Nominating Committee

Please contact co-chairs, Helen Dwyer and Mel Priese, for more information. nomcom@midamericauua.org.

Co-Chair Helen Dwyer, All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis, IN
Co-Chair Mel Priese, Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, MO

MidAmerica Region Nominating Committee 2021-22

Helen Dwyer

Helen Dwyer

(2019-2023) Helen Dwyer is originally from Grand Island, NY. After graduation from Franklin College, Franklin, Indiana, she became a member of All Souls Unitarian Church Indianapolis and has remained there over 42 years. Ms. Dwyer served on committees including Fine Arts, Marketing, Religious Education, Adult Education, Marketing, and Communications. Ms. Dwyer served 8 years as secretary on the Church Council.

Ms. Dwyer has served on the Region’s Nominating Committee since 2019. She has also been a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) working with Child Advocates since May, 2010.

Mel Priese

Mel Priese

(2020-2022) Mel Priese is a third generation Unitarian Universalist member of Eliot Chapel in Kirkwood, MO where she hopes to continue the legacy of involvement and leadership that her grandmother and mother began with Eliot’s founding. As a youth, Mel participated in RE, OWL and the Senior High group, often helping plan and lead activities. She also helped plan and host youth conferences as a member of the Southern Area Youth Council, and has attended various UU enrichment programs throughout her youth and young adult career such as the Youth Midwest Leadership School, Youth Summer Seminary, and the Meaning Makers spiritual retreat. Currently she works with Eliot's Young Adult Group to build a strong and inclusive community.

After graduating in May 2019 from the University of Missouri - St. Louis with a Bachelors of Liberal Studies in Art and Music, Mel completed a social justice internship through the UUCSJ, working with the Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. in New York State.

Maureen O'Keefe

Maureen O’Keefe

(2021-2023) Maureen has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal (UUBN) since 2006. She’s served on several committees and task forces, as a Director on its Board of Directors, and from 2017-2019 as Board President. She currently chairs the Shared Leadership Council that supports current and future lay leaders within the parish. She’s been active in the church’s social justice work and currently serves as a member of UUBN’s Safety Team. She’s completed the virtual session of the Midwest Leadership School and recently concluded her participation in an 11-week study group that included several Central Illinois UU congregations working with the Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change as a platform to better understand how the work to counter oppressive practices in our systems should be addressed at the congregational and community levels.

Maureen has been active in the McLean County League of Women Voters for many years, serving in various capacities on its Board of Directors including two terms as its Board President. She’s an enthusiastic contributor to a wide array of voter education and policy advocacy efforts at the local and state levels. She recently retired from State Farm Insurance Companies where she served in staff and managerial roles involving employee and leadership development and coaching. She and her husband Bob Grosse remain committed to actively supporting their church community at UUBN.

Scott Emison Clair

Scott Emison Clair

(2020-2022) Scott Emison Clair has been a member of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines for the last 16 years. During that time he has served on the Religious Services Committee, on the Council of Congregational Ministries, facilitated multiple adult and youth RE Classes including OWL, Small Group Ministries, Soul Matters, Wellsprings, and Coming of Age, and is currently on the Board of Trustees.

Scott has also been active in a variety of health related nonprofit work including founding a statewide HIV and Hepatitis Advocacy Group and serving on the board of a local Federally Qualified Health Center (Primary Health Care). He is married to Lori and they have two kids. Scott’s “day job” is working as a data scientist determining the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

John Lunsford

John Lunsford

(2020-2022) John Lunsford lives in Terre Haute, IN and along with his husband David is a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Terre Haute. John currently serves as chair of the Building and Grounds Committee as well as Board Member and Past Board Chair. On Sundays and most church functions he runs the Audio/visual system at the church. Technically retired since 2014, he enjoys boating on any river and the seemingly endless maintenance projects any church seems to need. David is active in the church and works at a local area hospital, they share their home with a small furry tornado named Molly.