Renee Ruchotzke

Full name: Rev. Renee Zimelis Ruchotzke

Congregational Life Staff

Central East Region in Congregational Life


Telephone: (330) 554-0828

LeaderLab Co-Dean

Congregational Life


Telephone: (330) 554-0828

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 Portage County Parks District, Kent Environmental Council, Kelly's Working Well Farm, the Kent League of Women Voters, the Portage County NAACP, and the Allies for Racial Justice of Portage County.

She and her spouse Randy practice sustainable living with solar panels, two electric cars, 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). She is a former chair of the City of Kent's Sustainability Commission.

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 high 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 (US #4963071) for one of her designs.

From Renee Ruchotzke

Displaying 1 - 10 of 203

By using the policy-making process from Sociocracy, you can craft policies that are comprehensive, inclusive, and relational.

Video | By Renee Ruchotzke | June 7, 2024 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Bylaws & Policies

Board policies capture a thoughtful process of discernment that will help to guide future decision-making and actions.

Video | By Renee Ruchotzke | June 7, 2024 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Bylaws & Policies

Rev. Renee Ruchtozke and Rev. Lillian Drab-Braddick introduce some new programming available from the UU LeaderLab team on the UU Institute and LeaderLab.

By Renee Ruchotzke | May 13, 2024 | From Better Together
Tagged as: Leadership Development, Membership Growth & Outreach

Gift card — also known as "scrip" — fundraising is another opportunity for people to stay within their budgets while still helping the congregation's bottom line.

By Renee Ruchotzke | November 10, 2023 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Fundraising for Congregations

The UUA doesn’t dictate any particular governance model, but congregations have historically explored new models in "waves."

By Renee Ruchotzke | October 16, 2023 | From The Congregational Handbook
Tagged as: Governance for Congregations

When your congregation is developing or revisiting "guiding documents" for leaders that are endorsed by the congregation as a whole (e.g....

Leader Resource | By Renee Ruchotzke | September 11, 2023 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Mission/Vision/Planning

One of the most important keys to congregational health and vitality--along with a clear purpose--is a cohesive leadership team.

Leader Resource | By Renee Ruchotzke | June 7, 2023 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Mission/Vision/Planning, Communication, Governance for Congregations

Due to the timeliness of this issue, we are posting a special edition of Better Together. Dear Beloved Trans Families, There are evil forces in our country, and you have become their latest target. We, your cis-family siblings, are angry and scared and frustrated along with you. We support your...

By Renee Ruchotzke | March 30, 2023 | From Better Together
Tagged as: LGBTQ Issues, Social Justice

Replenishing their well of being is essential to a minister's ability to serve faithfully and authentically.

Leader Resource | By Renee Ruchotzke | March 21, 2023 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Support for Ministers

I think there are some lessons from growing plants that can also be applied to growing leaders. Having a congregational culture grounded in covenant and gratitude can help leaders thrive as they grow into new leadership positions.

By Renee Ruchotzke | March 12, 2023 | From Better Together
Tagged as: Adult Faith Development, Leadership Development

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