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.
Chris Corbett, Treasurer
Chris has been a member of UUCM for over 25 years. During that time he has served as an RE Teacher, Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign (2005-08), Treasurer, and Chair of the Finance Committee. He is presently serving as Chair of the Stewardship Committee and Member of the Pledge Committee. Chris is a graduate of Purdue University and Albany Law School. Currently retired, he worked in the L’Oréal USA Legal Department for over 32 years in a number of roles including as Assistant General Counsel and Vice President of Real Estate. Chris is married to long time member Deborah Corbett. His son, Geoff, grew up in the Congregation and now lives in Mamaroneck, New York with his wife Michelle and Deb and Chris’s grandchildren Lila and Jonah.
Shannon Gattens, Secretary
Shannon has been a member of the congregation for 11 years and has been heavily involved in the Religious Education Committee including RE teacher, RE Committee member and RE Chair. Shannon has 3 children- Caleb, Noah andEliza andlives and works from her home in West Orange. Shannon was the secretary of the Delta Zeta Sorority at Temple University and is currently the Secretary for the West Orange Human Relations Commission of West Orange. She is a Director of Accounts for a publishing services company and on the board of a non-profit called Moore Love, which promotes kindness in the West Orange public schools. Shannon is excited to be taking on a new role and the U!
Trustees at Large
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.
Lauren and her husband, John, joined the UUCM over 20 years ago with their two daughters, Julia and Sarah. She has served as an RE teacher, on the RE Committee as member and Chair, on the Board (covering a remaining term for a departing Board member) and on the Pledge Committee, which she has chaired 3 times andserved as member often. Lauren feels so privileged to be part of the UUCM community andhasmany friendsin the congregation. She feels committed to serving and hopes to help UUCM meet its goals by serving on the Board.
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.
Michael has been attending UUCM since 2014. He is a member of the choir and has served as coordinator of the Senior Youth program since 2015.Michael grew up in Northern Virginia before attending college in Philadelphia, where he received his BFA in Illustration. He currently works as a Senior Graphic Designer for Penguin Young Readers, designing marketing materials for books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As a freelancer, he is a published illustrator and has designed artwork for several award-winning CDs. Michael lives in East Orange with his husband Stearns and their canine best friend Darby, and on days ending with Y you can find him reading/watching Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Star Wars, and Batman. Michael is extremely passionate about growing UUCM and looks forward to serving as a member of the Board of Trustees.
Ramona worked in various administrative and management positions after earning an MBA. She was president of a company that serviced student loans for banks and secondary markets for ten years. She then went back to school, received a MS in Chemistry and worked for twelve years in the pharmaceutical industry. She is now retired and is involved in a number of volunteer activities. She prepares taxes for people through AARP, is a docent at the Montclair Art Museum and serves on the UUCM Finance Committee. She is also an artist and is a member of the Art and Soul Covenant Group.
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
Laura joined UUCM with her mother in 2007, and benefited immensely from the RE program, as well as Senior Youth and Young Adult programming both at UUCM and in the wider UU world, . She’s been involved with the Theatre Group, the Undoing Racism Committee, Harvest the Power, Event Planning Committees, and the Emergency Preparedness Task Force. She’s a longtime liturgist, an occasional lay worship leader, and the current chair of the Worship Committee. Laura graduated from Marlboro College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance. She now works in New Jersey and New York as a production assistant, performer, and playwright, in addition to co-founding a small production company. She enjoys being an aunt, making art, and dressing strangely.
Doug and his wife, Barbara, joined the UUCM in 2006 and their 3 sons have participated 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. Doug has served on the UUCM Board for 3 years and has taught the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum for K/1 and 4/5 for over 10 years. From 2009 until Rev. Charlie Ortman’s retirement in 2015, Doug served on the Council of Ministry. He completed the Harvest the Power leadership program in the spring of 2016. Doug works as an IT program manager in the financial industry.
Roz joined UUCM in March 2016. She is currently a member of the Earth Justice Team, UU Marketplace, IHN, and the Social Justice Steering Committee. She has taught RE classes, and is a graduate of Harvest the Power. Roz is a digital marketing operations manager with Express Scripts, a Cigna company. She lives in South Orange, and has three children in various stages of college: Isabella, 2018 graduate;Russell, rising Senior; and, Larissa, rising Sophomore.
Steven has been a member of UU Montclair since 1991. He has served previously as chairman of the Nominating and Leadership Committee andas a member of the UU Board of Directors. He has completed Harvest the Power and has belonged to the current UU Men’s Group since it was formedin 2007. Montclair residents since 1988, Steven and Melissa raised their sons Ben andThomas as UUs through Coming of Age ceremonies. Ben and his wife, Jess, were married at UU Montclair by Rev. Charlie Ortman. A financial journalist by profession, Steven covered corporate finance and investment. He has worked for the Economist Group, Time Inc. and the FinancialCrisis Inquiry Commission. In 2017 he launched highschoolNGOconnect.org, a nonprofit, global minded academic enrichment program in Paterson andNewark.Because itis so vitally important to secure a robust futurefor our UU community, he welcomes the chance to resume service on the NLDC.