Board of Trustees

About Our Trustees

The Unitarian Church of Harrisburg's church office is located at our Clover Lane campus at 1280 Clover Lane in Harrisburg, just off of Eisenhower Blvd. in Swatara Township.

Church Office Days/Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9 am - 3:30 pm
Phone: 717.564.4761
Fax: 717.455.9469

Board of Trustees

Laura Edinger

President

Joined UCH: 2006

This is my 6th year gratefully serving on the Board of Trustees for the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg.  I am humbled and honored to be serving as Board President in this last year of my second Board term.  My leadership philosophy involves engaging others in an inclusive, positive, affirming, meaningful way. It is empowering and trusting others, lifting them up, to help them develop their skills and talents. I believe great possibility exists with engaged, empowered people working to reach their full potential. UCH has a great deal of potential – my primary leadership goal is to work toward moving us (in whatever capacity I serve in the church), as a church family, in a unified direction forward.  To use a swimming analogy, we have many strong swimmers who have been doggie paddling each in individual lanes for quite some time and maybe not all swimming in the same direction. I would like to see us exercise our full strength and remove the lane markers, put some arrows down that are easy to see, and have us use our combined strength to move forward solidly in a direction toward our collective growth and progress. And I would love to have many more people join us on this team.  Unitarian Universalism has a great deal to offer this sore and hurting world and together we can feed our individual and collective souls so much more effectively.

A little about me personally, I love to laugh - often and loud. I love to sing – I love our church choir and I also sing with the Central Pennsylvania Womyn’s Chorus.  My two favorite ways to serve at UCH are by helping bring music to worship and by serving as a lay liturgist – helping to lead services is both art and science and I enjoy all of it. I have helped to coordinate lay liturgist training for the past couple of years and that work is greatly rewarding.  My paid work is in state government – which is what I went to school for – and I am grateful for the opportunity to be employed in my profession. Thankfully, however, my paid work does not define me. I am very much a work in progress and am grateful for the opportunities I have been given. I am also grateful that I am able to feed my spirit – in ways that are not available in daily work life - at UCH - which is why I serve in a leadership capacity.  A large part of my heart lives with the UCH congregation.

I look forward to our church moving into a brave new direction where we are evolving and growing together – expanding our presence in Central PA and stretching ourselves personally and in community. I would like to see UCH thriving with two fully functional campuses that offer more variety of activity in and out of worship services than we can imagine.

Laura Shemick

Vice President

Joined UCH in 1997 I joined UCH in 1997 after attending the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia for 10 years. I was raised in the UU Fellowship of Centre County, Pa. At UCH, I sing in the choir, participate from time to time in short-term projects, including preparing our Market Street property for renters, and am now the vice-president of the board, after serving two years as president. I volunteer with the church administrator in an enduring quest to sell more and more grocery gift cards to raise funds for the congregation. I grew up in State College, Pa., where I graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. I worked at newspapers for a few years, then went to law school. After law school I worked in law firms and then for judges, where I did research and writing, and taught paralegals in community college. I obtained a master's in adult education and went on to teach school board members about how to do their jobs better. Currently, I research, write, and edit as a freelancer, and do various and sundry projects for my own home in Cornwall, Pa. (occupied by four cats and a renter), and my partner’s home in Harrisburg. I enjoy singing, reading, and home improvement projects. What I earnestly hope to accomplish as a trustee is getting the board to work better. By this I mean trustees reading materials beforehand, asking clarifying questions in advance of meetings, doing reports promptly and submitting them in plenty of time for review and questions, monitoring the minister's work in a meaningful way, and staying out of the operations end of church. Going forward, I would like to see us providing a variety of interesting (yet challenging) programs for children and adults, with our minister stimulating our brains and hearts with thoughtful yet provocative sermons, with ample funds to pay adequate staff generously, and fund our programs and outreach generously as well. I would like to see us growing in both numbers and in spiritual depth, and I would like to see us disagreeing earnestly but constructively when we disagree. UCH has supported me and disappointed me, made me laugh and made me shake my head in sorrow, given me cause to laugh and cause to cry. It is where I can speak of my highest hopes and dreams, and where I hear the highest hopes and dreams of others. I would dearly love for all members and friends to hold hands, watch out for one another, and move forward with hope and enthusiasm.

Debbie Reihart

Secretary

Joined UCH: 2004

I have been a passionate UCH choir member since shortly after joining and I love delivering our message of love, acceptance, peace and tolerance through music.  I also am an über-zealous member of the UCH garden crew and enjoy bringing beauty through plants at the Clover Lane and Market Street campuses.  I also serve on the UCH Board of Trustees – this year as the Secretary.

I have experience with strategic planning, project management, meeting facilitation, business process reengineering, etc. I have a Bachelor of Science in Social Science from Penn State/Harrisburg; a Master's in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and have completed some coursework towards a PhD in Public Administration at Penn State as well as numerous other professional development courses.  I am an internationally certified project manager (Project Management Professional).  I have been employed in various positions with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 23 years, currently as a manager with PennDOT.

I live in New Cumberland with my husband, Steve Kostelec. I have two young adult children, my son, Cameron, and my daughter, Hannah.

I would like to see a bigger, stronger and more closely related community (Market Street and Clover Lane) with more financial stability.  Obviously, administrative matters and adequate funding are important, but mission and vision are of vital importance as well and deserve more focus.  Financial security would allow us to focus our attention on more outreach, more “inreach”, adult education and growth, educational trips (to Boston, for example) and other things that would be part of a vital community.  I care deeply about what happens with our church and the people in it and it means a great deal to me that our beloved congregation continue to exist to nurture those who have already found us and those who will find us in the future.  Everyone should feel comfortable and welcome in our two church buildings.  

Ed Sykes

Treasurer

Joined UCH: Early 1980s

I joined UCH in the early 1980’s and began my involvement in the church by serving on both the R.E. and Social Action Committee. During my children’s early years, I taught in the R.E. program. I was honored to serve on a Search Committee and two terms on the Board. I have been the Finance Chair, Stewardship chair, and I have served for over fifteen years on the finance committee. I have assisted with the Auction, Yard sale and Kaleidoscope (a cabaret-style talent show that UCH hosted in the past to raise money for the music program). I am currently serving my third term on the board and second time as the Treasurer.

 

I am an employee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I consider myself a religious liberal and a fiscal conservative. I believe that if we as a church intend to do something then we should be committed to finding a means to afford it.    

 

Of all the experiences that I have had associated with this church; I believe the most rewarding has been the renovation of the play structure for our children and youth. I was done in the spirit of generosity and for the safety of our most important members, our children who represent the future of our denomination. I believe that serving as a member of the board should reflect and represent what is best for the entire congregation.  

David Spear

Trustee

Joined UCH: 2007

UCH has been my spiritual home for more than 10 years. It has helped me grow spiritually and find my path in life.

I served on various teams and committees, starting with the Oliver LaGrone Scholarship Committee. I currently chair the Worship Team.  I assisted in the transition of a previous interim minister and served on a ministerial search committee.

These and other involvement prepared me for joining the board just over a year ago. It has been a pleasure to see our congregation find its direction over the last few years, and I greatly look forward to continuing this in the coming years.

I enjoy technology and take every opportunity to tinker with computers, smartphones, and audio equipment.

I worked for several years as an engineer, then an editor, and now I tutor students in math and science.

 

Joe Melillo

Trustee

Joined UCH: 1980

Born in Brooklyn, NYC and grew up in Lindenhurst, on Long Island's south shore. My paternal grandfather was an Italian immigrant and small cement business owner. My maternal grandma immigrated from France; her Mother had been a lion tamer in a French circus! 

After college, I searched diligently for a Social Studies teaching position but could not land one. I sought work in NYC but found that my history degree and teaching credentials did not prepare me for the business world, at least in the eyes of recruiters. I had always intended to attend law school eventually, so decided to apply the following year, and during the interim just work factory jobs. I labored at a vinyl fabrication plant as a machinist, and then for a lighting fixture company as its porter (a much more fulfilling position), and may still be carried on the rolls of the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union.

I started law school at SUNY Buffalo in 1974. (Not so sunny, believe me. 200 inches of snow one year.) I met my future wife, Kandy Foust, at an orientation party. We married in 1977 following graduation and located in very rural and tidy Hollidaysburg Pennsylvania, where she worked for Blair County Legal Services. 

Kandy is originally from Gettysburg, and (being lawyers), we had a deal coming out of law school that whoever obtained a position first could accept it, and the other would follow. She really moved on this, and I was soon committed to living in rural Pennsylvania. I eventually found employment as a judge's law clerk in an adjoining county. I was told that I was the only person ever hired in that county solely on the basis of merit (all in good fun, of course.) 

We moved to the state capital, Harrisburg, in 1980, where Kandy started working as a counsel to the Public Utility Commission, and I joined the civil litigation law firm of Angino and Rovner. I toiled there for the next 30 years, and switched to a new (and smaller) firm in January of '10. I firmly believe that every thirty years or so we should do something different in life. The Hon. Kandace Melillo served as a judge for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission before retiring in late 2014.

Kandy and I have two adult children, Daniel (Ashley) and Amy (Seth). Amy and Seth have three daughters, and Dan and Ashley welcomed a healthy baby girl in December of 2017. Grandparenting is the best!

Kandy and I joined UCH in 1980, and raised the kids in the church’s RE program. We’ve both been very active in the church over the years. Kandy’s activities include the Board of Trustees, acting as Vice President, teaching RE, and serving on a search committee. I’ve now served on the Board of Trustees three times, including as Board President during the second stint. Other activities include choir, finance committee chair, RE teacher, and small group ministry facilitator.

I’m firmly committed to our denomination’s seven principles, but also adhere to two lesser known propositions, worth noting:  1. The N.Y. Yankees are a complete reason for living and  2. The Boston Red Sox are the root of most evil.  I do appreciate the diversity of thought and attitude which this church tolerates.

Marilyn McHenry

Trustee

Joined UCH: 1970

I have a long tenure with UCH. I joined in the 1970s and I also served as treasurer of the congregation in the 1970s. I acted in plays during that time as well.  I taught in Religious Education and was on the RE committee in the 1980s.  I participated in making crafts with the craft group, adopt-a-highway clean-up, and the Community Committee.  I also belonged to the Philosophy and Literature group and a Couch Group.

I was a founding member of UURP (UURetired Persons) since the late 1990s (a group my husband organized).  I have organized receptions for memorial services, participated in Community Breakfasts at the Market Street campus and canvassed for pledge drives. I have also been involved in Fund for Choice of Planned Parenthood and Cansurmount (Cancer Support Group). 

I am the mother of five children, eight grandchildren and I now have great-grands. I was employed from 1978-1998 at Dauphin County Social Service for Children & Youth.  I managed satellite offices of Protective Services and the Foster care program. 

I hope to be supportive of the new minister chosen by the Search Committee, help to articulate the vision for UCH as I actively participate at both campuses at UCH.

Guy Dannelley

Trustee

Joined UCH: 1976 and then again in 2013

I grew up in Elizabethtown, where I attended the Church of Brethren. In 1976, I discovered UCH and joined. Over the years, I was active in RE, worked on and was chair of the property committee for about 10 years, helped with the pledge campaign, and was an early member of the Philosophy and Literature book group. In the early 1990s, I drifted away from the church and was eventually dropped from membership, although I visited occasionally.

In 2013 I rejoined. It has reinvigorated my life and drawn me back into active service with the congregation.  I rejoined the book group, helped in the nursery and RE, and attend the Mindfulness Meditation group. I assist with the Gather the Spirit program at the Market Street Campus most Friday mornings and serve as part of the Market Street Implementation Team preparing rooms to rent at that campus. I joined a Covenant Group and served on the search committee for our current Interim Minister. I was elected to the Board in 2016 and have attended a number of training sessions for board members.

I married my wife Linda in 1968; we have two boys and a girl. 

Rima Cameron

Trustee

Joined UCH: 2004

I joined UCH in 2004, never having been a member of a church before. I grew up in California, Oregon, Colorado and Peru, and graduated from the University of Redlands in California with a dual major in psychology and music. I later obtained an associate’s degree in occupational therapy and a Master of Business Administration degree in health administration, and now work as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant in Harrisburg.

I have two teenage children, belong to the UCH choir, and am a Covenant Group facilitator at church. I am a member of the Central Pennsylvania Womyn’s Chorus, and enjoy cooking, reading, and movies in my leisure time.

I joined the UCH Board in 2016, and hope to help UCH become a place where people of all spiritual bents may feel at home, where the varied interests of our many members and friends can be nurtured, and where we can support and love one another wholeheartedly.

 

Patti Hazell

Trustee

Joined UCH: 2009

In addition to becoming a new member to the board in 2017, I also service as the Chair for our Auction Committee, and I am a member of a few lay led ministries: Queen Spirit, Clover Grove, Oliver LaGrone Collective, and Stewardship.   I have volunteered a few times with RE by helping in the nursery, helped to organize various events at the church such as the auction, pot luck dinners, Winter Solstice, Pie Day and Samhain Celebrations.

Past volunteer history outside of UCH includes:  Assistant Girl Scout Leader, PTO member in both Elementary and Middle School, WTIF cooking fundraising events, Sunday School Teacher.

I am a native of Harrisburg, was raised Catholic, but became a UU in 2009. I am divorced, raised two children, who currently live with me--they are Jessica who is married to Grant, my grandson, Jack  and Ryan, a senior in college; along with 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 bearded dragon...  So, it’s a busy household but full of love.

Currently I also work full time from home as a customer support analyst for Brightree, LLC; software company based out of Atlanta GA.  

In my free time I enjoy crocheting, gardening, walking the dogs, and playing with my grandson, Jack.

I would like UCH to be working joyfully with a settled minister. I would like us to have opportunities for all to participate in activities that enrich heart, soul, mind, and community. I would like us to communicate clearly, respect one another, and envision the future with hope. I would like us to have the financial security. I want to encourage dialog with the congregation, board, and staff to make the best of all church activities. This will bring more participation, growth, and long-term stability to UCH.

In addition to becoming a new member to the board in 2017, I also service as the Chair for our Auction Committee, and I am a member of a few lay led ministries: Queen Spirit, Clover Grove, Oliver LaGrone Collective, and Stewardship.   I have volunteered a few times with RE by helping in the nursery, helped to organize various events at the church such as the auction, pot luck dinners, Winter Solstice, Pie Day and Samhain Celebrations.

Past volunteer history outside of UCH includes:  Assistant Girl Scout Leader, PTO member in both Elementary and Middle School, WTIF cooking fundraising events, Sunday School Teacher.

I am a native of Harrisburg, was raised Catholic, but became a UU in 2009. I am divorced, raised two children, who currently live with me--they are Jessica who is married to Grant, my grandson, Jack  and Ryan, a senior in college; along with 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 bearded dragon...  So, it’s a busy household but full of love.

Currently I also work full time from home as a customer support analyst for Brightree, LLC; software company based out of Atlanta GA.  

In my free time I enjoy crocheting, gardening, walking the dogs, and playing with my grandson, Jack.

I would like UCH to be working joyfully with a settled minister. I would like us to have opportunities for all to participate in activities that enrich heart, soul, mind, and community. I would like us to communicate clearly, respect one another, and envision the future with hope. I would like us to have the financial security. I want to encourage dialog with the congregation, board, and staff to make the best of all church activities. This will bring more participation, growth, and long-term stability to UCH.

Dennis Hursh

Trustee

Joined UCH: 2006

In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees, I have participated in multiple pledge drives and served on the Minister’s Advisory Council and the visioning group. Prior to its closing, I helped Shared Ministry, the Christian congregation UCH purchased its building from, with this process.

I am a former Methodist married to a Methodist. I am an attorney and the founder and president of Hursh & Hursh, P.C., a law firm concentrating on physician employment contract review. I also spent 20 years in the Marine Corps Reserve, including 2.5 years on active duty reporting to Oliver North.

I would like to pursue a financially comfortable church, a recognized force in Allison Hill, and a known voice in the state legislature for justice.

UCH is a diamond in the rough. We have amazing people and a unique position to achieve social justice through both hands-on work and influence on the state legislature.