REV. TIM KUTZMARK, MINISTER
The Reverend Tim Kutzmark is a graduate of the Divinity School at Harvard University, where he received the prestigious Hopkins Shareholder Award for academic and ministerial accomplishment. Tim has previously served growing congregations in Virginia and Massachusetts, where he had a special emphasis on ministry to families and children, and to those with no church affiliation who were looking for a welcoming spiritual home. Tim has completed advanced training in pastoral care to adults and children. He is a certified instructor of Kundalini Yoga, teaches several different forms of meditation and spiritual practice, and leads spiritual reflection groups and retreats. A world traveler, Tim has spent time in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran as well as several countries in Africa. (To find out more about Tim, CLICK HERE.)
KATIE HYMANS – ACTING DIRECTOR OF LIFESPAN LEARNING
Katie has 15 years of non-profit program management experience, overseeing adult education and direct service programs, as well as teaching and facilitating a variety of classes and workshops. With a solid belief in the liberating potential of Unitarian Universalism, she is passionate about providing programming that fosters a sense of understanding of the faith, deepens spiritual connections at both the personal and communal level, and bridges the connections between justice and spirituality. Katie holds a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation and is a certified leader of InterPlay, which combines storytelling, movement, stillness, and sound to access our body’s wisdom. When not working, Katie is engaged in racial and social justice work, sings, takes her child on adventures, and tries to avoid the lure of ice cream.
JODI BAKER – ADMINISTRATION AND FACILITIES MANAGER
Jodi is originally from Clovis, but spent many years living in Mt. Shasta/Weed, CA area where in addition to raising her children and co-owning S & J Distributing, she was active in her surrounding community. With a strong background in business and non-profit administration, she was the founding Executive Director of Weed Community Resource Center, a grassroots non-profit community center largely funded by First 5 California and California Mental Health Services Act and a Case Manager for Northern Valley Catholic Social Services Wraparound Program, where services were designed to provide family reunification support to 0-18 year old clients, their families and their caregivers. She served on the School Board for Weed Elementary and Middle School, Siskiyou County Child Abuse Prevention Council, Area on Aging and many other community-based organization and leadership groups.
Violette is originally from Egypt; she came to the United States in 1995. She is fluent in Arabic, holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education and an Administrative Assistant certificate. She has lived and worked in New York City, Milwaukee WI, and has been in Fresno 16 years. Violette was the Client Services Specialist at Brouwer Dejong and Associates, and ran her own childcare from home for eight years. Violette is a mother of two teen children, likes to volunteer, read, sing, and enjoys taking walks.
Valerie was born and raised in the Central Valley where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from California State University, Fresno. To best serve her community she has dedicated her career to nonprofit accounting. Previously, she worked with the Fresno Housing Authority and Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission. In her personal life, Valerie enjoys practicing yoga, spending time in nature, caring for her dog, and making memories with her young daughter. She has obtained an abundance of peace and wisdom from the Sikh faith and enjoys authors Iyanla Vanzant and Rebecca Campbell. A devoted believer that everyone has direct access to and equality before God, Valerie is grateful to serve as part of the UU community.
PATTY BENNETT – MEMBER SERVICES COORDINATOR
Patty Bennett is a community advocate with interests in peace, social justice, environmental justice, and disability awareness. She is a lifelong Californian who grew up in Santa Barbara and earned her bachelor’s degree in literature from UC Santa Cruz. When she and her husband Tim Parker moved to Fresno they joined the UU Church and raised their two sons William and Max in this welcoming community. Patty has previously worked as editor of campus publications at UC Santa Cruz and as an elementary school teacher for Fresno Unified School District. Her community work includes chairing the Fresno branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Justice and helping coordinate the branch’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2015. Patty also directs the Fresno Raging Grannies as they sing their songs of peace and social justice at events throughout the Fresno area.
KAYLIA METCALFE-ARMSTRONG – COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
Kaylia loves being a part of the UU Fresno community. She teaches Spirit School, volunteers with Chalice Camp, and coleads the Social Media Team. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing (CSUS) and a Copyediting Certificate (UCSD). Currently, Kaylia is a freelance copy editor, podcast host, and writer. She also stays busy as a stay at home mom, community organizer, activist, and volunteer. She serves as Secretary for the Central Valley’s Alliance of Atheists & Skeptics and runs a local book club. She enjoys short walks on safe roads, coffee shops, and playing dinosaur princesses with her daughter Ella.
Chloe has been identifying as a Unitarian Universalist since age 13, and has grown through the church’s religious education programs. She’s been a Chalice Camp counselor and has participated in many national Youth and Young Adult Trainings. The UU College of Social Justice selected Chloe to be a Young Adult Leader for two years, and she’s currently serving on the UUA’s Moderator Search Committee, as well as our own Worship Associates team. In her free time Chloe likes to travel, write, listen to music, and consume copious amounts of caffeine.
LORENZO BASSMAN – MUSIC DIRECTOR
Music Director Lorenzo Bassman received his A.B. Degree in music from Duke University, after which he received a Diploma and Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. He has performed with many of today’s leading classical musicians. Lorenzo and his family moved to Fresno in 1997 and joined our church in 2000. Lorenzo quickly became active in our music program, and in 2006 assumed the Music Director position. He has brought many innovations to the program, broadening its scope to include music of many genres. He has arranged music for adult and youth instrumental and vocal ensembles, has established a versatile church band, Stolen Thunder, and has taken our music program to the greater Fresno community, performing at numerous peace community events.
DAVID FIRTH – SEXTON
David Firth has been the sexton of our church for 24 years. It is David’s job to prepare the church for the many events that take place throughout the year, plus he oversees the housekeeping and maintenance of our physical campus. David also assists with the sound system and taping of our Sunday sermons for our website.
DESMOND MCCOLLUM – CHILD CARE WORKER
Desmond received his B.A. from San Jose State University in 1994. While pursuing a music career, he worked for fourteen years with adults with disabilities. He and his wife and two children moved to the Central Valley to be closer to his parents. Working with people, he has learned many useful skills, such as the ability to listen to what others say, stay professional, and problem-solve with clients and students. He is grateful to be part of the UU Church of Fresno and to work in an environment that supports individuality, respect, and love
BETTY PINGEL – MINISTER EMERITA
Betty Pingle, Minister Emerita, served for eleven years and worked with the congregation to build a more spiritually contemplative style of Sunday Service. She introduced more singing and a meditation time. She included children in the service with a story for all ages. Together, Rev. Pingel and the congregation built a more solid organizational structure. After retirement, Betty moved to Colorado to be with her family. After the Rev. Betty Pingel retired, the congregation was served for four years by the Rev. Stephanie Nichols who was then succeeded by the Rev. Bryan Jessup.