Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award

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

Denise K. MacMillan
Second Unitarian Church, Omaha, Nebraska

Demonstrating extraordinary service, Denise has provided leadership and vision in the area of developing financial security in her congregation. She facilitated the creation of an Endowment Fund, conducted successful pledge drives, and guided the congregation in devising fundraising activities. Denise also promotes activities that help build the spiritual and social components of fellowship through circle suppers, annual events, and her work to create the Fellowship Committee. As chair of the Board of Trustees in 2000, Denise helped lead the church through a smooth transition from being lay-led to calling a minister. She has also taught an adult R.E. course, and participated in social justices efforts like building a house for Habitat for Humanity. Through her leadership activities, personal faith and commitment, active participation, and encouragement of others, Denise brings to her congregation, and to Unitarian Universalism, a model for living.

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

Doree Gamble
Pilgrim House Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Arden Hills, Minnesota

When Pilgrim House transitioned from a liberal non-denominational group to its affiliation with UUA, Doree was an enthusiastic supporter, believing that the UU Principles reflected their congregational values. Doree has studied at United Theological Seminary and attended nearly every PSD Annual Conference and General Assembly. As Counselor at Pilgrim House, Doree performs weddings, funerals, and child dedications. She has served on the Board of Directors continuously, been an on-going Program Committee member, and worked for the Membership Committee. Congregation members think of Doree as “Coach,” someone who models commitment and encourages others to become active members. She has also volunteered for the St. Croix Valley Girl Scouts for 45 years. Doree works to keep the UU faith active in her spiritual community and in the larger community as well. Her work in Pilgrim House helps the congregation demonstrate UU Principles in all that they do.

Cheri Cody
Second Unitarian Church, Omaha, Nebraska

As one of the original members, Cheri has been unfailing with her time and talents in service to Second Unitarian Church. Since 1977, Cheri worked in a variety of service and leadership positions, including the Board, Long Range Planning, Membership, Music and Worship, and many other committees. She regularly presents sermons, leads workshops, and facilitates Board retreats. In the larger community Cheri is active in the League of Women Voters, the Women’s Political Caucus, Institute of Public Life Board, and Omaha Together One Community. She is a graduate of Leadership Omaha. Cheri’s leadership and dedication to Unitarian Universalist principles are in the forefront of all her activities both in, and out of, the church. She has been a strong voice for our faith wherever she goes and whatever she does.

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:

Not awarded in 2007

Adult Award:

R. Allen Hays
Unitarian Universalist Society of Black Hawk County, Cedar Falls, Iowa

An active and valuable member of his congregation, Allen has chaired committees, served for years on the Executive Committee, presented many worship services, and taught at least 20 adult religious education courses. A Political Science professor at the University of Northern Iowa, Allen is a passionate warrior for serving the causes of social justice through organizing and working with community agencies. He is well-known and appreciated in the community for his selfless commitment to justice issues, particularly in the areas of racism, homelessness, and poverty. Through his professional and personal skills Allen has worked to educate, motivate, and collaborate with others to achieve social change. Allen’s work exemplifies every UU principle, and he has represented our faith well by living out Unitarian Universalist values in an energetic, enthusiastic, and consistent manner.

O. Eugene Pickett Award

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

Not awarded in 2007

President’s Award

for Service and Leadership on behalf of Prairie Star District

Southern Cluster Outreach and Extension (SCORE) Board

The work of the members of this Board exemplifies the best of what we can achieve when we choose to work together, to share our resources, our knowledge and our passion for this faith.Not only has the SCORE Board helped congregations in the Southern Cluster, but by sharing their expertise they are also helping congregations throughout the Prairie Star District and (with their work at General Assembly) throughout the nation.The SCORE Board is honored for their willingness to create partnerships between congregations, laity and clergy, the district and the cluster, thereby strengthening Unitarian Universalism across the country and for their tenacity in creating a model that will serve us well in the future.

Ellie Morton Award

for outstanding work in religious education

Cheryll Wallace
First Unitarian Church, Omaha, Nebraska

Within her own and neighboring congregations Cheryll Wallace creates unique and exciting programs for learners and seekers of every age, inspiring everyone in her path. In the Prairie Star District Cheryll serves on committees, councils, and boards. She has edited newsletters, mentored new and struggling religious educators, shared plans and ideas, and offered gentle guidance to colleagues.In addition, Cheryll gifts to all of us the witness of her own Unitarian Universalist faith. Her presence radiates a depth of spirit that says “share this with me. It is ours together.” She brings life and face to our religion through her actions and by her demonstrated self-care, good will, and personal conviction. For her art, for her creativity, for the life she brings to us all, we are grateful.

Betty Gorshe Heritage Award

for significant contribution to celebrating our Unitarian Universalist history

Lowell Hanson
White Bear UU Church, Mahtomedi, Minnesota

Lowell Hanson’s passion for the history of liberal religion in the Midwest is boundless and contagious. His deep interest in preserving not only the significant records of congregations, but also the small stories of real people in real churches, takes many forms. As a member of the White Bear UU Church he continually teaches about the development of a liberal religious presence in the Midwest. However, it is at the District level that Lowell really stands out. He helped found a core group of UU’s interested in history, was instrumental in organizing the Light on the Prairie conference, petitioned the District Board to form a Heritage and Archives Committee, and was appointed its first chair. Currently, he is leading the initiative to produce short documentaries which tell our Midwestern UU stories, and to design workshops to help congregations produce their own historical videos. Influenced by our shared past, he is inspiring our common future, by helping to make our history available to all.

Beverly Schmidt
Minnesota Valley UU Fellowship, Bloomington, Minnesota

Prior to 1993 when her congregation had no Archival Committee, it was Beverly who, on her own initiative, organized the committee, instituted the guidelines, mission statement, policy and procedure manual, and the organization of fellowship administration records necessary for the preservation of their archives. She continues to recruit new committee members, and coordinates biannual archival displays. Currently, Beverly is coordinating MVUUF’s 40th Anniversary History Book, a two and one-half year project, as well as recording oral histories of older members, used at memorial services and later given to the family. At the District level, Beverly contributed the display for the Light on the Prairie Conference, helped in sorting and purging PSD’s archives, and has assisted smaller fellowships with ideas and procedures to begin archival practices. Her passion for archival history is a legacy for all, long-time and new members.