Meet the UCE Interim Transition Team
You may remember me from the before-times when my wife Erin Thackeray and I would attend in-person services at UCE. We started attending regularly in 2016, officially becoming members in 2017. I was a regular at Religion on Tap when that was still happening. I had also been helping facilitate the Westwood youth group with their director of religious education. Though I came to the UU community in my early 30’s, I have had the privilege of engaging somewhat with the wider Young Adult community for a few years through the Canadian Unitarian Council. I bring both my keen interest in enlivening our spiritual community and some practical communications skills to the ITT. It is my hope that what we are doing now will make it easier for us as a congregation to build a healthy relationship with our future minister.
Our family became members of the Unitarian Fellowship in 1953 (UCE itself was formally founded in 1954). Our daughter, Alison is married to a former UCE minister, John Marsh. Our son, Bill, joined Westwood Unitarian and our daughter, Joan, is a member of UCE. My involvement in church matters has largely had a denominational bent. I’ve served for 11 years as a Chaplain and 6 years on the Canadian Unitarian Council Board. I have served on many UCE committees, including the process of founding the Westwood Unitarian Congregation. I also participated in the work which led to our Church becoming the first Welcoming Congregation in Canada, which has always been a highlight for me. I like travelling and I love roller coasters, hot air balloon rides and zip lines. Now retired, I do crossword and jigsaw puzzles, colouring, reading, watch TV and do games on my computer. With few exceptions, my friends have been, and continue to be, Unitarian Universalists. I have high hopes for this interim process as I believe it gives us all a chance to review what church means in our lives, what change means for us, and what we want it to achieve.
I have been a member at UCE for almost 15 years. I’ve served on several committees, on the Board, and sung in the choir during that time. This is my community and I feel strongly about giving back and serving one’s community. I’ve always worked in service professions – first nursing in the NICU, and then, after returning to university, becoming a mental health therapist, finding a passion for bereavement and group therapy. My career was cut short due to my health, but after about a decade of being a medical enigma, I was diagnosed with a genetic immune disorder that can be managed. My UCE community is a big part of that, as well as my friends (many from the congregation), my beloved dog Gidget, (a black and tan mini-dachshund), and my spirituality. Some of my spiritual practices include yoga, breath and mindfulness meditation, along with a sprinkling of Buddhist philosophy, Paganism, and creativity to ground me. Bringing my skills and enthusiasm to the work of transitioning with our congregation towards our future is very exciting for me when I think of the possibilities.
Larry and I have been devoted members of UCE for over fifteen years. I retired as an Executive Director of the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission(AADAC) in 2007. This freed me to contribute to various provincial boards, including Children’s Services, Friends of the Royal Alberta Museum, the Mental Health Foundation and more recently, Edmonton Lifelong Learners Association(ELLA). I have mainly contributed in the areas of strategic planning and communications. While a member of UCE, I have had the privilege of serving on the board and several committees. I am especially proud of UCE accomplishments related to 2016 Strategic Planning with Chair Karen Mills and Julius Buski; the Regional Fall Gathering of 2011,co- chaired with Dennis Foth of Westwood and the History Project with Susan Ruttan, Christine Mowat and Audrey Brooks, which is on hiatus after 10 years and 40 completed member profiles. I enjoy reading, yoga, walking, music and taking courses. We spend a large part of the winter in Arizona and enjoy travel. In summer, we enjoy time outdoors attending our wonderful festivals . My two cats, Pantoufles and Bella are special companions, especially this COVID year. I look forward to working with our UCE congregation to develop a strong vision and priorities to lay the groundwork for our new minister.
Singing! That’s what first brought me to UCE in 2004, when I joined Chorealis and experienced the gift of communal joy. Shortly thereafter, my husband John and I became UCE members. And it’s that sense of community – of acknowledging and celebrating our differences and commonalities, of sharing good times and even the not-so-good times – that has kept us returning through the years since. I have been honoured to serve the congregation as chair of what was then the Nominating Committee (now Leadership Committee), followed by secretary on the Board of Directors for two terms, and currently as a member of the Human Resources Committee. Professionally, I have spent time in private, non-profit and public sector work. As a 2019 retiree from the City of Edmonton, I now have more time to enjoy the pleasures of walking and cycling in our spectacular river valley, and to pursue studies and practice in the human science of subtle energies – balancing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy fields that make us the people we are. It is the strength of our wonderful people that will make possible our return to a full congregational life in the months ahead. I hope my participation in the transition team will contribute to that future.
I’ve been a member of UCE for 20 years. During that time I’ve been involved in facilitating worship services, MCing community events, singing in the choir and leading a fiction book club. In the past I’ve been part of the worship services committee and have spent a decade or so coordinating the lay led summer services. Through a midlife Masters of Theological Studies degree, I have a keen interest in seeking out “signals of transcendence” in popular culture, particularly in the literary and performing arts. The arts are my religion; live music, theatre and contemporary fiction are where I find inspiration and meaning. In my 40 year professional life, I have been a broadcast journalist, communications specialist and currently serve as a government relations policy advisor. I believe the transition process our congregation is going through is an opportunity to think outside the box and explore how to be a liberal religious community in and for the 21st century.