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Treasurer Patti Clark, Houston, Texas, has served as Treasurer for SouthWest UU Women (SWUUW), and the International Convocation of UU Women. She did double duty as Registrar for the 2009 International Convo.

A retired CPA, Patti also manages her condo association.

Nyx Ember Firbourn, Chicago, IL, is a multi-talented entrepreneur and artist who believes in living her joy! Women's retreats are important in her life. She joined the Core Group in June 2023 after experiencing General Assembly and the energy so many UUs gathered in one place can bring.

Geri Kennedy, Seattle, WA, believes in gathering the women. A past UUWR Treasurer, who has often staffed our UUWR booth at GA and saved our hides on more than one occasion, Geri is also currently the Treasurer for International Convocation of UU Women (ICUUW).

Co-Convener and UUWR Storekeeper Gretchen Ohmann, SW Michigan, is a long-time UU. On Central MidWest W&R she was treasurer, conference liaison, and webweaver, then part-time office manager, computer trainer and archivist. A former CMwD representative to Continental UUWR, Gretchen also worked several years as Administrator for SW UU Women and served one term on the board of the UU Women's Federation. Now retired from her day job as Technology Coordinator for the UUA MidAmerica Region, she is part-time Marketing Director for ICUUW and also designs and hosts web sites.

Gratitude to past core group members:

Liz Fisher headshot

Liz Fisher passed on in 2020 and we miss her presence deeply. Best known as the author of the Rise Up and Call Her Name curriculum, Liz was a researcher, writer and social activist. Her deep knowledge of the UU Women and Religion movement helped inform our work over many decades.

See Liz's bio at https://lucilesrednotebook.org/liz-fishers-wr-autobiographical-statement/

Twinkle Marie Manning 2017Rev. “Twinkle” Marie Manning is a progressive interfaith minister, liturgist and retreat leader. You may have met her at General Assembly in the UUWR booth! She draws upon her experiences as a development director, award-winning television producer, published author and poet, luxury-lifestyle magazine columnist and editor, and former elected official. She offers multi-faceted services to congregations and nonprofit organizations she serves.


2014-15 Core Group:

Pam Backstrom - Iowa (former Prairie Star District/MidAmerica Region)

Susan Bennett - Virginia (Joseph Priestley District/Central East Regional Group)

Treasurer Patti Clark, Houston, Texas (SW District/Southern Region)

Patricia Fahey - North Carolina (SouthEast District/Southern Region)

Kate Gillis, West Warwick, Rhode Island (Ballou-Channing District/New England Region) is a life-long UU. She loves the Women’s Group at Westminster UU Church in East Greenwich RI, is President of Womensphere, the Ballou Channing District women’s group, is a very active member (RE, choir, events) and past president of Bell Street Chapel UU in Providence RI, and goes to Woman Soul at Ferry Beach. She likes The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology and learning about labyrinths.

Molly Nolan - Connecticut (Clara Barton District/New England Region)

Co-Convener and UUWR Storekeeper Gretchen Ohmann, St. Joseph, Michigan

Melinda Perrin - New York (St. Lawrence District/Central East Regional Group)


helenpopenoe2009-02-27WOMUUNWEB Editor Helen Popenoe, Bethesda, MD, has been involved in Women and Religion work since 1980 when the Joseph Priestley W&R'ers were so involved with publishing "Reaching Sideways" and the rewriting of the UUA Principles. She served on the District W&R Committee from that time till she retired in 1999(?) after four years of being District Convener. Simultaneously with her later tenure on the JPD W&R Committee, she participated as part of the Continental W&R movement, acting as Co-Convener several intermittent terms until 2004. To become a children's book author with strong female characterization is her present endeavor outside W&R.


shirley ranck 2013Past Co-Convener Rev. Shirley Ranck passed away in 2023. She was a Crone of wisdom and power who has touched the lives of many women through her writing and teaching, the Reverend Dr. Shirley Ann Ranck brought both personal professional insight to her work. Trained in education, psychology and ministry, she drew upon all these disciplines as well as her various personal lives as wife, mother, and single parent to create the female spiritual journey contained in the feminist thealogy curriculum and book, Cakes for the Queen of Heaven.
While working full time and birthing and raising two daughters and two sons, Shirley managed to earn her Master's degree in religious education from Drew University, an M.A. in clinical psychology from City College of New York, a Ph.D. in urban school psychology from Fordham University, and her Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley. She has been an educator and a licensed psychologist in California as well as an ordained minister in the Unitarian Universalist Association. She worked in hospitals, clinics and a county jail for women as well as in private practice. She served as minister in several Unitarian Universalist congregations including Cincinnati Ohio, Mobile Alabama, San Rafael California, Kennebunk Maine, Olympia Washington, Vancouver BC, and Reno Nevada. Shirley was the featured Keynote Speaker at Central Midwest District W&R's WomanSpirit Feb. 2008. She finally retired, and moved to Michigan, passing on in May 2023. We carry her books in our STORE!

Addae-WatsonPast Co-Convener The Reverend Addae Lee Watson served as consulting minister for the First Universalist Congregation of Southold during her time with the UUWR Core Group. Fondly known as Rev. Addae, she believes that service in ministry is about building bridges between the church and the community, so that pastoral care extends beyond the church walls, enhancing the vitality and growth of our congregations, as well as reinforcing our Unitarian Universalist principles as we live out our values in the world.
Rev Addae received her undergraduate degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco, and her Masters of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry, in Berkeley, California. She was ordained in the summer of 2004 at The Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist, after serving as the congregation's intern, and summer minister.
She is a member of the Anti Racist/Anti Oppression and Multicultural Committee of the (UUMA) Unitarian Universalist Minister's Association, (DRUUMM) Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries, and (UUWF) Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation. Rev. Addae calls San Francisco home, where she is enrolled at (CIIS) California Institute of Integral Studies in pursuit of a Ph.D in Philosophy and Religion in Women's Spirituality. 

Laura NagelPast Co-Convener Laura Nagel currently lives in California, with her husband Harry. They have two daughters. Laura became a Unitarian Universalist when she was 14, and has been a member of several UU churches as they have moved around the country. She served as board president for First Jefferson UU Church in Fort Worth in 1998, attended leadership school in the Southwest District, and worked for five years as a fundraising consultant for the UUA.
Laura became president of Southwest UU Women (SWUUW) in 2000 and oversaw its transition to a nonprofit and Independent Affiliate of the UUA. She was also very active with the Partner Church Council. Laura is a founder of the International Convocation of UU Women.

Nuala 2005Past Grassroots Coordinator and Joseph Priestley District rep -- Nuala Carpenter lives in St. Davids PA, attends Main Line Unitarian Church in Devon in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. She has been a member of the Facilitators' Circle of Joseph Priestley District Women and Religion. She has been involved for 10 years or so and was been the convener from 99 to 07. She has been to several gatherings of the core group, in Boston, Chicago, St. Louis and Portland OR.
Nuala has been a UU since the 70s and has held many leadership roles in her congregation. She was born in Ireland and lives with her husband Mike. Their five grandchildren are the light of her life.

Past GA Events Coordinator Rosemary Matson who passed away in 2014, lived in Carmel Valley, CA, and was a member of the UU Church of the Monterey Peninsula. In 1977 she helped passage of UUA Women and Religion Resolution and served as co-convener of the first W&R Continental Committee. Also co-convener of Pacific Central District W&R Task Force. Rosemary initiated and processed the W&R application for affiliate status with the UUA in 2001. She initiated and co-authored the Gender Knot curriculum in 2003. She completed writing a portion of the history of UU Women and Religion movement, as she experienced it.

Marnie 2005Past Membership List Keeper Marnie Singer lives in Sunnyvale, CA and is an M.Div. student at Starr King School for the Ministry.

Her roles in W&R (both on the district and continental levels) are former Pacific Central District co-convener, co-organizer of numerous PCD W&R retreats, and keeper of the PCD and continental W&R databases.


Dorothy 05Past Co-Convenor Rev. Dorothy Emerson, who passed away in May 2019, was a UU community minister, focusing on economic justice and empowerment. In the mid-1980s she served as co-convener of the Mass Bay District Women & Religion Committee. She founded and directed the UU Women's Heritage Society for many years and edited a book of UU women's writings, called Standing Before Us: UU Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936. She edited Glorious Women, a compilation of sermons about women that won awards from MSUU (Ministerial Sisterhood Unitarian Universalist). Dorothy completed her memoir, Sea Change: The Unfinished Agenda of the 1960s, in 2018. She was on the Core Group from 2004-2010 and served some time as co-convener. She lived near Boston with her long time partner, whom she was able to marry in 2004 thanks to the establishment of marriage equality in Massachusetts. Another of her great joys was becoming a grandmother! We carry some of her books in our STORE.

Past District Representatives

Central Midwest District -- Gretchen Ohmann - (see above)
Florida -- no current rep; the Florida W&R group has dissolved.

Misty SheehanHeartland -- Dr. Misty Sheehan, Empire, MI, has been a UU since her children started school many centuries ago. She served on the original Chapin-Crane Women and Religion Team in Michigan from 1978-1985. Her life took her to India and China for several years, then she was an Asian studies professor at College of DuPage in Chicago. There she joined the Central Midwest District Women and Religion Committee from 1999-2003. She joined the Continental Core Group in 2003 as the CMwD rep, and became Co-Convenor for the 2005-2006 year.

Pacific Central-- Barbara Schonborn, Mountain View, CA

Joseph Priestley District -- Nuala Carpenter (see photo and bio above)

Southwest UU Women -- Laura Nagel (see above).

NY Metro -- Laurie James
Laurie James passed away in 2016. Credits: Original one-woman dramas on tour: Winter Wheat, The Betrayal of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Her Woman's Bible; Men, Women, and Margaret Fuller. UU churches, theaters, festivals, UU General Assemblies; The 13th Street Theatre, NYC; The Burbage Theatre, Los Angeles; theaters in Mexico, Hong Kong, and Scotland.
Original docu-dramas, Roots of Rebellion (also WBAI featuring Gloria Steinem); Look Who's on Third!; and Sliding Home! at The Community Church of New York (CCNY); UU Congregation of Central Nassau; GA.
Plays authored/acted: O Excellent Friend! (first prize, Pen and Brush Club), the story of Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson, GA. Gotta Learn the Rule, second prize, Collaboraction Theatre (Chicago), produced at The Producer's Club in NYC.
TV: The Cambridge Forum, "Feminist Ahead of Her Time;" BBC-Scotland TV, Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Guest star, Trial By Jury with Raymond Burr.
Off-Off-Broadway: Gibran; Paradox; The Yellow Wallpaper.
Directed Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues (CCNY); UU Congregation at Shelter Rock.
Panel, GA: "Emerson's Circle of Women;" article with same title, Journal of UU History, edited by Dean Grodzins.
Books include Men, Women, and Margaret Fuller, a biography; Why Margaret Fuller Is Forgotten; The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Fuller; How I Got to Harvard, Off and On Stage with Margaret Fuller; Outrageous Questions, Legacy of Bronson Alcott and America's One Room Schools. Member of CCNY Community Women; Board Member, UUWA Metro District, UU Women & Religion; The Dramatists Guild; The Actors Studio P/D Unit; The American Renaissance Theatre.


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