Sue Raufer, President
Sue has been a UU for 14 years, and a member of the UUCM since she and her daughter, Laura Stakiwicz, moved into the area ten years ago. Sue is widowed and is the mother of two sons as well, and she recently became a grandmother. Sue is an immigration lawyer, and has worked most of her career in the US Government, specializing in asylum. Sue previously served as Secretary of the Board. She has also served on the Worship Committee, the UU Theatre Group, the Food Diplomacy Covenant Group, the Cakes group, and most recently she was the Chair of the Membership Committee. While many people are change averse, Sue finds herself energized by the possibilities that change can bring. That is why she decided that this would be a particularly good time for her to accept the nomination to serve as the congregation’s President at this exciting and changing time in the congregation’s history.
Denise Rodgers, Vice-President
Denise has been attending UUCM since 1998. She has been involved in the RE program for over 15 years and still teaches the Heeding the Call curriculum each year. She has been a member of the Board since 2015 and she served as the board’s representative on the negotiating team for the new settled ministers. Denise is a physician and serves as vice chancellor for interprofessional programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Her daughter Zori, is a lifelong member of UUCM and is currently finishing her first year at UMASS-Amherst.
Dennis Kurtti, Treasurer
Dennis has been a member of UUCM for the past 15 years. A resident of Montclair since 2001, he relocated here from NYC with his wife, Dionne and daughter, Desiree. Three years later they welcomed their second daughter, Devany into their home. Both his daughters have grown onto the wonderful young women they are due in no small part to our UUCM RE program. Dennis has served as a Senior Youth advisor, co-chaired our annual auction, participated in and served as a facilitator in our Harvest The Power program, and previously served on the Board as a Trustee.
Sheila Eby, Secretary
Sheila has been a congregation member for more than 30 years and brought two children up through the UUCM with her late husband Jonathan Adler. She began serving as secretary on the board of trustees last year and is honored to continue in that capacity. A Coming of Age teacher for the past three years, Sheila is also an active presence in UU MESH and previously led the Nominating Committee. Though she is now retired from a communications career as a speechwriter at JPMorgan Chase, and from her earlier work in magazine writing and editing, she went back to school this September to earn an MFA in Creative Writing at the City College of New York. Her work was recently published and anthologized in Flash Fiction Magazine.
Trustees at Large
Doug Andrews and his wife, Barbara, joined the UUCM in 2006 and their 3 sons participate in the RE program. Doug grew up in the First Universalist Church in Wausau, Wisconsin and attended the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn where Barbara and he were married in June of 2001. For the last 8 years, Doug has taught the Our Whole Lives (OWL) Human Sexuality curriculum for K/1 and 4/5. From 2009 until Rev. Charlie Ortman’s retirement in 2015, Doug served on the Council of Ministry. He has regularly attended the UUCM Men’s Group and the Writing as a Spiritual Practice Covenant Group and is active in the UUCM music program, accompanying the choir on bass. He completed the Harvest the Power leadership program in the spring of 2016. Doug works as a IT project manager in the financial industry.
Peter first walked through the doors of the UUCM the first Sunday after 9/11. It felt like home then and still does. Most recently he was a member of the Settled Minister Search Committee. He was selected as a Pillar of the Congregation in 2015 because of his commitment to UUCM in several different areas. He has been teaching in the Religious Education program for 12 years at every age level from K-1 through Senior Youth. He is a trained OWL facilitator and has taught K-1 and 4th-5th OWL. He was on the RE Committee for 10 years serving as Chair for three of those years. For the past 6 years he has been involved in UUCM Mesh Café and for the past two years has held a leadership role in that ministry. He is also a graduate of Harvest the Power. Peter has two daughters, Emma, 19, and Maggie, 15. He is a graduate of Georgetown University where he was a team manager for the Men’s Basketball team led by Patrick Ewing. In his professional life he is an Executive Recruiter focusing on quantitatively oriented positions in finance. He hopes this experience can be used by the Board of Trustees in any way possible.
Brian has been attending the U since he moved to Montclair seven years ago, becoming a member in 2014. He has been active in the music program performing on Sunday mornings as well as for MESH. He has also volunteered in the RE program, assisting with the second graders and most recently as a senior youth advisor. He participated in our notable 5 Questions program with former Senior Minister Rev. Charlie Ortman and has recently completed the Harvest the Power program. Brian is thrilled to be a part of the Board during this exciting new time for our congregation.
Kathleen (Kitty) Cullina Bessey
Kitty joined the UUCM in 1989 when she, husband David, and 8 month old son Colin moved to New Jersey from Boston. Seeking a spiritual community (and looking for friends) as well as having been a member of the UU congregation in Golden, Colorado, the UUCM quickly became a wonderful community for their family. David and Kitty’s three children participated in the RE program, proudly completely Coming of Age. Over the years, she has served in many roles within the congregation. Currently, she is treasurer and a member of the leadership team of the UUCM MESH Café. Kitty is a licensed Psychologist, working in private practice in Montclair.
Ellen joined UUCM six years ago, drawn to the congregation by its welcoming community, social activism, and spiritual inclusiveness. Ellen has been a MESH volunteer since she joined the congregation. She completed the Harvest the Power Program and then served as a facilitator for three years. Ellen has volunteered with Marketplace and was a member of the UUCM Theater Group. She is currently serving on the Sharing Our Riches Committee and is a member of the Food Diplomacy Covenant Group. She lives in Bloomfield and has a private practice as a licensed psychologist in Montclair. Her two adult daughters live in North Carolina, making Ellen a frequent flyer.
Laura and her husband Andy have been members of the UUCM since 1991. In that time, Laura has served in a number of leadership positions, including chair of the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee, leader of 2 covenant groups (each lasting for over 5 years), and as a member of the Ministerial Transition Team during this interim period. She enjoys cooking for MESH periodically and completed Harvest the Power in 2016.
Nominating and Leadership Development Committee
UUCM has been Arlene’s spiritual home for thirty years. Beginning as an RE teacher and later a lead teacher for many years, Arlene gone on to spearhead our Artist of the Month Initiative at our UU Marketplace each Sunday and sing in our wonderful choir. She chaired the Interim Search Committee and served on the Board of Trustees from 2012-2015. She’s been inspired as part of the Writing as a Spiritual Practice Covenant Group, Harvest the Power and her Cakes from the Queen of Heaven Group which has been meeting for 24 years. This is her second year as a member of the NLDC. Arlene and her husband, Lou, have two sons, Luke and Jeremy and a three year old granddaughter, Mia.
Charles has been a member of the congregation for seven years. Over that time, he worked as a Senior Youth Advisor, served on the Worship Committee, completed the Harvest the Power program as a participant and served on the Harvest the Power leadership team. He is a member of the Chalice Choir and the Chamber Choir. Charles lives in Montclair, with his wife and their three children. He works as a Technology Lead for an advertising agency in New Jersey.
Patrick joined UUCM in 2013, when she began attending services after her mom’s death, and found her spiritual home here. Since becoming a member, she has joined the Chalice Choir, the Sharing Our Riches committee, was previously a member of the S.O.U.L. Matters covenant group, and is a regular volunteer for the Annual Auction. She lives in Glen Ridge with her husband Ray, a supportive friend of the Congregation, and their two children who participated in the R.E. program, as well as 2 puppies who did not. Patrick graduated from NYU with a degree in Art History and minors in Latin and Religion. She is a longtime public relations professional with experience promoting TV, films, books and museums.
Judith has been a member of the UUCM for nearly 20 years. Arriving originally with young children, she served as an RE teacher, then joined the RE Committee where she served for five years, three of those as Chair or Co-Chair. She continues to facilitate the 8th Grade OWL class when called on. Judith was one of the inaugural facilitators of the Harvest the Power leadership development program, served on the Membership Committee in its early years of formation, helping to develop the Path to Membership, and has sung in the choir for most of those years. Judith served on the Board of Trustees for four years, 2012-2016, three of those years on the Executive Committee as Board Secretary. For the past two years she has been part of the Annual Pledge Drive team and is now serving a three-year term on the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee. Judith and her husband Richard have lived in Montclair since 1989 and have two children, Emma and Oliver, a son-in-law, Christian Simon, and one grandson, Owen Simon. Judith works as a freelance graphic designer and as a tai chi teacher.