A native of New York State, Victoria came to Minnesota in 1999, following a ten-year ministry at Northampton, Massachusetts and five years of work with the American Friends Service Committee as a community organizer and activist. Reverend Safford is a graduate of Vassar College and Yale Divinity School.
Luke began serving White Bear UU Church in 2012, after serving as Coordinator of Youth and Campus Ministries at Unity Church – Unitarian in St. Paul for three years, and as Intern Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. He is a native of southern Minnesota, and a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He and his wife Jenna, and their daughters Louisa and Clara, live in St. Paul’s eastside.
Amy Peterson Derrick comes to us from serving as Professional Lifespan Religious Educator for 10 years at the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Flint, Michigan.
Jill has been Director of Youth Programs since 2003. She holds an M.Div. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. She is author of health articles, a book entitled When Youth Lead: A Guide to Intergenerational Social Justice Ministry, and co-author of a book on HIV/AIDS. Jill has a background in fundraising and communications. She served as executive director for two Chicagoland coalitions – one focused on services for HIV-impacted families with children and the other on peace/justice organizing. She is proud of WBUUC’s vibrant programming for youth.
Thaxter Cunio, Director of Music & Director of the Adult Choir
Thaxter has served as Director of Music since 1996. He is a former soloist and assistant conductor at the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, NY, and is currently a voice faculty member at MacPhail Center for Music. Thaxter holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Music degree from the State University of New York, and a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music.
Carol has served as principal musician and assistant to the Music Director at WBUUC since 1998, accompanying the choir, collaborating with other musicians, and providing solo music for services. She studied music and voice at the University of Minnesota and has decades of performance and recording experience. Carol holds B.A.s in English Literature and Education from Hamline University.
Mary Duncan, Pianist
Mary has served as pianist since 2008. She lives in Marine on St. Croix where she teaches piano and decorates eggs. Since getting both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, she has played piano and organ and taught music at all levels from pre-school to college.
Russell Packard, Children’s Choir Director
Russell has been directing the Youth Choir since 2001. He currently teaches Music, Arabic and Spanish at Academic Arts High School in West Saint Paul, instructs for the Concordia Language Villages and provides private music lessons, and has twenty years of teaching experience at Friends School of Minnesota. He completed independent ethno-music research while performing and working throughout Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and parts of Asia. He established Crossing Borders: A World Music Ensemble to promote cross-cultural understandings through performance, artistic exchange, and to host international artists.
Anna Gehres, Operations Director
firstname.lastname@example.org / 651.426.2369 x107
Pronouns: she/her/hers/herself or they/them/theirs/themself
Anna joined the WBUUC front office staff as Operations Director in 2010. She is a licensed social worker and a nonprofit administrator. They bring a strengths-based perspective and many years of experience to their work in human resources, finances, IT, supervision, and facilities management. Anna is a member of and volunteer for the Twin Cities Women’s Choir and volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters. She lives with her partner and dog in Minneapolis.
Betsy Bance, Communications and Data Coordinator
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Betsy joined the WBUUC staff in 2013. She received her Master of Arts in English in 2011 and has contributed to several publications such as the University of St. Thomas’s Irish Studies journal—New Hibernia Review, and the Minnesota Literacy Council’s literary magazine, Journeys.
John Sisterman, Custodian
John has served as Custodian since 2000.