2018-19 MidAmerica Board of Trustees
Contact the MidAmerica Board president at firstname.lastname@example.org
David Lauth, President
(Term 2018-2021) David Lauth has been a member of the MidAmerica Board of Trustees since 2015 and is currently serving as President. He is a member of two very different Unitarian Universalist congregations in Minnesota. He is a long-time member of First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, where he has served as President of the Board of Trustees and as a member of the Nominating Committee, Pastoral Care Committee, Personnel Committee, Music Committee, and Committee on Ministry. He is also a charter member of the fledgling UU Community of Red Wing, now in its second year of existence.
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.
Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh, Vice President
(Term 2018-2021) Mitra Jafarzadeh serves St John's in Cincinnati (Clifton). She has been on the Mid-America board this past year. Mitra believes our churches must be rooted in their communities and has fostered congregational involvement in interfaith activities with neighbors. She has helped coordinate tours of Clifton houses of worship.
She works with community activists and the mayor's office on issues of immigration and has worked with police on domestic violence. Currently, she is creating a weekend of music and spirituality drawing artists and participants nationally. In addition to serving previous congregations, Mitra has also been professor of religion and project leader.
Tammy Lemmer, Secretary
(Partial term 2018-2019) Tammy Lemmer has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing (Michigan) 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. She has served for one year on the MidAmerica Regional Board as a Trustee At Large.
Brian Bach, Treasurer
(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 to 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.
Janell Hill, At-Large
(Term 2018-2021) Janell Hill is a member of First Universalist Church of Minneapolis.
Janell has served as a Religious Educator for the church and is currently teaching OWL. She is also sitting a on a newly formed committee to address social justice issues with POC youth with the congregation.
Janell also serves as Secretary to Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM).
Kyrie Bock, At-Large
(Partial term 2018-2020) Kyrie Bock is a 3rd generation UU, originally from Florida and the First Unitarian Church of Orlando. She has been in Chicago now for 6 + years 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 for UUA, is a Chair for the Membership Committee at Unity Temple Unitarian Church, where she is a 4 year+ member, and serves as Vice President for Net Impact Chicago. Her love and passion for the environment 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 here at 1st Unitarian Church of Chicago and on a global scale.
Omega Burckhardt, At-Large
(Partial term 2018-2020) Omega S. Burckhardt is a member of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees. She has held multiple positions in her congregation, including the Chalice Circle Steering Committee and the Social Justice Committee.
She was a participant in 2015 at the Midwest Leadership School for the UUA after attending a Harvest the Power seminar at FUSM. Subsequently, she has held various lay staff positions at MWLS, and will finish her three-year commitment in 2018 as Chair of the school.
Dixie Collinson, At-Large
(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.
Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, At-Large
(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 Evison, ex-officio
Ian, who serves as MidAmerica Region Congregational Life Consultant Lead, 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.
(2018-2021) Kees deWit is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, Indiana. When elected, this will be his 3rd term and final term on the MAR 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 is an automotive quality systems auditor for BSI, He has a BSEE from the Netherlands and a MSMM from Kettering University.
(2018-2020) A US Citizen of African descent, Claude lives in Wauwatosa, WI with his wife and children. His spiritual quest found a home at the Unitarian Universalist Church West of Brookfield WI a few years ago, in 2014. As an active member of his congregation, Claude currently works with the membership committee and also contributes to the leadership development team’s work. He participated in the 2016 - 2017 “Wellspring” program at UUC West. The past three years, he has been involved (as a student and now as a staff) with the Midwest Leadership School (MWLS).
In his daily occupation, Claude is the Logistics & Transportation Team Lead for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate – Milwaukee, a food manufacturer. Outside of work, he has a passion for sustainable community development and partakes in the “Grow and Eat Local” movement of sustainable urban agriculture. Every summer, he grows most of his family’s next year’s ethnic vegetable needs.
Rev. Julie Brock
(2018-2020) Rev. Julie Brock serves as the Consulting Minister to the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton, Michigan. A life-long UU, Julie grew up attending the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit, where she served as board member and in many other leadership roles.
Julie recently completed her internship at the First Unitarian Society of Madison and worked as a chaplain resident at the Mayo Clinic. She graduated from Starr King School for the ministry in 2014, where she served as student body co-president. Julie has been very active in youth and young adult activities, serving as the moderator of the Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult steering committee.
(2018-2020) My journey in this faith came out of a search for a spiritual home that spoke to my commitment for social, gender, racial and environmental justice. The Fellowship in Columbia, Missouri, was my initial church home. Professional advancement in pharmaceutical sales took me and my two children to the North Shore Unitarian Society in Deerfield, IL. First Unitarian Society of Chicago, my home since 1990, has been a place where I have served on several councils and committees.
Nationally, opportunities on the Planning Committee, the (now defunct) Whitney Young Fund, and the Jubilee Working Group for Anti-Racism have been highlights of my involvement with the UUA. Now retired and working part-time as a driving instructor, I look forward to contributing through this positio
(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.
(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
(2018-2021) 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
(2018-2021) 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
(2014-2020) 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.
Barbara Gutsch, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Salina, KS
(2016-2019) 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.
Kathy Wire, First Unitarian Church, St. Louis, MO
Midwest UU Foundation Liaison/Treasurer
Hillis Howie, Unitarian Church, Evanston, IL
Mountain Desert District
Rev Kirk Loadman-Copeland, Denver (2013-16)
Many thanks to our past Board members:
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.
When three districts voted to become the MidAmerica Region of the UUA, district delegates also voted in our first MidAmerica Board. Our ten member board has four officers, five at-large trustees, and in addition, one ex officio member, meaning that he serves on the board because of his position, Rev. Ian Evison, District Executive of Congregational Life. He does not vote on matters before the board. To see pictures and a short description of the members of the board, go to www.midamericauua.org and click on "ABOUT US > Meet the MidAmerica Board.”
How does the board reflect our new region?
Our region includes all or most of thirteen states. Our ten board members hail from home churches in seven of them: Illinois (Rev. Ian Evison and Rev. Bill Sasso), Indiana (Amy Taylor), Iowa (Dave Martin), Kansas, Kentucky (Eric Huffer), Michigan (Rev. Cindy Landrum), Minnesota (Kathy Burek and Charlotte Preston), Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin (Erin McElroy and Tom Sommerfeld).