Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award

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

Phyllis Dickinson Fairman
Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

At Minnesota Valley UU Fellowship Phyllis Fairman does and sees the little things that make her church a warm, welcoming and cared for place. She is a reliable organizer of the Sunday coffee hour as well as the entire church kitchen. She is there to set up and the put away things. She visits shut-ins. She also always helps with rummage sales and auctions. She and her husband George have been active UUs since 1955. In 1992 Phyllis volunteered her services to the PSD office and she still does. She served on the planning committee for the Minneapolis meeting to the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation. She arranges the PSD hospitality suites at GA. She champions many liberal causes in the greater community. She does the little things and she also does the big things that are important to Unitarian Universalism.

Herb and Virginia Purdy
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis

In their five decades of service to First Unitarian Society Herb and Virginia Purdy have been active in the RE program. Former students remember them fondly. Herb has been member of the Endowment Fund and was church treasurer. He has also spent a good deal of time with the boiler. Virginia was a member of the choir for thirty-five years. Recently they have volunteered in the church office. Together they have been the lively, inspiring force in the resurrection of Camp Unistar. They have led work camps for decades thus contributing to the comfort of camp guests. Herb and Virginia have given many years of dedicated service to the First Unitarian Society and the Prairie Star District, always working behind the scenes, taking care of the many small details that keep the organizations running smoothly. The have truly been Unsung Heroes.

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

John Rutenbeck
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Burlington

Every congregation needs a quiet, consistent, reliable leader. For the past twenty years, John Rutenbeck has been that person for the Burlington Fellowship. He has been the Board President for two years, headed up the pledge drive, served three terms on the council, twice as secretary. He has also chaired the Long Range Planning Committee, wrote two grant proposals to the Prairie Star District and chaired the Membership Committee. He was on the Interim Minister Search Committee. He is presently on the Settled Search Negotiating Team and the Congregational Communication Committee. In his community he lives his UU principles through the local chapter of the United Nations Association and The Friends of the Library. His dependable leadership has helped to maintain a liberal religious presence in Southeast Iowa.

Calvin and Eloise Eland
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Eau Claire

Calvin and Eloise have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to liberal religious principles. Since 1958 they have been actively involved in four different Unitarian Universalist churches Currently Calvin is the Chair of the Social Responsibility Committee, organizes and recruits speakers for the summer forum series, teaches 4th & 5th grade RE and co-teaches an adult RE class. Meanwhile, Eloise produces weekly UU Social Responsibility Programs aired on local Public Access TV, arranges numerous video programs dealing with social issues, is a member of the Caring Committee. Outside of their own church they have worked for the UUSC and Habitat for Humanity. and have been Members of a Witness for Peace delegation to Cuba. They are both active in PFLAG. Suffice it to say that they labor tirelessly for causes they believe in.

Dave and Ruth Nicklin
First Unitarian Church of Omaha

To the members of First Unitarian Church of Omaha, Dave and Ruth Nicklin are the glue that binds the past, present and future. Their contributions to the church truly exemplify all aspects of keeping the faith by action and example. They have been involved with the church for over fifty years. As the junior high teacher and later as LRY sponsors, the Nicklins nurtured a generation of Omaha UU baby boomers with a feeling of self-worth, tolerance and an openness to new ideas which they would carry for life. More recently they have been instrumental moving the congregation toward Welcoming Congregation status. They are both active in OUUT. They have also initiated the Long-Time Member profiles in the newsletter. They visit people and make phone calls. Dave has taken on the church archives. Ruth is working to revive the Women’s Alliance.

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

Mary Alice Ericson
Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist

Mary Alice Ericson’s understanding of and her ability to communicate the implications of a wide range of social issues gives her voice an authority that is highly regarded. She is a person who exemplifies the richness of a life dedicated to helping others. Her work on the yearly CROP Walk in Linn County, support of the NAACP, Sierra Club, and Allies of the Lakota, The United Nations Association and Amnesty International are but a few examples. Her special interest is in the human rights of indigenous people. She has faithfully written “Urgent Action” letters on behalf of activists for indigenous people. Mary Alice’s concern for the environment is reflected in the way she lives her life -- minimal consumerism, regular recycling, using and preserving the food she grows. As a friend once said, “Mary Alice has been and continues to be our mentor, our teacher, our conscience, and our friend.”

Gwen Englebert
White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church

Gwen Englebert’s work for social justice and for social change -- in peace, economic issues, environmental issues, human rights, civil rights, anti-racism and basic hands-on community service -- has made the world a better place. She has served on the Social Action Committee at White Bear. She has supported and advocated for use of “fair trade” coffee here and at GA. She brought the photo exhibit “Love Makes a Family” to the Twin Cities and she was a founding member of “People of Faith Allies” an advocate group for GLBT people within and beyond communities of faith. Gwen worked to bring an emergency shelter into her community. She helped to renovate and establish Hope House, a residence for people living with AIDS in Stillwater. She helped to start the UU Social Justice Network in the metro area. She provides regular respite care in her home. Gwen Englebert is a person who is hopeful and positive.

O. Eugene Pickett Award

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

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Kansas City, MO

There are many ways in which a church can grow. It can grow in numbers. It can mature as a congregation in understanding and application of faith. 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. Since 1997 All Souls has grown in all these ways. Members of their congregation are active in the PSD and UUSC. They have sponsored and nurtured a new congregation and been instrumental in establishing Regional Gatherings in the southern part of PSD. They have partnered with Ward Chapel AME Church. And not surprisingly they have grown in number. These are but a few of the many things this congregation has done to extend Unitarian Universalism at the edge of the Bible Belt.

Ellie Morton Award

for outstanding work in religious education

Kathy Bowman
Unitarian Church, Davenport


Peter D'Ascoli
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis