Jeanne Pupke has been serving as a UU minister since 2002. During that time she has worked with a variety of congregations, both large and small. Since 2006, she has served as Minister of First Unitarian Universalist Church in Richmond, Virginia. In September 2016, the congregation celebrated her 10 years of ministry with them.
Before that she worked with an emerging congregation in Bend, Oregon, at All Souls in Lacey, Washington, and was Intern Minister at Cedars U.U. on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Jeanne was the Growth Minister for the Pacific Northwest District from 2004-2006. In that role she consulted with small and emerging congregations from Idaho to Alaska, to help them grow.
During her time at Bend, the membership doubled in just two years. Under her leadership in Richmond, the congregation has grown by more than 50%.
Jeanne not only brings management experience from her corporate background, but has also not only led, but transformed a large congregation within our system.
– Rev. Jake Morrill
Every time we engage with Jeanne on matters large or small, we feel we are with someone who really gets it. She cares deeply for our faith and we believe she is the leader needed for such a time as this.
- Rev. Dr. Barbara Wells ten Hove & Rev. Jaco B. ten Hove
Jeanne is a founding member and is currently a Director of UU Legislative Ministries of Virginia.
She is often requested as a spokesperson by groups working on a wide variety of social justice issues and frequently testifies to the legislature and government officials. She has testified on women’s reproductive rights, supporting for the needs of trans youth, and for wage justice.
I know that Jeanne (was) very instrumental in bringing about in (her) congregation multiculturalism and she has a firm handle and grasp of the importance of multiculturalism and how to welcome people who are different than the typical UU.
– Rev. Xolani Kacela
After she went off to seminary and became an ordained minister, I then watched her prophetic ministry emerge with clarity and purpose as she helped shape the South's religious narrative around the right to marry.
- Rev. Kate Lore
Search for Calling
Jeanne’s call to ministry is a long term theme in her life. As a young woman, she was a Catholic nun. Here is how she describes that period of her life:
“Once a Catholic sister wishing to do pastoral ministry work, I was sustained by religious life, which was filled with contemplation and work among the poor, sick, and lonely. I was doing the right work in the wrong place.”
“When I learned of First Unitarian in Portland, I was eager to attend a Sunday service but skeptical that any organized religion might contain the broad world of meaning I had so carefully reconstructed for myself. However, my sense of belonging in that church was immediate. It had the emotional resonance of coming home after a long journey away. I became involved in the life of the congregation and realized that there were many ways in which I could contribute to my chosen community.”
Jeanne served as lay Board member and Stewardship Chair at First Unitarian, Portland, Oregon, before beginning her call to UU ministry.
Jeanne has experience at the highest levels of our Association. She served as UUA Trustee at Large from 2009-13, and was the Finance Chair on the Board during the last two years of her term. During her time on the board she was a consistent voice for organizational change and improvement while also working to build bridges between the Board and the staff.
She served as Dean of the Stewardship Track (with Rev. Cecilia Kingman) at UU University in 2009 teaching the course on Finding Our Common Wealth: Stewardship as Transformational Ministry.
Today, she is a leader working on Sustainability of Ministry, Anti-racism and Stewardship.
Business Experience We Need
Jeanne uniquely brings success in a business environment to the UUA President role. As a business leader, Jeanne has served as Vice President, COO, and CEO in progressive growth companies in two very different industries: automotive and coffee.
In both industries she led or helped lead the companies through fundamental cultural changes, focused on quality, teamwork and staff development.
Jeanne gets what makes UU congregations vibrant centers of transformation and vitality – and gets the role the UUA can play in unleashing our greatest vibrancy across our entire movement and into the world.
– Rev. Gretchen Haley
[Jeanne is] a strong committed leader whose strength never shadowed the people around her, but magnified their skills and gifts and let them come forward and flourish in ways that seemed to surprise even them.
- Rev. Parisa Parsa
She and her wife Regina Largent, a retired Army officer and university administrator, have been together 23 years. Regina is a leader of the UU Buddhist practice at First UU Richmond. Together, they enjoy women's college basketball, visiting with family, and time with friends.
Jeanne has the passion, commitment, drive, and experience we need
Support Rev. Jeanne Pupke for UUA President