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

Ginny McAninch Ginny McAninch
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota

If limited to one phrase to describe Ginny McAninch, it would be that she lives a life committed to inclusive hospitality, hope and love. Beginning early 30 years ago, when she first visited First Universalist and started sleeping at the church weekly to support a refugee seeking sanctuary, her commitment and service to her church, PSD and the UUA has never wavered. Her long list of accomplishments includes nearly every facet of church leadership and service, from board president to preparing lunches. Even more important, is the way in which she has served, with her heart leading the way. We are proud to honor Ginny for living our UU principles. She “keeps the faith”, bringing joy to those who know her, and making her congregation and the world a better place.

Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award

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

Rebecca Hruby Seth Rebecca Hruby Seth
Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Nebraska

Since 1990, Rebecca Hruby Seth has provided passionate and steadfast leadership and service to her church. For many years, she has continually taken on some of the most demanding jobs in a congregation. In particular, we recognize her efforts in support of Sunday worship services, church building and grounds, and environmental action. Among other accomplishments, Rebecca was instrumental in establishing a beautiful Memorial Garden, and in achieving Green Sanctuary Certification from the UUA last fall. And her work continues, as the current chair/co-chair of both Grounds and Green Sanctuary Committees, as well as serving on “Team 2016”, a group working on church renovation and a building addition. Few people have been as giving to their congregation as Rebecca. We honor Rebecca for her many years of dedication and service to her congregation.

Social Justice Award -- Adult

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

Elaine Lauren Wells
First Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebraska

Elaine Wells has long been a passionate, persuasive voice for social justice. She backs this with a commitment to taking concrete action, making good use of her professional skills as a mediator and counselor. Her years of hard work have had a noticeable impact on our church and community. Even grouping her many activities by category, it is hard to capture the breadth of her commitment to social justice. Concerned with continuing racism, she initiated Black-White Dialogues as a community project. To educate and inspire others to get involved, Elaine has poured energy into numerous symposiums, talks, workshops and speakers on environmental concerns, economic injustice and hunger, peace-making, nuclear weapons, Palestinian Rights, building Intentional Community/Co-housing, and efforts to end poverty and hunger worldwide. We honor Elaine for her inspiring example of a life dedicated to promoting peace, social justice, and the protection of the interdependent web of life.

Social Justice Award -- Youth

Rhianna Giron Rhianna Giron
First Unitarian Church, Omaha, Nebraska

Rhianna Giron is a shining example of a young person living UU values. She combines an awareness of social injustice with an inspiring commitment to many hours of volunteer work despite her busy school schedule. She is part of the Malcolm X Foundation’s Youth Leadership Program, and volunteers weekly assisting children with developmental disabilities. Through activities with family, school, and church, she has helped adopt families for the holidays, worked to connect youth with elderly adults at local retirement homes, involved youth in the UUA Standing by the Side of Love campaign, provided basic needs and comfort items for local families in shelter care and in Africa, and helped provide “community meals” to our church neighborhood. We honor this kind and talented young woman for sharing her leadership abilities, time and energy in support of social justice and responsibility.

Betty Gorshe Heritage Award

to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to preserving, understanding and celebrating our Unitarian Universalist history

Rev Stefan Jonasson Rev. Stefan Jonasson
Church of the Larger Fellowship

From his first years of UU service as District Executive, Rev. Stefan Jonasson has been able to make inspired connections among many disparate elements of Unitarian Universalism. From tiny fellowships to those of more than a thousand, Stefan discovers and communicates the common threads of faith, community and history. He was one of the resources for the Light on the Prairie Conference in 2002. The momentum of that event resulted in the formation of what is now the Prairie Star District History and Heritage Committee and the beginnings of a video project encouraging PSD congregations to tell and record their histories. He follows in the footsteps of his Scandinavian Unitarian ancestors as one who appreciates the value of telling the stories. With the skills of a serious historical scholar he devotes his gifts and his enormous energy to help congregations explore, understand, and communicate their own histories. During his more than 20 years of service, Stefan has used history to help UUs establish a stronger connection and spiritual grounding in their UU faith. His impact has been far and wide and we look forward to its continuance.

Ellie Morton Award

to pay tribute to a religious educator in Prairie Star District who has made a District-wide outstanding contribution to religious education.

Chelsea Maitland Chelsea Maitland
Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Nebraska

Chelsea Maitland grew up in the Unitarian Church of Lincoln where her mother was the Religious Educator director for many years. Chelsea felt called to serve in her own Church and started in 2010. The religious education program is bursting at the seams. She helped develop a new safety policy and researched and implemented age appropriate curriculum. During the summer she started a very successful four – week camp for children. The turnout was overwhelming. Parents are bringing their children to the church because of Chelsea’s dedication to the program. On Wednesday nights she has developed a Youth in Action Program to overflowing attendance. Chelsea is a most kind and gentle person who exhibits this in all she does. She is always open to new ideas and has an amazing spirit of collaboration. She is a champion for social justice and includes it in all aspects of her program. The church truly celebrates the Day that Chelsea became their director.

President's Award

for Outstanding Service to Prairie Star District

Sarah Greene

Sarah Greene
Michael Servetus Unitarian Society, Fridley, Minnesota

This award is given in recognition of 23 years of service to the Prairie Star District. For decades, PSD Presidents, Boards, and staff have relied on your organizational abilities and knowledge of the district to do our work effectively. We are deeply grateful for all of your support.



Fred Hulting Fred Hulting
Unitarian Church of Minnetonka, Wayzata, Minnesota

This award is given in recognition of your service as a member of the Prairie Star District Board (2008 to 2011) and as Chair of the UniStar Enterprise Management Group (2010 to 2013). Your efforts have laid the foundation for a strong future for Camp UniStar. Future generations of campers will benefit from your work.