2018-19 MidAmerica Board of Trustees
Contact the MidAmerica Board president at board [at] midamericauua [dot] org
David Lauth, President
(Term 2018-2021) David Lauth has been a member of the MidAmerica Board of Trustees since 2015 and is currently serving as President. He is a member of two very different Unitarian Universalist congregations in Minnesota. He is a long-time member of First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, where he has served as President of the Board of Trustees and as a member of the Nominating Committee, Pastoral Care Committee, Personnel Committee, Music Committee, and Committee on Ministry. He is also a charter member of the fledgling UU Community of Red Wing, now in its second year of existence.
He was the District Coordinator for the 2010 UUA General Assembly in Minneapolis. In that role, he worked with the General Assembly Planning Committee, and he recruited and led a team of 200 local volunteers. Prior to the formation of the MidAmerica Region, he served as a volunteer conflict consultant for the Prairie Star District, working with a number of congregations that were experiencing difficult conflicts. He is also a singer/songwriter, and he performs regularly at the services of UU congregations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. He is a labor and employment lawyer and mediator, and he has an active volunteer mediation practice. David is passionate about building a strong future for Unitarian Universalism and our work in the world, and he is excited about this opportunity to serve the MidAmerica Region.
Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh, Vice President
(Term 2018-2021) Mitra Jafarzadeh serves St John's in Cincinnati (Clifton). She has been on the Mid-America board this past year. Mitra believes our churches must be rooted in their communities and has fostered congregational involvement in interfaith activities with neighbors. She has helped coordinate tours of Clifton houses of worship.
She works with community activists and the mayor's office on issues of immigration and has worked with police on domestic violence. Currently, she is creating a weekend of music and spirituality drawing artists and participants nationally. In addition to serving previous congregations, Mitra has also been professor of religion and project leader.
Tammy Lemmer, Secretary
(Partial term 2018-2019) Tammy Lemmer has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing (Michigan) since 2002. After working for over 12 years in domestic and sexual violence prevention, she now works for the Tri-County Office on Aging, while also doing contract work with the Michigan Department of Education with an emphasis on safe and supportive school environments for LBGT youth. She is very active in community activities and serves on her local school board.
Tammy’s congregational involvement includes volunteering with Children's RE, (including facilitating Coming of Age and Our Whole Lives for Middle Schoolers), Social Action initiatives, and Stewardship and Capital Campaign Committees. Her other leadership roles at UUCGL include serving on the Congregation’s Board of Trustees for five years (with terms as VP for Programs and Secretary,) Nominating Committee, and Program and Policy Transitions committee (for reviewing and updating the congregation's Constitution and Bylaws). She is currently Chair of Denominational Affairs. Within the Region, she is an experienced delegate, and has served as a member and chair of both the Heartland District and the Regional Nominating Committees. She has served for one year on the MidAmerica Regional Board as a Trustee At Large.
Brian Bach, Treasurer
(2016-2019) Brian Bach holds the position of Past President for the Black Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BHUUF) in Rapid City, South Dakota. Before joining the Unitarian Universalists Brian struggled to find a spiritual home that nurtured his sense of intellectual honesty and activism. He has long been committed to economic justice, reproductive rights, and anti-racism in the Black Hills and surrounding areas.
His spirituality centers around Tibetan Buddhism and the theme of compassion as a focal point. Brian is married to Mahala and is the proud father of three adult sons. He manages a small family-owned investment business started by his grandparents in 1964. Brian enjoys cooking and gardening. He hikes and camps in the Black Hills while accompanied by his vigilant Golden Retriever, Lucy. He is an ardent fan of the English Football Leagues.
Janell Hill, At-Large
(Term 2018-2021) Janell Hill is a member of First Universalist Church of Minneapolis.
Janell has served as a Religious Educator for the church and is currently teaching OWL. She is also sitting a on a newly formed committee to address social justice issues with POC youth with the congregation.
Janell also serves as Secretary to Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM).
Kyrie Bock, At-Large
(Partial term 2018-2020) Kyrie Bock is a 3rd generation UU, originally from Florida and the First Unitarian Church of Orlando. She has been in Chicago now for 6 + years and recently completed what brought her here, an MBA in Marketing and Management from Loyola University Chicago and a Professional Certificate for Leadership in Sustainability Management from The University of Chicago. While her background is in Marketing and Financial Services, it was here in Chicago where she uncovered her passion and commitment to Sustainability, Non-Profit, Higher-Ed, and all its offerings.
Kyrie is an active member of the community both locally and regionally - she currently serves as a Trustee on the Board for the Mid America Region for UUA, is a Chair for the Membership Committee at Unity Temple Unitarian Church, where she is a 4 year+ member, and serves as Vice President for Net Impact Chicago. Her love and passion for the environment drives her professional desires to continue to make her local community in Chicago a great place to live, work and play “green”, and she looks forward to making that same positive impact here at 1st Unitarian Church of Chicago and on a global scale.
Omega Burckhardt, At-Large
(Partial term 2018-2020) Omega S. Burckhardt is a member of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees. She has held multiple positions in her congregation, including the Chalice Circle Steering Committee and the Social Justice Committee.
She was a participant in 2015 at the Midwest Leadership School for the UUA after attending a Harvest the Power seminar at FUSM. Subsequently, she has held various lay staff positions at MWLS, and will finish her three-year commitment in 2018 as Chair of the school.
Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, At-Large
(2016-2019) Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan worked first as a community organizer in Dallas TX, and then for 11 years as an administrator and faculty member at El Centro College. In addition, Sarah taught in the Dallas County Jail Program. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in interdisciplinary social science and an MPA from University of North Texas. In 2008, Sarah moved with her husband, John, and older daughter Allyn to Denver in pursuit of a Masters of Divinity at the Iliff School of Theology to become a UU minister. John currently works as a Coordinator for a new Restorative Practices program at a middle school in Topeka. They welcomed Aine to the family in June 2009.
For two years, Sarah worked at Community College of Denver as the First Year Experience Coordinator. She left in August 2010 to pursue her MDiv full-time. Since then, she has assisted with the UUA pilot project called “Leap of Faith” and served as an intern chaplain at St. Anthony North Hospital. A Unitarian Universalist since 1993, Sarah has been a member at Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, First Unitarian in Dallas, and First Unitarian Society of Denver, serving in many roles, including: on boards; committees; as a guest speaker; and in religious education. In 2006 she traveled with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to Guatemala to learn about fair trade coffee and the work of Equal Exchange. She enjoyed serving as a ministerial intern for 2012-13 year at Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and working as a student consulting minister with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laramie part time from June 2013 to July 2014. She is currently serving the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, KS.
Christopher Sims, At-large
(2017-2020) Christopher D. Sims has been a Unitarian Universalist for 17 years. Born and raised in Rockford, IL, he serves his community as a community minister, spoken word performer, and as a leader in race-related issues, activism, and organizing. Nationally, Christopher has served on the DRUUMM Youth And Young Adult Steering Committee and the DRUUMM Steering Committee.
He was an early leader in Soulful Sundown worship services in our faith movement.
Currently, Christopher travels the country as a Black Lives Matter activist speaking at Unitarian Universalist places of worship and working with various social justice groups to help us combat racism, hate, and bigotry. He is the new Administrator for Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community.
Ian Evison, ex-officio
Ian, who serves as MidAmerica Region Congregational Life Consultant Lead, is a UU minister who has served in a variety of ministries, including parish ministry, theological education, a research project at the University of Chicago in Family and Religion, and service at the Alban Institute as Director of Research.
Current passions include future trends in American religious life, new frontiers of organizational development. He also has a geeky interest in change strategies and denominational structures. To keep sane he cooks, gardens, frequents farmers’ markets, and makes large quantities of compost. Ian and his wife, Leah, split their time between Chicago and St. Paul.