Rev. Rachel Lonberg
When Rev. Rachel Lonberg was four years old, her grandmother died. She asked her parents why Jesus got to come back to life and her grandmother didn’t. That question – and the many that followed – led her family to Unitarian Universalism. Our living tradition had been Rachel’s spiritual home ever since.
Rachel’s passions in ministry include creating meaningful worship, building connections across generations, engaging our diversity of belief (and non-belief), and sharing the history of Unitarian Universalism. She believes the world needs our message of love, hope, reason, and tolerance.
A graduate of Tufts University and Union Theological Seminary, Rachel served congregations as a ministerial intern in Saint Paul, Minnesota and as an interim minister in Nashville, Tennessee. She was called by People’s Church in May 2015 and began serving the congregation in August 2015. She is married to Brian, a chef and brewer. Their son, DeForest, was born in June 2015.
Rachel’s office hours are Tuesdays from 1 to 4pm, Wednesdays from 3 to 5pm, and Fridays from 10am to 1pm. She is also available by appointment at other times.
Director of Religious Education
Diane Melvin has a master's degree in Environmental Studies and is a Credentialed Religious Educator through the Unitarian Universalist Association. She has been the Director of Religious Education at People's Church for the past 12 years. She is also an adjunct professor at WMU teaching a course entitled "Holism and Nature" through the Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness Program for the past 16 years. Formerly an educator with the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Diane is passionate about helping people connect with nature as well as encouraging them to honor and nurture their own spiritual lives.
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.
Rev. Jill McAllister
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.