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Because Prairie Star District has become part of MidAmerica Region, this page has been archived as of July 15, 2013, for reference purposes.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!

2008 Awards

Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award

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

Mildred Pierce
UU Society of Black Hawk County, Cedar Falls, Iowa

For over thirty-eight years, Mildred has provided extraordinary service to her UU congregation. She was a founding member of the Conscious Living Group, has served on the Program Committee, led summer forums for years, and led a Theology discussion group. Mildred also inspired the congregation to seek accreditation as a Green Sanctuary Congregation. She has demonstrated her leadership abilities in the greater community as a principal in Cedar Falls schools and by volunteering at the Western Home in various capacities. Mildred is a lively, engaged, and still active ninety-eight year old who, through her long years of dedicated work, is well-deserving of Unsung Unitarian Universalist.

Keeping the Faith Award

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

Kamyar Enshayan
UU Society of Black Hawk County, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Kamyar has long demonstrated interest and expertise in the areas of food and environment. He has provided many presentations on such topics as Conscious Living, energy, and environment. In his effort to help educate people in the greater community, Kamyar is active in two neighborhood associations and the College Hill Business Association. He is Program Director of the UNI Local Food Project, writes a popular regular column in the local newspaper dealing with issues of energy, community, and sustainable development, and helped to oppose a county coal burning power plant development plan. Kamyar is currently serving his second term on the Cedar Falls City Council. This year, Kamyar won the 2008 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award. He is a leader in his congregation and in the larger Waterloo/Cedar Falls community for championing environmental conservancy and social fairness. We are grateful for his dedicated work in Keeping the Faith.

Carolyn MacDonald
All Souls UU Church, Kansas City, Missouri

For over twenty years, Carolyn has dedicated her time and service to many activities that have promoted UU values within her congregation and the larger community. As chair and member of the Forum Committee, Carolyn arranged for stimulating presentations on a variety of issues in an atmosphere of respectful inquiry and discussion. She also contributed to Sunday morning worship services, particularly on topics of death/grief or social justice. Her commitment to the values of a Welcoming Congregation have been consistent and enduring. Carolyn has been an active member of many church committees, including Religious Services, Tuesday evening Documentary Series, Communications, and Dinners for Eight. She has also served on the Board of Trustees. In Carolyn’s extensive work in the greater community, she has lived her UU principles and beliefs, drawing many others to All Souls UU Church.

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

Justin Deffenbacher and Margo Wilwerding
First Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebraska

Justin and Margo have demonstrated exceptional concern and care for social justice issues, both in their congregation and in their community. In their church, they promoted environmental stewardship through the First Unitarian Kid’s Eco Club, an organization they initiated through their enthusiasm, planning, and energy. The club works with a local nature preserve, helps clean up litter through the “Adopt a Trail” program, sells Fair Trade chocolate to raise money for social justice/environmental causes, and prepared a literature display on wildlife and environmental conservation. Justin has also started a project to encourage church members to donate to a local homeless shelter and works at his middle school on a social justice project called “Project Citizen.” Through her Girl Scout affiliation, Margo was a “bell ringer” during the holiday season. We commend Justin and Margo for their exemplary vision and hard work in the areas of social justice and environmental issues.

Adult Award

Helen Deffenbacher
First Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebraska

Helen Deffenbacher has exemplified life-long commitment to environmental stewardship and social justice. As a college student in the 60's, she was one of the first volunteers for Seattle’s Head Start Program. A pacifist, she was active in the peace movement during the Vietnam War as well as the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements. Through hard work and effective leadership as co-chair of the Green Sanctuary, she had a major role in increasing environmental awareness for members of her church. Helen is a talented educator and has offered environmental classes and workshops both at church and in the community. Currently Helen is volunteering for a new environmental group called Green Omaha Coalition. She is also a longtime member of several wildlife protection organizations. We recognize and honor Helen for her contributions in social justice efforts and for living the UU Principles so effectively in her life.

O. Eugene Pickett Award

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

Not awarded in 2008

President’s Award

for Service and Leadership on behalf of Prairie Star District

Howard Guthmann
Unity Church – Unitarian, St. Paul, Minnesota

Howard first joined the PSD Board in 1968, then went on to serve as PSD Treasurer from 1970–1990. Howard currently serves on the Financial Advisory Committee. In addition Howard has given over thirty years of service on the board of the Midwest UU Foundation (MUUF). During that time of service, he has held various roles, including Vice President and Chair of the Investment Committee. Howard recognized that a group of dedicated and professional volunteers were capable of successfully overseeing the investments, which are derived from Unitarian and Universalist conferences that predate the merger into the Unitarian Universalist Association. According to the President of the MUUF, “Howard’s leadership was essential in continuing stewardship of the Conference and Foundation in investing the funds to support the UU movement in the Midwest.” Thank you, Howard, for your years of dedicated stewardship.

Ellie Morton Award

for outstanding work in religious education

Lori Allen
UU Fellowship of Ames, Iowa

Lori Allen has graced Prairie Star District of the UUA for many years. A religious educator who is called to help others understand religion as a journey to deep fulfillment, reckoning, and awakening Lori has served congregations in Des Moines, Lincoln, and currently serves as Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries at the UU Fellowship of Ames, Iowa. Lori’s even keel and good humor is a welcome addition at the Fellowship in Ames as it has been wherever she goes. Beyond her work in congregations, Lori has inspired her colleagues, friends, and family with her unabashed love of life. Her service to our district as trainer, consultant, and CORE and LFD Council Representative helps all of us to see possibilities for strength, growth, and connection. And when she breaks into song … joining in is hardly optional.

Betty Gorshe Heritage Award

for significant contribution to celebrating our Unitarian Universalist history

Sue Hamilton and Bob Hamilton
Shawnee Mission UU Church, Overland Park, Kansas

Sue and Bob Hamilton have been an integral part of the Shawnee Mission UU Church since its founding. Bob has served in many leadership roles and currently is on the Endowment Committee. Sue was involved in making the chalice quilts and served as editor of the church newsletter. As chair of the Archives Committee Sue arranged for an art historian to explain the importance of preserving church records and how to do it. They co-chaired the year-long celebration to highlight Shawnee Mission’s 40 years, provided church history information for their ministerial search packet, worked with photographers to document important church events, set up filing and storage systems to preserve church artifacts and documents. and prepared Shawnee Mission’s church history for PSD. Sue and Bob have a great interest in the history of the church, have been instrumental in seeing the church grow, and know that history is the foundation on which the future rests.

Marie Bradley Helms
First Unitarian Church, Omaha, Nebraska

For almost six decades Marie Bradley Helms has recorded and preserved the history of the First Unitarian Church of Omaha. Marie’s efforts will be recognized for years to come. She understood the importance of preserving UU history, initiating traditions and publicizing church events to the outside world, filing the results in record books, a practice that continues today. Marie began editing and compiling their Annual Reports, including a brief historical description of church activities, to provide a permanent on-going history of their church. She edited their 100th Anniversary booklet and monthly newsletters, helped to arrange and publicize a series of church sponsored lectures, which have had a major impact on both the church and the larger community, and recorded them for their archives. She continues to be the most accurate historian when there are questions asked about First Unitarian’s past. Marie is a treasure, an inspiration to all of us.