New Member Bios

Hello All! My name is Lillian Slack (though I usually go by Lily), and my pronouns are she/her. 

It would come as a surprise to my younger self that I am joining a congregation and attending a place with “church” in the title. I grew up in a semi-practicing pagan household, with extended family ranging from vaguely spiritual to hardline Baptist, the latter of which turned me off to the idea of organized religion in general.

When a friend invited me (8 years ago I might add) to attend a Sunday service at People’s Church, I came with strong hesitancy. What I found was a beloved community that continues to bring me to tears every service. Since that day, I have attended sporadically (a bit of an understatement as there were years in-between my attendance until recently). A few months ago, I realized that my emotional reaction to service was telling me something and I needed to listen. I have been attending regularly since that realization and have made it official by joining the congregation. 

For some background on me: I am a Health Educator and currently working toward a Master of Public Health degree at WMU. In my free time (what is that? I don’t know her *crying/laughing*) I sew, attend karaoke, play boardgames, and hang with my cats, spouse, friends, and family. When I am able, I volunteer with We The People which is an organization currently attempting to get the statewide ban on rent control lifted. I am passionate about all people having their basic needs met and housing is the foundation of that endeavor. I am also working towards volunteering with the youth group at OutFront Kalamazoo, another passion close to my heart as a queer individual with two trans siblings. 

I look forward to meeting you all and contributing to this beloved community at People’s Church.

Michele Richards is a dedicated environmentalist and experienced natural resources professional with a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship. Inspired from a young age by the “Hoot Hoot, Don’t Pollute” commercials she saw in kindergarten, Michele has woven her passion for conservation into every aspect of her life—professionally, personally, and spiritually. Michele has spent the largest part of her career with the Michigan Army National Guard, where she serves as a Natural Resources Manager. In this role, she develops and implements strategies to protect and sustain natural resources on military lands. She plans to continue this vital work until retirement, at which point she looks forward to dedicating herself full-time to prescribed fire management—a field that ignites her greatest hope and passion. On the home front, Michele and her husband, Peter, are restoring an 1877 Italianate house, a labor of love and sometimes overwhelm, with plans to complete their efforts by the time they retire. They aim to transition to a more manageable home that suits their needs as they age. Family is central to Michele’s life. She is the proud mother of three children: Rowan, Sage, and Hazel, and the joyful grandmother of two: Leia and Willow. Her family shares her love for nature and sustainability. In her free time, Michele enjoys reading non-fiction, traveling, and continuously learning. She strives to do better and to spread kindness and compassion in all her endeavors.