenthood, and on HIV issues in West Africa. She is passionate about good sex education that helps participants learn their values, practice good communication, and honor sexuality’s wonderful diversity. She is trained from grade nine through Adults in the Our Whole Lives Curriculum and is excited to bring such a fun and helpful curriculum to Camp StarTrail.
Sherry has been a Religious Education Professional for seven years and has been employed by Prairie Star District for three. While working toward her Master in Social Welfare degree at University of Kansas, she had the opportunity to work at Haskell Indian Nation’s University with students and staff on issues including mentorship, interpersonal relationships, sexuality and sexual health, and community. Sherry also spent time working at the local rape crisis clinic and a state mental health facility. Her diverse experiences have allowed her to work in inner-city schools, universities, as a corporate trainer, and with various UU groups across North America. She is a certified OWL facilitator at all curriculum levels currently available.
Darrel Draper Afternoon workshop leader
Darrel Draper is a member of Second Unitarian Church in Omaha, Nebraska. He will lead a multigenerational workshop on Survival Skills on Monday afternoon and on Wednesday afternoon. Darrel portrays historical figures and will portray Nebraska pioneer fur trader Peter Sarpy for one of our evening campfires. His program on The Legacy of Peter Sarpy is the most popular program of the Nebraska Humanities Council. Darrel offered this program at the District Annual Conference in 2008, and it was a great hit with all who attended.
Rev. Fritz Hudson Afternoon workshop leader
Rev. Fritz Hudson is minister of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Nebraska. His ministerial career has spanned 32 years in five parish settlements. He’s been a summer camp participant in three UU Districts.
Rev. Ted Tollefson Morning and afternoon workshop leader
Rev. Ted Tollefson has taught dreamwork and meditation in Minnesota since 1980. He wrote his master’s thesis on dreamwork and teaches a class on dreamwork at Metro State University. Since 1990 he has taught World Religions at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton. Ted is minister of the UU Society of River Falls, WI and a co-founder of a campus ministry at University of Minnesota. His spiritual practices include meditation, T’ai Chi, golf, and Bar-B-Q.
District Staff Members at Camp StarTrail
Nancy Heege District Executive Rev. Phillip Lund Lifespan Program Director
Camp StarTrail Planning Committee
Chris Bremer, Coordinator of Camp and Retreat Program Area for Prairie Star District, Minneapolis MN
Rev. Jim Eller, Kansas City MO
Barb Gutsch, Salina KS
Rev. Fritz Hudson, Lincoln NE
Brad Leu, Des Moines IA
Moira Leu, Des Moines IA
Bob Miller, Kansas City MO
Mark Seaburg, Minneapolis MN
Don Shennum, Omaha NE
Laura Shennum, Omaha NE
Rev. Mark Stringer, Des Moines IA
Susan Stringer, Des Moines, IA
Rev. Phillip Lund, Prairie Star District
Nancy Heege, Prairie Star District
Page last modified on December 02, 2009, at 01:13 PM