Ministerial Search Committee Members

The following are members of the Ministerial Search Committee.

Barbara Bates (she/her)

Barbara Bates (she/her)

I am a born-again UU who left her parents’ very secular UU congregation as a teen. In 1986, I returned to UUism, and FUUSN became the home where I could find community with interesting and caring people as well as develop my spirituality and leadership skills. I love that FUUSN supports personal growth in so many ways – spiritual, personal, communal – and that it encourages work towards social justice.

I have served FUUSN in many capacities including Trustee, Board chair, member of a past ministerial search committee, member of committees (e.g., Adult RE, delegate to UUA General Assembly, delegate to the UU Urban Ministry, Nominating Committee), RE teacher, mentor in COA, and Youth Group Advisor. I have served the denomination as president of the Mass Bay District, faculty at UU University, faculty at the New England Leadership School (a weeklong UU lay leadership school), and organizational effectiveness & leadership consultant to UU congregations.

I have retired from “work” many times: from high tech in 1999, from consulting to UU congregations in 2009, teaching negotiation & dispute resolution at Northeastern University in 2012, and being a teacher naturalist at Mass Audubon in 2022. I currently serve as a board member of Newton Conservators, a land trust working to preserve open space for people and nature. I enjoy deep conversations, singing in the JourneySongs hospice choir, SCUBA diving on Cape Ann, walking/exploring in nature, reading, cooking, and afternoon naps.

I am drawn to this ministerial search effort as a personally meaningful way to serve FUUSN and assure its long-term vitality for future generations of seekers.

Eric Haas (he/him)

Eric Haas (he/him)

I first started coming to FUUSN around 2008, after reading an article in the Newton Tab a few years earlier about the current minister who was a practicing Buddhist. By the time I got around to wandering in to a service, that person had moved on, an Interim was in the pulpit, and a Minister Search was just getting under way.

At first I was disappointed, but I found I liked the music and the messages from the Interim Minister. So I kept coming. After a time I volunteered to help with the annual Christmas tree sale. I became involved more deeply, especially after attending my first retreat at Sandy Island. I ended up managing the Tree sale, led volunteer trips to the Greater Boston Food Bank, and taught RE. I have had the privilege of serving on both FUUSN’s Operations Council and its Board of Trustees. Joining the choir and singing regularly in worship has been my greatest joy, and the one other FUUSN activity that I’ve not stepped away from to be part of this present undertaking.

I am honored to serve on the Ministerial Search Committee and am committed to listening to all of the varied voices in our congregation. When not volunteering for FUUSN, I work as a physician assistant and enjoy cycling, playing the banjo, and spending time with my son Will.

Julia Huston (she/her)

Julia Huston (she/her)

I joined FUUSN in 2013, when my daughter was in preschool. I have been an active member of the Nominating Committee, Annual Budget Drive Committee, Member Services Committee, Social Action Committee, FUUSN’s delegation to General Assembly, and the Care Crew. I have particularly enjoyed helping launch new projects at FUUSN, such as Alternative Coffee Hour and the UU Plant-Based Eating Club, and building relationships at our annual retreats to Sandy Island and Ferry Beach. I love FUUSN because it allows me to work on issues that are important to me, such as racial and environmental justice, through a spiritual lens in community with other strong-willed people. As a member of the Search Committee, I am committed to making sure that all of the voices in our community are heard and valued. When not working on FUUSN matters, I consult with non-profit organizations regarding governance issues, volunteer for a variety of social justice causes, and enjoy cooking, family time, and travel.
Melissa Kogut (she/her)

Melissa Kogut (she/her)

I came to FUUSN almost six years ago – initially to support my partner who is active in the music program.  I have fond memories of being part of a Unitarian Church as a child in southern California so it was a joy to find FUUSN! My involvement has included participation in a Chalice Circle, a White Fragility book group, and retreats at Ferry Beach and Sandy Island. In recent years, I have consciously stepped up my involvement – taking the Pledge Against Racism, serving as a mentor for Coming of Age, and serving on the Nominating Committee. What I value the most about FUUSN is the community of people I have found who think deeply about our relationship and responsibilities to one another and the greater community.  I am honored to serve on the Ministerial Search Committee and will work hard to engage and represent our congregation well. Outside of FUUSN, I serve as Vice President of Development at Riverside Community Care and enjoy cooking, hiking, and game nights with friends.

Eric Moore (he/him)

Eric Moore (he/him)

I joined FUUSN with my wife, Julia Wolfe, in the early 2010s because the Coming of Age (COA) program seemed like a great opportunity for our kids to learn about themselves and the world around them. I really enjoy working on Youth projects at FUUSN, and I have been a co-coordinator for the COA for the past 4 years. I’ve also volunteered with the Youth CoffeeHouse, and been a mentor for COA. I was happy to be selected for the Settled Minister Search committee because I want to help ensure that FUUSN continues to be the organization it needs to be to meet the needs of future FUUSN members. I work in the Biotech industry, and I enjoy playing music with my 80s rock band, and telling stories when I get a chance.

Erin O’Donnell (she/her)

Erin O’Donnell (she/her)

I am honored to serve on the FUUSN Settled Minister Search Committee.  My husband and I started attending FUUSN in 2010 as we were planning to start our family and sought a family-friendly community to provide a base of connection and spiritual practice.  I deepened my FUUSN experience by teaching various ages of religious education, volunteering with retreats, co-chairing the search committee for an Assistant Director of Religious Life Education, and serving for many years as a Lay Minister.  FUUSN holds a special place in our family where it widens our community, exposes each of us to different ideas and perspectives, and encourages service and involvement.  It’s been a joy watching my kids build friendships with children and adults within our FUUSN community.  I agreed to serve on this search committee to engage in the deep conversations needed to learn more about who FUUSN is now and who we hope to be AND how we see the Settled Minister’s role in serving those needs and aspirations.  When not at FUUSN, I’m a Clinical Psychologist, wife and mother of two boys. I enjoy camping, travel and gardening.

Cindy Orrell (she/her)

Cindy Orrell (she/her)

I first came to FUUSN in 2000. I was newly separated and looking for a community where I could rebuild my life with my young daughters. I stayed because I found a community that cares for one another and also pushes me to practice kindness, acceptance, and civic engagement. I so appreciate the opportunities–whether during worship services, small group meetings, or retreats at Sandy Island–to engage in deep conversations about topics that matter to me and to the larger world. I am serving on the Ministerial Search Committee because I recognize how important a minister can be in creating and sustaining this kind of community. Over the years, I have been an RE teacher, Coming of Age coordinator and mentor, Chalice Circle facilitator, lay minister, and most recently coordinator for the Artisan Crafts table of the Holiday Fair. I enjoy travel, any type of boating, cooking, movies, and hanging out with my wife, children, and granddaughter.