At the Jun. 3, 2018, Annual Meeting, UUCF members elected the following new leaders to serve on the Board of Directors, the Endowment Fund Committee and the Nominating Committee. All terms of office will begin on Jul. 1, 2018. The length of the terms is included below.
Board of Directors – 3-Year Terms
I retired from the U.S. government in January 2014. The majority of my government work revolved around civil rights, equal opportunity and diversity. I served in a variety of positions that gave me the opportunity to address discrimination issues as well as develop strategic directions toward achieving diversity in the workplace. I always felt fortunate to work in something that I felt passionate about and would have been involved in on a volunteer basis, if not as part of my professional career. Upon retirement, I knew I wanted to stay involved in social justice issues, and I also wanted to belong to a spiritual community. My husband, Jim, and I visited UUCF and we knew from our first visit that we had found our home at UUCF. We joined in April 2015.
I am deeply grateful to have made friends here at UUCF and for the many ways it has enriched my life. UUCF has provided me many opportunities to learn, grow and serve. Jim and I have belonged to a covenant group, the Gun Violence Prevention Committee, the Global Affairs Discussion Group and the Christian Connections Discussion Group. We have attended UUCF-sponsored Muslim outreach events and joined UUCF participants in the 2014 New York People’s Climate March and the 2017 Women’s March. I participated in the Wellspring class in 2015-16, which gave me a good foundation in UU history and theology. I was a manager for the 2016 Social Justice Yard Sale, served as a co-chair for the Racial Justice Steering Committee in 2016 and chair from June 2017 to present. I am also on the Congregational Covenanting Team. Jim and I have led three classes for Adult Programs: two “History of Religion in America,” and one “Religion in American Politics.” I am a co-lead in the current class on “Centering.” I believe this congregation can make a difference in this world, especially in these troubled times; and I am happy to serve in whatever capacity I can contribute.
Since joining UUCF with my wife, Audrey, and our now-15-year-old daughter, Katrina, in 2007, I have spent most of my UUCF time “down the hill” teaching Religious Exploration (RE). By the time you read this, I will have completed my 10th year of teaching. Teaching led me to serve on the RE committee (2009-12). Serving on that committee led me to agree to serve on the Endowment Fund Committee (2012-14) and as co-chair for the last two of those years. Most recently, I served a 1-year, board-appointed term on the Nominating Committee (2016-17).
Professionally, I have been the development director for the Alliance for Retired Americans – a nonprofit, grassroots advocacy affiliate of the AFL-CIO – since 2013, having been promoted to that position after almost 10 years as senior associate for development. Before moving into management, I spent 8 years as the shop steward (OPEIU Local #2).
The biggest chunk of my free time is spent supporting my daughter’s basketball habit. I coached her youth basketball team in 2016 (to the championship!) and assisted last year, but now that she is in high school and AAU, I confine myself to driving her to practices, games, tournaments, camps – and the occasional urgent care clinic – and yelling from the bleachers.
In putting together this bio, I found the one I created when running for the Nominating Committee 2 years ago, and this sentence jumped out as something equally important for this new challenge:
“The number one strength of UUCF is this incredible community of people.”
I think the challenges facing UUCF demand that the board (and everyone else in governance) continuously communicate, remind, invite, re-invite, send up flares and maybe even pester the rest of our community so everyone has an opportunity to have a voice in how we move UUCF forward. I am not approaching this service with any specific thing I think we need to tackle, I just want to make sure we have all the diverse tacklers we might need.
I was introduced to Unitarian Universalism by a friend’s family while in high school and have remained because it is a faith practice that truly lives the core values that I hold. Now 51 years a UU, UUCF is my sixth Unitarian Universalist home.
In 2007, after having relocated from Memphis, TN, when I first walked through the doors at UUCF, I immediately felt that once again … I had arrived home.
I have been honored to serve in several trusted roles in our denomination.
- Program director, Channing-Murray Foundation, University of Illinois campus
- President (twice) and program chair; UU Fellowship of Decatur, IL
- Founding board member, UU Congregation of Greater Canton, OH
- RE chair, UU Church of Akron, Ohio
- Personnel director, Ohio-Meadville UU District
- Membership chair, Neshoba UU Church, Cordova, TN
- Lay Minister for Membership, Outreach & Fellowship, UUCF
- Nominating Committee, UUCF
- Co-chair, Worship Environment Committee, UUCF
My retirement following a 35-plus year career in human resources and risk management will coincide with the Jul. 1 start of the new UUCF 2018-19 calendar year. I welcome and am enthusiastic to serve this faith community in an ever enriching capacity.
Board of Directors – 2-Year Terms
I’ve been a regular here since 1983, signing the membership book in 1985. Early on, I regularly attended the Singles Group, where I met my husband, Roland Cyr. We were married in 1987, taught RE for many years and adopted our son, Owen, in 1992. In the early 1990s, I served on the RE Committee for 2 years, including 1 year as the RE Committee liaison to the Board of Directors. I served on the Nominating Committee from 1997-99 and 2014-16. I’ve been singing in the Chorale for more than 20 years, and joined them in their visit to our Partner Church in Szentgerice, Transylvania, Romania, in 2000. I continue as an active member of the Partner Church Circle and traveled to our Partner Church in Puriang, Meghalaya, India, in 2008 to witness community capacity building (training) conducted in the village. I’m looking forward to a visit from 16 members of our Szentgerice partner this fall.
I retired in 2015 after a 32-year career as an environmental engineer, working for a contractor that supports the Environmental Protection Agency in the development of industrial wastewater regulations.
The first thing I did after retiring was to join the Wednesday Morning Book Group. I’ve enjoyed discussing interesting fiction and nonfiction with this 20-year-old UUCF institution. In 2016 I responded to the board’s request for proposals to use Stan Richard’s bequest for innovative projects to spread Unitarian Universalist values. My proposal for outreach to young adults, merged with Wendy Astell’s proposal for support for “nones” in times of transition, has become the Young Adult Community project, specifically focused outside of UUCF. Wendy and I formed an advisory committee and are proceeding with hiring a professional leader for the project, whom we hope to have on board in August. Recently, my growing edge has been issues of race. After attending UUCF workshops about racial justice, I joined the Racial Justice Steering Committee in spring 2016 and helped establish the “Let’s Talk About Race” discussion group. Last June, after 32 years as a UU, I served as UUCF delegate at my first General Assembly (GA). Racial issues were at the center of this GA, which occurred months after the resignation of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s president.
I’m looking forward to serving on the board.
Endowment Fund Committee – 3-Year Terms
I have been a member of UUCF since 2003 when my wife, Peggy, and I moved to Oakton, VA. That year I took a new job with the U.S. Treasury Department as legal counsel to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program in the hope of making a contribution to the war on terrorism. I can say with confidence this naiveté was quickly cured by the Iraq war. Previously, we had lived in Clarendon Hills, IL, for 21 years, raising my two sons, Ryan and Tyler, from a previous marriage. I joined the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale (UCH) in 1985 and served in various positions at UCH, including the board and RE Committee. Peggy and I were married at UCH in 1991. Our third son, Shane, was an unexpected joy in 1997 when Ryan was 16 and Tyler was 14. The age difference explains my 21 years as a Little League baseball coach. UUCF was very supportive during the tough years, 2005-09, when one or the other of the older boys was continuously deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan as Marines.
I was active in the work done on congregation governance at UUCF during that time and served on the Nominating Committee. I gained experience with nonprofit organization management, governance and finance in my legal career during my tenure as general counsel of the National Fraternal Congress of America 1994-2003.
I am interested in serving on the Endowment Fund Committee to share my expertise in nonprofit financial management with the UUCF and as means of re-engaging with the UUCF community after several years’ hiatus.
I am honored to be nominated to serve on the Endowment Fund Committee and given a new opportunity to serve the congregation that has been my spiritual home since at least 2005.
I grew up in a small-town, Baptist fundamentalist church that served as an extended family and taught me to appreciate the value of religion/spirituality when it is lived with sincerity in a spirit of service. In college, I began to question some of these beliefs, and pulled away from organized religion until a co-worker invited me to UUCF. Since then, I have become more intentional about following my own spiritual path. I have been a member of a Women’s Spirit Circle and later a Wellspring group, which have both taught me the freedom to speak my own voice and the compassion and kindness of being heard. When my children, Devon (21) and Glen (17), were younger, I began volunteering as an RE teacher, and have, with Linda Rothbart, developed the curriculum for and taught the World Religions class for adults, a course supported with a grant from the Endowment Fund Committee.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many in the congregation as finance/checkout chair for the Annual Auction and as the finance chair and now co-chair of the Fall Adult Retreat. I have previously served 3 years on the Nominating Committee and 2 years on the Pastoral Care Team.
I live in Fairfax City with my husband, Tae, our children, and cats Drew and Kismet. I have the privilege of serving with truly dedicated public servants at a federal agency during the workweek.
Nominating Committee – 2-Year Terms
I first visited UUCF in the fall of 2014 with my husband, Tim, and son, Gavin, then a high school junior. All three of us found a home here – Gavin quickly bonding with the Youth Group, and Tim and I meeting new friends with a Covenant Group that we joined the following February.
Growing up in Minnesota, I was raised as a very questioning Lutheran. After marrying an extra-questioning Catholic, we ended up pulling up stakes and raising our two sons overseas with the Foreign Service – living in South Korea, Germany and Turkey. Being a part of a community wherever we lived, and contributing to that community, has been important to all of us.
While at UUCF, I have volunteered with the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program since 2014, and Tim and I have also been leading a Covenant Group this past year. It’s my time with ESOL that has been the most meaningful for me, since I have come to know so many residents in the Reston apartment area where the adult students live. Having lived overseas, I know how challenging it is to live without the basics of the local language. But while I lived overseas with a strong support system, these adult students are getting by without a lot of help. As volunteers with the program, we try to teach a little bit of English … a little bit of American culture … and to just be there, weekly, to show we care and that we’re here to listen. My contributions have been pretty minimal, considering, and what I’ve gotten out of it is far greater: a fellowship with these hard-working people, understanding of their day-to-day worries and insight into the effects of embedded racism and white supremacy that exists in our culture today. All of this makes me so thankful to be part of the “beloved community” that we strive to be, and what I wish for America.
My wife, Jennifer, and I came to UUCF in 2013 because we were looking for a spiritual home where we could raise a family. As soon as I walked through the doors, I felt a wave of welcoming and acceptance that I had not experienced in any other religious setting. I have made some beautiful friendships by meeting other congregants through activities, covenant groups and circle dinners.
I was born in New Delhi and came to the United States in 1975. At home, our family practiced Hinduism, but I was educated in Catholic schools where I was indoctrinated in Catholicism. The incongruent dogmas of the two religions left me with many more questions than answers and I walked away from organized religion in my 20s. I feel fortunate to have found UUCF as a spiritual base and as a place where our two boys can grow and learn to be responsible and caring adults.
I am a strong believer in volunteerism and began my volunteering career in the 8th grade with the American Red Cross. As an adult, I volunteered for 16 years as a firefighter/EMT in Falls Church. Also, working with children and teens through Junior Achievement and the Big Brothers organization has been an extremely rewarding experience.
I am genuinely curious about the world we live in and you will often find me reading a book about history or science. I am especially interested in the intersection of science and spirituality. I am also an amateur photographer and history buff.
I grew up in my hometown of Falls Church and have lived here since 1978. Today, I live here with my wife and two boys, ages 1 and 4.
Although raised an Episcopalian, as a teen I hung out with the local Unitarian youth group. Moving on from high school, I continued to explore various spiritual traditions, but overall moved into a protracted period of regarding organized religion with disdain. Shortly before the turn of the millennium, a coworker with whom I shared a very stressful professional environment suggested that I seek calm at his beloved congregation. Quickly recognizing a stimulating and purposeful community, I signed the book in December 1999 and have found a greatly valued home at UUCF.
In addition to our uplifting, musically enhanced services, UUCF has given me a multitude of treasured activities, such as the Monday Night Book Club, numerous enriching classes, jolly Fall Adult Retreats and regular interaction with a host of exceptional people. I hope I have repaid this in part by coordinating the Caring Committee for several years, helping initiate the Science, Reason & Religion Forum, serving on the Membership and Adult Programs Committees and participating in grounds work and projects like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together.
I recently retired from a rewarding job that drew upon the toxicologic, epidemiologic, statistical and genetic aspects of my tool kit, in which I oversaw a series of expert committees in assessing which health effects might be associated with exposure to Agent Orange to guide the Veterans Administration in compensating Vietnam veterans.
As I reframe my daily life, I hope to contribute more to UUCF in various capacities, such as being a GA delegate this summer and working on the Nominating Committee.