PSD sidebarBG


Because Prairie Star District has become part of MidAmerica Region, this page has been archived as of July 15, 2013, for reference purposes.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

The Welcome Committee

The weather in Omaha for the 2008 Prairie Star District (April 11–13) will be warmly welcoming. The forecast calls for a weekend blessed with fellowship, spiritual growth, learning opportunities, and sharing. Your host congregations, Omaha’s First and Second Unitarian Churches are looking forward to welcoming you to our city. We have focused on providing an atmosphere that is conducive to being together. Omaha offers plenty of opportunity for entertainment, inspiration, and good food. Come early, stay late, or do both.

Embassy Suites Atrium

The Embassy Suites Hotel in Omaha’s Old Market entertainment area is a great site for our meeting. Rooms are large and provide the space for an active family weekend. The two-room suites make it easy for attendees to share the space and the cost. When you are ready to make your reservation, you can use this Embassy Suites Group Page to be sure you receive the group discount, or you may call 1-800-EMBASSY and request Group Code PSD. Note that reservations must be made by March 21, 2008.

You will be located in Omaha’s Market area, one of the city’s prime locations for restaurants and entertainment. Omaha is known for good restaurants, and some of the best are in easy walking distance from the hotel. There are also major attractions located nearby, either within walking distance or just a short drive. Omaha’s top attractions include:

Durham Western Heritage Museum

Durham Western Heritage Museum – Beautiful architecture blends with memories of a time gone by (just a short walk up the hill). Heartland of America Park – Take a walk along the riverfront (right next door). Joslyn Art Museum – Nebraska’s largest and most distinguished art museum. Lauritzen Gardens – Omaha’s Botanical Center. Father Flanagan’s Boys Town – A beacon of hope for 90 years. Omaha Children’s Museum – Established to engage the imagination and create excitement about learning.

Doorly Zoo celebrates the Year of the Frog

Henry Doorly Zoo – A World Class Zoo that is a treat for all ages and abilities. Don’t worry about the weather because there are a wide variety of indoor attractions from rainforests to deserts. Live Theatre – At least 30 live theatre companies present over 200 shows each year. Other helpful links: Omaha, Council Bluffs, and Nebraska

Be sure to bring your significant other and your children. There is something for everyone in Omaha and the children’s options are especially attractive this year. First through sixth graders who are participating in our childcare program will be heading off to the Henry Doorly Zoo on Saturday morning and then spending the afternoon at the Children’s Museum.

Nominating Committee ReportSlate of Nominees 2008

President For the two year term ending June 30, 2010
Kathryn Bowman, Unitarian Church, Davenport, Iowa

Secretary For the two year term ending June 30, 2010
David Martin, Unitarian Universalist Society, Iowa City, Iowa

Directors For the three year term ending June 30, 2011 (two to be elected)
Libby Starling, First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Fred Hulting, Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka, Wayzata, Minnesota

Other Offices

Nominating Committee For the two year term ending June 30, 2010 (two to be elected)
Dawn Cooley, UU Fellowship, Northfield, Minnesota
Mark Sanderson, All Souls UU Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Midwest Unitarian Universalist Conference For the three year term ending June 30, 2011
Mike Smith, First Unitarian Church, Des Moines, Iowa

Submitted by the 2007-08 Nominating Committee:
Andrea Purdy Heier, Chair
Dawn Cooley
Barbara Kellett
Graham Kreiker
Mark Sanderson


Biographical Information

Kathy Bowman President
Kathryn L. Bowman has been a member of the Davenport Unitarian Church since 1976. Prior to assuming a leadership role as board clerk and board president, she served as chair of the social concerns committee and a religious education teacher. She served as interim DRE. She has also served as a trainer for Our Whole Lives (OWL) facilitators in PSD and also an OWL facilitator in her local congregation. She chaired the District Seventh Year Review Task Force. She has served on the PSD Board since 2001 having been Treasurer and Vice-President. Kathy has served one year as PSD President filling an unexpired term.
Dave Martin Secretary
Dave Martin has been a member of the UU Society of Iowa City for over 30 years. During that time he has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Board Trustee, Treasurer, and Board President. He has taught AYS classes and been chair of the Stewardship Campaign. He served on the PSD Program Council and has been on the staff of the Midwest Leadership School. He is head of the Business Library at the University of Iowa.
Fred Hulting Director
Fred Hulting has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka for the past 12 years. During that time, Fred has filled a variety of leadership roles, including Board Trustee and Board President. He also enjoys teaching RE classes, and is currently the Finance Chair at UUCM. Fred works for General Mills as a Director in the Research and Development organization. Fred has served one year on the PSD Board filling an unexpired term.
Libby Starling Director
Libby Starling joined the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis in fall 1992. At FUS, she served on the Search Committee and on the Board of Trustees for five years, including as vice-chair and chair. Libby is currently a member of the UUA’s Midwest Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy. Professionally, Libby is the Research Manager for the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities. She is completing one term as PSD Secretary.
Dawn Cooley Nominating Committee
Dawn Cooley has been participating in the PSD, in a variety of capacities, since 2000. Prior to her current positions as director of Stonetree Congregational Resources of PSD and consulting minister to the UU Fellowship of Northfield (MN), she worked with young adults and campus ministry in the district, visited many congregations as guest speaker, and maintained professional leadership roles at the congregational level. Dawn graduated from United Theological Seminary in 2004. She has served one year as an appointed member of the Nominating Committee.
Mark Sanderson Nominating Committee
Mark Sanderson has been an involved member in his local UU congregation, All Souls Church, Sioux Falls, SD, for the past 28 years. With a background in teaching and social work, Mark presently works as a case manager and teacher in a Fatherhood and Family: Inside & Out program whose mission is to help in the transition of an incarcerated person into his family after his release from prison.. Mark has served PSD as a Board member and a Resource Liaison. He is completing his first term on the Nominating Committee.
Michael Smith Midwest Unitarian Universalist Conference
Michael Smith is a member of First Unitarian Church, Des Moines, IA. He has served as a member of its board of trustees, has chaired the finance committee and canvasses, advised the youth group, and participated in many other activities. He served on the Prairie Star District Board including two terms as Treasurer and is completing his first term as Midwest UU Conference Representative.

The PSD 2008 Annual Conference was held April 11–13 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Banner Parade featured more than 20 banners from congregations all over the District. The Keynote Address, “Who Bears the Burden?” was given by Charlie Clements, President and Chief Executive Officer of UUSC. The Judy Lecture was given by Rev. Meg Riley, Director of Advocacy and Witness, UUA Awards were presented at the Saturday Awards Luncheon, and the President’s Award at the Annual Business Meeting Saturday afternoon. (Howard Guthmann, Unity, St. Paul, MN, the recipient of the President’s Award, was not present.) The 2008 Annual Report, as presented at the meeting, is available online. The Treasurer’s Report presented at the meeting to accompany the Financial Report in the 2008 Annual Report is available online. The slate of nomineeswas approved. Saturday’s banquet concluded with music from the conference choir, The Barbershop Quartet “Yesterdays Kids,” and Mark Carney, Will Wetzel, Tab Berger and Alex Nekoranec, and comedy by Darrell Draper. Saturday evening finished with a worship service presented by the youth attending the conference. Conference participants worshiped together Sunday morning.

Banner Parade

Banner Parade
Second Omaha
Second Omaha
First Omaha
First Omaha
Storm Lake
Storm Lake


Charlie Clements
Charlie Clements
Meg Riley
Meg Riley


Judith Harrington and Nancy Miller
Judith Harrington, Cedar Falls, IA, accepts the Keeping the Faith award on behalf of Kamyar Enshayan from Nancy Miller.
Carolyn MacDonald and Nancy Miller
Carolyn MacDonald, All Souls, Kansas City, MO, receives the Keeping the Faith award from Nancy Miller.
Helen Deffenbacher and Nancy Miller
Helen Deffenbacher, First Omaha, NE, receives the Adult Social Justice Award from Nancy Miller.
Lori Allen
Lori Allen, Ames, IA, about to receive the Ellie Morton Award.

Kathy Klink-Zeitz, Cedar Falls, IA, accepts the Unsung UU Award on behalf of Mildred Pierce from Nancy Miller.
Dave Nicklin and Walt Wells
Dave Nicklin, First Omaha, NE, accepts the Betty Gorshe Award on behalf of Marie Bradley Helms from Walt Wells
Bob and Sue Hamilton
Bob and Sue Hamilton, receiving the Betty Gorshe Award.

Random shots

Violinist at Youth Worship
Violinist at Youth Worship
John and Dawn Cooley
John and Dawn Cooley, making the computers work
Barbershop Quartet
The barbershop quartet
Darrel Draper
Darrel Draper, Second Omaha, NE
Claryce Evans
Claryce Evans, Sioux City, IA
Mary Kathryn Wallace
Mary Kathryn Wallace, Iowa City, IA
Cheri Cody
Cheri Cody, Second Omaha, NE, talks about the National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Lunch: two viewpoints

Next year in Duluth: April 3-5, 2009!



Photos courtesy of Sam Wormley, Ames, IA


To register online, see the Registration page.

To register by mail, please complete a copy of the registration form (also on the Registration page) for each attendee grade 7 and over. In addition, complete the forms for youth or childcare if applicable.

Mail paper registration forms and checks to:

PSD Annual Conference c/o Nancy Amsler

Adult Registration includes the Friday Social Justice workshop, the banner parade, keynote speakers, Saturday workshops, worship services, meals, and Saturday entertainment. The advance registration fee is

$135 through March 21st and then $150 thereafter.

Youth Registration is $60 and attendees in grades 7–12 are eligible. Youth registration requires both parental permission and the presence of an adult sponsor who will be attending the conference.

A youth registration provides all of the events described above for adults. Youth participants will also create the worship service on Saturday evening. Youth may make hotel reservations or stay at the First Unitarian Church in Omaha.

For more information, youth, parents, and adult sponsors should all review and complete both the regular Conference Registration and the Youth Supplement that is included in this packet. Both forms must be returned to complete a Youth Registration.


Childcare will be available at the conference hotel

Friday evening 6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Care for infants through kindergarten will also be provided Sunday 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Saturday lunch and snacks are provided for all ages. On Saturday, kids from grade 1 through 6 will be touring the Henry Doorly Zoo and the Children’s Museum.

The fee for infant through kindergarten is $50 and the fee for grades 1 though 6 is $40. Childcare registration forms must be submitted along with the adult registration and must be received by April 1st.


Adult and youth registrations include Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, refreshments during breaks, and Sunday breakfast. Childcare includes Saturday lunch and snacks. Extra Saturday lunches ($15) and/or dinners ($20) are available for family members or other non-participants. They can be purchased on the registration form. Vegetarian meals are available and other dietary needs should be noted on the registration form.

Special Needs

The registration form contains space to indicate your interest in car pooling, home hospitality, or room sharing. You may also indicate special dietary needs or other assistance that you might need to attend the conference.


Cancellations that are received by April 1st will be charged a processing fee of $10. Cancellations after April 1st will not receive a refund.


The conference hotel is:

Old Market Embassy Suites 555 South 10th St. Omaha, NE 68102

The hotel is conveniently located in Omaha’s Old Market entertainment area and provides a great site for our meeting. Rooms are large and provide the space for an active family weekend. The two-room suites make it easy for attendees to share the space and the cost. Parking, breakfast, and the daily manager’s reception are all included in the hotel’s special $139 conference rate ($149 for 3 or 4 adults). The deadline for reservations at this rate is March 21, 2008. Use Group Code PSD.


A list of alternative hotels is available.


The Annual Conference Mixed Choir is back! Join with your fellow singers by attending either or both rehearsals at 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 8:15 a.m. Sunday.

The Choir will perform twice. They will sing a number at the Saturday night banquet as well as participating in the Sunday morning worship service.

Scholarship Fund

The Prairie Star District Board has authorized the creation of a scholarship fund to subsidize attendance at future Annual Conferences for those who could not otherwise attend. When you register for this year’s conference, you will have the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to this fund. The criteria for awarding of scholarships will be published when funds are available.


The conference will include a UU Bookstore and space for other exhibitors. Exhibit space is available for $30 per 6-foot by 30-inch table. See the Registration page for an application form.


For more information, email the registrar or contact: Nancy Amsler or Cheri Cody

Banner Parade

The Banner Parade will be Friday evening, and banners will be exhibited throughout the conference. You are invited and encouraged to bring your congregation’s banner (and pole) for the parade.

To learn more about creating a banner, visit

What does my registration include?

An adult registration includes the conference and its activities, breakfast Saturday, April 12, and Sunday, April 13, lunch on Saturday and the banquet Saturday night. A youth registration includes the conference, breakfast at the church on Saturday and Sunday, lunch with the larger group on Saturday and a youth dinner party on Saturday night.

How do I get a hotel reservation?

This is separate from your conference registration and you will need to make it yourself. For more information see the PSD conference General Info page. It contains information about the conference hotel and alternate hotels in the area.

What is the phone number of the Embassy Suites Hotel?

Phone: (402) 346-9000

What are the hours for breakfast?

Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 – 8:45 is included with your conference registration. It will feature breakfast foods and you have your choice of sitting at a table with a selected table topic or not.

Breakfast for youth, grade 7 – 12 will be provided at First Unitarian Church of Omaha.

If you are staying in the hotel, breakfast is included with your hotel fee – the hours are 7 – 10:30 each morning. It is not a part of the conference but comes with an Embassy Suites hotel registration, and will be held in a location separate from the conference breakfasts.

What hours and payments are available for the bookstore?

The book store will be open Friday, 6 – 7 pm and Saturday, 8am – 7 pm. Payment can be cash or check. An ATM machine is located in the hotel lobby.

Where can I pick up my conference t-shirt? When is the latest date to order one?

T-shirts which were ordered in advance can be picked up at the registration desk. A limited amount will be available at the conference for $15. Advance orders must be placed by April 7.

How can I get to the conference site from the airport or train station?

Hotel shuttles go to and from the airport every half hour or call (402) 346-9000, or cabs are available.

If you are arriving by Amtrak, cabs are available.

How can I order cab service?

Safeway Cab (402) 342-7474 Yellow Cab - - (402) 292-2222 Yellow Cab - - (402) 477-4111 Happy Cab - - (402) 339-8294 Checker Cab - - (402) 339-0110

If I get stuck, who can I call?

Jaime Alexander, (C) 402-657-9386, or
Cheri Cody, (C) 402-210-9029

Where will I get my choir music?

Copies of the choir music for the Saturday afternoon workshop and Sunday service will be provided to those taking part in the choir.

How do youth get back and forth between the church and the hotel?

Youth information will be sent to them by Sherry Warren and Phil Lund.

If I have questions about something during the conference, who do I ask?

Our hospitality volunteers will be wearing green badges, The registration desk will be staffed during break time and designated registration hours.

I’m a delegate. What do I need to do?

Your congregation president or minister must put your name on the delegates list on the PSD web site before 11:30 AM on Wednesday, April 9. When you arrive at the conference you need to sign in as a delegate at the conference registration table. When you sign in you will be given a copy of the PSD Annual Report and a sticker for your name badge indicating you are a delegate. Then you attend the annual business meeting at 5:00 PM on Saturday and vote on any motions presented.

Where are the Unitarian Universalist churches in Omaha and what time are their services?

First Unitarian Church of Omaha
3114 Harney Street; Phone: 402-345-3039; Service time 11 am

Second Unitarian Church
3012 South 119th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68144 (402) 334-0537; Service time 10:30 am

PSD Annual Conference Service at the hotel, Friday service, 9:30 – 10:15 pm Saturday youth led service, 9:30 – 10:15 pm Sunday service, 9:30 – 10:30 am

Where is a good place to eat Friday night?

Omaha is noted for its fine restaurants, and many of them are located in the Old Market area near the conference site. Of course you can eat in the Embassy Suites hotel, or try one of our local working group suggestions below or go to the website All Omaha restaurants are non-smoking and the ones listed below are within easy walking distance of the conference hotel. Bon appetit!

Spaghetti Works
Hours: 11A – 10P, Phone: 402-422-0770
Directions from hotel: One block west, SW corner of Howard and 11th
$5 - $14, Family friendly

M’s Pub
Hours: 11A – Midn. Phone: 402-342-2550
Recommended Directions from hotel: One block west to 11th, turn right, 2nd business on left
$10-$18 L, $10 – $35 D, Lunch menu available all times, Try Lovosh appetizer

Hours: 11A – Midn. Phone: 402-342-2050
Directions from hotel: West on Howard, 2nd business on right after crossing 11th
$10-$20 L, $15-$35 D, Reservation recommended, Contemporary Italian

Upstream Brewing Company
Hours: 11A –Midn. Phone: 402-344-0200
Directions from hotel: West on Howard to 11th, turn left, 2nd business on right
$8-$14 L, $10-$38 D, Call and if there is a wait, ask to be put on the list.

What about the manager’s reception?

If you are staying in the Embassy Suites a manager’s reception is included with your hotel fee, and the hours are 5:30 – 7:30 pm – you will need your hotel key for this. It is not a part of the conference.
If you are not registered in the hotel you can also participate in the reception for a fee of $10. Tickets will be available at the conference registration desk in the lobby. It is not a part of the conference.

What about wireless connections for the internet?

There are 4 connection booths in the hotel lobby coffee shop where first 10 minutes are free, then there is an hourly charge. In the guest rooms the charge is $10.95 for each 24 hour connection.

What are the hours and location of the public library?

W. Dale Clark Location (within walking distance) - 215 South 15th St. 68102-1629;444-4800; Fri, Sat 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday 1 – 6 pm

Where can I find public radio stations?

90.7 for classical, 91.5 for news, jazz and NPR

Where can I park?

See map below for lot parking, which runs about $6 per day. The map area marked “Embassy Suites Overnight Guest Park” is for hotel guests only. Parking is also available on the street, where meters are active until 5 pm on Friday. AC2008map