Her ministry here at First Unitarian includes pastoral care and work with many of the programs happening here, particularly pastoral care, small groups, and membership. She particularly enjoys finding new innovative ways to do church together and advance Unitarian Universalism in our world. She is also serving as a member of the board for the Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry Network.
Michelle attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and graduated with honors in 1999 with a degree in mathematics and an accidental minor in religious studies from taking too many classes that sounded interesting. After graduating, she spent a few years as an elementary school teacher and then as a photographer before settling into parenthood. Then she began seminary in Berkeley, California, and graduated in 2011 from Starr King School for the Ministry with her Masters of Divinity and a certificate in Women’s Studies of Religion.
As part of her preparation for ministry, Michelle served as an intern minister in two different locations. She served for a year in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City (about a half hour south of San Francisco) and was blessed to be part of many programs and groups while there, including teaching the coming of age youth program that year. During that year, she also served as a community ministry intern with the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in San Francisco and is now officially considered a “grand fool.” While there, she helped to facilitate the weekly Bible study, took part in Street Retreats, and worked with a just forming action and arts group of queer youth in the neighborhood.
Michelle completed her first unit of chaplaincy training at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center where she worked primarily with general medicine, leukemia, and organ transplant patients. This past year she worked as a chaplain resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where she served on the cardiac intensive care and step down unit and the HIV inpatient service as well as extensive overnight and weekend coverage throughout the hospital. She describes the high points of the year as being some of her more difficult visits with patients and their families where she could tell that her presence had really made a difference for them.
When she’s not at work, you’ll probably see her with her nose in a book or at the library. She also enjoys playing board games and juggling, although admits that she drops the balls almost as much as she catches them. Michelle and her husband, Dave, who is a professor at Johns Hopkins, have a bright and outgoing daughter, Chesapeake.
To learn more about Michelle, you can see her website here.