Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award

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

Linda Horton
First Unitarian Universalist Church, Rochester, MN

Linda Horton has served in capacities large and small, in the local congregation, in PSD and the UUA, including transcribing the entire UU Hymnal into Braille. The list of her contributions is extensive. Her life embodies principles of Unitarian Universalism, in her work as teacher, advocate, and national leader for the vision impaired, and in her private actions to support social justice and diversity. She is the first person the church turns to in times of crisis. She has been willing to step in where the need is greatest. She has provided critical leadership during times of transition, maintaining the larger view, and imparting a vision of how things can work. As a leader she has never sought recognition for herself, but looks to empower others to play larger roles.

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

Newton D. Smith
White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi, MN

The story of the loaves and the fishes can describe the incalculable contribution Newton “Dee” Smith has made to the growing White Bear UU Church. He took a simple idea, sharing his love for baking, and made it into an integral part of the social structure of the church. He started an after service “Bread and Soup” gathering and a monthly breakfast in 1979. It has continued in some form to this day. The church has grown dramatically in the past ten years but because of his efforts in food hospitality it has maintained much of the intimacy of a smaller congregation. He has also been active in adult and child religious education for many years. He works to keep the history and traditions of Unitarian Universalism alive at White Bear thus feeding both the minds and the bodies of the people at White Bear UU Church.

Linda Lucero
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, KS

Linda Lucero is a living witness to Unitarian Universalist principles. At UUFT she has been the children’s RE Director, “Dinners for Eight” chair, member of the board (several times), member of the Pastoral Care, Membership, Social Justice, Search Committee, Committee on Ministry and a nursery helper. In the greater Topeka community she has been on the board of the Topeka Day Care Association, Treasurer of the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice, delivered Meals on Wheels and was “volunteer of the year” for Mother to Mother, a mentoring program for low income single mothers. In her professional life she has worked for Head Start and as a nurse at a free clinic. With no fanfare and a disarming laugh she lives and practices UU principles in her daily life, enriching all who cross her path.

Mary and Jay Hermann
Unitarian Universalist Society of River Falls, WI

Mary and Jay Hermann exhibit the essence of Unitarian Universalism in action. They both work for the betterment of their congregation and the society at large. Who makes sure that the bulletin is ready each Sunday, and that the speaker is booked for each Sunday, and that the congregational bills are paid, keeps track of the pledges and other funds? Who regularly transports frail, elderly members to services and other community events? Who does whatever needs to be done at UUSRF? Mary and Jay Hermann, that’s who! Mary and Jay are the open heart and tender soul of UUSRF. They have shown by example that commitment to and regular caring involvement creates a welcoming spiritual home where all can be an integral part of the larger universe of humankind.

Linda Thompson
Blue Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

In small congregations there are often a few individuals without whom the congregation would not exist. For Blue Hills UU Fellowship Linda Thompson is such an individual. Linda was involved with the creation of the fellowship and with finding a building for them. She is currently on the board and chair of the building committee. She frequently leads Sunday services and adult discussions. She is willing to help with anything that needs to be done for the fellowship. She had served in any and every thinkable position in the church. In her community she has served on the school board for nine years, and been active in the League of Women Voters and Habitat for Humanity. In the generous and civic minded way that she leads her life, Linda Thompson promotes Unitarian Universalist principles.

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

Adult Award

Mark Larson
Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, KS

As a boy Mark Larson worked on food drives for the Methodist Children’s Home in his hometown. During the 1950s he participated in a project to test restaurants for racial discrimination and was active in working to integrate a local swimming pool. In the intervening years he has accompanied a truckload of donations to a village in El Salvador, been a member of the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, participated in peace vigils, volunteered as a handyman for the elderly, has been active in the Lawrence Living Wage Alliance. As a member of the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence Social Concerns Committee he coordinated the fellowship involvement with the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen, manned letter writing tables, and many, many other projects. He is a fine example of a life spent living one’s convictions.

O. Eugene Pickett Award

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

White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi, MN

There are many ways in which a church can grow. It can grow in numbers. It can grow organically by improving physical and organizational infrastructure. And it can grow by reaching out to the larger community and making a positive impact. White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church has grown in all these ways. It has sponsored and given financial support to a new fellowship. The church has made an intentional effort to be a credible and steady partner to the Mahtomedi School District. The church has established the “9-11 Memorial Scholarship Fund” which has provided gifts totaling $30,000 to date.They have prioritized youth programming, web site design, and will be expanding the building and staff. It has made an effort to improve its public profiles in the print and broadcast media. Because of these efforts it has grown in numbers as well.

President’s Award

for Service and Leadership on behalf of Prairie Star District

Martha Easter-Wells
Unitarian Church, Davenport, IA

This President’s Award is given in grateful appreciation for helping to create the “Friends of Prairie Star District.” Thank you for your dedication and contribution at the district level to our liberal faith.

Ellie Morton Award

for outstanding work in religious education

Sara Sautter
Shawnee Mission UU Church, Overland Park, KS


RE Volunteer of the Year Award

for volunteers who make a big difference in their RE programs

Sue Grosse-Macemon
Pilgrim House UU Fellowship, Arden Hills, MN