2019-2020 BFUU Board of Trustees Members
Ira Armstrong (they/them), President
phone: 510-841-4824 ext. 4
Ira grew up in the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles and is a 3rd generation UU raising 4th generation UUs. They have taught Religious Education classes in different UU churches in Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles both as a volunteer lay leader and as a paid professional. They are a trans Blacktivist, an experienced worship leader, storyteller and vocalist for the revolution.
Ira is currently the President of the BFUU Board, a regular worship associate, an Our Whole Lives facilitator, and the accidental and intentional ad hoc middle school coordinator. They believe it is possible, with OWL and other consent-based sexual education models, to end rape culture in one generation.
Doug Chambers (he/him), Vice President
Doug Chambers is serving as Vice President and Recording Secretary of the BFUU Board of Trustees, after reaching the term limit of three consecutive years as President. He has been a member of BFUU for many years and also serves on the Membership Committee and Music Committee. He works with his partner Kathy Riehle on the monthly Friday night, very musical Hardly Strictly Acoustic Jam.
He, along with his partner and two daughters, lives in Berkeley. He is an accomplished musician who plays several instruments and is a retiree of UC Berkeley.
Michael Gardner (he/him)
Mike Gardner: I was born in Wichita but my early life was spent growing up in Los Angeles, surrounded by my loving family. My mom’s Irish activism helped draw me to the political left. In the early 1960s I began meeting other left-leaning students, many of whom were members of the youth group at the Los Angeles Unitarian Church. So, “when in Rome….” I became involved with the group.
However, my adventures with BFUU began when my first wife and I were married in Fellowship Hall in 1967. After our first child was born we wanted him to have the opportunity of having a draft deferment, and Unitarians were allowed these, so we joined the Fellowship. We were active in the Social Action Committee, now the SJC.
By 1980 I was deeply involved of the Communist and Socialist movements, and stepped away from BFUU. But in 2014 I realized that I’d been away too long, and rejoined, along with Jinky, my wife. So with ‘me’ smart Irish wit, half of it anyway, and a grasp of left-wing financial responsibility, I’ve been immersed with our Fellowship. For the past two terms, with your votes of confidence, I’ve been a member of the Board of Trustees. I work with the new Board to help keep things moving forward spiritually, socially and financially. There is a lot of hard work ahead and we all need to pitch in.
Jeff Palmer (he/him)
Jeff Palmer grew up in the East Bay and attended Christian churches until adulthood. He has been a plumber, public school teacher, and a volunteer at a variety places including Haiti and more recently at BFUU as chair of Sunday Service Committee, and a board member. He joined BFUU a few years ago and he and his wife Margaret want to continue to be involved in the exciting things that BFUU does for social and environmental justice.
Judith Granada-Dewey (she/her or they/them)
Judith Granada-Dewey and her husband, Richard, began their UU odyssey in New England. Their decision was based on the need for a spiritual home that supported exploration and development of a personal belief system and code of ethics, primarily around social justice. They have since been serving members of fellowships and congregations in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and California, as well as the Church of the Larger Fellowship abroad.
Over the years, Judith has served as a UU Religious Education instructor, co-chaired a Unitarian Universalist Service Committee chapter, for several years facilitated the Guest At Our Table program, and held a variety of other posts. Judith joined BFUU with her husband in 2007. She previously served as BFUU Treasurer with the able assistance of an outstanding Finance Committee.
Ben Burch (he/him) (Alternate) Treasurer and Secretary
Ben Burch is a retired UC Berkeley library worker who has been an active member of BFUU since the late ’90s. He has served on the board several times, and has been an active member of the Social Justice, Buildings and Grounds, and Finance committees. He has served as chair or co-chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and the Finance Committee for some time. He has also served on the Committees for Ministry and Fellowshipping for Rev. Ben Myers and Rev. Earl Koteen.
Joanna Foley (she/her) (Alternate)
Joanna Foley, a retired social worker, joined BFUU in 2014. Prior to moving to Berkeley, she was active in the Fourth Universalist Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. There she worked with V-Day4thU, a group which worked to end violence against women and girls by sponsoring an annual fundraising production of “The Vagina Monologues.”
The civil rights movement in the 1960s brought Joanna in the UU world in Nashville, TN.
Joanna chairs BFUU’s Worship Services Committee and the Aesthetics Subcommittee of Buildings and Grounds, and serves on the Caring Committee. When she can find free time away from BFUU, Joanna is a practical mystic, a good cook, a folk dancer and the grandmother of two.