Reverend Dave Johnson
Reverend Dave is Interim Minister of the People’s Church of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Hartford, Connecticut, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Athens, Georgia, Bloomington, Illinois, Plantation, Florida, Birmingham, Alabama, Portage, Michigan, and Overland Park, Kansas.
He has a S.M. in Earth Sciences from MIT, a S.M. in Geology and Geophysics from MIT, a Ph.D. in Oceanography from University of California San Diego, and a M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School.
Rev. Dave says his over-arching goal this year will be to strengthen the church so that the very best UU ministers will apply to become the next settled minister here.
2013 - 2014
Rev. Dr. Pam Allen-Thompson served as Interim Minister while the Search Committee began its work in finding a settled minister. In her tenure, she invited the church to take look at its history, present, and future, and succeeded in bringing out the talents of many in her time with the congregation.
1998 - 2013
Jill's active outreach work elevated People's Church to international prominence. An inspirational speaker and consensus manager, her enthusiasm and inclusiveness led our church to be more welcoming to people of all persuasions and generations, especially young families attracted to the active Religious Education program.
Despite an economic recession, in 2011-2012 Jill helped the church accommodate growth and prepare for the future by encouraging total congregational engagement in expanding our functional building space by one-third. Jill was elected as People's Church's Minister Emerita in 2015.
1997 - 1998
Oren (Pete) Peterson served as Interim Minister while the Search Committee continued its work to find a ministerial candidate. Pete organized and met with a Men's Discussion Group, protested a UUDOM rule which denied People's Church its vote when dues were not paid in full, and helped people laugh with jokes and stories. He taught an evening class on the Evolution of Unitarianism and Universalism. Pete had been a Navy pilot during WWII and generously took some church members flying during his tenure.
1995 - 1997
Fred Campbell, as Interim Minister, conducted an evening course: Four Faiths which was attended by more than 100 congregants. Its message: whether we speak in the language of humanists, naturalists, mystics or theists, we find similar answers to the important questions. He helped the members regain their confidence, plan for the future, and encouraged the building renovation project. The Search Committee had not yet presented a ministerial candidate to the congregation when Fred's tenure ended in 1997. Rev. Campbell retired in 1998.
1986 - 1995
Davidson Loehr attracted large congregations. He began to include children regularly in a portion of the Sunday morning service. A scholar and gifted writer and speaker, Davidson played an active role in debating community issues. People's Church Presents appeared weekly on Cable Access TV. In 1991-92 the church began holding two Sunday morning services. Adult education classes were popular, as were discussions, open to the public, of televised presentations on religious topics. Congregational dissension resulted in the resignation of Dr. Loehr in 1995 and the departure of several members who formed the UU Community Church.
1985 - 1986
Brooks Walker served People's Church as Interim Minister while the Ministerial Search Committee acted. Brooks worked with the Board and Committee Chairs to help them through the transition. He entertained children and adults alike with his autoharp. He died in the fall of 1986.
Minister Emeritus, 1957 - 1985
During the ministry of Roger E. Greeley the number of members doubled from 152 to 310 by 1970. A new Sunday School building was constructed south of the Park and Lovell Street church in 1962. In 1967, 253 children from 110 families were registered in the 13 classes of the ChurchSchool. Popular Memorial Day weekend campouts were held for several years. Sixty-plus met daily in the church basement rooms at Park and Lovell and attracted large groups from 1959-68 when the old building was sold and torn down. Roger and David Curl developed audio-visual complements to the Sunday Services.
Roger often spoke at colleges, and he created a Robert G. Ingersoll dramatic program which he presented at many places around the U.S. In 1975-76, Mr. Greeley took a sabbatical and in 1982-83 a partial sabbaical producing three books during those leaves. In the spring of 1982, the church celebrated Roger and Kay's 25th anniversary with People's Church. Roger resigned in 1985 to become Associate Dean of the Humanist Institute. He is minister emeritus of People's Church.
1934 - 1956
Edwin C. Palmer and Mrs. Palmer (Margaretta) brought new life to the church, which showed gradual growth during their twenty-two year stay. There were monthly church suppers, regular work parties during which extensive repairs, renovation, and decorating were carried out by the church members. A Student Round Table met every Sunday night. Mr. Palmer was president of the Kalamazoo Council of Social Agencies, represented the Ministerial Alliance on the Central Trades Labor Council, served on the city recreation council, conducted discussion at Meadville Theological Seminary, and led assemblies at Lake Geneva.
He began to set the type and print the Sunday programs in 1943. Community groups were allowed to hold meetings in the building rent-free. In 1956 the 100th anniversary of the church was celebrated; there were 112 children from 51 families enrolled in seven classes in Sunday School with a paid Religious Education Director. A land purchase fund was established, and Mr. Palmer spoke of retirement. He died suddenly December 26 of that year.
1927 - 1932
William H. Gysan began serving People's Church in 1927 after Dr. MacCarthy left. There were 85 people at the 1928 Annual Meeting, and the membership was reported to be 154. One hundred people came to the Annual Meeting in 1929 and the optimism was high. Political actions were taken: supporting the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact; protesting capital punishment; urging the U.S. to join the World Court; publishing a Peace Sermon and sending it to legislators in Washington. There were Sunday evening forums and a Wednesday evening "People's College" with 70 people enrolled. In 1932, there were 167 members. Mr. Gysan resigned in February of that year to become a minister of a student group in Greater Boston.
Theodore Lapp served as minister from 1932-34, but spent only weekends in Kalamazoo (1933-34) while attending classes in Ann Arbor. Average Sunday morning attendance sank to 25 and only 8 children attended Sunday School. There was no canvass for funds because of the depression.