Board of Trustees and Officers

Board of Trustees & Officers 2023-2024

The Board of Trustees is the primary governing body of the congregation.  The Board is made up of 9 voting members of the congregation who serve three-year terms.  Three members roll off and three members roll on every year.  Trustees are elected by the congregation from a slate presented by the Leadership Development Committee at the Annual Meeting held on the third Sunday in May.  The Board elects its own president.  The Clerk of the Society is elected by the congregation for a one-year renewable term.  The Clerk keeps Board minutes and has additional administrative responsibilities as needed throughout the year. The Moderator of the congregation presides at congregational meetings and insures that meetings are run according to the rules set forth.  The Moderator is elected by the congregation for a one-year renewable term. The Treasurer is appointed by the Board. The Treasurer works with the board and the finance committee to insure that fiscal policy is followed.

Interested in serving First Unitarian as a Trustee?  Trustee Job Description – Revised 3/2024.

Class of 22-25

Robin Bossert (he/him) has run his own video production company for over 34 years. As a writer/director/editor, he enjoys all aspects of production working with corporate, public relations, educational and nonprofit clients.

He founded Navigators USA, in 2003, a co-ed, secular inclusive scouting movement, starting over 330 Chapters across the country, the UK, France and other countries.  Past President of the Miramar Ski Club, past hike leader for the Appalachian Mountain Club, and present Deacon at All Souls NYC, he lives in the West Village and works at his loft/office in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Beth Evans (Co-President, she/her) has been a member of First Unitarian of Brooklyn for over thirty years. She raised her four children in the congregation and is proud to see them living and practicing the UU values they learned here. She has contributed to the congregation in many ways, including building the next generation with the religious education program, celebrating half of humankind in the Women’s Leadership Alliance, knitting with the Crafting Ministry, and exploring spirituality with fellow congregants in monthly meetings with Rev. Ana. She has also served on the Leadership Development Committee, spearheaded the reorganization of the Library, and most recently worked with the Technology Team. In this role Beth has been honored to serve as one of the Zoom services hosts and is preparing to learn the streaming production side of online services. She looks forward to retirement in a few years when she knows she will be happy to contribute more and have more time for her creative writing, but in the meantime, she continues working as an academic librarian, finding time for friends and family, and looking more deeply into what it means to live a life of value.

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Cara Haft (she/her) joined First U 23 years ago and continues to be nourished by the beautiful music and spirituality of our worship services and the warmth of our community. She served a term on the congregation’s Board of Trustees from 2016-2019, and was Co-President with Patrick Gunn during that last year. Before joining the Board, Cara chaired the former Worship Committee and worked with Adam Podd to conceive of the Jazz and Pie fundraiser; helped coordinate the Community Seder for many years; taught two cohorts of Coming of Age classes; and helped out in the nursery or preschool classes when her sons, Ethan and Charlie Muller, were little. More recently, Cara served on the Committee on Ministry and Leadership Development Committee. She sings enthusiastically from the pews and joins the choir for special holiday services whenever possible, since making music with others is a special joy. A lifelong New Yorker, she is a middle-school English Language Arts teacher and lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Cara is serving a one year to fulfill the term held by Lisa Pacenza

Class of 2023-2026

Michele Ascione (she/her) has been a member of First U for just about 30 years and has been a Religious Education teacher and a member of the Religious Education Council – even serving as chair for some time – for almost all of those years. She may have even been YOUR RE teacher! She was one of the congregation’s first RE volunteers to get trained for the ground-breaking OWL curriculum for grades K-8. In addition, she has served short stints on the Nominating Committee and the Staff Interest Committee. Michele is proud to have marched and rallied with the congregation, participated in immigrant solidarity activities, coordinated activities at family retreats at Murray Grove, volunteered for UniFair, played parts in numerous Winter festivals (notably playing “The Grinch” two winters in a row), narrated a revised Purim Spiel, and performed two roles in the first congregational theater performances of Mother Wove the Morning. Originally joining in order to raise her children with an open-minded religious education, Michele has found a supportive community and an outlet for some of her talents that she has come to cherish.

Barbara Bornmann (she/her) is grateful to have found a spiritual home at the Unitarian Universalist church in 2021. As a relative newcomer, Barbara has been  active in church life and serves on the Weaving Social Justice committee, as a Lay Pastoral Counselor for the Care Committee, and as a member of the choir
enjoying great music and camaraderie of choir members. Driven by a spiritual commitment to healing through the arts, Barbara has worked for 30 years in Healthcare specializing in mental and behavioral health for persons with Developmental Disabilities,
and persons struggling with Serious Mental Illness. A former supervisor and director of therapeutic rehabilitation in hospital settings, Barbara continues to research and author articles on best practice in providing creative approaches to healing. Currently, Barbara works as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist with Correctional Health Services serving persons with serious mental illness detained on Rikers Island.

Jake Powell (Co-President, they/them) has been an active member of First Unitarian since 2018. At  First U, Jake is a contributing member of the Immigrant Solidarity Committee as well as the Queer Caucus and Young Adult Ministry. Having grown up in a United Church of Christ congregation in their hometown of Casper, WY, joining First U felt just right. In their work Jake focuses on hiring and HR for nonprofits, currently working at Bloomberg Philanthropies after stints at The Trevor Project, the 92nd Street Y, and the Perelman Performing Arts Center. Over the years Jake has also spent time volunteering with ACT UP  New York, the Ali Forney Center, and the Democratic Socialists of America. After 6 years in Cobble Hill, Jake recently moved to Flatbush with their partner. In their free time Jake enjoys reading, running, gluten-free baking, and trying to pick up Chinese.

Class of 2024-2027

Anne Calder (She/her) began attending First Unitarian in 2014, when she was seeking community and recalled her grandparents’ commitment to their Unitarian congregation. She pledged her membership in 2019, and since has been serving on the Green Team. Over the years, she has enjoyed greeting churchgoers at the door, dropping into Craft Ministry meetings, and volunteering in the kitchen when opportunities arise. Anne has her own residential interior design firm, which she’s working to grow. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, crochet and hiking.

Vicki Antonini (she/her) began attending First Unitarian in November of 2017 when she was looking for a spiritual home after the US Presidential Election result. She has been a lifelong Unitarian Universalist in spirit but didn’t realize there was a name for what she believed until she heard about it in 2016. She signed the membership book in the spring of 2018 and is honored to serve as a Trustee for the place that has been such a source of comfort and affirmation in the last six years. During her time at First Unitarian she has volunteered for UniFair, Folk and Feast (formerly known as Jazz and Pie), various fundraisers including our recent fundraiser for Anera, and likes to pitch in whenever and however she can. She has enjoyed Adult Religious Education experiences including The History of Unitarian Universalism with Intern Minister Kevin Jagoe, the Shmita workshop series and varied book discussions including No Other Gods with Rev. Ana, The Artist’s Way and more, including a current Chalice Circle group. She was a member of Rev. Karen Madrone’s Internship Committee and currently serves as member of Intern Minister Rachel Schmitt’s Internship Committee. She previously served as Co-Chair of the Weaving Social Justice Committee and currently serves as Secretary for the Women’s Leadership Alliance. A lifelong public school educator, Vicki is currently in transition after a 29 year career with the NYC Public School system, having served as an English teacher, literacy coach, and high school assistant principal and principal.

Mark Weiss (he/him) and his wife Eva Rogals have been members of First U since March, 2012. He has served as a Coming of Age mentor and hosted children’s activities at many holiday parties. Their son Max (22), and daughter, Abigail (14 in May), have been active in the Religious Education program. Max participated through Youth Group, and Abigail is currently in Coming of Age.

Mark is excited to serve First Unitarian on the board, most of all because of the impact it has had on his life. First U gave Mark and his wife, Eva Rogals-Weiss, the gift of raising their children in an unconditionally supportive community of values aligned with their own. And it has led him to “finally embrace my own path toward faith and participation in a spiritual community”.  Mark brings a breadth of work experience to the role, as both a senior manager and lead contributor in startups and established companies, with particular skills in software development, data analysis and motivating teams to complete challenging projects by working together.

Clerk of the Society

Maggie Norris (she/her) has been a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregational Society of Brooklyn since December 2021. Previously, she was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Jose, California for about 20 years. She has been an active member, with regular attendance at services and contributing to church community events, such as UniFair, Spring Auction, the Greeters group, the meditation group, and online discussion groups. She is planning to co-lead a further series of the UU History and Theology group later this year. She serves on the Board of the Women’s Leadership Alliance as a member-at-large. She is looking forward to joining Board of Trustees meetings as Clerk of the Society starting May, 2023.

Moderator

James Goward (he/him) has been a member of First Unitarian for over 11 years.  A Massachusetts native, Jim has called New York City home for 34 years.  He is a lawyer who has worked at the N.Y.P.D, as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society, and is currently a prosecutor in the Bronx.  He has served as the president of co-op boards for two successive buildings that he and his family have lived in.  He enjoys playing music, roller blading and reading, (favorite authors include David Foster Wallace, James Joyce, and Stephen King).

Treasurer

Lee Pardee has been attending First U for over 30 years and has served the congregation in many ways. She is a past chair of the Social Action, Membership, and Finance committees. She has served on the Worship and Music and Nominating Committees and on Search Committees for our current Music Director, Facilities Director, and a previous Senior Minister. She has served on the Board of Trustees three times and been President twice. She has sung in the choir almost as long as she has attended First U. Lee is retired from a 30-plus year career in foster care. She lives in Sunset Park.

Deacons
Robert Bero, Thomas Check, Liz Davis, Beth Evans, Patrick Gunn, Laurel Lesio, Edwin Lord, Constance Newsom (Senior Deacon) Lee Pardee, Nancy Wolf

Board of Trustees 2023-2024

Michele Ascione, Robin Bossert (Co-President), Barbara Bornmann, Beth Evans, Mary Huhn, Lisa Pacenza (Co-President), Jake Powell, Judith Sedaitis, Jay Sheth

Officers: Clerk of the Society: Maggie Norris, Moderator: Patrick Gunn, Treasurer: Lee Pardee

Board of Trustees 2022-2023

Robin Bossert (Co-President)
Beth Evans
Jenny Goldin
Mary Huhn (Co-President)
Megan Munroe
Lisa Pacenza
Judith Sedaitis
Jay Sheth
Winnie Zwick

Officers
Elees Woods, Clerk of the Society
Patrick Gunn, Moderator
Lee Pardee,Treasurer

Board of Trustees 2021-2022

Carolyn Ellis
Jenny Goldin
Mary Huhn (Co-President)
Amit Mehta
Megan Munroe
Colleen Olson
Matt Robinson (Co-President)
Judith Sedaitis
Jay Sheth

Officers
Elees Woods, Clerk of the Society
Mike Alcoff, Moderator
Pat Steele, Treasurer

Board of Trustees 2020-2021

Vonda Brunsting
Andrew Bongiorno (resigned mid-year)
John Carroll
Sam McKelvie
Amit Lucia Mehta (Co-President)
Megan Monroe
Colleen Olson (Co-President)
Andrea Parkinson
Matt Robinson

Board of Trustees 2019-2020

Vonda Brunsting
Andrew Bongiorno
John Carroll
Dale Ho
Laurel Lesio-Eisenstadt
Amit Lucia Mehta
Sam McKelvie – Co-President
Colleen Olson
Dawn Elane Reed – Co-President

Officers
Bruce Wilde, Clerk of the Society
Mike Alcoff, Moderator
Lake Wise, Treasurer

Board of Trustees 2018-2019

Vonda Brunsting
John Carroll
Patrick Gunn – Co-President
Cara Haft – Co-President
Dale Ho
Laurel Lesio-Eisenstadt
Sam McKelvie
Dawn Elane Reed
Waciuma Wanjohi

Officers
Bruce Wilde, Clerk of the Society
Mike Alcoff, Moderator
Lake Wise, Treasurer
Alfred Blanco, Warden
Olive Hoogenboom, Historian

Board of Trustees 2017-2018

Roger Cooper, President
Sean Fischer
Patrick Gunn
Cara Haft
Dale Ho
Laurel Lesio
Lee Pardee
Dawn Elane Reed
Waciuma Wanjohi

Officers
Bruce Wilde, Clerk of the Society
Mike Alcoff, Moderator
Lake Wise, Treasurer
Alfred Blanco, Warden
Olive Hoogenboom, Historian

Officers
Bruce Wilde, Clerk of the Society
Lake Wise, Treasurer
Alfred Blanco, Warden
Olive Hoogenboom, Historian

Board of Trustees 2016-2017

Roger Cooper
Liz Davis
Sean Fischer
Patrick Gunn
Cara Haft
James Goward
Mary Most 
Kurt Steele
Lee Pardee, President

Officers
Sarah Morgan, Clerk of the Society
Lake Wise, Treasurer
Alfred Blanco, Warden
Olive Hoogenboom, Historian

Board of Trustees 2015-2016

Roger Cooper
Liz Davis
Sean Fischer
James Goward (appointed to fill the position of Jeff Muller)
Elaine Macken
Mary Most
Rachel Michael
Jeff Muller (though Dec, 2015)
Kurt Steele
Lee Pardee, President

Board of Trustees 2014-2015

Michael Alcoff, President
Thomas Check
Devin Judge-Lord
Liz Davis
Elaine Macken
Mary Most
Jeff Muller
Rachel Michael
Kurt Steele

Officers
Christine Lloyd, Clerk of the Society
Mitch Major, Treasurer
Alfred Blanco, Warden
Olive Hoogenboom, Historian

Deacons
Alfred Blanco, Senior Deacon
Robert Bero
Thomas Check
Liz Davis
Edwin Lord
Olive Hoogenboom
Constance Newsom
Lee Pardee
Bruce Wilde
Nancy Wolf