2020 Speakers

All Together Now!

Vandy Leigh

Soul Collage

SoulCollage® is a fun path to self- discovery through collage making. No artistic
background is necessary just the curiosity to try something new and make a
beautiful deck of personal discovery cards. The only supplies you are asked to
bring with you are 5 magazines to share that can be cut up. The best choices are
magazines with vibrant pictures. Often, we see printed images that appeal to us in
magazines, calendars, greeting cards or on the internet. SoulCollage® helps each
individual find the deeper meaning these images speak to within their psyche.
There is no “right” way to create SoulCollage® cards. First, you learn to trust your
intuition to choose the images or as many card-makers have learned, let the
images choose you. Next, your intuition works with your imagination to put
images together on a card that “speaks to you.” As you create cards you meet
different parts of yourself. Some parts are old friends, others may be
“challengers.” Some parts may be completely new to you, the SoulCollage®
process allows introductions to take place. The SoulCollage® process often feels
magical and there is no better place to make cards and build your community than
on Star Island. Vandy Leigh your trained SoulCollage® facilitator will be your guide
through this exciting process.

Vandy Leigh is a Teaching Artist and Storyteller. She holds a M.Ed. in integrated
arts from Lesley University. She teaches students of all ages from pre-school
through all of adulthood. Vandy is passionate about building people’s creative self-
esteem through the exploration of art. In addition to visual arts, Vandy is a
professional storyteller of over 22 years, specializing in Spooky, Wisdom, and
Folktales. Vandy is a trained SoulCollage® facilitator and leads these magical
workshops and open card-making sessions at Creative Community Space, her
recently opened art center in New Hampshire. www.CreativeCommunitySpace.com

Rev. Evin Carvill Ziemer

Towards A Trauma Informed Family Ministry

  One professional competence goal for religious professionals should be being trauma informed. This workshop will combine a basic introduction to newer understandings of the impacts of trauma on the nervous system with experiential exploration of how these insights can use helpful to us as religious professionals for the resiliency of our own nervous systems and in the work we do. From a somatic and nervous system perspective, trauma is not the event, trauma is the unresolved traumatic stress stored in our bodies and nervous system. As helping professionals, the health of our nervous systems is part of what we bring to our ministry. We are impacted by traumatic stress of our own lives, the current context, and secondary trauma from accompanying others through their own traumas. Leave with new understandings of neuro-biology and new directions for your personal and professional growth. The content will come from my sabbatical study. Important: This will be peer learning not therapist led. I expect participants with traumatic histories. However, this is not a workshop to begin your trauma processing nor for those survivors in an intensive period of processing past trauma. If you have questions about the content and the potential impact for you, please reach out to me with questions (eziemer@uua.org)
Evin Carvill Ziemer is a UU minister and UUA Congregational Life Staff serving the Central East Region. One of the threads of their call to ministry is supporting healing and wholeness. They are using their upcoming sabbatical to consolidate learning they’ve been doing for more than a decade personally as a trauma survivor, in foster parenting, and in the secondary trauma that is part of ministry.

Rev Karen Hutt

"Revisiting Our Stories for The First Time"

"Revisiting Our Stories for the First Time"
Using narrative theory and socio-anthropological constructs from
the humanities, we will explore our life stories through
spoken word, social play, writing, role play and artistic expressions.
This is a good workshop for a life review or discerning a new path.

Rev. Karen Hutt, a UU minister and chaplain, is vice president for student formation, vocation and innovation at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities . She co-founded and co-pastored a dual-affiliated United Church of Christ/UU church in Chicago and is editor of The Call to Care: Essays by Unitarian Universalist Chaplains.  Read Rev Hutt's  https://blog.unitedseminary.edu/the-canvas/creating-culture-together   about "Creating Culture Together".  

Laura Beth Brown

"The Need to Balance Doing With Being!

In a culture that values productivity as self-worth, how do we give ourselves permission to simply be? In this workshop, we will use the tools of journaling, meditation, chanting, and yoga, to explore what is hiding behind being busy--fear, scarcity, a feeling of unworthiness--and learn how to care for ourselves in ways that feel personal, organic, and not just another thing on the “To Do” list. Ultimately, we want to move away from the anxiety that taking a break from our responsibilities can cause and toward the joy that self-love brings. In doing this, we actually find it easier to be effective in our daily lives.

Laura Beth Brown is thrilled to return to Star Island Lifespan Religious Education week!  As a former Dean of the conference, she has great affection and respect for her fellow colleagues and is grateful to once again contribute in a different capacity. Laura Beth is currently the Director of Family Ministry at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit, NJ and previously served congregations in Manhattan and Long Island in her nearly 18 years as a professional religious educator.

When she is not “in the office,” Laura Beth is “on the mat.” Laura Beth has been a yoga enthusiast for two decades and has taught yoga in studios and medical settings for seven years. Whether in a vinyasa-based class or therapeutic private session, she creates an atmosphere of a journey guiding students toward self-awareness. She emphasizes the spiritual aspects of yoga along with the physical, weaving in yogic philosophy. Laura Beth is also a certified Off the Mat facilitator, helping students discover their calling in making their communities and world more fair and just. A child-at-heart with a love to laugh, she includes an element of play whenever possible! With a background as a professional singer and performer, Laura Beth also enjoys incorporating kirtan (call and response singing) and a wide-range of music into her teachings. Learn more at laurabethbrown.com.


Rev. Ashley Horan

Living Your Faith in the World

Living Your Faith in the World: an exploration of the intersection of daily practice and social justice. In this time of social and political upheaval, we are called to live our faith every day on social media, in the workplace, with our families, in line at the grocery store--as well as showing up for explicit social justice work in the world. How do we do this in a sustainable, effective, and spiritually grounded way?
Rev. Ashley Horan is the Organizing Strategy Director of the UUA, where she works with a team of faithful organizers and movement builders to shape the justice work of Unitarian Universalism to be spiritually grounded and politically effective. Prior to this role, Ashley served for five years as the Executive Director of MUUSJA – the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance, and for seven years as core staff with the Beloved Conversations program. She lives in Minneapolis with her partner, Rev. Karen Hutt, and their children, Aspen and Zi.

Rev. Shari Halliday-Quan

Minister of The Week

Shari was loved into being by a large extended family in Los Angeles made up of white folks and Chinese immigrants who did not come here “the right way,” civil servants, a stunt driver, workers in the gig economy before we called it that, and so many others. Shari is the lead minister of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester and enjoys that alongside such activities as learning about new places, talking to Lyft drivers, and throwing parties. Shari’s wife Elisabeth is an opera singer and currently serves as the social events coordinator of the Halliday-Quan household. They share their home in Rochester with a big cat named Hildegard, visiting family and friends, and never enough houseplants.  

Porch Chats and Resource Room with Cathy Seggel


THE RESOURCE ROOM: Your FD conference Library
Please visit the Resource Room at the end of the Oceanic Porch to browse or explore curricula and
resources. The room is open most of the time and staffed before and after “Porch Chats.” I am happy to
consult with religious educators about our professional organization, Liberal Religious Educators
Association and how it serves our faith.

I look forward to being with you, Cathy Seggel

PORCH CHATS 2-3pm ~ All interested conferees are welcome and encouraged to ”chat”
Come to the circle of rocking chairs outside of the Resource Room at 2pm each afternoon and join
these facilitated conversations. The chats are relevant to all conferees who are Youth, Volunteer
Teachers, DREs, Parents, Committee members, Musicians, Ministers and everyone. Facilitators will be
a variety of leadership, including the minister of the week, Natalie Fenimore, LREDA and UUA leaders,
Rev., Gail Forsyth-Vail & Kirsten Hunter and others.

Cathy Seggel has been coming to Star Island LRE Week for many years, serving in a variety of roles
from Executive Dean to leading workshops. Cathy is a warm and reassuring presence to all who meet
her and an expert resource around UU faith development for children, youth and adults and shared
ministry. Cathy has served as the religious educator at First Unitarian Providence RI for over 20 years.
A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BS in Nursing, she earned her Master of Theology
degree from Harvard Divinity School. She is immediate past president of the Liberal Religious
Educators Association, the professional organization for UU religious educators. Cathy lives in
Providence with her husband, Norm. They have three children and four grandchildren.

Past Speakers

Growing Unitarian Universalists in a Changing World

Laura Beth Brown

Director of Family Ministries

Matt Meyer

National Worship Leader

Rev. Daniel Gregoire

Minister Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton

Jessica York

Faith Development Office Director

Michele Townsend Grove

Religious Education Professional

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke

Program Manager for Leadership Development