News from the Nominating Committee!

The Nominating Committee for the 2022-2023 church year consisted of Patrick VanSlambrouck, Rachel Chadderdon Bair, Sandy Steele, Lois Loeffler, Steve Cavanaugh and Karen Friedel (Board appointed).

The nominating committee developed a slate of candidates for the People’s Church Board of Trustees and for the Nominating Committee for the upcoming church year! Please see below for the photos and bios of each candidate!

Board of Trustees Nominees

Laura Bultman

I first came to People’s Church in 2017 when we moved to Portage from the East Coast. Being in a two-faith (at the time) household made Unitarian Universalism and People’s Church a natural choice. Once I saw that there was a bell choir, well, I turned to my husband Mike and said “oh, we’re coming here.” And so we have. Aside from bells and occasionally playing piano or ukulele for services, I’ve found a niche being deeply involved RE: teaching preschool, joining the RE committee, teaching OWL, writing curriculum, and serving as Diane’s assistant since 2020 (a job I will be leaving in June). I’m also the co-director of Peace and Nature Camp. With my BA in theatre I’ve worked as a stage manager and served on the Board of a theatre group in New York and, because of my masters in Library Science, I’ve been a children’s librarian and later a Library Branch Manager in New Jersey. I recently started a job as a Children’s Librarian at the Kalamazoo Central Library and it’s been absolutely wonderful. My kids, Alex (8) and Catherine (6), are a joy and a blessing. In my spare time I crochet and weave to try to make a dent in my yarn stash. I am honored to have this opportunity to serve our beloved church as a board member.


Donna Kaye

Hello – my name is Donna Kaye. I’ve been a member of People’s Church for about 6 or 7 years but was  previously affiliated with Unitarian Universalist churches in the Chicagoland area. I am a retired educator and taught in various capacities in Kalamazoo Public Schools for 33+ years. I currently serve as a trustee for a non-profit here in Kalamazoo after spending 3 years serving as the treasurer of that board. I am currently working on the membership committee here at People’s Church and I participate in 2 different Chalice Circles. I also work with another People’s retired educator tutoring the children of one of the Kalamazoo Afghan families – something I enjoy immensely! I came to People’s Church seeking fellowship, social justice, fun, and the common sense that our liberal faith offers. I love being part of this church!


Cindy Pietras

Cindy moved to Kalamazoo in 2003 after accepting a faculty position in the Psychology Department at WMU.   In Kalamazoo she met and eventually married Allen Webb.  They were married at the Kalamazoo Nature Center by People’s Church Minister Jill McAllister.  After a few years they decided that they would start attending regularly and eventually become members of People’s Church so as to become part of a community seeking peace, kindness, and justice in the world.  Together they have two daughters, Arianna and Lexie, who have enjoyed growing up in the RE program at People’s Church.  Cindy is a behavior analyst, teaches learning theory, and her current research and volunteer efforts have been on addressing the challenge of climate change.  Across the years Cindy has participated in People’s Church through Chalice Circles, helping organize People’s Church participation in Martha’s Table (a program that for several years provided a religious service and Sunday meal for those in need), and for many years teaching in the RE program.  Growing up in a culturally Christian family but acquiring a different belief system, she has found a spiritual home in the UU tradition.  She would enjoy the opportunity to serve the church on its Board to collaborate with other church members to help People’s Church thrive and fulfill its mission.


Nominating Committee Nominees

Robert (Bob) Friedel

I have been at People’s Church over ten years, during this I have worked with many people, building and grounds, Bazaar Committee, I have many hours in the kitchen supervising pasty making, and potlucks and all things food. Karen, my wife, is currently on the nominating committee and she thought my recruiting skills for kitchen help would be an asset for the committee. We came to People’s for a religious education for our son Joe, but stayed to further our commitment to liberal religion.




Lori Rupe

I consider myself to be a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, although I have attended some other churches during my 65 years. My earliest religious education occurred during my childhood in protestant churches, but by the time I was an adolescent we had discovered the UU church in my hometown near Philadelphia. Then I married a Baptist (what was I thinking?) and agreed that we would raise our child while attending a Christian church. Boy, was he surprised when I took it a step further and suggested that our daughter attend Catholic school. Although I didn’t share the theological beliefs of either of these church communities, I found both to be very welcoming and nurturing and they broadened my perspective.

I moved from New Jersey to Indiana to attend Purdue University, then to California for grad school at UC Davis. My degrees are in Food Science, and I spent my career working at Kellogg’s. I had the opportunity to work in various jobs including food development, capacity planning, and management of technical functions like statistics, chemistry and quality. But my favorite job was Project Management. I loved pulling together a cross-functional team, facilitating communication, planning and problem-solving.

I retired 8 years ago and now I’m “living the dream”. I enjoy travel, reading, and gardening. I participate in UU book club, film club, bell choir, a chalice circle, the bazaar and white elephant sale. I live in Battle Creek. My daughter and her family live nearby and I get to see my twin one-year-old grandsons almost every day. Can’t beat that!

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