Rev. Terry Cummings, Minister
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I first heard this observation, traditionally attributed to the theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, during my first year as a Master of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. So simple, and yet deeply profound, it resonated with me immediately, and I have carried it with me ever since.
I am delighted to serve as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York. From its earliest beginnings, UUCY has contributed greatly to the lives of its members and friends, as well as to the wider community. To be a part of the next chapter of the congregation’s journey fills me with great joy.
There is so much that we can do, together, to change the world and make it a better and safer place for everyone. Seeking transformation in our own lives, and helping to transform the lives of others, is central to our shared ministry together. And it is the work of the heart and the spirit, as well as of the mind.
I believe that the work of transformation begins by meeting people where they currently are, rather than expecting them already to be where I would like them to be. I believe that dialogue grounded in empathy is the key to changing people’s minds.
Before following a call to Unitarian Universalist ministry, I practiced law in New York City for more than 30 years. During that time, I saw people at their worst and at their best. My experience of people and of the world has been invaluable to my work as a Unitarian Universalist minister.
Thank you for the opportunity to continue my ministry with you in this exciting and vibrant congregation, and in the remarkable and unique City of York. I am looking forward to whatever lies ahead.
With love, and faith, Rev. Terry Cummings
Rev Terry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Schmidt, Communications Coordinator
Rachel is the newest member to our UUC staff. She has worked within the advertising, marketing, and promotional branding field for 11 years, and she’s thrilled to join our team! In addition to her new role, she is also the proud owner of Rush Rocks Promotions, a custom promotional product and branded apparel company.
Prior to her new role with UUCY and her business, Rachel worked as an Advertising Specialist at the Baltimore Sun Media Group, followed by the position of Marketing Strategist at Freedom Federal Credit Union.
Rachel’s career history has provided her with the experience in both marketing and sales. She
understands the value of your brand, importance of your reputation, and how to successfully
express your unique message.
Rachel can be reached by email at email@example.com
Matthew Shineman serves as the Director of Lifespan Religious Education at UUCY providing quality faith development programming for all ages. He has previously served in this position at 4th Universalist Society in New York City and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County in State College, PA. In addition to his role at UUCY, Matthew also serves as an Adjunct Staff Consultant for the Central East Region of the UUA.
Matthew grew up in Huntington, NY and was raised Episcopalian. It was in high school, when serious doubts about his childhood faith emerged, that he first found Unitarian Universalism through a good friend. His interest in religion grew when he attended Boston College, where he earned a BA in Music, minoring in Faith, Peace, and Justice. After working in the music industry in New York City, Matt decided to switch gears and pursue a career in religion. Encouraged and supported by his wife, Matthew attended Union Theological Seminary, where he earned an MA in Systematic Theology and Interfaith Dialogue. It was this decision that led Matthew to a career as a religious educator.
Believing strongly in the lifespan aspect of faith development, Matthew trusts that each day brings us some newer, deeper truth. He stands firmly in his belief that Unitarian Universalism is the vibrant faith tradition of the 21st century and describes himself as an unabashed UU evangelist. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports, and playing music (you might even spot him singing with the UUCY Choir every now and then).
Matthew can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Johnson, Volunteer Sexton
John has been a member for many years, and he takes his responsibility very seriously, treating it as a labor of love. He is continuously checking up on us to make sure that UUCY is kept neat, tidy, and secure. John can frequently be found somewhere on the grounds practicing his Tai-Chi. Should you run into John as he walks the grounds and buildings, please take a moment to say thank you for all his caring efforts.
Gretchen Dekker, Music Director
Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, Gretchen (Elicker) Dekker began her formal music training in piano locally at age eight. She continued her studies at the Peabody Preparatory School in Baltimore and, following her graduation from Northeastern High School, she entered the Peabody Conservatory and graduated with honors.
Pursuing a strong interest in the harpsichord, she auditioned for and was accepted by Gustav Leonhardt as one of four pupils in his international class. During her time of residence in Amsterdam, she studied both harpsichord and organ and performed recitals throughout The Netherlands, France and Belgium.
Since receiving a Master’s Degree with high academic honors and special recognition for distinction in performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, Gretchen has concertized as both a soloist and collaborative artist in the mid-Atlantic region. She has been featured as a concerto soloist with the York Symphony Orchestra, the Harrisburg Symphony, the York College Symphony Orchestra, and the Hershey Symphony, among others.
In addition to being an active performer and advocate for arts in the community, Dekker was recently appointed to serve as the Music Director of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York. Since 1998 she has also been an adjunct professor of piano, harpsichord, early music history and aural theory as well as a staff accompanist at York College of Pennsylvania.
In 2012 Dekker founded the YCPrep Community Music School, which is based at York College and offers pre- and post-collegiate studio music instruction in all disciplines. Through the YCPrep she continues to maintain an active private teaching studio while still finding time to enjoy cooking, bicycling and aerobic ornamental gardening on a small farm in Northern York County with her Dutch husband Jochem.
Valerie Capps, Childcare Provider
The UUCY Personnel Committee is delighted to announce that we have hired Valerie Capps as our newest Childcare Provider in July 2015.
Valerie held similar positions in churches in Reseda, CA and Burlington, KS. She is the proud mother of two sons, one of whom will soon be achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. She volunteers at her younger son's school and is active with the PTA. Valerie, her father Alan and family moved to the York area in 2012 to be near her cousin, UUCY member Diane Kearney, and Diane's late mother and UUCY member, Rita Breger, Alan's sister.
Valerie is very excited to be joining the Nursery staff.