Slate of Candidates for Election in June 2022 to fill Elected Committee Positions
(Submitted by the Nominating Committee, April 2022)
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Brian Lasher (2025) (takes position vacated by Catherine Onyemelukwe)
Brian has been a part of the TUCW community since 2008. He chaired the TUCW Endowment Committee from 2014 to 2019, volunteered in the RE and Music programs, and is a member of the A Better Man group. Since 2016, Brian has been serving on the national investment committee of the Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund (UUCEF), a long-time leader in socially responsible investing. This fund holds the assets of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) endowment and assets of UUA congregations, including TUCW’s, and has a goal of providing for long-term growth while investing in line with UU values. Brian is currently Head of Investment Strategy and a Lead Advisor at CIG Capital Advisors (CIG) which provides successful entrepreneurs and senior executives with wealth management and business advisory services. He lives in Wilton with his wife Miki and teenage daughters Aki and Miya.
Stapley Emberling (2025) (Completes 1st Term June 2022; will stand for 2nd Term)
Stapley joined the congregation in 1996, with her husband, David, and their two children, then in pre-school, Ryan and Rachel. She spent 10 years teaching downstairs on Sundays in what was then the RE program. She was chair of the Membership Committee for 4 years, while it was a lay-led committee, and has been active in Small Group Ministry, the Non-Violent Communications practice group, the Addictions Recovery Ministry (ARM), the #MeToo Taskforce and the Gender Equity Team (GET), Ushering, the Camp Jewell Committee, and has been a Pastoral Care Chaplain since the program was first implemented, among other church activities.
Wendy Levi (2025) (Completes 1st Term June 2022; will stand for 2nd Term)
Wendy Levy began attending TUCW and teaching RE when her two sons were young in 1999. She sings with the Special Projects and Chamber Choirs; has been part of a small group ministry; served on the Intern Committee; and currently chairs the Safer Congregations Committee. She helped develop the Immigration Community Support Network (ICSN), within the Immigration and Refugee Committee. She is on the Advisory Board of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Stamford/Norwalk, and a member of the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force. Born and raised in Brazil, she works as a clinical and forensic psychologist in Westport, and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.
COMMITTEE ON MINISTRY
Joanne Orenstein (2027) (takes position vacated by Chuck Harrington)
Joanne Orenstein has been coming to the UU Church for 24 years. She and her husband initially came to insert some meaning into Christmas for their kids, and a few months later, they were hooked. Along the way, she has taught RE (briefly), been an usher, a Worship Associate, and most recently a member of the UU Players. She participates in a Soul Matters group. TUCW is a place that has become much more than a spiritual home, it is a focus of her week.
Joanne is the Health and Wellness Coordinator of the Lakewood-Trumbull Y, where she has worked for 21 years. In Trumbull, she has served on various boards and commissions, and was on Town Council for two years, from December ‘19 to ‘21. (She plans to run again next year.)
She has been married for 39 years to Jay, who she met while in high school. She graduated from the Stern School of Business at NYU, also the School of Visual Arts and the Helix Institute for Psychotherapy. They have three grown children, two dogs and 2 cats. She likes to garden, do word puzzles and take ballet.
Julyen Norman (2024) (takes position vacated by Eileen O’Reilly)
Julyen and his wife Cathy Paine have been members since 2015, after attending services during the previous year. His professional background includes executive positions in the non-profit arts world, and subsequently a variety of independent culinary enterprises. The latter drew him to TUCW’s social outreach program focused on the issue of food insecurity in low-income communities. He served on the board of Food Access Coalition, helping to establish seasonal farmers’ markets in several Norwalk neighborhoods. He designed the organization’s web site and print brochures.
Julyen revived the tradition of providing soup sales after Sunday services to raise funds for TUCW’s Social Justice programs; and has provided catering services for memorial services and special celebrations, fundraising recognition evenings and events welcoming new members to the congregation. He helped launch a TUCW community-building effort designed to encourage deeper connections among congregants by providing refreshments after services (currently mothballed due to COVID).
He coordinated an “Ethnic Eats” event in support of Ethiopian and Eritrean women clients of the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI). As a member of TUCW’s Immigration & Refugee Committee he helps in the resettlement of refugees arriving in Bridgeport (and now New Haven) through repairing and furnishing apartments; he is “quartermaster” for the TUCW team, sourcing and purchasing household supplies. Julyen also is part of the committee’s volunteer team providing a twice-annual community dinner event for Building One Community (B1C), a Stamford-based immigrant support organization.
He has volunteered in the Beardsley School committee’s “Read Aloud” day and enjoyed a special day helping to build new raised bed gardens in the school grounds. An avid gardener, he has also volunteered at Bridgeport Community Garden, both during fall clean-up and as a barbeque chef for their annual fundraising day.
Julyen served on the steering committee for TUCW’s first online Auction in 2021, editing and uploading hundreds of digital images of auction offerings to the web site, and co-hosted the event with Tom Croarkin.
From 2015 to 2019 he served on the Board of Trustees of the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk.
Julyen sings with both the Once & Again Singers and the Men’s/Women’s Choirs.
Tom Hearne (2027) (takes position vacated by Tom Comer)
Tom Hearne has been a part of the UU Westport community since 2006. He has been active in many aspects of church life: singing (three choirs), the Chaplain ministry (with a leadership role since inception), Voices Café (among the co-founders and still on the committee), and participation and leadership in Small Group Ministry, including the Inspiration Committee, which created the monthly topics each month. Tom has also served on two elected committees: the Committee on Ministry and the Nominating Committee.
Tom’s professional background includes 20 years as a senior officer in Investment Banking (Corporate Finance), specializing in the health care industry. Tom left the financial industry in 2000 and worked for 10 years in executive coaching and team building. Today he helps clients navigate the confusing world of health insurance and Medicare coverage.
Tom lives in West Redding. In nice weather he can be seen driving his 1929 Model A touring car “Phae”. In all weather he enjoys hiking and sea kayaking.
Eileen Belmont (2024) (takes position vacated by Lynne Laukhof)
Eileen Belmont first started coming to our congregation in November 2017 and became a member a few months later. She actively participates in this community on several fronts: She serves as a Visiting Steward, a Sunday morning usher, and can be found hosting Let’s Connect Getting-to-Know-You gatherings for newcomers as part of the Membership Team. She coordinates the monthly Friday Potluck Dinners for TUCW Women. After these potluck dinners were put on ‘pandemic pause’ she hosted Food for the Soul via Zoom… an effort to keep Potluck enthusiasm alive. Eileen has participated in the Eliminating Racism group, the Beloved Conversations program, and was an enthusiastic member of a Small Group Ministry. She took the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) a tool that measures intercultural competency, and participated in our Building One Community program by serving dinners at the B1C Community Center in Stamford. Eileen has facilitated Brown Bag Lunch programs in the Meeting House after the Sunday service, and participated in our intergenerational Mystery Pen Pal activity.
Eileen hails from Philadelphia… growing up, then raising her 3 daughters in the northern suburbs of Elkins Park and Rydal. She moved across town to the Main Line before relocating to CT about 9 years ago. Her daughters, sons-in-law, and 5 grand-kiddos have settled in Scituate MA, Montclair, NJ, and London Ontario.
Cathy McElroy (2024) (takes position vacated by Tom Croarkin)
Cathy McElroy and her family have been attending TUCW for about 12 years. She has taught RE and Coming of Age, in addition to driving to and chaperoning Youth Group cons throughout the tri-state area. She has been the chair of the Camp Jewell Multi-Generational Weekend for several retreats. Several of our community Barn Dances have been coordinated by Cathy. Most recently she coordinated a Fall Fun Fest with live music and some art activities. Cathy has also been known to pitch in for the late shift, cleaning up after Voices Cafe.
Cathy is a full time art teacher at Westover Magnet Elementary School in Stamford. Prior to teaching art she was an elementary school teacher with experience in pre-school, second and third grade. She is trained in Responsive Classroom and is constantly seeking means to build community in any setting. Her current passion is learning to be a TAB Art Educator. TAB stands for Teaching Artistic Behavior. This approach involves trusting students to stretch and explore materials and world art as a means to develop behaviors that contribute to persistence, individuality, communication skills, and creativity. The habits they learn transfer to all academic areas, but most importantly allow students to express themselves, rather than creating cookie-cutter art projects that the teacher has designed. Cathy feels this approach dovetails nicely with the Seven Principles of the UUA. She feels honored to be selected to the Nominating Committee and looks forward to the opportunity to work with the team.