In 2006, I started serving as District Executive of the then-named Thomas Jefferson District. That same year, Jeanne Pupke was called as senior minister of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond. At that time, First UU was a large midsize congregation struggling to find its identity and its purpose. I watched Jeanne grow the congregation from 410 members to 703 members, an astounding 71% increase in less than 11 years.
First UU’s growth was the result of a key characteristic that plays itself out over and over again in Jeanne’s ministry. The characteristic is her ability to nurture talent.
Jeanne has a lot of skills and experience but it is her innate ability to nurture -- to identify what it is people and organizations have to offer, and through her caring, clarity, and commitment, help them to see it, too, that impresses me the most. With Jeanne’s guidance, they find strengths that they didn't know they had and a way to live into and share those strengths for the benefit of all.
I've watched this gift play itself out with new members of the congregation, with student ministers and interns, even the church business manager who is now serving as assistant minister, a talented African-American minister who now has dual fellowship in his Baptist faith and Unitarian Universalism.
Jeanne has a gift for seeing deep inside and helping others believe in themselves in a way that few others can.
I’ve watched Jeanne nurture a struggling congregation into a thriving large church that has come to claim radical hospitality and generosity of spirit in all it does. And I’ve watched Jeanne share her gift of nurture with others outside her congregation.
I endorse Jeanne Pupke for UUA President because I know that, under Jeanne’s leadership, the UUA will find its purpose, will clarify its identity, and will truly understand, maybe for the first time, that what we have to offer this hurting world demands that we work together, that we support each other, and that we become stronger together.
I am convinced that Jeanne Pupke is the right person, at the right time, to lead the UUA. I’m equally convinced that no one is as qualified, as experienced, and most importantly, as gifted as Jeanne to do what we need a President to do.
I hope you’ll join me in electing a leader who will nurture the UUA into being the very best we can be - TOGETHER.
Owner, Marquis Enterprises, LLC
Co-director of the Pledge to End Racism
Former UUA Southeast District Executive
Former Regional Lead of the UUA Southern Region
Former UUA LGBTQ and Multicultural Ministries Director