Elizabeth Plummer
Brian Franklin

Director of Finance & Administration (he/him)
bfranklin@unitytemple.org :: x100

Brian’s background includes extensive project and administrative management experience. He has two degrees from the University of Illinois, a BA in English and a Masters degree in Library and Information Science. In his last position as Director of Business Administration at the UU Church in Urbana-Champaign (UUCUC), he managed the day to day operations of the congregation, which included collaborating with lay leaders and staff in the management of the administrative office, communications, facilities, financials, and human resources.

In his spare time, Brian enjoys spending time with his dog Buddy (a Beagle) and cat Hank, cooking for family and friends, and playing board games. His favorite games at the moment are Scythe and Small World.

Val Ridenour
Val Ridenour

Director of Religious Education and Membership (she/her)
vridenour@unitytemple.org :: x115

Val provides both administrative and hands-on support for all areas of membership and religious education programming at Unity Temple. She brings strong organizational skills gained through her experience in management, and her experience in working with youth. Val has a passion for religious education and a deep understanding of UU principles. She is committed to bringing a comprehensive and engaging experience to religious education, membership and engagement. Through outreach initiatives, Val is committed to creating a warm and welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

Prior to joining the staff at Unity Temple, Val was a volunteer class leader for OWL. Before that, she was the Regional Bakery Team Leader for Whole Foods Market and Regional Bakery Manager 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, taking walks with friends and spending time with her family.

Martha Swisher
Martha Swisher

Music Director (she/her)
mswisher@unitytemple.org :: x109

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 provides support for the Spring Music Festival, The Unity Temple Players (house band) and hosts guest performances and in-house choir parties!

Previously, Marty served as principal conductor and music director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, Jubilate Children’s Chorus, the DePaul University Community Chorus, the Northwestern University Women’s Chorus and Les Petit Chanteurs in Léogane, Haiti. She has taught on the faculties of DePaul, Saint Xavier & Loyola Universities and the College of DuPage.

Marty is a sought-after clinician who has led workshops in conducting, score preparation, rehearsal planning and preparation strategies for many choral groups in the Chicago area, as well as the American Choral Directors Association, Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries, National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has conducted, prepared choirs, and/or performed in 23 productions of the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago.

Dedicated to the musical presence of Unity Temple in the wider community, Marty participates in the Community of Congregation services and faith community gathering performances.

Jeanne Calabrese
Jeanne Calabrese

Marketing and Communications Coordinator (she/her)
jcalabrese@unitytemple.org :: x105
Office Hours:
Mon 10-1pm
Wed 9-1pm
Thurs 9-4pm
Fri 8-10am

eBeacon Deadline:
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.

Joan Cinquegrani
Brian Kinyon

Worship Service Production Coordinator (he/him)

Brian joined the Unity Temple team in September of 2021 coordinating the live stream service production and taping. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2000, he worked at Willamette University in Oregon as a graphic designer, production artist, photographer and manager of student workers. He worked for several years designing and art directing before turning his attention to focusing full-time on his photography business which he currently owns and operates. His business specializes in a variety of subjects from photographing families, weddings, events and corporate work including videography and product photography.
Brian finds live streaming a wonderful combination of aesthetic and technical challenges. In his free time he hangs out with his wife and two kids, building LEGOs, drawing, playing tag, coaching soccer and settling sibling disputes.
Tracy Zurawski
Ashley Lottino

Office Assistant (she/her)
alottino@unitytemple.org :: x106
Office Hours:
Mon –Fri 9-1pm

With a background in art, and studying for her degree in education, Ashley is excited to bring her talents to the team as the Office Assistant. She is passionate about community centered organizations, and is looking forward to being of service. In her free time, Ashley loves spending time with her daughter, whether it be cooking together, making art, or having outdoor adventures. She is also an avid reader, and feels very at home at the Oak Park Public Library.

Joan Cinquegrani
Sean O'Shea

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.

Joan Cinquegrani
Michael Robinson

Bookeeper (he/him)
mrobinson@unitytemple.org :: x104

Hours: M W F: 9-12:30pm

Michael Robinson is the Bookkeeper for UTUUC. He has been working in accounting and finance since 2004. He is a former resident of Oak Park and part of the OPRF class of ’91. He currently resides in the Village of Maywood with his lovely wife and three children. He loves music and is the Minister of Music at his local church.

Peter Storms
Peter Storms

Organist/Pianist (he/him)

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.

Justine Urbikas
Justine Urbikas

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.

Joan Cinquegrani
Kathy Valdivia

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.