Renee Ruchotzke

Full name: Rev. Renee Zimelis Ruchotzke

Congregational Life Staff

Central East Region in Congregational Life


Telephone: (330) 554-0828

LeaderLab Design Team

Congregational Life

Headshot of Rev. Renee Ruchotzke

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a UUA Congregational Life Consultant since 2010.

She spends half of her time expanding the UUA Congregational Life Team's LeaderLab, UU Leadership Institute, and other online UUA resources for leadership development, organizational development, governance (including Sociocracy), growth, conflict transformation, congregational dynamics and other aspects of congregational life.

The other half of her time is with the Central East Region. She serves about 30 congregations (Greater Cleveland, OH, Western NY, and the Southern Tier of NY) as UUA Primary Contact.

Renee lives in Kent, Ohio and is a local community organizer and activist. She serves on the boards of the Kent Environmental Council, Edible Kent, the Kent League of Women Voters, the Portage County NAACP, and the Allies for Racial Justice of Portage County. She also chairs the City of Kent's Sustainability Commission.

She and her spouse Randy practice sustainable living with solar panels, an electric car, a backyard permaculture food forest, and a front yard pollinator garden on their city lot. She has also served as president of Kent Natural Foods Coop (helping them transform their governance) and was the convener of the PAC "Build a Better Kent" (organized to repel an attempt to recall half of the city council by the anti-government group that became the local Tea Party).

Renee is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School and is in Full Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. Renee was the Consulting Minister for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Canton, Ohio for two years, where she actively participated in the district's small church growth project. She served her internship at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before that she served East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirtland, Ohio for two years as their interim Director of Religious Education. She co-authored the Tapestry of Faith curriculum, "A Chorus of Faiths." She was ordained in 2010 by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent, Ohio where she has been a member since 1996. There she served in a variety of leadership roles before being called to ministry. She is now their affiliated community minister and teaches middle school religious education.

She served as the chair of the Ohio Meadville District Commissioned Lay Leader Committee from 2011-2015 and co-chair of the Program Development Group for the Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly from 2012-2015. She was the 2007 recipient of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Seminarian Award for Excellence in Social Justice, and the 2010 recipient of the Commission on Social Witness sermon award. Before being called to ministry, she was a mechanical design engineer and project manager, and was awarded a patent for one of her designs.

From Renee Ruchotzke

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Assessing Shared Ministry
Congregations, like all organizational systems, need feedback loops.  Regular assessment of the ministry is essential to group self-awareness and growth.
Leadership Development Programs in Your Congregation
We offer affordable leadership development courses so you can spend your energy on relationships and connecting individuals to meaningful service.

A Chorus of Faiths | Tapestry of Faith

A Chorus of Faiths, High School Youth: Unitarian Universalists as Interfaith Leaders
From A Chorus of Faiths
Youth explore values of service to our community and religious pluralism through stories from our Sources and personal storytelling.

Better Together | Central East Region

Who Tells Your Story
From Better Together
Our Unitarian Universalist history is also enriched by the sharing of perspectives that differ from the white male narrative.
A Cloud of Ministers
From Better Together
Last summer, East Shore UU Church in Kirtland, Ohio had just been through a very difficult year. Along with the continued challenges with the pandemic
Chant for the Seasons
From Better Together
One of the reasons that I am a Unitarian Universalist is that I get the freedom to engage and reengage with deep questions of ultimacy, interconnection,
Jubilee: Where the Universe Changed
From Better Together
When people ask me, “What is a Jubilee training?” I try to describe an experience of a similar shift in thinking.
The Emperor's Berries
From Better Together
How might our expectations about year-round berries impact our expectations around our church’s programming?
Rethinking Terrariums
From Better Together
When I was a child, I was fascinated by terrariums.
There can be something alluring about creating miniature worlds.
The Magic of Cross-Congregation Conversations
From Better Together
Creativity is exponential. When people play off one another’s ideas and create new programs, they experience the joy of interconnection and purpose.

For more information contact .