was called as UUCUC's settled minister in May of 2017, and arrived in Urbana in August of 2017. She has served UU congregations in Washington State and Colorado. Before becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, she worked as a botanist for 25 years, specializing in the conservation of endangered plants and conducting fieldwork throughout the West. She is also a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and teacher, ordained in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and San Francisco Zen Center. As a writer, her essays have been published widely, and she has edited two books: Wildbranch is an anthology of nature and environmental writing, and The Hidden Lamp is a collection of one hundred teaching stories by Buddhist women over 2,500 years, with reflections by contemporary women teachers. She is a passionate environmental and climate justice activist, and plans to be engaged in interfaith, immigration, racial justice, and environmental justice work here in Central Illinois. Look for her classes and upcoming sermon topics on the UUCUC website.
began working as interim Director of Religious Education (DRE) in September of 2012. She joined the staff as fulltime DRE in May of 2014. She oversees the children, youth and adult Religious Education classes and programs. Cindy works closely with teachers, the Religious Education committee, childcare workers, parents and families. On occasion, she assists during the worship in a variety of ways. Cindy holds a Master’s Degree in Religious Education and a Doctor of Educational Ministry. In her free time, Cindy loves to go to the movies with her husband Mike. She loves to cook and bake and relax on the back porch with her dog Emira (who occasionally visits the church office with Cindy to spread her joy and affection.)
is known for his passion and enthusiasm for music and education. Matt leads an active career as both a performer and pedagogue. Outside of his work with at the UUCUC, he holds appointments at the University of Chicago, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago, the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony and Civic Orchestra, and the Elgin Youth Symphony orchestra. Sheppard studied with Donald Schleicher as a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Illinois. Before coming to Illinois, he earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at Penn State with Gerardo Edelstein. It was during his time at Penn State that he first stumbled upon UUs and served as Music Director for the UU Fellowship of Centre County for three years. Working as music director for seven years in UU settings has been a tremendous privilege!
works with new and veteran UUCUC members to deepen their connection to each other and to the church while she supports outreach to the community to share who we are, what we doand why it matters. She is a veteran community organizer and a life-long peace and social justice activist. She has served as National Deputy Director of Progressive Democrats of America and was co-founder of the Arizona Democratic Party Progressive Caucus. She has served on a number of community and non-profit boards. She was born and raised in Central Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois. She called Arizona home from 1985-2008. Dubai was home from 2008-2016. She now lives in Champaign with her husband, Thom, who is an architect specializing in sustainable architecture and development. Sherry and Thom have 4 cherished adult children and 7 beautiful grandchildren.
has been working as an Office Professional for twenty years in the Chicago-land area. Rosalyn’s education background is in elementary education and has a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University. She was born in Minneapolis and raised in Chicago and Northwest Indiana and had recently moved to Champaign with her daughter. When she is not chasing her precocious daughter, she enjoys yoga, cooking, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
has served as Assistant for Services for over eighteen years. As a second-generation member of this church, she has served in a great number of volunteer positions over the years, as well as serving as the Director of Religious Education for six years in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Beth is enjoying her retirement from the University of Illinois, College of Law, where she served for thirty-five years, working with the law students who edited the law journals. She grew up in Urbana, attended University High School, and then went on to earn a degree from the U of I College of Education. Beth has been married for forty years and has a son, a daughter, and one grandson.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Matthew is completing his doctorate at the University of Illinois where he studied with Dennis Helmrich, Julie Gunn, and Christos Tsitsaros. His fields of study are vocal coaching, collaborative piano, and piano pedagogy. Matthew is also a business owner, selling books and materials to piano teachers across the country. Matthew completed his master's degree in piano performance from the University of Northern Colorado where he studied with Vergie Amendola and Eroll Haun. As an accompanist and vocal coach Matthew has performed throughout the US and parts of Europe. Matthew has been an accompanist for a number of churches over the last 20 years, and is grateful to have found a place at UUCUC.
moved to Urbana with her husband Max in 2015 to attend graduate school at UIUC. She is working towards a M.S. and eventually PhD in Environmental Engineering. Currently, her research focuses on nitrogen cycling in agricultural ecosystems. She enjoys teaching and working with students and hopes to become a professor one day. Outside of school she volunteers with her Goldendoodle, Nala, a registered therapy dog, at venues including libraries, schools, etc. She began therapy work because of Nala’s good demeanor and quirky personality that brings a smile to everyone she meets. Mary loves spending time outdoors with her husband, Max and Nala. They like walking, playing softball, hiking, camping, canoeing, and swimming. Mary also spends a lot of time reading and enjoys writing fiction when she finds time.
has served as the Kitchen Assistant since the new kitchen was completed in 2002. As a third-generation member of the church, she has served as a volunteer on property-related matters and in the Religious Education program, as well as being a Child-Care Worker and Child-Care Coordinator. Stephanie attended Dr. Howard, Edison Middle School, Champaign Central and Parkland College. She operates her own business, Sparkles by Stephanie, and be can found at the local Market at the Square, the Holiday Market, and similar venues around CU. Stephanie also currently works for Michaels. She enjoys spending with new nephew and her cat.