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Biographies of the UUA/UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Fund Panel
Eunice Milton Benton is the District Executive in Mid-South District – which includes all of Mississippi and Alabama, most of Georgia, the panhandle of Florida, and middle Tennessee. She is a native Southerner who has been an active Unitarian Universalist since the mid-seventies. She is proud to work with an energetic and growing district from the Mid-South office in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Reverend Steve J. Crump serves The Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge congregation as senior minister and has served in that capacity for over 23 years. In the period immediately after the hurricane, the Baton Rouge congregation served as a communications hub and housing coordinator for displaced UU ministers and laity in the affected areas. Rev. Crump is particularly familiar with the character and unique histories of the three Louisiana congregations that were directly hit by the hurricane winds and subsequent flooding. Except for downed trees and loss of electricity, the Baton Rouge church campus escaped serious damage from the storm. A significant portion of the membership in Baton Rouge has family ties and other connections to the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region.
Rebecca (Becky) Cureau was born and reared in New Orleans, and received her formal education in the public schools of that city. She holds the BA of music degree with a major concentration in music and minor in English from Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC; the Master of Music degree with music history, theory, and organ concentrations from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; and the Doctor of Arts degree with concentrations in Humanities and Interdisciplinary studies from Atlanta University in Georgia. She spent her entire career teaching in higher education, ending her career in arts administration. She served as organist of First Unitarian Church in New Orleans, where her journey in Unitarianism began, and has been a member of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge for almost forty years, serving in various capacities.
The Reverend Jacqueline Anne Luck is the only ordained UU minister serving full time in Mississippi. The ministry is a shared one between Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church in Ellisville near Laurel and Hattiesburg, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson. She originates from Arkansas, but spent more years in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she worked as an art instructor, and was a member of All Souls UU of Shreveport. Also, pertaining to the Gulf Coast, one of her four sons lives in Baton Rouge, and she lived in New Orleans early in her adult life. She has been attending collegial meetings with the South LA UU Ministers (SLUUMS) for a year. Jacqueline was ordained by the First Unitarian Church in Memphis in 2004, after she completed a chaplaincy residency at the Veteran's Medical Center in Memphis. Previous to that year, she served as intern at "the Church of the River" in Memphis with Burton Carley as her supervisor. She is a 2003 graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry.
The Reverend Meg A. Riley directs the UUA's Advocacy and Witness Programs, which involves management of all of the UUA programs whose primary mission is to take our good news out to the larger world. Previously, she has directed the UUA's Washington Office, Office of Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Concerns, and Youth Offices, as well as serving in various capacities in three UU congregations. Riley's work over the past 15 years has primarily been interfaith coalition building on a variety of issues. She currently represents the UUA on the national boards of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Interfaith Worker Justice, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the Faith and Public Life Resource Center. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her partner and their daughter.
Joe Sullivan is the President of the Southwest District of the UUA, and is currently serving as consultant project manager to the Gulf Coast Relief Fund. In his capacity as project manager Joe will focus on coordination and communications among the Fund's advisory boards and with the wider UU community, provide administrative oversight, coordinate evaluation of the Fund's processes and effectiveness for lessons learned, and will chair the UU Volunteer Program Advisory Board in support of the charge of the Funding Panel. In addition to its Board of Directors, Joe has served the Southwest District as a congregational consultant and on the staff of its Leadership Experience. Joe is a charter member of the Henry David Thoreau UU Congregation. A geologist by training, Joe worked for 23 years in oil and gas exploration, project management and business development both in the N. America and overseas. Joe lives outside Houston, Texas with his wife and three children.
Martha Thompson has lived and worked in Latin America for 19 years, beginning as a journalist in Argentina . She spent 13 years living and working in conflict situations in Central America at the local, national and regional levels with a focus on refugees and repatriation, disaster relief, humanitarian work in conflict, and protection of civilians in war zones. After leaving Central America in 1995, she spent four years in Cuba , setting up and implementing the Oxfam International Cuba program and working in the Eastern Caribbean . In both Central America and the Caribbean, Martha has worked on disaster preparedness and response, on earthquakes in Central America and hurricanes in the Caribbean . Since returning to North America in 1999, Martha continues to do consultancy work on conflicts, emergencies in conflict situations, gender in conflict situations, development programming and research on community disaster preparedness. She is currently based in Boston and teaches in the Sustainable International Development Masters of Arts program in the Heller School at Brandeis University and in the Masters program in the School of Nutrition at Tufts University through the International Feinstein Famine Center . She has published on gender, work in conflict situations, disaster preparedness, and aspects of the Cuban development model. She received a B.A. from University of Toronto and an M.P.H. from the University of Hawaii.