Members of the Fuller Bicentennial Committee
The Reverend Jenny M. Rankin (chair) is a life-long Unitarian Universalist (UU) and native of Boston. She graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Divinity School. Jenny was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1988 and served congregations in Hopedale, Hingham and Cohasset, Massachusetts as an interim minister. Since 1997 she has been a minister at the First Parish in Concord, MA For the past 5 years, she has taught classes on Transcendentalism including in-depth seminars on Emerson, Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. In March 2009, she will be leading a group from First Parish to Italy to trace the footsteps of the Transcendentalists in Rome and Florence.
In addition to her in-depth study of Margaret Fuller, Jenny brings to this work experience in organizing and implementing complex projects, knowledge of worship and RE materials, knowledge of Transcendentalist scholarship, 20 years experience as a parish leader.
She is particularly interested in how we can pass on and draw inspiration from the “spiritual fire” that is handed on to us by Unitarians and Universalists who came before us.
The Reverend Dr. Barry M. Andrews
A graduate of Gonzaga University and Meadville Theological School. Earned a Doctor of Ministry from Meadville in 1976 and awarded a Doctor of Divinity by Meadville in 2004. A Merrill Fellow at Harvard Divinity School in 2005. Currently serves as Minister of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, NY. Previously served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Spokane, San Diego and New York City. Past President of the Liberal Religious Educators' Association. Chaired the UU Panel on Theological Education, the Emerson Bicentennial Committee, and the Curriculum Development Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Author of In Our Hands curriculum, published by the UUA, Emerson as Spiritual Guide, Thoreau as Spiritual Guide, A Dream Too Wild and True Harvest.
Barry brings to this committee his relevant and valuable experience as chair of the Emerson Bicentennial Committee in 2003, in-depth knowledge of Margaret Fuller, and of Transcendentalism, as well as many contacts in the wider UU world. He also brings his experience as an author of anthologies on Transcendentalism which are a valuable resource to UUs today.
Stuart Twite, Director of Religious Education, First Parish in Norwell.
Stuart has been the DRE at First Parish, Norwell for 5 1/2 years. Before that he taught history in public and private schools. He has studied the American Unitarian, and Transcendentalist movements for 25 years. Stuart writes a blog called Boston Unitarian, focused on American Unitarian History, and have contributed biographies to the online Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography.
Stuart brings valuable experience as a teacher and religious educator to the committee and will be particularly focused on the development of materials for children.
The Reverend Mark Harris is the minister of the First Parish of Watertown, MA, Unitarian Universalist, and Adjunct Professor at Andover Newton Theological School and Starr King School for the Ministry. He is the author of the UUA pamphlet, “Unitarian Universalist Origins,” and the Historical Dictionary of Unitarian Universalism.
Mark brings his experience of teaching Unitarian Universalist history at Andover Newton and Starr King as well as his connection to the UU Historical Society.
Elizabeth Norton has served First Parish in Concord, Massachusetts as Music Director since 1994. Before that she was Children’s Choir Director at First Parish in Weston, Massachusetts. An active member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN), she has served on the UUMN board of directors for two terms, most recently as President. She was co-chair of the first UU Children’s Honor Choir at GA 2000 in Nashville and has led numerous workshops and choirs at General Assemblies since then, serving as GA Choir Director, Director of the Singers of the Living Tradition and Lead Musician for the Sunday Morning Worship and for services for the Church of the Larger Fellowship. She conducted the world premier of “May Day” by William Bolcom, an anthem commissioned by the Emerson Bicentennial Committee in 2003.
Lilian Anderson. Lay member of First Parish in Concord for 30 years, Lilian has attended been a faithful General Assembly participant as well as a past member of the General Assembly (GA) Planning Committee. She has held every conceivable office and position in lay leadership at First Parish in Concord and most recently organized a trip to Italy tracing the footsteps of Transcendentalists, including Margaret Fuller.
David M. Robinson is Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Director of the Center for the Humanities at Oregon State University. He has published widely on New England Transcendentalism and American Unitarian history, and is the author of Apostle of Culture: Emerson as Preacher and Lecturer (U Pennsylvania Press, 1982); The Unitarians and the Universalists (Greenwood Press 1985); Emerson and the Conduct of Life (Cambridge U Press, 1993); Natural Life: Thoreau's Worldly Transcendentalism (Cornell U Press, 2004); and editor of The Spiritual Emerson (Beacon, 2003) and The Political Emerson (Beacon 2004).
Phyllis Cole holds a doctorate from Harvard University and is Professor of English, Women's Studies, and American Studies at Penn State Brandywine. She is the author of numerous articles on the gender dynamics of Transcendentalism, and her book _Mary Moody Emerson Emerson and the Origins of Transcendentalism: Family History_ (Oxford UP, 1998) won second place in the MLA's 1999 James Russell Lowell Prize competition. Among the resources for this book was a year as Research Associate in Women's Studies and Religion at Harvard Divinity School, during which time she forged long-lasting if informal ties to UUA members. Her current work on the influence of Margaret Fuller includes a contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism, co-editorship of a special journal issue on Women and Transcendentalism, and a book in progress.
Helen R. Deese, professor emerita of English at Tennessee Tech University and Caroline Healey Dall Editor for the Massachusetts Historical Society, has published numerous articles on the Transcendentalists. She is the editor of Jones Very: The Complete Poems, of Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth Century Woman, Caroline Healey Dall (Beacon Press), and of Selected Journals of Caroline Healey Dall, Volume 1 1838-1855. She is editing additional volumes of the journals of Dall, a protege of Margaret Fuller, for the Massachusetts Historical Society.