When I look back over a lifetime of interests and activities, environmentalism broadly defined seems to be the common thread. My youth summers were spent as a free-range kid along the shores of Lake Michigan; in high school, I worked as a day-camp counselor; my time in the US Air Force was spent as a meteorologist; my graduate work at UM and much of my career was in urban planning; in retirement, I served on and chaired the Chikaming Township Planning Commission, and crafted 2 master plans and 2 park board plans. I am interested in architecture and design, and served as a docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. I am currently on the coordinating committee of the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition.
My church related work includes: in Ann Arbor, mentoring Coming of Age youth, serving as a Jr. High, Sr. High, and statewide Youth Adult Committee advisor, developing and leading a youth contingent for the Appalachian Service Project, and member of the Assistant Minister’s ministerial committee; at the Berrien UU Fellowship, serving on and chairing the board, being a member of the Welcoming Congregation and Endowment Committees, and helping form the Green Sanctuary Committee. At People’s Church, I am a member of the Green Sanctuary Committee and started up the Net Zero Task Force, including initiating the Solar Electric project.
I am honored to be asked to serve on the board of People’s Church, and will do my best to respect and fulfill the trust you place in me.
I was baptized in a Unitarian Church in Toledo, Ohio in 1941 and have been in and out of Unitarian churches ever since. My fondest memories come my early years at the First Unitarian Church of Richmond. VA where my parents were active members. I can rightfully say I was raised by that small, tightly knit liberal congregation. Later, I attended William and Mary College in not so far off Williamsburg and graduated with a degree in Sociology.
The most significant event of my life came next when I joined the Peace Corps and spent three wonderful years teaching elementary classes in Vezala, a small upcountry village in Liberia, West Africa. I enjoyed the life there so much, I stayed another three years and taught African history at a nearby Anglican mission high school. I have formed long lasting, important friendships with some of my former Liberian students and their children and I return often to visit them. My return to the USA in 1970 brought me right to Western Michigan for further education at Western Michigan University and eventually to Lawton, MI where I taught middle school students for 25 fun filled years.
Of course, I found People’s Church in quick time and joined officially in 1993. It’s been my most important religious home where I’ve been sustained spiritually and socially for so many years. Because of my involvement with the church, I have been able to participate in
the interfaith group ISAAC as well as the Center for Transformation—a support group for local parolees—both of which have been really meaningful experiences for me.
I’m also in a 50+ year long loving relationship with my old Peace Corp friend, Jackie Ladwein. We have a wonderful mutually supportive partnership which has thankfully lasted throughout our lives. We are planning to enjoy life together for at least another 50 years!
It is an honor to be considered to serve on the church board. I hope to serve it well.
I am a third-generation member of People’s Church and have been attending since birth. I have fond memories of growing up in People’s RE program and going through OWL in high school. I have been a member of the Sunday Services Committee since 2017, have led and coordinated Sunday services, have taken turns as AV tech wizard for Zoom services since the pandemic began, and never miss a chance to eat a pasty at the Holiday Bazaar. I am currently taking part in the virtual UU Midwest Leadership School to build my knowledge of Unitarian Universalism and church leadership. After three years of teaching literacy skills to illiterate adults, I am now pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science.