Sean Neil-Barron was born in Calgary, Alberta, on Treaty 7 land, an area wose settlement by Europeans was made possible because of a covenant between the Crown and five Native nations – a covenant that was subsequently dishonored. As a result, Sean’s UU faith seeks to rebuild right relationship between all peoples. Sean graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 2015. That fall he and a partner piloted in Boston the first UU Wellspring program that was open to people from many congregations. Sean’s ministry is focused on spiritual formation, which for him is the journey of the self into wholeness: into self-awareness and acceptance, service, wonder, perceiving connectedness. He believes strongly in UU Wellspring’s intentional focus on key practices that aid all UUs on their own unique journeys.
Rev. Deborah Raible is a community minister in private practice as a pastoral counselor in Seattle. She is a lifelong UU, following three previous generations of Unitarians in her family, and the third generation to go into the Unitarian (and now) Universalist ministry. Deborah is also a lifelong member of University Unitarian Church, Seattle, which ordained her in 1996 and called her as a Minister Affiliated in 1997.
The Rev. Christian Schmidt, with his wife the Rev. Kristin Grassel Schmidt, serves as senior co-minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (Ca.). He has worked in diverse settings in Unitarian Universalism, including multiple parish settings, at UU World magazine, and with UU advocacy organizations. Deepening spiritual lives is central to his ministry and the key reason he is involved with UU Wellspring.
Our Emeritus Directors
Rev. Joy Collins is one of the founding members of UU Wellspring™ in Rochester, NY. She is passionate about UUs claiming their deeply spiritual selves with an open heart, mind and soul. Besides facilitating UU Wellspring groups, she has designed Wellspring curriculum and has presented on UU Wellspring at General Assembly. A 20-year UU, Joy is a community interfaith minister. Besides UU Wellspring, her main ministry is one-on-one spiritual counseling (www.revjoycollins.com).
In addition, Joy is a business consultant to corporations, specializing in leadership, curriculum design, communication skills, diversity, and team dynamics (www.northcoastassociates.com).
Rev. Libby Moore, a lifelong UU, participated in the very first Wellspring program with Jen Crow. Since then she has continued her connection with Wellspring as both facilitator and curriculum developer. Under the profound influence of her Wellspring experience, she took the leap of attending One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and is now an ordained interfaith minister. She completed training to be a spiritual director in 2014 and feels blessed to have found this vocation at this stage in her life. She honors many diverse paths toward spiritual enlightenment and has found Wellspring a source of deep inspiration on her own path.
Rev. Linda Pashby Kaufman, along with Rev. Deborah Raible (see above), introduced the UU Wellspring program to University Unitarian Church in Seattle in 2010, oversaw its continued growth at UUC, and mentored its expansion into Portland and Oregon City, OR. Linda, a community minister, recently retired as chaplain at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, where she provided spiritual care and teaching in an addiction recovery unit. She continues to serve as Minister Affiliated at UUC and has a private spiritual direction practice. Linda is thrilled that UU Wellspring is one of many signs that Unitarian Universalism is opening itself to be a faith of the heart as well as the head.
Dave Munro is past president of the board of trustees of the St. Lawrence District of the UUA. Dave served as president of the First UU Society of Albany, where he and his wife, Eileen, have been members for more than 30 years. Dave retired after practicing law for more than 35 years, primarily in the areas of environment and energy. He also served as chaplain at Albany Medical Center and is now studying for the ministry at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.
Sara Smalley has worked both as a professional educator and as a lay leader in multiple UU congregations in the Twin Cities. As a longtime member of First Universalist of Minneapolis, she was invited by Rev. Jen Crow to participate in the pilot year of UU Wellspring in that congregation. For her, the experience of UU Wellspring brought clarity to her call to ministry, and thus she is currently a seminarian at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Sara was the primary writer for the 2015 curriculum revision of the first year of UU Wellspring. She has a passion for exploring how Unitarian Universalism is best taught and most fully lived.