The Reverend Caplow 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.
Kate joined us in 2018 in the newly created position of Events and Facilities Coordinator. She has a Masters Degree in Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island with a concentration in Policy and Program Evaluation. Before moving to this area she worked as the CEO of the Housing Authority of Henry County and its non-profit affiliate for 20 years retiring from there in 2013. When she is not making sure that things are in order here, she spends time practicing yoga and enjoys being part of the wonderful dance community here in the C-U area.
Sherry 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.
STEPHANIE COBB, KITCHEN HELPER
Stepanie 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.
As the Office Administrator, Brian wears many hats each day and is responsible for all aspects of the church office, communications, and publications. In addition, he oversees human resources activities for staff, including managing payroll and benefits, assists with the financial management of the church, and he manages the church database and website. Brian has a BA in English and a Masters degree in Library and information Science, both from the University of Illinois. His professional background includes extensive project management, administrative, and publishing experience. In his free time, he enjoys travelling, hiking, board games, and cooking for family and friends.
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.
MICHELE TOWNSEND GROVE - INTERIM DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Michele Townsend Grove is an interim religious education director who is honored to be working with Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana- Champaign until July 2020. During the interim period, Michele will work in relationship with all members and friends in the congregation as the congregations discerns its core values and vision for lifespan religious education. It is an exciting time and she hopes that everyone will join in the many opportunities to share their experience, stores and future religious education ideas!
Michele is a religious educator who brings almost 30 years of experience to her work with UUCUC. She began her career as a Christian Educator in the United Methodist tradition and then joined the Unitarian Universalists in 2003. She developed a passion for interim religious education 2006 and has served this specialized vocation ever since. Michele has served as an interim religious educator with congregations in Manassas, Virginia; Bethesda, Maryland, Stephens City, Virginia; and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Michele served as one of the interim religious education trainers for the UUA from 2008-2016. As a lifelong learner, she is currently working on her Doctor of Ministry thesis with the hopes of graduating in 2019.
Emily McKown is thrilled to be apart of the UUCUC community! She was the first baby born into the Dakota U.U. Church in Burnsville, MN, where she attended each week, and as a young adult she taught Religious Education. Emily completed her first bachelor's degree at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where she studied social pedagogy and political economics. Her Evergreen experience bolstered her resolve for social justice. Emily loves working with kids and has 10 years experience working with children of all ages. Emily also has a passion for music; she loves to sing and play many instruments. She is especially interested in the intersection of music as a tool for empowerment and healing, and she is currently pursuing a degree in Music Therapy at Illinois State University.
Matt is known for his passion and enthusiasm for music and education. He 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!