Annual Meeting January 23Meet the Candidates!
Meet the 2022 Board Candidates
The Nominating Team is pleased to announce the candidates for the three open positions for the Unity Center of Cedar Rapids Board of Trustees. These qualified candidates will be placed into nomination at the UCR Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 23rd.
Trustee & Nominee
Greg is currently finishing his first three-year term on the Board of Trustees. He is the Board Liaison for Building and Grounds.
A friend introduced me to Unity in the fall of 1997 saying it was a ‘church of like-minded people’. And he was right, I joined Unity CR in the summer of 2001. As a handyman, I volunteer to do interior maintenance work on Unity building. Along the way I became a board member in 2019.
I am retired from lifelong working in the electronics field. I started at Kirkwood College and then spent 4 years in the Air Force. I spent 17 years as Engineering Technician for a small company. I end up with 22 years at Rockwell Collins as a Failure Analysis Technician.
I would like to see Unity CR grow and prosper by opening up the building for various activities, serving food for the homeless, rent out the community room for music, or bingo. (When it is safe to do so.)
I have been a member of Unity CR for 2 years. I’ve served as a worship assistant, choir member, and more recently as a Sunday School teacher. I attended Unity remotely for several weeks/months before I walked through the door for the first time, but since then I was hooked. Thank you for what you’ve built and support here, it is truly an amazing community and I’m thankful to be part of it.
I have an educational background in community psychology with health services research and have worked for the Iowa City VA Health Care System for over 20 years. Currently I serve as the Cross-Center Director of Operations for two large research centers – the Health Services Research and Development Center of Innovation and the Veteran’s Rural Health Resource Center. My position allows me to work with a multidisciplinary group of researchers, administrators, and research staff. I have received some formal leadership training though my work and I have worked in a leadership capacity for many years.
My intentions for UCR board service are to serve as a thoughtful, compassionate, and strong leader and to work collaboratively with fellow board members to make the administrative and business decisions that will facilitate the continued success and growth of UCR and support its mission and purpose.
Michelle Guthart Cole
I am an Iowa native spending the first 25 years of my life in Waterloo and Cedar Falls. After receiving my Bachelors degree in English and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Northern Iowa in 1992, my family and I moved to Cedar Rapids. I returned to my alma mater to get my Masters degree in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development in 2015. I have dedicated my career to serving the nonprofit sector. I’m passionate about helping people in need by addressing social determinants of health.
I spent the first 25 years of my life “blindly” going along with the religion that I was exposed to as a child. As I got older, I started asking more questions, but not finding the answers to satisfy my increasing curiosity. Shortly after my children were born, I broke my extended family’s tradition by leaving my childhood church. I spent many years reading and searching for spiritual meaning in my life.
I am extremely grateful that in 2018, my dear friend, Carol Turner introduced me to Unity Center of Cedar Rapids. I was overjoyed by the welcoming kindness that everyone showed me. The accepting nature that everyone provided in accepting me as I am and their encouragement in helping me continue to grow in my faith has been a tremendous comfort. I will never forget the “shock” and overwhelming relief that I felt when I attended the new member classes led by the Licensed Unity Leaders. Specifically, that I wasn’t born of “original sin,” but instead, we all are born as an “original blessing.” This concept was completely different from the “fear-based religious doctrines” that I had grown up with. Right then, I knew I had finally found my spiritual home.
In my free time, I love to volunteer, read, and spend time in nature. I also like to travel, especially attending art festivals.
Notice of the 2022 Annual Meeting
Mark your calendars to attend the UnityCR Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 23 at 11 am, immediately following the service. YOUR attendance is important as our bylaws require attendance by 25% of our membership to conduct the official business of UCR. The availability for participation via Zoom is also being considered. Please look for more information about this in the next few days.
We strongly encourage you to attend —to celebrate our strength and resilience as a spiritual community —to rejoice as we gather in a jubilant homecoming of family and friends—and, to give thanks for all that Spirit continues to accomplish in and through UCR. This meeting is for EVERYONE in the UCR family; however, only active members may vote at the meeting.
- Presentation of the 2022 prosperity plan (budget)
- Election of three nominees to the Board of Trustees (see bios below)
- Comments from the minister
- Celebration of the accomplishments of UCR over the previous year as we affirm the important role of our members and friends in the co-creation of our future.
- Approval of proposed bylaws amendments that clarify the process for the election of Trustees in the event of a vacancy.
Proposed ByLaw Amendments and Ministry Team Reports
- Exploring Unity
- Sacred Grounds
- Spiritual Care
- Welcome Team
- Youth and Family
Audio – Sound Team
Tom Zimmerman, Team Leader
The Unity Audio – Sound Ministry Team provided quality sound support for the Unity congregation, to create an environment where performers and speakers could convey a message of spirit with confidence and comfort.
2020 was unique due to the use of Parking Lot Services. Our music and service presentation were located in the covered entryway.
The Unity Audio – Sound Ministry Team treats the performers and speakers as family, to help put them at ease, and provides them with a professional sound system to support their music.
The Unity Audio – Sound Ministry Team currently consists of 3 people; Kevin Krumvieda, Carl Swanson and me. Greg McGaffic and Lisa Klostermann also assist occasionally, if needed.
The Audio-Sound Ministry Team is in need of 1 to 2 individuals.
The normal Sunday Service rotation is being met with 3 regular Soundboard Operators. To provide a less demanding schedule, and allow time for training, we need another person (or 2).
Unity CR purchased a new Wireless Microphone system last March to ensure that speakers can be clearly heard by the congregation. Several microphones needed to be repurchased.
We now have a Microphone system which should serve us for many years.
Department of the Interior Team
Lynda Black-Smith, Leader and board liaison
The Department of Interior ministry has been working as needed this year to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere here at UCR.
We are charged with decorating and beautifying the interior of our building, including:
Long term décor for the basic areas of our center, decorating for events and holidays, and to create fresh changes as needed.
We work with Rev. Debra, Ruth and others who work in and use various areas of the Center to make the interiors comfortable, inviting, and uplifting for all congregants and visitors.
During this year of varied kinds of services and while not occupying the building for many months, we did a major revamping of the Sanctuary platform which created a pleasing atmosphere that is also more functional for our upgraded and well used recording and on-line services.
The last half of the year there were decorating days for season change, holidays, and events.
I would like to thank all who worked on this team at various times, as well as Rev. Debra, who has a wonderful design sense and Ruth for ideas and assistance.
Those that volunteered this year were:
Anne Lullie, Babs Haggin-Roy, Mary Thoms, Ann Kinney, Suzanne Barnes, Greg McGaffic, Arlene Brandt, Glady McMellor, Cindy Thompson and Jeanne Bjornsen, along with the Children of Youth Education.
Our two Don’s (Don Oliver and Don Williams) also volunteered in varied ways. We can thank Don Oliver for painting the north sanctuary wall and putting in new lights, Ray helping to hang the rods and curtains, and Don Williams, is always ready to jump in and help when we have urgent needs getting ready for events.
Thank you to others who jumped in to assist as well. This building belongs to all of us, and I appreciate the tender loving care that keeps it so welcoming.
A goal for this coming year is to more formally create a ministry this year, with a new leader or leaders, and organizational gatherings to decide what is next. I will continue to work with you and be your liaison on the board. If you want to participate, let me know.
Barb Buchanan – Team Lead
Mission Statement: to foster awareness of our spiritual oneness with the Earth and to promote active awareness of all creation
In June the team collected recyclables, paper towels/napkins and compost to combine in the containers in the kitchen. We held a team meeting in November and welcomed Ann Kinney and the Klosterman’s(Lisa, Ethan and Ali). Ethan and Ali brought to our attention the need for clear signage for recyclables, paper towels and composting. Lisa will do a picture board to help with this. No activities were planned, and we look to 2022 with expectation. UCR EarthCare is blessed by team members: Janet Bergman, Jim Greene, Anne Lullie, Otis McGowan and Ruthie Peterson. Our team would welcome your presence to further being ‘green’ at UCR! It takes a village to promote and sustain environmentally sound practices.
Elayne Fisher CommUniity Cupboard Team
Barb Buchanan- Team Lead
Team members Amanda Green, Claudia Hamlett, Jean Kirby, Anne Lullie and Cindy Thompson gratefully served 673 clients with 2,236 family members in 2021! We are humbled by the generous donation of a Unity member and from the Brimmer Foundation for 2021, and in 2022. The EFCC participated twice in the HyVee ‘Reusable Bag Program’. In September we supported Matthew 25 in their upcoming cookbook endeavor by inviting clients to submit recipes. A team meeting was held in December with discussion focusing around grocery offerings, ways to serve the community more fully, including the possibility of offering lunch to clients on Tuesday in the future (with much discussion to follow with leadership and also being aware of COVID numbers), offering fresh vegetables and other organic foods. We now have ‘sustainable caught’ tuna for our clients. We continue to track client numbers and family members served. From my friend Jill we will be offering fresh baked bread monthly to our clients! We serve our community with joy and love.
Exploring Unity Team Team Lead -Susan Liddell
Board – Liaison-Laura Meade,
Licensed Unity Leaders – Jan Griffith and Barb Buchanan
Exploring Unity is divided into three required sessions:
- Exploring Your Home which consists of a tour of UCR and a chance to experience what happens in each space-facilitated by Barb Buchanan, LUL and Board Members
- Exploring Unity Foundations-an overview of history, organization, 5 principles, 12 powers, prayer, metaphysics, prosperity
- Exploring You-for those who have committed to membership, a one-on-one meeting to get to know people better, answer questions, explore spiritual gifts, etc.
Susan Liddell, LUL, Team Lead – Laura Meade, Board Liaison – Jan Griffith LUL, previous Team Lead, and Rev. Debra met in October to
- Present the current Exploring Unity outline
- Consider and implement revisions to the class outline
- Use Five Principles for the framework of the class
- UCR Board presentation to the attendees on the governance role of the Board.
- Flip the old schedule. Class on Saturday morning. Board and tour on Sunday afternoon.
A class was planned for late October 2021. Three individuals were enrolled. Two folks dropped out for personal reasons and the class was postponed to late winter or early spring 2022.
Marketing & Media Team
Team Lead – Lisa Klostermann
Team Members -Edwin Lindeman, Greg McGaffic, Tom Bootsmiller, Kevin Hasselquist
2021 in Review
- We have a podcast! Do you listen? Look for the weekly lesson in your favorite podcast app
- Be sure to subscribe to the UCR YouTube channel! We livestream the Sunday service on YouTube and our website (no longer on Facebook). You can watch the service again any time on YouTube.
- Carl Swanson donated amazing new livestream equipment! (ATEM mini pro) This has made our stream much more stable! Thank you, Carl!!!
- Edwin has been away on Sundays – helping Unity Village improve their livestream & Zoom services. We hope to have him back with us soon.
Looking into 2022
- We are hoping to add another camera to the livestream mix
- Social media is a great way to share the word about Unity. Please invite your friends to UCR events and/or share posts!
The Audio equipment at the front of the sanctuary has a cabinet which was donated to give a more professional, uncluttered appearance.
We have satisfactory equipment to support most all musical groups that perform at Unity CR. No new equipment should be needed in 2022.
Outreach Ministry Team
Jane Tappmeyer-Team Leader
In July, The Outreach Ministry started to provide meals for The Willis Dady Homeless Shelter on a monthly basis. Congregation members meet after the morning service, every fourth Sunday of the month, in order to make a sandwich meal for the shelter.
At this time, there are not any regular members on this team. A February meeting will be planned, in order to recruit people who are interested in being involved with this ministry and to discuss future outreach activities
Sacred Grounds and Books Team
Team Lead Janith Griffith, Board Liaison Lynda Black-Smith
This team maintains our bookstore, lending library, CommUnity Creates artists group, and “coffee shop”.
- Co-chair-bookstore-Susan Liddell. Arranged books in the bookstore, lending library. Since the pandemic, books and pamphlets have been offered online with OA, Ruth, managing sales. Books have been ordered as needed for classes only to maintain the budget. If you are looking for a book or would like one ordered, please see Susan.
- Free Little Library was destroyed in the August Derecho storm. We discussed at an
in-person team meeting about the possibility of replacing this in 2022. There were questions about proper use of this as stacks of books would disappear with none “traded” or replaced. Let Jan G know if this was something you used and have missed.
- Co-chair-coffee shop-Pat Coon-maintains schedule for assigned coffee makers who serve refreshments before and after services and for special services such as funerals as requested. If interested in assisting with coffee and being present in the bookstore before and after services, contact Pat Coon
- Chair-CommUnity Creates-Jan Griffith-Once a month, Saturday open studio times are held to work on individual projects or those presented by Unity Arts Community from Unity Village.
- Members also offer presentations of their favorite media to share with others. Jan taught a class on Spirituality through Nature Journaling this fall. Spirituality through art classes and open studio Saturdays will continue in 2022.
- Plans for 2022 include making the sanctuary garden outside the chapel into a prayer garden to include outdoor art and kindness rocks. Preliminary clearing of weeds, etc. has begun. Watch for serious work on this project to begin in the spring.
Spiritual Care Team
Liaison-Rev Debra Carter-Williams
Members-Barbara Buchanan, Janith Griffith, Susan Liddell, Jill Meadows
Members have been responsible to take “on call” days to access the phone line at UCR for prayer requests and spiritual care needs. These were addressed with phone calls, visits as appropriate, and continued connection via texts and emails. Several holiday cards and “thinking of you” cards have been mailed this year to maintain connection with congregants. Holiday baskets were delivered to 8 congregants currently unable to attend services and social events.
New members for any of the prayer teams are always welcome and require Unity prayer training. If interested contact Rev Debra or any of the LULs.
Welcome Ministry Team
Team Lead – Frank Neidermayer
We are currently short of persons on the weekly Sunday welcome teams. The numbers have been low all year and we need to find some new team members. A seasonal problem exists currently with people away for the winter and health problems.
Current team members are Ray Smith, Kirsten Griffith ,Week 1 ; Jeanne Bjornson, Otis McGowen ,Tracey Supplee, Nancy Geiger, week 2; Frank N., Pat Coon, Kirsten Griffith, week 3; Paul Lundy, Cindy Thompson, Laura Meade, Diane Bobey, week4 ; Polly Gould, Babs Haggin- Roy, week 5. Some noted above are not always available on those weeks for various reasons.
Alternates: Anne Lullie, Allan Thoms.
Some are currently not available. Several other persons have decided to no longer participate. Therefore, we need to recruit new members to fill the weekly teams.
Youth and Family Ministry
Rev. Debra Carter Williams
In September 2021, we celebrated a renewed Youth and Family Ministry program. Arlene Brant, Suzanne Barnes, Lynda Black-Smith, Ruth Geary, Greg McGaffic, Don Oliver, and others cleaned, organized, decorated, renewed, and refreshed the nursery and the classrooms. While our attendance is inconsistent, we are holding the space for a growing program. We are blessed with a team of 10 YFM teachers and volunteers.
The fall program was centered on a UCR-wide theme (“Five Alive”) using the five foundational teachings of Unity. The children and adults raised their voices in joy each Sunday as we sang an original theme song written by Nina Swanson.
We are deeply grateful to Mary and Josh Haun who served UCR so well and faithfully during a time of transition. Their gifts made a lasting difference in the lives of our children. Mary and Josh, we love, bless, and appreciate you—and, we behold the Christ in you!
Licensed Unity Leader – Barb Buchanan
Unity Center of Cedar Rapids (UCR)
- Spiritual Leader serving as a member of the Leadership Circle
- Collaborative Team Lead for the Spiritual Care Team
- Serve as prayer partner on Prayer Tree, Prayer Room, and Prayer with Children
- Designated Unity Prayer Chaplain and Unity Healing Prayer Companion
- Served as Platform Assistant, UCR opening & closing position, along with Sunday service assistant
- EarthCare Team Lead: staffing, meetings, recruiting, and mentoring
- Elayne Fisher Community Cupboard Team Lead: staffing, meetings, recruiting, and mentoring
- Provide quarterly reports and end of year report to the Brimmer Foundation
- Prepared area for return of EFCC to ‘normal’ cupboard space!
- Meetings with LUL’s, with LUL’s and Rev. Debra, with LUL’s, Rev. Debra and Leadership Circle
- Mindful, direct communication with Rev. Debra
- Prepared readings for UCR special service in June (re-entering our home)
- Recorded meditations for Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Good Friday
- Prepared meditation for Easter sunrise service
- Signed cards for appreciation of sacred service of volunteers
- Helped with appreciation meal, and made turkey bacon wrapped water chestnuts!
- Prepared readings for Blue Christmas service
- Participated in Christmas Eve service
- Co-planned with LULs Comfy Christmas service
- Maintained congregant connection
- Attended book study led by Rev. Debra
- Emergency contact at area hospitals
- Registered as Funeral Officiant at local funeral homes
- LUL report for UCR Board, and annual UCR meeting
Great Lakes Unity Region (GLUR)
- Attended regional conference Sept. 20th-23rd
Unity Worldwide Ministries
- Completed CEU requirements for Licensed Unity Teacher: Diversity class, ‘LGBTQ+ Allyship for Faith Leaders’, Ethics class, ‘Self Remembering through the lens of Family Systems’, and additional class taken, ‘Effective Mentoring’
- UWM yearly LUT report
Community Events Attended
- Inter Faith Power & Light, webinar “Unbreathable No More’, film ‘Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air’ (January)
- ‘Treasuring Our Trees’, Prairiewoods Spirituality Center (January)
- Spirituality in the 21st Century, Prairiewoods Spirituality Center (April)
- Singing Bowl Prayer, Prairiewoods Spirituality Center
- Prairiewoods Grand Prairie Picnic and Field Day (July)
- Honoring Grief & Celebrating Life Retreat (Kathleen Rude) Prairiewoods Spirituality Center (September)
- Faith in Place-Green Team Summit 2021 (September)
- Hospite: ‘Complicated Grief’ presented by Cedar Memorial & Iowa Cremation (October)
Licensed Unity Leader-Janith Shoning-Griffith
Janith Griffith (2009) licensed by Unity Worldwide Ministries. Jan is also a certified instructor for Unity Healing Prayer Companions and an advanced Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry Practitioner.
- Supported the congregation spiritually as a member of the Spiritual Care Team, Prayer Room, and Prayer Tree, Platform Assistant, Sacred Grounds and Books, Exploring Unity (see separate annual ministry team reports)
- Emergency contact for area hospitals
- Registered Funeral Officiant at local funeral homes
- Ongoing open communication with Rev Debra via in-person, text, phone, email, monthly meetings
- LUL Meeting with Rev Debra to plan roles and responsibilities for the coming year
- Meetings as members of the Leadership Team to plan special Sunday services Planning and assisting with special services including volunteer recognition thank you cards: Advent, Blue Christmas, Christmas Eve Candle lighting, Lent, Easter Sunrise, Easter, summer parking lot services, Regathering, Thanks-4-Giving
- Planning and facilitating holiday services-Comfy Christmas
- Planning and analysis meeting (SWOT) with minister regarding future of UCR
- Providing taped meditations for Lent
- Assembled Blessing Booklet Bundles for sale assisted by CommUnity Creates Team. Wrote the enclosed self-guided retreat
- Maintaining congregant connection via texts, phone calls, emails, cards, after service zoom coffee hours
- Trip to Unity Village to deliver kindness rocks for prayer garden there made by CommUnity Creates Team. Networking with VP Outreach Mark Fuss.
- Provided decorations, treats, and help for Halloween drive through
- Attended parking lot services, provided masked-in person prayer room partners, platform assistant
- Provided holiday cards for Spiritual Care congregants and helped deliver holiday gift baskets
- Attended zoom classes-Overview of Abrahamic Faiths & History of New Thought and Unity
- Attended all Truth Topic Tuesdays and led Death and Transitioning
- Attended Sacred Conversations Immigrant Detention
- Attended Spirit Space book club-Mary Magdalene, Religion of One’s Own, Book of Longings
- Social Events-Zoom coffee hours, Trivia Night, Improv Night, and led Making Prayer Beads, Gingerbread House making
- Member of Unity Team for Especially For You breast cancer walk
- Classes-Taught Drawn to Nature a spirituality-based nature journaling class and Meditating with Zentangle-spirituality and art
- Provided food for EFCC plus holiday treat bags
- Helped deliver birthday congregational gifts to Families Helping Families
- Assisted with sandwich making Outreach for Willis Dady
- Provided gifts for holiday Outreach project for Willis Dady plus purchased materials for Uniteens to make personal hygiene kits for this project
- Developed curriculum and taught Uniteen group (4-5) students Nov. & Dec.
Great Lakes Unity Region/Unity Worldwide Ministries
- Attended 4 day in-person Great Lakes Unity Regional Conference-required CEUs received
- Attended zoom book discussions-Untamed with Unity of the North Shore and Practical Metaphysics with Unity Minneapolis
- Pray with Regional prayer partners weekly
- Attended zoom presentations to receive required CEUs for ethics and diversity/inclusivity
- Member of Nominations team-2021. Member of Nominations and Bylaws Team for 2022
- Attended UWM zoom business meeting and Great Lakes Regional meeting at annual conference
- Attended UWM zoom book launch for Still On Fire by Jan Phillips
- Attended weekend UWM zoom conference Liberating Your Divine Identity
- Attended UWM zoom weekend spirituality and art conference with Unity Arts Community, Unity Village
- Attended Women’s Christmas/Epiphany spirituality workshop-Franciscan Spirituality Center, LaCrosse, WI
- Maintain continued connection with congregants from Unity of Moline and Unity of Clinton with plans for more in person presentations post Covid.
- Provided supplies for local Derecho Relief Center
- Attended in-person local Hospite conference on grief, additional UWM CEUs obtained
- Attended zoom Spirituality in the 21st Century-Prairiewoods
- Attended zoom spirituality classes at Prairiewoods
- Attended zoom Soul Collage workshop through Franciscan Christine Center
Licensed Unity Leader – Susan Liddell
- Provided spiritual care for congregants
- Served as Worship Assistant and coordinated the schedule for the Worship Assistant team.
- Completed a Security walk through of UCR building with CRPD officer.
- Security team created.
- Sacred Safety Policy and Protocol Manual draft completed in partnership with Board.
- With Minister, created an opening and closing checklist of the building for Sunday services.
- Assembled opening and closing team.
- Healthy Relationships. (Discussion Facilitator).
- Death and Transitioning (Participant).
- Biblical interpretation (Participant).
- Prayer and Meditation. (Participant)
- Mary Magdalene Revealed
- Book of Longing
- Religion of One’s Own
- Exploring Unity Class planned for 10/21 but was postponed
- Attended GLUR Regional Conference.
- Facilitated Quarterly GLUR Regional LUT zoom calls 1/10/21, 3/14.
- Attended monthly GLUR Board meetings as the Regional LUT representative.
- Completed weekly prayer calls with GLUR prayer partners.
- Attended virtual Metaphysics class/ Unity of Minneapolis / Rev. Pat Williamson. March 2021.
- Attended Zoom book discussion-Untamed with Unity of the North Shore.
- Serve on GLUR Conference planning team.
- Attended Liberating Your Divine Identity weekend.
- Visited Unity village/met with Mark Fuss / Vice President of Outreach.
- Attended UWM business meeting at Unity Convention 6/16.
- Attended Regional meeting at Unity convention 6/17.
- Attended virtual Unity book launch / Still on Fire – Jan Phillips
- Completed Ethics class for CEU credit 12/1/21.
- Completed Inclusion and Diversity class for CEU credit 12/2/21.
Inter-Religious Council of Linn County
- Served as member of planning committee for the Annual Thanksgiving service.
- Served as member of the planning committee for the Annual meeting.
- Serve on the event planning committee and the Intra- Board Relationship Committee.
Franciscan Spirituality Center, LaCrosse WI
- Attended Together on Our Way: Becoming Trauma Informed Faith Communities. June 2021. Cedar Memorial
- Attended 2021 Hospice Conference.