2021-2022 BFUU Board of Trustees Members
Michael Gardner (he/him), President
Mike Gardner: My adventures with BFUU began when my first wife and I were married in Fellowship Hall in 1967. We began attending and were inspired by the spiritual message of the minister, Clark Olsen, and his activism, and that of the Social Action Committee, now the SJC. We joined the Fellowship and became active members. In 1980 I stepped away from BFUU.
However, after years of trials and tribulations I realized that again I was seeking to grow and express a sense of spirituality for both my political and scientific interests. In 2014 I rejoined BFUU, along with my wife Jinky. Since then I’ve been a member of the Ministerial Relations Committee, a member of the Personnel Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees.
Margaret Hurlbert (she/her), Vice President
Margaret Hurlbert has been coming to the Fellowship for almost 4 years, and has been active in the Choir, Chair of the Music Committee, and has taken part in many events and concerts. She has also been active in the Social Justice Ministry. Some projects she has worked on include going to ICE detention centers and protesting the internment of children, going to Climate Change marches with BFUU, helping with concerts and dances and the ukulele group at BFUU, and organizing making soup at BFUU for Consider the Homeless. Margaret was elected to the BFUU Board in October 2020.
Ben Burch (he/him) Treasurer and Secretary
Ben Burch: I grew up in Davis, and attended a UU Sunday school at the Davis Fellowship (later Church) in the ‘60s, and was later involved in LRY (UU youth group) there as well. After flirting with anthropology and East Asian studies (BA and MA), I got a library degree, and worked in that area until my retirement in 2009. I was already active in BFUU at that point (having joined around 1997), and continue to do, having served on the board several times. Currently serving as Treasurer, I hope to continue to play a role in making BFUU a sustainable beacon for our 7 principles, as well as continuing to move us toward truly building a beloved community, and at the same time encouraging us to bring our principles to our participation in the broader local community.
Jean Marie Stine (she/her)
Jean Marie Stine officially became a Unitarian-Universalist in 2002 in Northampton MA, though she had long admired UU principles and thought that if she ever joined a “church” it would be the UU. After moving to Berkeley CA, she discovered the BFUU and, along with her partner Frankie Hill, joined the congregation, where they served on the Sunday Services, Hospitality and Caring Committees, helped clean and straighten the Fellowship Hall after services each week. In the process, they developed an attachment to BFUU that has never waned. When circumstances caused them to move to Oregon, where they joined the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Eugene, their hearts remained behind. Now that they live in Mexico, where they have joined the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, Jean Marie volunteered to fill an empty space on the BFUU board until the next election. She is a much published writer and the proprietor of a very small publishing company.
David Makofsky (he/him)
David Makofsky: I am an 83 years old retired professor and civil servant. I have been socially and politically active all my adult life, in organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and the Democratic Socialists of America. After retirement in 2007, I traveled to the Peoples Republic of China and to Turkey, where I taught English and wrote articles about a central Asian group, the Uyghurs. Uyghur is a Turkish dialect; I speak and read Turkish. I stopped and came back to Oakland permanently after a bad accident in December 2017.
I became interested in BFUU because Cynthia Johnson and Hal Carlstadt were two good friends of mine. We were in a group together and always having events at BFUU. Since my final return in 2018 I have become more active in BFUU and the Social Justice Committee and the Music Committee, and I play the ukulele.
My immediate family lives in Santa Rosa, which is where my ex-wife, my daughter, her husband, and my two teen age grandchildren live.
Phoebe Sorgen (she/her) (Alternate)
Phoebe Sorgen became a BFUU friend 27 years ago when she enrolled her boys in the RE program. Though unavailable on Sunday mornings due to work, she became active via the Social Justice Committee, which she eventually chaired. After becoming a BFUU member, she was elected to the Board during the time that BFUU transitioned from lay led and hired Rev. Kurt Kuhwald in hopes of increasing membership. She served on the then newly reconstituted Personnel Committee, and has also been on the Aesthetics and Nominating Committees.
For effective peace, democracy, and human rights advocacy, Phoebe was a 2005 Outstanding Woman of Berkeley and 2015 Tom Paine Courageous Spirit awardee. As a Peace & Justice Commissioner, she wrote many Resolutions that were adopted by the City of Berkeley. Some were adopted by other cities.
Phoebe is a Green Party County Councilor and state delegate to the GP-US National Committee (the decision making body.) She serves on the GP-US Peace, International, and Conflict Resolution Committees, and is active in the Women’s Caucus. Despite those responsibilities, and being on the Steering Committees of Move to Amend and Berkeley Citizens Action, she also serves as a BFUU Board of Trustees Alternate because our beautiful BFUU community means the world to her.
Stephanie Doucette (she/her) (Alternate)
Better known as Eva’s mom, Stephanie is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. She grew up in the First Unitarian Church of Denver and was active in the UU Society of San Francisco as a young adult.
Stephanie served BFUU in the early 2000s as a board member and on the Religious Education and Sunday Services Committees. She is delighted that BFUU continues to provide a loving and inspiring spiritual home for her and for twelve-year-old Eva. Stephanie lives in Berkeley where she practices acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine professionally.
Paikea Melcher (she/her) Board Youth Member
I have been a part of BFUU since before I was born, and it is a big part of me. I have been happy to help the congregation as a member of the worship services committee and in charge of the zoom tech for the past year and a half. In my new position on the board, I serve as the voice of both the youth and the worship services committee. I am passionate about education reform, gender equality, Unitarian Universalist principles, and the value of joy, among other things. I try to bring that perspective to our community. I love to build and be a part of vibrant community, whether that be on a dragon boat, at a social swing dance, or in my congregation: The Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists.