Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award

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

Carol Jean Larsen
Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bismarck, ND

An active and dynamic member of her congregation, Carol has chaired several committees, served as Treasurer and President of the Board, and facilitated eight adult religious education courses. She has also served on PSD committees, on the District Board of Directors, and as District President. In addition, Carol has been successful in carrying the UU vision to the larger community. While on the Habitat for Humanity Board as Treasurer and as President, she wrote grants to receive a VISTA volunteer and to buy land. Carol was also the full time volunteer General Contractor for two Habitat homes. She is currently president of Youthworks, a non-profit organization for at-risk youth, and is an active member of the North Dakota Sierra Club. An inspiration to all, Carol works for the true mission of Unitarian Universalism, both within her congregation and throughout the larger community.

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

Patricia E. Neal
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Winona, MN

As president of her UU Fellowship, Patti helped with the steps necessary for the Winona group to join the UUA. Patti has served as RE Director, has taught RE classes, and has started a middle school RE group. In addition, she has been newsletter editor and served on several committees. In the wider community, Patti has worked in service roles as a reproductive health educator, on the Rural AIDS Action-Network and for Planned Parenthood. Patti has hosted foreign exchange students and served on a PSD committee. Currently she teaches in an adult literacy program and works at a homeless shelter. Patti’s work for the children and youth of her Fellowship as well as her caring efforts in social justice in the community have made her notable for “keeping the faith.” 

Luella Newstrom
Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bloomington, MN

Luella is a founding member of MVUUF, established in 1966. She has held positions of Membership chair, Newsletter editor, Program chair, Long-Range Planning chair, Adult Education chair, and Chair of the Steering Committee for two years. She served her community as a founder of the Bloomington League of Women Voters, by working to bring a community college system to Minnesota and to bring Council Management government to Bloomington. She was a member of the Bloomington Charter Commission. Luella Newstrom has been integral to her congregation’s growth. She keeps them on track not only procedurally but by the small ways she pays attention to the people in the congregation. She is willing to take on a wide variety of positions for the common good of the fellowship. Luella’s activities have been a tapestry of consistency, strength, and vision of the fellowship’s connection to the larger UU vision. 

Clyde Anderson
Second Unitarian Church, Omaha, NE

Clyde is a committed and generous UU. He has served as a member of nearly every committee in his church, as well as on the Board of Directors. He creates an example for all church leaders to emulate. Clyde’s participation in an Omaha interfaith coalition of 32 churches has been a tribute to Unitarian principles. Others have learned of UU ideals through Clyde’s community leadership for social justice in organizations like Sierra Club and the Inner-City Coalition on the Environment. A recently retired engineer from the Power Company, Clyde now works for the school district. Clyde is a well-organized, effective, caring, and respectful leader in his congregation and in his community. He inspires all with his hard work in “keeping the faith.”

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

Andrew Engels
First Unitarian Church, Omaha, NE

A member of First Unitarian for five years, Drew is a willing helper at any church task, from childcare to painting. Drew began his social justice work at age ten, when he first helped his grandmother serve breakfast at a homeless shelter. Once a month for five years, he has given this service with courtesy, care, and good humor. At school Drew is active in sports, and both at school and in his community, he works to raise money for charitable organizations. Drew genuinely cares about others, and is aware of their needs and interests. He demonstrates his strong sense of responsibility, courage, and social justice in all areas of his life. 

Adult Award

Tensie Oldfather
Lawrence Unitarian Fellowship, Lawrence, KS

A lifelong UU, Tensie joined the Lawrence Fellowship 46 years ago. She has served on the Board of Directors and as an RE teacher. For many years Tensie has been an advocate for those in need. She has helped provide homes for teens in the juvenile justice system, worked to found a nursery school for low income families, was on the Board for a center that provided support for people recently dismissed from the state hospital, and has worked on many other social justice efforts too numerous to list. Besides giving her time, Tensie and her husband have financially supported a wide range of community endeavors in music, theatre, scholarship, and public radio. Tensie’s work and contributions have improved the lives of many people and have set an example for all to follow.

O. Eugene Pickett Award

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

Not awarded in 2006

President’s Award

for Service and Leadership on behalf of Prairie Star District

Dick Shelton
Pilgrim House Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Arden Hills, MN

This President’s Award is given in grateful appreciation for untold hours of work as District Web Master, furthering the communication efforts of the District by creating and maintaining our Web site. Thank you for your dedication and contribution at the district level to our liberal faith.

Ellie Morton Award

for outstanding work in religious education

Anita Jeck
Second Unitarian Church, Omaha, NE

Anita Jeck has served her church as a religious educator for 20 years. She has worked as their paid DRE and Co-DRE, she has served as the Chair of the Religious Education Committee and as a committee member. Anita has taught dozens of children and youth over the years, and she and Cheryll Wallace, the DRE at First Unitarian, establish the YRUU in Omaha in 1998, which is made up of youth in 7th through 12th grades from First Unitarian Church and Second Unitarian Church. That youth group meets every Wednesday night during the school year, goes on summer trips and is now 40 strong. She also is a facilitator for Junior High OWL. Anita is a pillar of her church and truly embodies what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist who puts her faith into action.

Betty Gorshe Heritage Award

for significant contribution to celebrating our Unitarian Universalist history

Dorothy Grant
Unitarian Universalist Society of Black Hawk County, Cedar Falls, IA

Dorothy Grant has blessed our planet for a century, spending much of her life preserving, understanding and celebrating our Unitarian Universalist history. One of four charter members of the UU Society of Black Hawk County, she assumed the role of archivist shortly after its founding. Dorothy spent 40 years of her life collecting, organizing and preserving hundreds of congregational artifacts, filling scores of annual notebooks that are chronologically indexed and noted. She provided her congregation with annotated photo albums spanning four decades, shared her understanding of our Unitarian Universalist history through many publications she authored, and led scores of services and workshops, both in her home congregation and at UU conferences across the country. She has lived a long life dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Unitarian Universalism, and has made a difference in the UU world and the community, providing a historical foundation for generations to come. Dorothy Grant truly embodies the essence of the Betty Gorshe Heritage Award. 

Trudy Travis
Lawrence Unitarian Fellowship, Lawrence, KS

Trudy Travis has made a valuable contribution to Lawrence Unitarian Fellowship’s understanding of their heritage, its significance in the City of Lawrence, and in the history of Kansas. Urged by a group of founders to provide a comprehensive written account of their Fellowship’s history, Trudy, a long-time active member, agreed to compile such a history. Working with many interview transcriptions and “40 or 50 little piles of information,” Trudy wrote a fascinating account of Unitarian history in Lawrence, beginning with the arrival of the Emigrant Aid Society settlers from Massachusetts in 1854. This book chronicling 140-years of Lawrence history has given the Fellowship a sense of belonging. Unitarianism in the Midwest came alive for the readers of Travis’s history and fueled a renewed interest in their history. In 2004, they were heavily involved in the city’s Sesquicentennial celebration. Various committees use it as a source of information and inspiration, and she continues to contribute to the texture of their growing intergenerational community. Trudy Travis truly embodies the essence of the Betty Gorshe Heritage Award.