Our Minister and Staff
Director of Religious Education
Monica has been a member of the fellowship for several years and is familiar with many aspects of UU congregational life, including the religious education program.
Monica brings to this position her passion, wit, and experience as a parent and RE volunteer. She is a trained facilitator for the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality curriculum. Monica has had a lot of experience with children since the age of 10 when she took her first babysitting class. She has volunteered and worked in multiple classrooms in churches and in schools. Monica has worked as a paraprofessional in public schools and she trained as a substitute teacher.
Monica is currently a college student, studying Business Management. She will have two associates degrees by fall. Afterwards, she will continue pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Business Management, which she is slated to accomplish by Fall 2023.
Monica lives in Freeland with her husband, Scott, and their three children. When she’s not at work or working on schoolwork, Monica likes cooking, hiking, camping, traveling, gardening, and taking care of her small farm (which right now consists of chickens, honeybees, and lots of household pets). She also has a passion for photography and will take pictures for friends and families. Monica has volunteered at the Shelterhouse, Humane Society, various Pride events, cancer events, Midland Blooms, and many more. Monica looks forward to helping the religious education program continue to grow and be a place of love and support for children.
Andrew started with the group as a baritone in 2012, and took over direction of the UUFoM choir in 2015. When not directing our choir, Andrew is a music instructor for the elementary schools in the Bangor Township (Michigan) School District. He spends his days singing, playing ukulele, and creating music with students in K-5th grade, and has been a band director, choir director, and general music teacher in one way or another for over 20 years. Blessed with two children, both active in choir and other activities, and a wonderful wife’s love of singing along to musicals, he enjoys a life of music.
Originally from just north of Flint, MI, Andrew and his family moved to Midland in 2011.
Nursery Care Provider
Melanie has served as accompanist at UUFoM since October 2002, with a two-year hiatus in 2016 and 2017. In 2011 Melanie received a call to music ministry and returned to school to study music (piano performance, organ study, music ministry). She received her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Saginaw Valley State University in 2014.
Melanie was the recipient of the SVSU Distinctive Music Program, UUA Musicians Network, and the Saginaw Valley Organist Guild scholarships, and completed one year of the Unitarian Universalist Music Leadership Certification Program (2015).
Melanie loves music ministry and embraces her gifts and talents to enrich worship using diverse musical genres and instrumentation. Mindful of the power of messages in music and the transformational power of sound, Melanie draws from her extensive music library and online music resources to support and enhance worship services with music selections that are moving and thought provoking; insightful and profound; passionate and inspirational; joyful and light-hearted; simple and clear; tender and loving; and humorous and playful.
Melanie attended UUFoM as a child in the 1960s and returned with her two daughters, Charley Ellen and Julia Frances, in 1994. As a UUFoM member, before and while acting as accompanist, she served as RE Team chair, member and teacher. She served on membership, memorial garden, and aesthetics teams and the communication task force. She also wrote two endowment grants and served on two ministerial transition teams.
Melanie has studied Unitarian Universalism, Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism and Yoga, and completed her 200-hour Yoga Teachers Training certificate in 2019. Melanie has a daily spiritual practice of reading, meditation and prayer, and a regular yoga practice, which foster her spiritual growth and contribute to the strength of her music ministry.
Melanie’s decades of experience in children’s and teenage musicals and theater, and years of volunteer work in local community television and community music groups, have provided valuable knowledge and skill for her work in music ministry, worship coordination, and her contributions to developing virtual and multi-platform services.
Melanie serves in her position as a paid professional in selecting music, performing for Sunday services, practicing her music, developing her musicianship and accompanying the choir when they are actively performing. She also collaborates and meets regularly with the minister and staff regarding worship and administrative matters. In addition, she devotes many hours each week as a volunteer in serving as ex officio staff member of the Worship Team, coordinating and rehearsing for services, collaborating with other musicians as head of the newly formed Music Team, and working with the Tech, Worship and Music Teams to continue to draw vision and work on long term planning for multiplatform worship services.
Melanie works full time as a legal assistant at Poznak Dyer Kanar Schefsky Thompson in Midland. Her career in the legal field spans over 35 years. An outdoor enthusiast and naturalist, Melanie loves gardening and hiking and spending time outdoors. She is devoted to her daughters and spends time with them and son-in-law Gurhari when she can in their respective homes in Ithaca, New York; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Orlando, Florida.
Phone: (989) 750-3809