PRAIRIE STAR DISTRICT ARCHIVES

Because Prairie Star District has become part of MidAmerica Region, this page has been archived as of July 15, 2013, for reference purposes. It will not be updated in the future, and some links may no longer work properly.  For more up-to-date information, please visit the Mid America UUA site.  Thank you!

2005 Awards

Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award

to honor those Unitarian Universalists whose actions inspire, support and express Unitarian Universalism

Dr. Joanne Burns Roudebush
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Topeka, KS

Joanne Burns Roudebush began by teaching religious education. Before long she went on to serve and chair nearly every committee. As President in 2003-2004, she helped settle their first full time minister, add an administrative assistant, and remodel the church for more classroom and office space. She has been involved in social justice activities in her community as well as PSD. She has participated at GA and PSD Annual Conferences, has planned social justice topics, participated in RE conferences, Camp Unistar, and is a Friend of UUA and PSD. In her community, she has organized 4-H programs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and has served in three district schools in multiple ways. She does all this in addition to being a busy veterinary radiologist and owning her own business. She is truly a hard-working, dedicated leader by example.

Keeping the Faith Awards

to honor those who have worked to keep Unitarian Universalism alive in their community and who touch the lives of congregation and community members in a positive way

Dr. Darrell D. Coffey
Unitarian Society, Menomonie, WI

As an original charter member, Dr. Darrell D. Coffey has assisted this society through its early growth. For over 21 years he has served on almost every committee and has been a jack of all trades when needed. He has represented our society at the Menomonie Ministerial Association. He established the Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation in Omaha and worked with the Vocational Rehabilitation program at UW-Stout. He has also been involved in the “Oaks” Senior Living Center and the Respite Care for Caregivers Program. His community involvement has greatly increased the visibility of the Unitarian Society of Menomonie. His insightful comments during the “Joys and Concerns” and audience dialogue portions of our programs are greatly appreciated. He has been an inspiration to all.

George Fairman
Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bloomington, MN

George has been instrumental in making the beautiful Minnesota Valley UU (MVUU) church building in Bloomington blossom and grow. He has been at the task since joining the congregation in 1991: on the building committee; as the general contractor; as operations chair; and, as an ongoing jack of all trades. George currently does maintenance for the building, is chair of the nomination committee, coordinates meals for the Men’s Club, serves on the music committee, and will bring a hybrid car to a Sunday service to exemplify goals of MVUU’s Global Warming Task Force. George and his wife, Phyllis, are very active in politics and social justice issues such as running a hugely successful voter registration drive in 2004. George doesn’t let his physical age get in the way of his inspirational, untiring, young spirit.

Neen Lillquist
Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bemidji, MN

Neen is a founding member of the Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (HUUF) of Bemidji, Minnesota. She has served the lay-led congregation in many capacities including as Board President, newsletter editor, long term strategic planning catalyst, service coordinator, and Chalice Lighter. As a retired public health nurse, she helped to organize several nursing schools in Pakistan and Nepal, and helped to improve health care and nursing education through a project based in Tomsk, Siberia. She has been described as: the glue which holds together the small HUUF congregation, the heart and soul of HUUF, and as an all around great gal. She holds the necessary state credentials and performs weddings, funerals, memorial services, namings, and house blessings. A visionary who encourages connection with the greater UUA and PSD, she reminds HUUF to be mindful of the children.

Cindy Palmer
Fargo Moorhead Unitarian Universalist Church, Fargo, ND

From 1998 until 2001, Cindy held the post of office manager at Fargo Moorhead Unitarian Universalist Church (FMUU). As Stewardship Chair from 2001 to 2004, she oversaw the growth of FMUU from 60 to over 90 members. She helped FMUU overcome the UU taboo against discussing money working to raise funds to complete a 2,000 square foot addition to their building. She promoted the notion of FMUU as “the Third Place,” in the lives of the members -- the third place being a community anchor like home, school, or work. Despite Cindy’s suffering (and death in October of 2004) from metastatic breast cancer, she remained active in FMUU and the Fargo Moorhead community in various educational, spiritual and social causes. Cindy’s core being spoke to each to make an intentional life. She drew the FMUU congregation together, and will be well remembered.

Social Justice Award

to pay tribute to those individuals who witness to the ideals of social justice and responsibility so important to our Unitarian Universalist heritage

Youth Award

Claire Rowden
Graham Rowden
Unitarian Universalist Society, Iowa City, IA

Claire Rowden and Graham Rowden have helped with holiday gifts for needy kids, the Free Lunch program, and with supplies for school kids in Afghanistan. But they have truly put their UU principles to work in their participation in MOE., which stands for Money Offering Effort, a social action group which was inspired by how much good could be done with a small amount of money. They contribute their allowance, gifts, do odd jobs, and an annual fundraiser. This year they have raised $3,000. Together with nine other youth from different faiths, MOE. has raised $10,000 for hunger and humanitarian projects, collected over 900 books for a youth home, and secured a seizure response dog for a local woman, to name a few. At such a young age, they are models of social responsibility and global awareness.

Adult Award

Joyce Wiley
Unitarian Church, Davenport, IA

Joyce’s exemplary organizational and people skills, combined with her dedication to social justice, have served her congregation and community with a lifetime of social justice accomplishments. Her work has included organizing social justice activities for children and youth, opportunities for adults to become better informed, and leading efforts in the community for social justice change. Her work on gay and lesbian issues, including the founding of Quad Citians Affirming Diversity, is a model of innovation that has been copied by other similar sized cities in the Midwest. She has organized public opinion to persuade public bodies to add sexual orientation to their anti-discrimination policies. Her leadership role on the Anti-Hate Coalition and other ongoing issues of oppression and intolerance has made a real difference in the quality of life of many people who have been touched by her work.

O. Eugene Pickett Award

to honor congregations which have made an outstanding contribution to the growth of Unitarian Universalism

Second Unitarian Church, Omaha, NE

The Second Unitarian Church of Omaha has planned to grow with a new long range plan, mission statement, first full time minister, and a Committee on Ministry. Their membership, pledge units and school enrollment have increased over 30% in the past 5 years. Their innovative Rotational Model of religious education is a huge success. They are passionate about social justice, founding Omaha Together One, working for the rights of meat packers to unionize, library funding, youth summer programs, a police auditor to monitor police and fire cases, and more. In addition, they assist the Siena Francis House for the homeless and work with multi-faith Habitat for Humanity. They are a Welcoming Congregation, raising funds for AIDS research. By targeting specific demographic groups with tailored programming, events and advertising, they are a Beacon of Liberal Religion in west Omaha.

President’s Award

for Service and Leadership on behalf of Prairie Star District

Rev. Barbara Kellett
Stonetree Spiritual Resources

Rev. Kellett saw a need several years ago for congregations within our district to have more resources to enhance the spirituality of Sunday services and church programs. She presented her idea and plan to the PSD Board and out of that was born Stonetree Spiritual Resources. Over the past few years she has recruited volunteers, formed an advisory committee, identified a liaison to each congregation, developed artistic and musical resources and a speakers bureau, and created a dynamic website. Carrying out her dream of helping, particularly small congregations, but also Unitarian Universalism throughout the District, has been a gift contributing to our growth and strength. Her focus on the spiritual aspects of our faith will continue to enrich our faith through Stonetree.

Ellie Morton Award

for outstanding work in religious education

Jan Devor
First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis, MN

Jan is in her 8th year as the Director of Religious Education at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. She is a trained Religious Education Covenanter for this district and she is on the committee to help form the new PSD LREDA (Liberal Religious Educators Association) chapter. Continentally, Jan is one of the people who developed the pillars approach to religious education, which is widely in use in our Association today. The PSD Committee On Religious Education is pleased to recognize all that Jan Devor has done and continues to do to minister as a religious educator and witness to the power of our liberal faith. Jan, you truly are an inspiration to us all.

Betty Gorshe Heritage Award

for significant contribution to celebrating our Unitarian Universalist history

Betty Gorshe
Unitarian Church, Davenport, IA

Betty Gorshe was a tireless advocate for the preservation of UU history. She published two books on the history of the Davenport Unitarian Church. She conducted workshops at District meetings and most recently was an advisor to the 2002 Light on the Prairie Conference to encourage others to preserve and tell the history of their congregation. Betty was involved in the PSD Heritage and Archives Committee’s effort to preserve Bring O Past Your Honor, a 1986 history of District congregations originally compiled by the UU Ministers' Association, PSD Chapter. A long-time member of the Davenport congregation, she served her congregation and Prairie Star District in several leadership roles, including the District Board as Secretary and several years on the Bylaws Committee. She was also a social justice advocate and was involved in several positions in the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. On a personal level, she was just as involved in preserving and telling the history of her family -- she enjoyed genealogy and was a founding member of the Scott County, Iowa, Genealogical Society. Betty was an inspiration to all of us.