All staff can be reached at 973-744-6276 using the extension below.
Getting in Touch With The Senior Co-Ministers
For ease of communication with seekers and newcomers, there is an email that goes to both of our Senior Co-Ministers (Minister@uumontclair.org) in addition to the emails listed below. They have ample office time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and can make appointments at other times as necessary. Schedule a conversation with one or both of them today!
Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael
Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2007. Since then, she has served the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling, in Sterling, Virginia. Rev. Anya grew up in North Branford, Connecticut, where she learned to love the ocean, played countless sports, spent hours in the wild, and cared for injured animals.
Her parents both worked at the Yale School of Drama, and this early exposure to theater attuned her to the gifts of the lively arts, especially their ability to encourage empathy and understanding. Starting at age 8 with her parents, she saw August Wilson’s series of 10 plays about race in America. This experience, coupled with personal encounters with Mr. Wilson, had a lasting impact on her life, calling her specifically to racial justice work.
In college at the University of the South, Rev. Anya studied philosophy and fine arts, as she worked to build bridges of understanding between diverse social circles. She has worked as a fine art photographer, darkroom artist, caterer, and chef. She first felt the call to ministry as a youth in her Unitarian Universalist Youth Group, but had to discover her call again, in young adulthood, before she pursued seminary.
In ministry, Rev. Anya focuses on building interfaith relationships, reaching across the partisan divide, and honestly confronting the evils of racism, xenophobia, and homophobia. In her sermons she stresses humility, compassion, and relationship–both with one another and with that which we deem holy.
Rev. Anya has helped the UU Congregation of Sterling triple its Sunday attendance, and develop its outreach and connection to the wider community. Under her leadership the congregation grew from 53 members to 125 members plus 50 pledging friends. Together, they literally broke down a wall and added 50% more space, developed numerous new congregation wide-programs, and transformed their local community with generous donations of time and money.
Rev. Anya has received awards and recognition for her interfaith work and has been elected by her colleagues to serve twice on the chapter executive team. Both Michelle and Barack Obama had Rev. Anya offer invocations at campaign events.
When Rev. Anya reflects on her ministry in Sterling, she is most gratified by the congregation’s dual achievements of a sustained pastoral care team and solid justice program. The care the congregation is now able to offer its own community as well as the surrounding region is a powerful ministry that will last and continue to grow. When UU Sterling chose “Seek, Love, and Serve Boldly” as their mission, Rev. Anya felt that her ministry had made an impact that would last.
Rev. Anya is an avid cook and lifelong vegetarian. She practices Vinyasa, Bikram, and Yin yoga. She considers yoga, meditation, and prayer all integral to her spiritual practice.
Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael
Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael has served the Accotink UU Church in Burke, Virginia, since August 2008. A co-founder of the Maryland chapter of the Nuclear Freeze Campaign in 1983, Rev. Scott helped organize the Southwest Baltimore Tree-mendous Maryland initiative in 1993, bringing fresh, live plants and playgrounds to vacant city lots. Rev. Scott also worked as a labor organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers from 1998 until 2000.
Rev. Scott found Unitarian Universalism as an adult, when in 1998 while re-reading Emerson, he was invited by a friend to a beer and chili cook-off at a UU church. It felt like home and he quickly became involved in all aspects of congregational life–Buildings and Grounds, Worship, Music, RE, YRUU. He was asked to offer a Sunday service and originated Soulful Sundowns, a worship service featuring contemporary musicians. Rev. Scott finally embraced this long call to serve in ministry.
Rev. Scott prepared for the ministry at Meadville Lombard Theological School, receiving his masters in divinity in 2008. At Meadville, Rev. Scott received the Jenkin Lloyd Jones Scholarship, the Atherton Scholarship, and the Von Ogden Vogt Scholarship for liturgical studies. Rev. Scott holds a BA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Masters in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis. A musician, audio engineer, and music producer, Rev. Scott has also worked as an electrician, an electrical code enforcement officer, and taught English, Writing, and Drama in several colleges, including Coppin University, in Baltimore.
In 2007, Rev. Scott founded TUUL-Belt Ministries, a practical ministry training people with construction experience to respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Rev. Scott is the 2011 recipient of the Outstanding Contribution by a Minister Award from the Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice. Scott serves on the Fairfax City Core Team for Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement. V.O.I.C.E. is a congregation-based community organization promoting immigration reform and economic justice for Northern Virginia’s middle and low income families whose largest win was securing $60 million in relief for homeowners defrauded in the mortgage crisis.
Though he graduated high school in suburban Bel Air, Maryland, Rev Scott was raised on the streets of East Baltimore. Growing up in a tough neighborhood made him resilient and inspired compassion for those who may not always benefit from our economy. His working-class parents struggled hard to give him a life better than what they had known, and this ethic of sacrifice and persistence seeped deeply into who he is today. “I have never expected anything to come easily nor to be simply provided,” Rev. Scott shares. Coming from such humble origins attuned his concern towards those who have little material wealth and guides his values to this day. He is outgoing, has a strong memory, loves people and community, understands managing church buildings and grounds, and reads voraciously.
Rev. Jacqueline C. Lahey
Affiliated Community Minister
Jackie is a native New Yorker who grew up on Long Island, where she went to the beach every day in the summers of her childhood. She graduated from The College of William and Mary in Virginia, then served four years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army, with duty stations in South Korea and San Antonio, TX. She worked for non-profit organizations in San Francisco and New York City, and earned her Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. She was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 1998 at the Community Church of New York in Manhattan. After graduation from Seminary, she served as an ecumenical chaplain at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, as a hospice chaplain with Odyssey Healthcare in Edison, NJ, and as coordinator for the New Jersey Unitarian Universalist Network for Promise the Children, which was based in our own UU Congregation at Montclair. She now works as a hospice chaplain for Compassionate Care Hospice, providing pastoral care to terminally ill patients in their homes and in nursing homes throughout Bergen and Passaic Counties. She is married to Scott Lahey, and they have two children, Patrick and Margaret, who are enthusiastic participants in the RE program here at UUCM. They live in Maplewood, and enjoy the Jersey Shore as a family as frequently as their schedules allow.
Markus Grae-Hauck (ext. 15)
ASSISTANT MUSIC DIRECTOR
Stearns Matthews (ext. 15)
DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND CONGREGATIONAL LIFE
Christopher Buja (ext. 16)
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Iris DeLaPaz (ext. 23)
Danielle Carlo (ext. 12)
Gerry McCart (ext. 14)