By Ardyce Curl

Tom and Karen Voigts

Tom and Karen Voigts first attended People’s more than twelve years ago. They had been looking for a like-minded church with a strong emphasis on social justice issues; and friends had encouraged them that People’s was the place to come.

Karen grew up in a Unitarian Church in the Detroit area. Tom attended the United Methodist Church in Manistee.

When they first joined People’s, Tom was active in the choir, was on the fundraising committee; and both Tom and Karen helped make many People’s pasties for a couple years. This was a natural fit for them, as they’d lived in the UP several years.

The busyness of their lives, as well as the commute into Kalamazoo, led them to take a break from regular attendance for a few years. However, the reality of the 2016 election brought them back. They felt they needed to be part of a larger community of like-minded people and to engage in actions to make a difference.

Karen and Tom feel that being a sanctuary church is important in today’s world.

Other issues that are important to them at People’s are social justice, involvement with ISAAC and the terrific religious education programs.

The couple have traveled in many countries. Some of their favorite places include Ireland, Scotland, Greece, Turkey, India, Germany, Egypt and Taiwan; so a global, inclusive worldview, as well as a strong commitment to the environment are important to them.

They feel they’ve found a home at People’s and they appreciate the church’s vision. Tom said, “Liberal religious views are important to me;
and I have found that here.”

The couple have lived on a hobby farm near Allegan for 36 years, as part of the back to the land movement. They grow most of their own food and have raised farm animals in the past.

Karen is a retired library media specialist and an RN.  Her hobbies include reading, gardening, cooking, spinning, weaving, knitting and travel.

Tom, a retired management consultant in the wood industry, enjoys farming, woodworking, work and travel.  He has played tuba in the Kalamazoo Concert Band for nearly forty years.

 (Tom, 71, and Karen, 70 have two children and one granddaughter and will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this fall.)

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