MidAmerica as a Learning Network of Faith Communities: Proposed as a Provisional Covenant of the MidAmerica Region, UUA
Approved September 23, 2014 by the Board of Trustees, MidAmerica Region, Unitarian Universalist Association, for publication preliminary to inclusion on the MidAmerica Annual Business Meeting Agenda in April 2015.
In keeping with the multifaceted sources of our Unitarian Universalist tradition -- direct experience of mystery and wonder; words and deeds of prophetic people; wisdom from the world’s religions; and teachings from the Jewish, Christian, Humanist, and earth-centered traditions -- we, the delegates present at the 2015 MidAmerica Regional Assembly, do covenant to become a “Learning Network” as follows.
Back row: Janis Cheney, David Lauth, Brian Bach, Ian Evison, Doug Cauble
Front row: Dixie Collinson, Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, Ellen Germann, Tammy Lemmer
Photo by Rev. Sharon Dittmar, May 2017
SLATE OF OFFICERS ELECTED for 2017-18 - MidAmerica Region Board of Trustees
Three year terms (I = Incumbent, N = New Candidate):
(I) David Lauth, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis, MN
(I) Janis Cheney, Bismarck Mandan Unitarian Universalist Church, Bismarck, ND
(N) Tammy Lemmer, UU Church of Greater Lansing, Lansing, MI (to complete Rev. Cooley’s term, then begin her own term July 1st)
(N) Dixie Collinson, Open Door UU Fellowship, Owensboro, KY
MidAmerica Region Nominating Committee
Two year terms:
(I) Kay Slama, UU Church of Wilmar, MN (completed Brian Bach’s term, starting her first term)
(I) Rob Gallegly, Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, Carbondale, IL
(N) Bob Lovell, UU Church of Greater Lansing, Lansing, MI
(2013-2018) Eric Huffer, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, Kentucky, has served on the MidAmerica Region Board of Trustees, first as Secretary, since 2013. He says “I hope to be able to serve our vibrant and amazing collection of congregations, as we continue to work to be that beacon of love and justice in the world.” He has been in a number of leadership roles in his home church including serving as President for two terms, plus another two years as a Board member. He chaired the Worship Associates Committee and Nominating Committee, as well as led and facilitated their covenant groups for a year. He served on the Heartland District Nominating Committee. He has been a delegate at numerous Heartland and General Assemblies, and has been a covenant group facilitator at two GA’s. Eric says “As a result of my covenant group facilitation experience, I value listening and tend to work to facilitate discussion when in a meeting. I think this has served as a useful trait in any of the positions I have held, and believe it would be an asset in my service on the Board. Thank you for this opportunity to serve our Region.”
(2016-2019) Brian Bach holds the position of Past President for the Black Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BHUUF) in Rapid City, South Dakota. Before joining the Unitarian Universalists Brian struggled to find a spiritual home that nurtured his sense of intellectual honesty and activism. He has long been committed economic justice, reproductive rights, and anti-racism in the Black Hills and surrounding areas. His spirituality centers around Tibetan Buddhism and the theme of compassion as a focal point. Brian is married to Mahala and the proud father of three adult sons. He manages a small family-owned investment business started by his grandparents in 1964. Brian enjoys cooking and gardening. He hikes and camps in the Black Hills while accompanied by his vigilant Golden Retriever, Lucy. He is an ardent fan of the English Football Leagues.
(2014-2019) Kyrie Bock is a third generation UU, originally from Florida and the First Unitarian Church of Orlando. She has been in Chicago since 2010 and recently completed what brought her here, an MBA in Marketing and Management from Loyola University Chicago and a Professional Certificate for Leadership in Sustainability Management from The University of Chicago. While her background is in Marketing and Financial Services, it was here in Chicago where she uncovered her passion and commitment to Sustainability, Non-Profit, Higher-Ed, and all its offerings. Kyrie is an active member of the community both locally and regionally - she currently serves as a Trustee on the Board for the Mid America Region, is a Chair for the Membership Committee at Unity Temple Unitarian Church, where she is a four-year member, and serves as Vice President for Net Impact Chicago. Her love and passion for the environment and community development drives her professional desires to continue to make her local community in Chicago a great place to live, work and play “green,” and she looks forward to making that same positive impact for the MidAmerica Region!
(2017-2020) Janis Cheney joined the Bismarck Mandan UU Church in Bismarck, North Dakota in 1982. She has served on the congregation’s Board of Trustees on several occasions including three terms as President. She is active in all aspects of congregational life focusing on adult RE, new member welcoming and orientation, and worship facilitation.Janis served on the Prairie Star District Extension Committee for nine years, attended General Assembly in Minneapolis and attends district conferences, workshops, and webinars. A Camp Unistar regular for 17+ years, she is married and has 2 young adult daughters. In her day job, she is ND State Director for AARP.
(2017-2020) Dixie Collinson is a member of a lay-led congregation - Open Door Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Owensboro, KY (ODUUF). Dixie has served her church as Vice President and President of the Board of Trustees and in other capacities, including adult and youth RE, music, assisting with childcare and participating in social justice endeavors. Dixie’s articles appear regularly in the faith section of the local newspaper. Dixie attended Midwest Leadership School in 2015, and actively seeks to build bridges with other faith communities, including the Muslim community, in the Owensboro area. Dixie is a Business Systems Analyst with Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.
A 2005 graduate of Lexington Theological Seminary, St. John’s Mitra Jafarzadeh is her second call after serving in Knoxville, TN, where she also taught world religion at the local community college. Having grown up in Tehran, Iran; Tulsa, OK; Lexington, KY; and, Charlotte, NC, she is looking forward to a long tenure in Cincinnati. She shares her home and life with her husband of 24 years, two children, two cats and one large furry dog. She has an interest in appreciative inquiry and a commitment to radical hospitality as a practice of faith.
(2015-2020) David Lauth is a member of First Universalist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has served as a member and President of the First Universalist Board of Trustees. He currently serves on First Universalist’s Nominating Committee and Pastoral Care Committee, and he has previously served on its Personnel Committee, Music Committee, and Committee on Ministry. He was the District Coordinator for the 2010 UUA General Assembly in Minneapolis. In that role, he worked with the General Assembly Planning Committee, and he recruited and led a team of 200 local volunteers. Prior to the formation of the MidAmerica Region, he served as a volunteer conflict consultant for the Prairie Star District, working with a number of congregations that were experiencing difficult conflicts. He is also a singer/songwriter, and he performs regularly at the services of UU congregations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. He is a labor and employment lawyer and mediator, and he has an active volunteer mediation practice. David is passionate about building a strong future for Unitarian Universalism and our work in the world, and he is excited about this opportunity to serve the MidAmerica Region.
(2017-2020) Tammy Lemmer has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing since 2002. After working for over 12 years in domestic and sexual violence prevention, she now works for the Tri-County Office on Aging, while also doing contract work with the Michigan Department of Education with an emphasis on safe and supportive school environments for LBGT youth.
She is very active in community activities, and serves on her local school board.
Tammy’s congregational involvement includes volunteering with Children's RE, (including facilitating Coming of Age and Our Whole Lives for Middle Schoolers), Social Action initiatives, and Stewardship and Capital Campaign Committees. Her other leadership roles at UUCGL include serving on the Congregation’s Board of Trustees for five years (with terms as VP for Programs and Secretary,) Nominating Committee, and Program and Policy Transitions committee (for reviewing and updating the congregation's Constitution and Bylaws). She is currently Chair of Denominational Affairs. Within the Region, she is an experienced delegate, and has served as a member and chair of both the Heartland District and the Regional Nominating Committees.
(2016-2019) Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan worked first as a community organizer in Dallas TX, and then for 11 years as an administrator and faculty member at El Centro College. In addition, Sarah taught in the Dallas County Jail Program. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in interdisciplinary social science and an MPA from University of North Texas. In 2008, Sarah moved with her husband, John, and older daughter Allyn to Denver in pursuit of a Masters of Divinity at the Iliff School of Theology to become a UU minister. John currently works as a Coordinator for a new Restorative Practices program at a middle school in Topeka. They welcomed Aine to the family in June 2009.
For two years, Sarah worked at Community College of Denver as the First Year Experience Coordinator. She left in August 2010 to pursue her MDiv full-time. Since then, she has assisted with the UUA pilot project called “Leap of Faith” and served as an intern chaplain at St. Anthony North Hospital. A Unitarian Universalist since 1993, Sarah has been a member at Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, First Unitarian in Dallas, and First Unitarian Society of Denver, serving in many roles, including: on boards; committees; as a guest speaker; and in religious education. In 2006 she traveled with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to Guatemala to learn about fair trade coffee and the work of Equal Exchange. She enjoyed serving as a ministerial intern for 2012-13 year at Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and working as a student consulting minister with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laramie part time from June 2013 to July 2014. She is currently serving the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, KS.
Ian is a UU minister who has served in a variety of ministries, including parish ministry, theological education, a research project at the University of Chicago in Family and Religion, and service at the Alban Institute as Director of Research. Current passions include future trends in American religious life, new frontiers of organizational development. He also has a geeky interest in change strategies and denominational structures. To keep sane he cooks, gardens, frequents farmers’ markets, and makes large quantities of compost. Ian and his wife, Leah, split their time between Chicago and St. Paul.
(2017-2019) Robert T. “Rob” Gallegly lives in Carbondale, IL, and is a member of the Carbondale Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (CUUF). After joining in 2008, Rob served various rolls: RE teacher, member and then chair of the nominating committee, trustee, vice-president, member of the choir, computer network consultant, and one of the resident kilt wearers. Professionally Rob is a senior technical project manager for the Hyatt Hotel Corporation. He has worked for/with Hyatt for 13 years. Additionally he is vice-president of Serenity Data Services, a data security company that holds patents on hard drive destruction technology. Rob serves on the Carbondale Elementary School Board. He also teaches for two martial arts clubs (Aikido, Kali) at Southern Illinois University with his wife Karen. Regardless of his many projects, Rob enjoys spending time with his wife and playing with their son.
(2014-2018) Katherine (Kate) Daniels is a member of the Unitarian Church of Quincy, Illinois, and was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Kate has served her current church as a member of the Board of Trustees for the last 6 years and held the offices of the Board of Trustees' President and Treasurer. She has also served as a member of the Religious Education Committee, Ministerial Search Committee, Finance Committee, Ministerial, Human Resources, and Risk Management Committee and the Anniversary Celebration Committee. Kate worked as a Wisconsin State Public Defender for 17 years and an organic farmer for 5 years. She is currently an attorney working as a solo practitioner.
(2014-2018) Kees deWit is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is his 2nd term on the MA Region nominating committee. Since joining the church, he has volunteered for many different functions in church life (including congregational president and treasurer, stewardship chair, endowment chair, worship chair and ministerial search committee). He has great interest in UU history and collects old books about this topic.
His favorite past time is riding his bicycle on the Fort Wayne trail system. After arriving in the USA from the Netherlands in 1992, Kees became a naturalized US citizen in 2008. He married Ruth deWit in 2006. Their blended family has 4 children ranging from 19 to 34 with only a cat still at home. Currently he has his own small consulting firm that specializes in Quality System development and Management of Restricted Substances and Chemicals. He has a BSEE from the Netherlands and a MSMM from Kettering University.
Rev. Brian Chenowith
(2016-2018) Rev. Brian Chenowith is currently serving as our minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, Kentucky. He is a lifelong Chicagoan and a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School. After serving a two-year part time internship at Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL, he spent one year as the full time intern at First Parish in Concord, MA.
He came to Lexington, KY in August of 2015 and is glad to be back in MidAmerica. He lives in Lexington with his partner, Dan, and they both enjoy comic books and the outdoors in their free time.
(2017-2019) Katherine M. (Kay) Slama is a consultant in behavioral health and management who has been a member of the UU Church of Willmar MN since 2006. She has served on its board, and as Social Justice Chair for 9 years. Kay participates actively in MUUSJA (MN UU Social Justice Alliance). She presents several services at her church each year, generally on social justice or environmental topics. Kay’s experience includes conference coordination, grant writing and reviewing, clinical psychology, teaching in university professorship positions, membership on professional boards, Executive Director of a mental health center, and author of professional publications, as well as web-based workshops on Dealing with Stress. Many of her current professional activities involve rural services and advocacy. Among other activities, she enjoys the outdoors, photography, and volunteer social justice work.
Rev. Martin Woulfe
(2016-2018) Rev. Martin Woulfe has served as the minister of the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation in Springfield, IL since 2003. Originally from the Chicago area, Martin graduated from Meadville/Lombard Theological and served UUCC in Park Forest, IL as an interim minister. Martin has served on the Nominating Committee of the National UUMA, as Treasurer of the CMwD-UUMA, and as a member of what seems like a zillion other boards. Martin is married to Angela & they have one darling daughter.
(2017-2019) Bob Lovell has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing since 1980. He has served as Coming of Age Mentor, Ministerial Search Committee Chair, President, and in other roles. He has been an alternate or delegate to the Regional Assembly many times and he and his wife Kathy are Chalice Lighters. He has also enjoyed ushering at the last three General Assemblies and plans to do so again in New Orleans. In addition to church work, Bob is a volunteer with an American Red Cross disaster team and with a bicycle advocacy committee, and is a retired statistician, manager and teacher. He looks forward to contributing to the MidAmerica Region as a member of the Nominating Committee.
Allen Lindrup, First Unitarian Society of Chicago, Illinois (2015-2018)
Allan Lindrup was born in Chicago in April, 1949, and was introduced to Unitarianism through the Sunday School program at Third Unitarian Church, starting in the fall of 1959. He has been active in five UU congregations in Chicago through his life, currently with the First Unitarian Society of Chicago. He is now retired, after having a 35 year career with the US Social Security Administration. Allan has served his UU congregations and numerous non-profits, most often as Treasurer, fund raiser, or social justice leader. He served the Chicago Area UU Council as President during the 1980s and is back on CAUUC currently, as Treasurer. Allan produced about 150 UU televisions shows for public access TV between 1990 and 2000. He is a knowledgeable investor with about 30 years experience in managing his portfolio.
Michael May, First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin (2015-2018)
Michael lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and is a member of the First Unitarian Society of Madison. He has served in a number of positions since becoming a Unitarian-Universalist in 1980: President of the FUS Congregation, Chair of the FUS Bylaws Revision Committee, Member of the Board of Trustees for the Central Midwest District of the UUA, Member of the FUS Committee on Ministry, and Chair of the FUS Meeting House Preservation Committee. Michael was born in Madison in 1954 and has always lived there. He graduated from Holy Name Seminary High School and obtained both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He has three grown children and is married to a local artist. Michael serves as the City Attorney for Madison, where he supervises an office with 16 attorneys. He is on the Board of Visitors for the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is also a member of Downtown Madison Rotary, where he serves on the Board of Trustees for the Madison Rotary Foundation.
Rae Jane Araujo, Heritage UU Church, Cincinnati, Ohio (2014-20)
Rae Jane Araujo served as Treasurer of the Heartland District before the formation of the MidAmerica Region. For over 30 years Rae Jane has been a member of Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church in Cincinnati. Current congregational roles: Co-chair of the Universalist Convocation Planning Committee; Labyrinth Arts Festival Steering Committee; Finance Committee; and Delegate to the UU Council of Greater Cincinnati. Past congregational service: Board member; Chair of the Building Committee when the church was built; Member of the Membership, Personnel, Stewardship, Welcoming Congregation, and Ministerial Search committees. Rae Jane is married and has two children and two grandchildren.
Kathy Wire, First Unitarian Church, St. Louis, MO (2013-19)
Barbara Gutsch, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Salina, KS (2016-19)
Barb Gutsch lives in Salina, KS, with her wife and two teenage children. She has been a Unitarian Universalist since 1995. She served on the Board of Directors of the UU Church of the Monterey Peninsula and was a member of the UU Community Church of Glen Allen, Virginia, before retiring from the U.S. Navy and moving to Kansas. She has been actively involved in the UU Fellowship of Salina since 2006, serving as program committee chair, religious education coordinator, three-term Board President, and now she serves as Lay Leader of the Fellowship.
After attending Midwest Leadership School in 2007, she joined the Midwest Leadership School staff for a three-year term. She was an instrumental member of the planning/development team and staff of Prairie Star District’s Camp Star Trail. Through Unitarian Universalism Barb has found a haven of like-minded people where she can explore personal beliefs, find meaning, and create community. Barb is grateful to have a spiritual home to share with others who may be searching. “I love working in the UU community; it simultaneously challenges, stretches, and fulfills me.”
Ted Lau, Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, MO (2017-2020)
Ted Lau, with his wife Cindy, has been a member of Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, Missouri, since 1990. Many church activities have been meaningful: leading small groups, visiting the sick as a pastoral care associate, and offering his musical talents as an accompanist and choir member. In 2011-12 he chaired the Ministerial Search Committee, and attended Central Midwest District Assemblies to promote EUC. He assisted the Board in refreshing the church’s mission, vision and values statements, and leads the Healthy Communications Team. Ted looks forward to serving the MidAmerica Region.
Hillis Howie, Unitarian Church, Evanston, IL
Rev Kirk Loadman-Copeland, Denver (2013-16)
PHOTO ON LEFT
Back row: Tom Sommerfeld, David Lauth, Kyrie Bock, Janis Cheney, Eric Huffer
Front row: Doug Cauble, Ellen Germann, Ian Evison, Dawn Cooley, Dave Martin
PHOTO ON RIGHT is the Board at their meeting in September 2015 - includes retired Congregational Life Consultant Nancy Heege (in blue striped shirt)
Ellen Germann has an eclectic background. She has worked in corporate settings, as the director of three nonprofit organizations, as adjunct faculty at a university, as a self employed consultant and as a District Executive in the Mountain Desert District of the UUA. She currently owns a small weaving studio where she teaches weaving and provides a community environment for weavers of all skill levels. Ellen holds a BS in Physics and Math from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Southern NH University. She also completed Masters level work in Career Counseling at Rivier College. Her volunteer work has focused on children, covering areas of reading skills, learning disabilities, foster care and abuse. She was a founding board member for a small nonprofit that focused on providing ergonomic solutions for indigenous craft workers, is currently serving on the board of a charter school in Lafayette, Indiana, and has held several positions of leadership on UU church boards. In 1994, Ellen was among the first UUA Compensation Consultants, helping to move our congregations to becoming fair employers. During her 20 years in this role, she served four very different districts – New Hampshire/Vermont, Mountain Desert, Pacific Southwest and Heartland. In 2007, she co-authored the book "Big Ideas For Small Congregations" which has led to many consultations and workshops helping the smallest of our churches across the country. Ellen is the mother of three, grandmother of four, stepmother of two and step grandmother of three wonderful human beings. Her husband is a professor of Planetary Science at Purdue University
Dawn Cooley is the minister of First Unitarian Church, in Louisville, KY. She believes that Unitarian Universalists are called to "Love the Hell Out of the World" and tries to practice this on a regular basis. Prior to coming to Louisville, she and her family lived in Minneapolis and she was very active in the Prairie Star District. She graduated from United Theological Seminary in 2004. She and her spouse of 20+ years have two children and multiple furry pets. She briefly played competitive roller derby as "LivFearless" with the Derby City Roller Girls and is excited to be dusting off her skates to join a new recreational league.
Tom Sommerfeld was born in Ann Arbor, MI, in July of 1948. He grew up in Ann Arbor; Stillwater, OK; and Chapel Hill, NC. Following high school, Tom returned to Ann Arbor where, in 1974, earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and met his wife, Elinore, who has been his life partner for 40+ years.
Tom retired from a career as a data communications specialist with the Railroad Retirement Board in Chicago in January 2000, and has been a “professional volunteer” ever since. Since moving from suburban Chicago to the North Woods of Wisconsin in 2003, Tom has been a volunteer on-air program host on WXPR, the local Public Radio station; board member and treasurer of a local performing arts group; a volunteer at the local public library; and a poll worker for elections.
After years of being un-churched, Tom and his wife, Elinore, discovered Unitarian Universalism in 1999 and joined the DuPage UU Church in Naperville, IL, in 2000. Tom was a member of the choir and vice-chair of the Music Committee. Following the move in 2003, Tom has served as volunteer music director of Northwoods UU Fellowship in Woodruff, WI, as well as 9 years as treasurer of the fellowship. Tom and Elinore have been frequent delegates from NUUF to CMWDA and to GA.
Dave Martin has been a member of the UU Society of Iowa City for over 30 years. During that time he has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Board Trustee, Treasurer, and Board President. He has taught OWL (Our Whole Lives - sexuality education) classes and been chair of the Stewardship Campaign. He served on the PSD Program Council and has been on the staff of the Midwest Leadership School. Dave was Vice President of the Prairie Star District Board and helped to draft bylaws for regional governance. He is head of the Business Library at the University of Iowa.
Rev. Barbara Child
(2014-2016) Rev. Barbara Child has been a Unitarian Universalist since 1963. A member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, she serves the MidAmerica Region as a Ministerial Settlement Representative (coach to ministerial search committees) and Good Officer (minister to ministers in difficulty), as well as completing a term on the Nominating Committee. She has served the UUA on the Commission on Appraisal and Commission on Social Witness, both of which she chaired; she also served on the Steering Committee of the Interim Ministry Guild. She is retired from full-time ministry and now serves as a consultant to congregations.
Prior, D'Ann (Dorothea Ann) of New Brighton died November 14, 2015.
Born Aug. 14, 1936, in Flushing, Queens, NY.
D'Ann was a member of our Nominating Committee. An early, active, and continuing supporter of women's rights, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter, and civil rights for all, D'Ann served terms as president of both MN NOW and WIS NOW, chaired the first National Lesbian Rights Conference, and worked on MN's "Vote No" campaign. D'Ann was an active member of Michael Servetus Unitarian Society (MSUS). She also served the larger Unitarian Universalist Association as a liaison to small congregations in the Prairie Star District (now MidAmerica Region) and helped to develop Stonetree, an online resource.
D'Ann leaves a legacy of generosity and support for social justice. Memorials preferred to MSUS, or the social justice charity of your choice.
Dear Colleagues in Leadership,
Our MidAmerica Region has come to life! Since the votes last April, our MidAmerica Board and Staff have been busy, and I want to keep you up to date on our progress, and to make sure that you are “in the MidAmerica loop!”
After the vote of our three district assemblies, we incorporated MidAmerica as a not-for-profit corporation in Iowa (May), received recognition of MidAmerica as a component of the UUA from the Louisville General Assembly (June), and completed a merger between the Central Midwest District and MidAmerica (June). Heartland’s consolidation process is under way, and Prairie Star has formed the Camp UniStar Foundation (CUF). When CUF is ready, Prairie Star will turn the camp and its associated resources over to CUF, and then consolidate into MidAmerica.