Acting Director of Finance and Administration
Charles has been serving as a UU congregational administrator for 14 years, beginning with Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, Missouri. Most recently he served the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa. He also served several years on the Board of the AUUA – the Association of UU Administrators, and is currently serving on the Board of the Midwest UU Conference, which oversees charitable distributions from several endowed funds.
Charles lives in Woodland, California, with his partner and two daughters. They also share their house with four cats and a bearded dragon.
Director of Engagement & Membership (she/her)
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Tina serves as the full-time Director of Engagement & Membership and has been in this position since 2010. She is honored to work with a congregation dedicated to welcoming all and caring for one another. In addition to serving on the Executive Team, she and her support teams develop clear pathways for both newcomers and long-term members and friends to deepen their connections and sense of belonging at UTUUC. Over the past 8 years, Tina has also served in various leadership roles within the Unitarian Universalist Association of Membership Professionals (UUAMP). She is available to meet with anyone who would like to get involved with our community, or who simply have questions.
Music Director (she/her)
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Conductor, voice teacher, and artistic instigator Marty Swisher believes music is a near miracle of communication between performers and audience and that nothing is quite so magical as the collective voice of a dedicated, unified chorus.
Serving as Music Director, Marty has developed a full program at Unity Temple which includes The Unity Temple Choir, a 50-voice mixed ensemble; The Unity Temple Singers, 12-voice a cappella ensemble; Women Inspired by Song Ensemble; Chalice Singers Children’s Choir; The Unity Temple Vocal Music Scholarship Competition; a biennial Unity Temple Schubert Festival; and the Unity Temple Bell Choir. She also provides support for the Spring Music Festival, The Unity Temple Players (house band) and hosts guest performances and in-house choir parties!
She previously served as principal conductor and music director of Chicago Children’s Choir, Jubilate Children’s Chorus, the DePaul University Community Chorus, the Northwestern University Women’s Chorus and Les Petit Chanteurs in Leogane, Haiti. She has taught on the faculties of DePaul and Loyola Universities and the College of DuPage. She completed her Master of Conducting degree at Northwestern University, graduating in 2006.
Marty is a sought-after clinician who has led workshops in conducting, score preparation, choral warm-up, and interpretation for many choral groups in the Chicago area, as well as the American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Association of Unitarian Universalist Music ministries. She has conducted, prepared choirs, and/or performed in 23 productions of the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago.
Dedicated to the presence of Unity Temple’s musical contributions to the wider community, Marty performs and supports the annual Twelfth Night area congregation choir performances, the Community of Congregation’s Thanksgiving Interfaith Services, and is a member of the Oak Park Area Arts Alliance.
Watch this space for details.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator (she/her)
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Wed at Noon
Jeanne has many years of experience working as a visual communicator within educational, scholarly, trade and not-for-profit publishing markets. She has her own studio where she creates award-winning designs in a wide range of formats. Her most recent focus in addition to design has been in sustainable agriculture. She has been cultivating her knowledge of local food systems and growing practices to gain a better understanding of how to impact positive change within this system. She is an urban orchardist, avid gardener and master food preservationist.
Religious Education Coordinator (she/her)
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Val provides administrative and hands-on support for all areas of lifespan religious education programming at Unity Temple. Val brings strong organizational skills gained through her experience in management, as well as in caring for children as a nanny and a volunteer. As a volunteer, Val teaches OWL and has been a member of the Religious Education Committee since 2017. Prior to joining the staff at Unity Temple, Val worked as a nanny for a number of families. Before that, Val was the Bakery Team Leader for Whole Foods Market and Bakery Coordinator for Giant Eagle. Val and her husband Joshua have been members of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011. They live in Oak Park with their two children. Outside of work, Val enjoys baking and spending time with her family.
Peter Engel Storms
Peter joined the Unity Temple family in September 2009. A multi-instrumentalist and singer, he began studying piano at the age of 5. Peter earned a BA in English and Anthropology from Illinois Wesleyan University, where he performed in various musical ensembles and accompanied many classes, lessons, and recitals. He relocated to Chicago after university and established himself as a music director and sound designer, working with many equity and non-equity Chicago theaters and earning a Joseph Jefferson Equity Citation for Outstanding Sound Design. He has also built a reputation as a detailed transcriptionist, a skilled orchestrator and arranger, and a sensitive accompanist and interpreter of many musical styles. He creates music for performing artists and ensembles across the country and has toured with Irish tenor Michael Londra and conducted the orchestra on Michael’s Emmy-nominated PBS special, Beyond Celtic. Outside of music, Peter works as a System Analyst for a non-profit nursing organization and advocates for justice alongside his wife Juliana, whom he met at Unity Temple.
Worship Service Production Coordinator (he/him)
Youth Coordinator (she/her)
Justine coordinates the Youth Group activities for Unity Temple’s 10th-12th graders. She served as a volunteer Youth Advisor from 2013-2019 before joining the staff in 2019. As a life-long Unitarian Universalist, she knows first-hand the impact that youth ministry can have on a young person’s formative years. Justine has served in various UU volunteer and staff positions including the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees (2007-2011) and as student services staff at Meadville Lombard Theological School (2009-2014). Justine is a Chicago native and has a B.A. from DePaul University. She has worked in non-profit management and currently works in the food industry. She lives in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and enjoys cooking, healthy eating and gardening.
Preschool Coordinator (she/her)
Kathy is our Preschool Coordinator on Sunday mornings. She is happy to communicate with the children and carry out many activities of art, music, reading, strengthening the sense of collaboration, respect and friendship between them.
Kathy has over 17 years of experience working with children, as a babysitter, an advocate for the Oak Park community, and most recently as a teaching assistant at Alcuin Montessori School. She was born in Peru and studied to be a folk-dance teacher. She volunteers at the Oak Park Library, the Morton Arboretum and the Interfaith Community for Detain Immigrant.
In her spare time, she likes to meditate and cook Peruvian food for her children.
Security Guard (he/him)
Sean is a retired Oak Park Police Sergeant. He has been working with UTUUC since 2018. Sean is interested in sports, yoga, travel and spending time with family. Fun fact about Sean is he works as a background actor on the set of Chicago P.D.
Linda Van Dyke
Bell Choir Director (she/her)
Linda has been teaching privately for 25 years. She has played saxophone and clarinet for many artists and Broadway shows in downtown Chicago and has led a band that played for weddings and corporate functions for 10 years. She is very active with music at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church where she conducts three handbell choirs. She takes her work seriously and tries to have as much fun doing it as she can. She is excited to create music with the Unity Temple choir.
Freelance Rental Manager (she/her)
Armed with the experience she gained working in non-profit events for several years, Joan Cinquegrani established Five Grain Events (which is derived from her married last name: in Italian, “cinque” means five and “grani” means grains) in early 2010. Since then, Joan has worked hard to build a reputation for Five Grain Events by successfully executing nearly 300 events. Five Grain Events clients have ranged from brides and grooms looking for help with their wedding days, to corporate conferences, street festivals, and contracted venue management relationships for well-respected venues in the Chicagoland area. The Five Grain mission is to support clients during the planning process by creating open lines of communication and providing a wealth of resources to ensure success. Though raised in Oak Park, Joan now lives in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and four children.