2021 Nominations for UUC Board of Trustees and Leadership Development Committee Positions

The UUC Leadership Development Committee is pleased to announce nominations for election to key leadership positions at UUC. 

For the Board of Trustees: John Crusius and Patricia Graesser

For the Leadership Development Committee: Penny Hinke, Gary Shumway, and Jim Webb

We are so grateful for the commitment to service that these individuals make as they stand for election. It is a gift to our beloved community today and well into the future. Election for these positions will take place in connection with the online UUC Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 13, 2021UUC’s Bylaws allow for alternative nomination by petition by 10 members in good standing. Any such nomination would need to be sent to Dave Mentz, the Secretary of the Board no later than May 23, 2021.

Nominees for the Board of Trustees (Three-Year Term)

John Crusius
John Crusius head shot

I have been a UUC member since the early 2010s, since soon after we moved to Seattle. My wife, Deb, and I were drawn to the UU tradition, as are many, when we sought a spiritual community in which to raise our son. I appreciate the exploration and challenge the Coming of Age program offered our son. Having grown up in a different tradition (UCC), I like how we encourage our youth to define for themselves what they believe, and I acknowledge how special and unusual that is, among faith traditions. I am also fond of the lifelong spiritual exploration, the community of like-minded individuals, the focus on social justice, and the excellent music programs offered by UUC. I’ve also enjoyed my interactions with the Men’s Group and the Climate Action Team. I am an oceanographer employed by the US Geological Survey but based at UW School of Oceanography. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and playing acoustic guitar.

Patricia Graesser
Patricia Graesser head shot

UUC feels like home to me. I’ve been an active member of UUC since 2003, when our family found the church community we were seeking for our two boys. I currently volunteer as the first Sunday meal team co-lead for UUC’s Teen Feed crew. I served as a mentor in the Coming of Age Program, supported the Not for Ourselves Alone campaign with major gift solicitation and helped lead UUC’s Friends of El Porvenir group for several years. Professionally, I retired in 2020 as chief of public affairs for the Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, after 32 years of civil service. Over the years I’ve served as a board member of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, Army Corps’ Communication and Public Affairs Strategic Steering Committee and school PTA. These days I volunteer with the Ballard Food Bank. I see my strengths as public relations, writing, organization and visualization. I’m passionate about food security and the right of all people to clean water and healthy food. My hope for UUC is for increased diversity and inclusion, vocal and active opposition to injustice, productive dialogue with those who challenge us and stewardship of our church resources.

Nominees for the Leadership Development Committee (Two-Year Term)

Penny Hinke
Penny Hinke head shot

Penny’s connection with Unitarianism began in 1986, when she and her husband, Daniel Kirschen, were married by a Unitarian minister in Madison, Wisconsin. After moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, they joined the First Unitarian Society, where they were members for nine years. In 1994, they moved to Manchester, England, which effectively ended this chapter of Penny’s religious life.

Sixteen years later, they relocated to Seattle, and although finding a Unitarian church was initially a priority, this didn’t happen until 2019, when, on Easter Sunday, Penny and Daniel attended ­a religious service at UUC for the first time. They immediately knew they’d found their new spiritual home. Penny sang in the IGC choir and later served as a Coffee Hour Host until COVID interrupted both of these activities.

Professionally, Penny teaches courses in technical communication to electrical engineering students at the University of Washington. She has also taught creative writing classes at a senior center and an assisted-living retirement home in Seattle. Penny and Daniel have a son, Philippe, who lives in Los Angeles. Penny is trying to master the art of tango dancing.

Penny is excited about this opportunity to serve on the Leadership Development Committee, and looks forward to using her creativity, enthusiasm, and energy to deepen her commitment to UUC and its members.

Gary Shumway
Gary Shumway head shot

I was a project and program manager the last 16 years in my work-life, which is a perfect laboratory for figuring out how to manage things when you are not really in charge (which, by the way, many real managers say reflects their reality, too). Having previously completed an M.A. in Organizational Development, matching the theory with organizational reality was often a focus in my workday. Thinking about “leadership development” is a similar endeavor in a largely voluntary environment like UUC.

Over the last 4 years I have been deeply involved in a self-directed research project to understand various “human development” theories.  I have found a rich source of knowledge and wisdom in these theories that describe 6-8 stages of development that can span a lifetime. After attending one of the Coming of Age church services a few years back, I realized I too, at 69, was coming of age—I was just transitioning between stages further along the continuum. Learning the worldviews, skill levels, and common behaviors of the different states can inform our leadership approaches. What is understandable and appealing to people at different stages of life does not stay static. Surprisingly, the natural growth of our cognitive abilities, ethics, consciousness, and other “intelligences” also affects our spiritual growth. UUC has provided me the environment and like-minded friends to deeply explore spirituality as I continue to grow. I am excited about the opportunity to bring this personal growth perspective to the Leadership Development Committee.

My extra-curricular activities at UUC include the Care Team (3 years), Wellspring (1 year), and Covenant Groups (5 years).

Jim Webb
Jim Webb head shot

Jim Webb has been a UUC member since 2000 along with his wife, Cari McCarty, and two high school daughters, Iris and Isabelle. Jim has enjoyed being part of the UUC community and its passion for spiritual growth and social justice action. He has been a teacher in the Sunday school program, in addition to participating in various volunteer activities throughout the years. Jim is excited to participate in the Leadership Development Committee and apply some lessons learned from working as an Engineer and Program Manager in technology companies.