I am a Unitarian Universalist. I believe we all come from a common source and share a common destiny. I believe that we are all held by an enduring love to which we will all one day return.
The foundation of my theology is my conviction that all people are worthy and entitled to love and respect. Like Quakers, I believe that in all people there is a spark of the Divine. I believe, along with Mother Teresa, that we are here to learn to love and learn to let ourselves be loved.
I grew up on a farm in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. As a child I loved people and books and walks in the fields and woods of our farm. In Van Buren, I met my high school sweetheart, Roger Jeremiah: Roger and I recently celebrated 30 years of marriage. Together, we are the parents of Meredith (23), Hannah, (20) and Nathan (18). Roger and the kids have been a part of my ministry journey every step of the way.
Though my family did not belong to any faith community, my mother lived her life by a thoroughly Universalist understanding that all people are worthy of love, with no exceptions, an ethic that became a part of my spiritual DNA.
I became a Unitarian Universalist in college through the dynamic teaching of my freshman world history professor. As a law student, I would find my way to a Unitarian Universalist congregation one Sunday where I saw, for the first time in my life, a woman preach from a pulpit. I sensed that day a pull toward ministry, a sense of calling that only deepened while I practiced law for the next dozen years, even though I could not name what I felt as a calling to ministry.
Rev. Jan K. Nielsen
The Universalist Church of West Hartford, CT, Senior Minister, 2002 - present. Lead preacher, head of staff, supervisor and mentor for associate and intern ministers.
First Parish in Concord, MA, Summer Minister, 2001, featured preacher of the summer. Full-time Intern Minister, September 2000- June 2001.
Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, Chaplain, 2000.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, On-call Chaplain, 1999-2002.
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Cambridge, MA, Legal Advocacy Project Intern, 1998.
Harvard Divinity School, Master of Divinity, 2002.
University of Arkansas School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1984; Dean’s List, Arkansas Law Review.
Henderson State University, Bachelor of Arts, 1981; Top graduate,
Dean’s List, Intercollegiate Debate, Student Government.
The Spiritual Life Center, West Hartford, CT, Certificate in Supervision of Spiritual Directors and Certificate in Spiritual Direction, 2014.
Amherst Writers & Artists, Advanced Certificate in Writing Group Leadership and Certificate in Writing Group Leadership, 2011.
Interim Minister Rev. Jennie Barrington
Rev. Barrington is a life-long Unitarian Universalist, originally from New England, and was a UU minister for thirteen years. Her previous position was the Interim Minister for First UU Congregation of Terre Haute,
Indiana. She served as Interim Minister for the UU congregations in Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana; Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Pittsfield, Maie. She was the settled minister in Winchendon, Massachusetts for seven years. She provided support for people who have some disabilities, but also many gifts and graces. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Bangor Theological Seminary in May of 2001, and also worked as a paralegal.
Rev. Barrington served the congregation with care and involvement and helped prepare for a settled minister.
Rev. Robert Klein
In April of 2004, the congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Rev. Bob Klein as the new settled
minister. Rev. Klein began his settled ministry in August of 2004; he was installed on November 17, 2004. He
and the congregation enjoyed a mutually respectful and affectionate relationship for his nine-year tenure. For
the first few years, Rev. Bob’s wife, the Rev. Jane Bechle, was an Affiliate Minister. During this period,
attendance and membership sometimes surged, and developments were implemented to move the
congregation from a “pastoral type” to a “program type” church. These included the creation of a
congregational covenant called, “At Peace Among Ourselves;” the creation of a Strategic Plan; and new Program Council and Rules and Regulations. The congregation also moved to a “Second Hour Church” model on Sunday mornings, with Religious Education for all ages at 10:00 a.m., and worship for all ages at 11:00 a.m. Many new programs began which are still thriving, such as: outreach to the Correction Center, Young At Heart, “UUCLR Presents,” “Pilgrims and Strangers,” and Second Sunday Potlucks. The congregation beautified the Memorial Woodlands, became an official Welcoming Congregation, began the annual Blessing of the Animals service, started a drumming circle, and issued congregational resolutions on peace and social justice. Young adults’ activities flourished, as well.
Several efforts were started as ministry for the earth, recycling, and becoming a Green Sanctuary. The Cornerstone Society was also established, to honor long-time members whose leadership was distinguished. UUCLR’s relationship with the District and the UUA remained strong. It hosted a district conference, and sent members to UU leadership schools, trainings, and gatherings. UUCLR also celebrated its sixtieth anniversary.
In the spring of 2013, Rev. Bob resigned to take up a settled ministry in Stockton, California. His ministry for UUCLR was distinguished by advocacy to abolish the death penalty, building relationships with the Turkish community, supporting PFLAG (Parents and Friends of people who are Lesbian or Gay), and outreach to the low income population of Little Rock.
Reverend Alexander "Scotty" Meek, Minister Emeritus
Scotty--while "mostly retired"--agreed to join our church for six month interim period beginning in January, 2003 which he graciously extended to April 2004. Scotty was elected as UUCLR's first Minister Emeritus as of April 11, 2004. He is now "retired" in Arizona, but welcomes contact at email@example.com
A Massachusetts native, Scotty is a graduate of Tufts University with a BA in sociology (1956). An S.T.M. from Crane Theological School (Tufts - 1959), he also studied at Harvard Divinity School & Univ. of Colorado.
He has been an interim minister at: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Green Valley, Arizona (elected Minister Emeritus, March 2000); Bay Area Unitarian Univ. Church, Houston, Texas; First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn, New York; All Souls Unitarian Church in Kansas City, Missouri; First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, Fort Worth, Texas; Universalist Unitarian Church, Wausau, Wisconsin; Unitarian Universalist Church, Tucson, Arizona; and the Unitarian Meetinghouse, Madison, Wisconsin. Former: Extension Minister, Pacific Southwest District, UUA 1983-87. Elected District Minister Emeritus, 1987.
He is the author of Building Family Religion at Home and an editor of UUA pamphlets REACH stores and ceremonies. Originally a Universalist Minister, he has served churches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri and New York. He has chaired the UUA Nominating Committee; been Treasurer, LREDA; and has been Dean and Theme Speaker at numerous UU summer conference centers. He has chaired the Interim Minister's Advisory Committee, UUA Dept. of Ministry. He has been Past President and Secretary, Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association.
His community involvement has included Chair of RAPELINE (Sexual Violence Program) Rochester, Minnesota; President, Rochester Chemical Dependency Services, Inc.; Chair, School District 535 Affirmative Action Committee. Other memberships include the ACLU, YMCA and NAACP.
Scotty has been married to Dorothy May Caldwell since 1956 and has two children, Steven of Arlington, Texas, and Sheralyn, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His extracurricular activities include cooking, shopping and especially golf.