About Us

and then some

Our Mission

With courageous love and a sense of wonder,
we cultivate our spiritual, emotional, and intellectual strength
to create a world more compassionate, sustainable, and just.

Our Minister

MINISTER VIDEO HERE SOON

Rev Kevin Tarsa

To reach Rev. Kevin by phone:
530-274-1661

To reach Rev. Kevin by email:
minister@uugrassvalley.org

The UU Community of the Mountains welcomed Reverend Kevin Tarsa in August 2016 as its second settled minister.

Rev. Kevin arrived in Grass Valley and parish ministry after a lifelong vocation in church music and 26 years of music ministry in Unitarian Universalist congregations. He is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School and a recipient of the school’s Faculty Prize for Religious Leadership. Prior to his call to ministry here, Rev. Kevin served as an Interim Minister in Beaufort, South Carolina; an Interim Minister of Music in Lansing, Michigan; an Intern Minister in Wayland, Massachusetts; and a longtime Minister of Music in Traverse City, Michigan.

Reverend Kevin identifies as a religious naturalist, explaining that he is a non-theist who believes that we are thoroughly human beings in an awe-inspiring and entirely natural universe, and that we are called by “life’s longing for itself” to live in ways that strengthen at the same time both our individual and our collective well-being. “Religion helps us to navigate the intersection of ‘I’ and ‘we’ to the benefit of all,” he says, calling us ever to our most whole and integrated selves. “Love is the symbol I use for the work at hand. We are called continually to figure out together what love asks of us now, in this moment and in this place.”

Rev. Kevin is a gay man, the second oldest of eight children from a devoutly Catholic and close-knit Michigan family. He is fed and energized by creative and artistic endeavors of many sorts. He finds special joy in meaningful interactions, group synergy, shared music making, and making and sending thoughtful cards to people. He is grounded by gardening, cooking, hiking, biking, swimming, and snowshoeing, and his eyes can never take in enough of the electric blue sky at mid-dusk, the deep hues of Lake Michigan, the brilliant greens of a spring woodland, or the dynamic edges and rhythms of the Yuba River.

Our Staff

Carol Fulkerson, Office Manager
admin@uugrassvalley.org

Mary Lindsay, Minister’s Assistant – Communications Coordinator

communications@uugrassvalley.org

photo of Mary Lindsay, with playful face

Mary comes to us having lived the past 9 years in Nashville, TN. She has years of experience in church and nonprofit management. Growing up in the Kansas City, MO, area, Mary attended and worked for Unity Churches. She held the position of Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries in Kansas City and Houston before finding her way to Nashville, where she became the Operations and Administration Manager for the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville from 2015 to 2021. 

In the nonprofit industry Mary has worked with various organizations serving children and youth. She has had great success in growing membership, structural organization, event and program planning, marketing and fundraising.  

Mary has just relocated to Nevada City where she will be the property manager for GratiDude Ranch. In her free time, Mary loves to play games (Bunco or Canasta anyone?) and turn on the southern charm by playing the character ‘Sissy White’ in Hillbilly Clue (HillbillyClue.com), an interactive live version of Clue with a Hillbilly twist. She is excited to join the team of the Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains.

Religious Education Team
FamilyMinistry@uugrassvalley.org

Jordan Thomas-Rose, Director of Music

music@uugrassvalley.org

Stay tuned. We are about to hire…

Our Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of this Community, consisting of seven members elected by UUCM’s members. Their mission is to provide the leadership to make the UUCM’s mission a reality for our religious community.

About the Board

The UUCM Board of Trustees is the governing body of this community. It governs primarily by discerning the Mission, planning for the future, and providing oversight of compliance with the Articles of Incorporation, UUCM bylaws, UUCM policies, and all legal requirements. The Board monitors and safeguards human and material resources of the Community and governs through written policies. The Board maintains final oversight of the operations of the church.

The Board oversees and creates committees to assist it in its work.

Wondering what individual Board members do? Read the Job Descriptions for President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Member At Large.

Board Meetings

The trustees meet monthly, almost always on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 10:30.

All UUCM members receive a meeting notice and agenda and are welcome to attend. Contact UUCM’s Board Secretary, René Wiley, at Secretary@uugrassvalley.org if you are looking for the Zoom link.

pam kisor

My husband, Gary, and I moved to Auburn from SoCal five years ago. We relocated to be close to our daughter’s family and have fallen in love with the beautiful Sierra Nevada area. We began attending UU this past fall and quickly decided it was the place for us. We are quite new members of UU, having just joined in February.

My career was in education, having served as the administrator of a large university child development and education program, and as a faculty member teaching courses in early childhood education and administrative leadership. I also served for several years on the executive boards of both state and national education organizations. And I am currently on the Finance Committee for Lake of the Pines, where we live. These experiences have given me an appreciation for the important role boards serve in organizations. However, this will be my first experience with a UU board, and I look forward to learning and growing in this new role.

I feel honored to have been asked to serve and hope that I prove to be a helpful member of this wonderful community.

I was first introduced to the Unitarian Church in Ann Arbor Michigan in 1960, by my soon-to-be husband, Robert, and have attended UU churches ever since. Attendance was fairly casual during my years working as a corporate lawyer, but once I approached retirement, I became more involved. We attended churches in Canoga Park, California; in Bethesda, Maryland; Oakton, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Oakland, California; and now Grass Valley. In Charleston, I was President of the Vestry, as the governing board was known, and lead the church into a capital campaign to preserve our 227-year-old building. We promptly moved to Berkeley, California, where I became Treasurer of the Unitarian Church of Oakland, and Treasurer of the Board, Chair of the Building Committee, and Treasurer of the campaign that allowed us to do a major earthquake retrofit of our building.

Robert and I along with our son, Brian, and son-in-law, Jack, bought a house in Cascade Shores in 2009, as our family’s second home. I love swimming in Scotts Flat Lake, and summer in Berkeley was just too cold. During those years, we attended UUCM occasionally. We all moved up here in 2018, permanently. Robert is in memory care at Eskaton, and I live in a house just down the street. I started attending UUCM weekly in November 2019 and became a member in February 2020, just in time to participate in a few events and get involved with the Finance and Governance Committees before everything shut down.

I’m looking forward to deepening my involvement through working on your Board, and lending my time and talents as I am able.

bob packard

Our new Treasurer, Bob Packard, is retired from a career as an engineer at Northrop Grumman, and before that, the US Marine Corps. He has been a member of UUCM since the fall of 2016 and has led the Finance Committee for the last three years. He first became acquainted with UU and became a member of the Solana Beach, CA church in 2006, after regular attendance at churches of Protestant denominations. He says the honesty, the atmosphere, and the people at UUCM were just what he was searching for. Here in Grass Valley, he has also been active in Move to Amend and in the healthcare reform movement. Bob and his wife, Karyn, live in the Lake Wildwood community.

rene wiley

Five years ago, Steve and I made a decision to raise our family belonging to this community as a way to support our individual journeys of faith and focus on meaning and joy. I’ve found the community at UUCM to be a vital resource of friendship, inspiration, and faith in humanity and it’s in the resilient human spirit.

My spiritual growth at UUCM began when I joined some of the efforts and the projects that serve the congregation. I believe that one of the best things one can do is to join a Saturday work party with Building and Grounds! I was also glad to be recruited to help create a successful process to renew the UUCM Mission Statement a few years ago. Since then, watching the church grow and serve the larger Nevada County community with exciting Religious Education programs, including Our Whole Lives, and the many social justice causes has brought me both joy and fulfillment. I am proud to align myself with the Unitarian Universalism Association’s goal to put anti-oppression and anti-racism at the center of the UU tradition. I will continue to hold the vision of bringing Unitarian Universalism into the future with more love and more equity.

Cheerfully serving as Secretary of the Board of Trustees, I promise to work with grace and humility to help achieve the Board’s goals and serve our UUCM Mission.

janet dunstan

I have been a member of UUCM since 2011 and have served on the Board of Trustees as President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Trustee-at-Large. My previous experience includes various positions on other boards and ministerial search committees for Christian congregations. My career experience includes call center management, computer programming, bookkeeping, and office management.

My husband, George, and I moved to Nevada County in 2000. Our five acres, two cats, excursions in our camper, and dedication to UUCM keep us busy.

While taking a few years off from Board responsibilities, I worked with the Governance Task Force to explore changes we might make to support our mission and growing congregation. I joined the Board again in 2019 as Trustee-at-Large to assist in the transition to our new governing structure.

During the last nine years, it has been my pleasure to work side by side with some very dedicated UU people. I have learned a great deal from them and learned a great deal about myself in the process. I look forward to spending time this next year getting to know the new members on our Board and serving UUCM.

Taylor Carey (a past president of UUCM) is serving the remainder of Sharon Walters’ term as a Member at Large.

The remaining Board position is currently open and will be filled in the next annual election to take place in May.

Wondering what a Trustee at Large does? Here’s the Trustee at Large Job Description.

Governance and Ministry

The Board and the Minister

At UUCM, the Board holds responsibility for governance, and the Minister holds responsibility for ministry.

The Board of Trustees governs primarily by discerning the Mission, planning for the future, and providing oversight of compliance with the Articles of Incorporation, UUCM bylaws, UUCM policies, and all legal requirements. The Board monitors and safeguards human and material resources of the Community and governs through written policies. The Board oversees and creates committees to assist it in its work.

The Board delegates its authority to manage the day to day work and resources of Ministry Programs to the Minister as Head of Staff, except as expressly limited by UUCM Bylaws and current policies. In collaboration with the Ministry Council, made up of representatives from each of the Ministry Teams, the Minister manages the work of UUCM Ministry Teams to carry out the ministry programs of the Community in service of the Mission. The Minister is accountable to the Board for the performance of the ministry teams and for fulfilling the Annual Ministry Goals.

Committees and Teams

Board Committees exist to help the Board govern, are under the direction of the Board and are accountable to the Board for their performance. Committees investigate, write reports, make recommendations, and gather information that allows the Board to make practical and prudent decisions for the Community. The Board writes and maintains Committee Charters and assists the Committees in establishing goals that support the Board’s objectives.

Ministry Teams exist to carry out the ministry programs of the Community in service of the Mission. Teams are created, charged, supervised, dissolved by and accountable to the Minister, in consultation with the Ministry Council. Team leaders must be voting members of the Community.

Committees and Teams are the lifeblood of UUCM. These are groups of dedicated individuals who carry out the shared ministry of this Community, offering opportunities to serve, to connect to others, to grow, and to offer one’s skills and gifts.

Members Hold the Keys

In our tradition and in our congregation, members hold ultimate decision making authority through their ability to define bylaws, elect Board members, call or dismiss a Minister, and articulate the mission of the Community. Through the bylaws, the members delegate day-to-day decision-making responsibility and authority to the Board (Governance) and, by the Board’s delegation, the Minister (Ministry).

UUCM Bylaws Because some people like to know these things! And, because it’s where the buck stops when we really get into the weeds.

Read about UUCM’s Mission Focused Governing Structure for the full scoop.