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 11 - 20 of 203

When I was growing up, my mother spent a lot of time talking to me about etiquette. My father was an immigrant, and my mother’s parents were working poor. My parents were chasing the American dream, and had bought a house in an affluent neighborhood....

By Renee Ruchotzke | January 9, 2023 | From Better Together
Tagged as: Anti-Racism

Toward more inclusive and engaged decision-making with Sociocracy. This 12/3/2022 webinar recording offers an overview of Sociocracy and some real-life examples of it being used in UU congregations. This webinar was co-sponsored by Sociocracy for All. Some Theological Grounding for Sociocracy...

Webinar | By Renee Ruchotzke | December 5, 2022 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Governance for Congregations

When your congregation has staff but no staff member is in a supervisory role, you will need to find a volunteer lay leader to fill that role.

By Jan Gartner, Renee Ruchotzke | November 2, 2022 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Staffing & Supervision

Being able to name harmful behaviors is the first step in being able to respond to them.

By Renee Ruchotzke | October 28, 2022 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Conflict Management in Congregations

What happens when you don’t agree?

Story | By Renee Ruchotzke | October 18, 2022 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: Choice, Community, Compromise, Conflict, Relationships, WorshipWeb, Worship

Our Unitarian Universalist history is also enriched by the sharing of perspectives that differ from the white male narrative.

By Renee Ruchotzke | October 17, 2022 | From Better Together
Tagged as: UU History, Anti-Racism

Learn how Sociocracy can use the wisdom of the circle to help our congregations thrive by decentering unhelpful power structures.

Webinar | By Renee Ruchotzke | September 23, 2022 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Governance for Congregations

Disability advocates remind us that multiplatform worship in real time, with the chance for some interaction, creates a meaningful experience for those participating online.

Book | By Sarah Movius Schurr, Renee Ruchotzke | September 21, 2022 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Building Community, Disability & Accessibility

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, they had to say goodbye to their developmental minister after 5 years. The search for a new minister ended in disappointmentLast summer, East Shore

By Renee Ruchotzke | August 8, 2022 | From Better Together
Tagged as: Ministerial Transitions, Governance for Congregations, Support and Caring in Congregations

Our covenants articulate our intention, but how do we live into the practice? Right Relations Teams are lay leaders entrusted to help the congregation practice faithful communication and creative conflict based on values of mutuality and consent.

Book | By Tandi Rogers, Renee Ruchotzke | July 27, 2022 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Conflict Management in Congregations, Covenant

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