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Keeping the Faith Award
to honor those who have worked to keep Unitarian Universalism alive in their community and who touch the lives of congregation and community members in a positive way
Vicki Chronister George
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, Kansas
Vicki Chronister George has been an active and inspiring UU for 36 years. She is truly a pillar of her congregation. Time and again she has stepped forward with energy and enthusiasm to create new services, form new groups, and support other people as they grow in leadership skills, whether within the church, collaborating with other churches, or community projects. She is particularly passionate about social justice and membership initiatives. One highlight of her long list of accomplishments that illustrates combining these passions is her role in starting and sustaining the “Second Sunday Lunch,” which has raised over $20,000 over time while increasing involvement of young adults in the congregation. Where Vicki is involved, there is energy and growth. We are proud to honor her for her lifelong example of keeping the faith.
Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award
to honor those Unitarian Universalists whose actions inspire, support and express Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities, Davenport, Iowa
It is a great honor to present this award to Katy McCluskey. Raised in the UU faith, Katy has served at the local, community, and district/regional levels for over 68 years. In 1943, Katy attended the first regional UU conference as a youth leader, where she met her future husband. Over the years, Katy has helped establish our district’s Chalice Lighters program, and was a leader in establishing her church as a Welcoming Congregation. She has served three terms as a Board trustee, 27 years on the RE Committee, 40+ years on the Archives Committee, and most recently, on the interim Transition Committee. She is described as a fountain of archival information and a welcoming face at the door, cheery and ready to help out however she can. What a role model for both younger and not-so-young UUs!
Social Justice Award
to pay tribute to those individuals who witness to the ideals of social justice and responsibility so important to our Unitarian Universalist heritage
Shawna Foster is an effective and passionate social activist. Currently a seminarian at Meadville Lombard Theological School, Shawna became active at First Unitarian in 2003 and immediately shouldered leadership roles in social justice and RE. During five years as Social Justice chair, she initiated several influential programs, notably involvement in a coalition of churches that now serves weekly meals to 150-300 people. Shawna’s leadership led to Green Sanctuary accreditation, and she organized church teams for many community projects. Shawna helped the church host pro-choice responders arriving after the murder of a pro-choice doctor in Kansas. In July 2010, she was arrested in Phoenix along with other UUs while defending immigrant rights. Now as student minister in Topeka, she is organizing support for the “justice GA”, volunteering as a chaplain for several groups, and teaching computer skills at a Hispanic aid organization. We honor Shawna for her commitment to social justice.
Emily Sylvestre (Youth Award)
First Universalist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota
An enthusiastic RE student since age 3, Emily Sylvestre was unanimously nominated by her church’s senior-high advisors for her leadership skills and commitment to social activism. Last year, as chair of the Youth Leadership Council, she ran class meetings for a curriculum on homelessness, and guided the 25-30 youth involved in selecting, planning and executing an ambitious project. Under her leadership, the youth prepared a festive dinner event with decorations, games, music, and prizes for formerly homeless guests and their caseworkers. Emily then helped organize a special Sunday Youth Service about the project. Emily has participated in all youth retreats in junior and senior high school, a Boston trip in summer 2010, and generously shares her musical talents with her church. Described as having “quiet grace and fierce intelligence,” we honor Emily for her commitment to UU values and actions.
Betty Gorshe Heritage Award
to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to preserving, understanding and celebrating our Unitarian Universalist history is presented to
Darlene Cruikshank Joyce
Pilgrim House Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Arden Hills, Minnesota
Darlene is a founding member and historian of Pilgrim House Fellowship, Arden Hills, Minnesota. She is a certified genealogist with a passion for preserving UU history. Her most significant work includes her detailed history of the Pilgrim House congregation’s formation and development. She also produced a Fellowship history/cookbook and has organized her church’s records. Besides her contribution to her Fellowship’s history, she is a Sunday morning facilitator, has been active in Religious Education - serving as an educator using UUA materials prior to Pilgrim House’s affiliation with the UUA. In addition, she is a choir member, is active in the Minnesota Genealogical Society as well as conducts workshops in the community. She and her husband Ed were the first couple to be married in the congregation. It is her long time contribution to the Pilgrim House Fellowship and to the Unitarian Universalist denomination that merit her receiving this award.
Ellie Morton Award
to pay tribute to a religous educator in Prarie Star District who has made a District-wide outstanding contribution to religious education.
Carol has a passion for accurate, age-appropriate sexuality education for people of all ages. Her commitment to sexuality education as a justice issue is unwavering. She has been instrumental in many areas of the Fellowship: chairing the Religious Education Committee, being coordinator of the congregational Our Whole Lives Program, and being a member of the Board and on the Committee on Shared Ministry. She helped start an Our Whole Lives Program for children and youth and has facilitated several curriculum levels. We are proud to honor her for her commitment to religious education.
for Outstanding Service to Prarie Star District
This award is given in recognition of your twenty-three years of service to Prairie Star District, including serving as Treasurer, Vice President, and President, and for continuing to provide us with your expertise in finance and technology through your membership on the Financial Advisory Committee, Midwest UU Conference, the Endowment Committee, the Technology Advisory Committee and the Flood Response Team. Your leadership in strengthening the district’s organizational structure and growth programming is deeply appreciated. As a Resource Liaison, you’ve directly assisted our member congregations. Thank you for your commitment and hard work on behalf of Unitarian Universalism in Prairie Star District.