The Nominating Committee is proud to announce nominees for People’s Board of Trustees and nominees for the Nominating  Committee.  These nominees serve three-year terms and will be voted on at the Annual Meeting on May 19, 2019.

Alternative Nominating Procedure
If there are any members of the church who wish to self-nominate to the Board or the Nominating Committee, the procedure is as follows:

Any member of the church can be nominated by petition containing the signatures of at least five supporting members (the candidates having consented).  The petitions must be received by the Church Administrator at least four weeks prior to the Annual Meeting,  (The date is April 21.)  Petitions are available from the Church Administrator.


Nominees for Board of Trustees

Karen Friedel

Karen Friedel started attending People’s Church in 2011 with her husband, Bob and son, Joe.  Joe participated in the Religious Education program.  This led her to teach RE classes, help out with the High School Youth Group, including fundraising for our youth to attend General Assembly, and the Coming of Age program.  All of these experiences were rewarding in connecting her with the youth and other adults.  These opportunities have helped her to work toward a greater good.  Karen has found working together on projects, enjoying the relationships and interactions with youth and other adults worthwhile.

Other activities include participating in a Chalice Circe, the Bazaar, choir, Palmer Sanctuary and Isaac.  Being part of the People’s community is important to her.  This is a place where she can live out her values.

Karen’s profession is Social Work.  She worked many years providing services to adults with mental illness.  She continues to work now serving the elderly and people with disabilities in the long-term care option to live in the community verses in a nursing home.

Being a member of the board will provide Karen the broader perspective of People’s Church.  She wants to learn more about the difficult issues that are a divide for people.  Learning, listening and speaking about social issues are the tools to use on this journey.

Denise Hartsough

Denise Hartsough has been a UU since 3rd grade, attending the UU Fellowship of Greater Lafayette (IN) until high school graduation.  In high school she actively participated in Liberal Religious Youth (LRY), helping to organize a conference in West Lafayette.  In the 1980s she served as board secretary and taught RE for the Maumee Valley UU Congregation (Perrysburg, OH).  While Denise attended People’s Church from 1990-95 she participated in Adult RE, including Cakes for the Queen of Heaven and Feminist Theology Discussion Group.  Denise helped found UU Community Church of SW MI (Portage).  Her many roles included DRE, board member, board president, RE teacher and Faith in Action Committee chair.  Denise returned to People’s in 2017 and has joined the Finance Committee.

Careers include:  Film Studies professor at Bowling Green State University (1987-92) and Community Investment staffer then director at the Greater Kalamazoo United Way (1997-2013).  Currently, Denise does grant writing and strategic planning for nonprofits on a contractual basis, and volunteers for the League of Women Voters (local and state), ISAAC, Downtown Rotary and Communities in Schools.

Susan Moerdyk

Susan Moerdyk started attending People’s Church in the summer of 2010, and joined shortly after. She was looking for a faith community and the opportunity to be part of something bigger than herself. The Seven Principles, People’s commitment to inclusion, and welcoming members were instrumental in her decision to join. She started by volunteering for one time activities, including the annual pasty making parties and cashiering at the annual Bazaar. She sings in the choir and became involved with the Music committee. Part of Susan’s contribution to People’s Church is lending her data gathering and analysis abilities to the organization.  The first major initiative was conducting and analyzing survey results that resulted in systemic changes in our Music ministry. Recently, she also coordinated with a team of twelve other People’s people to facilitate the work done to determine the priorities of the Congregation through the Widening our Welcome project. Susan is committed to, and passionate about, enabling organizations and their members reach their goals and aspirations. She looks forward to the possibility of participating in the work of People’s Church as a member of the Board of Trustees.


Nominees for Nominating Committee

Joe Hampel

Joe grew up in a suburb near Milwaukee. Went to college in Madison where he met his wife, Annie. After he finished vet school there, they moved to Ann Arbor where they lived for three years. Joe and Annie moved to Kalamazoo in 2014 and welcomed their daughter Violet a month later. Joe really enjoys living in Kalamazoo/Southwest Michigan. His hobbies include photography, golf, a little piano, and traveling; his family is actually visiting family in Croatia this summer. Joe works in Mattawan at Charles River labs and takes care of the monkeys and a few of the other critters over there. He and Annie became members a couple of years ago, shortly after they started attending services. Annie teaches RE and helps with the youth group. Joe help out with AV and enjoys making pasties for the annual bazaar. He’s excited to get more involved by participating in the nominating committee.


Gary Leadley

Gary Leadley and his wife Jeanne Leadley first came to People’s Church in 2010 after being active with their kids at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Portage since moving here in 1986.

Gary grew up in Jackson, Michigan, and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering.  After working in locations surrounding our state, he and Jeanne established themselves in Portage so Gary could work for 23 years at Eaton in Galesburg analyzing failures in truck transmissions.

Since he had a natural inclination to hands on activities and time available after retirement, Gary was quickly drawn to be active on the Building and Grounds Committee, which he has chaired for many years.  In this activity, his focus has been to not only maintain what we have, but to implement enhancements to improve our operation and make our facilities more inviting, particularly to visitors and new members.

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