2022-2023 BFUU Board of Trustees Members
Margaret Hurlbert (she/her) President
Ben Burch (he/him) Secretary
Ben Burch: I grew up in Davis, and attended a UU Sunday school at the Davis Fellowship (later Church) in the ‘60s, and was later involved in LRY (UU youth group) there as well. After flirting with anthropology and East Asian studies (BA and MA), I got a library degree, and worked in that area until my retirement in 2009. I was already active in BFUU at that point (having joined around 1997), and continue to do, having served on the board several times. Currently serving as Treasurer, I hope to continue to play a role in making BFUU a sustainable beacon for our 7 principles, as well as continuing to move us toward truly building a beloved community, and at the same time encouraging us to bring our principles to our participation in the broader local community.
Jean Marie Stine (she/her)
Jean Marie Stine officially became a Unitarian-Universalist in 2002 in Northampton MA, though she had long admired UU principles and thought that if she ever joined a “church” it would be the UU. After moving to Berkeley CA, she discovered the BFUU and, along with her partner Frankie Hill, joined the congregation, where they served on the Sunday Services, Hospitality and Caring Committees, helped clean and straighten the Fellowship Hall after services each week. In the process, they developed an attachment to BFUU that has never waned. When circumstances caused them to move to Oregon, where they joined the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Eugene, their hearts remained behind. Now that they live in Mexico, where they have joined the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, Jean Marie volunteered to fill an empty space on the BFUU board until the next election. She is a much published writer and the proprietor of a very small publishing company.
Mike Gardner (he/him)
My Unitarian experience started in 1960 at the Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, with minister Steven Fritchman. I felt at home and stepped right in with the Youth group’s political activism. My BFUU adventures began when my first wife and I were married by Clark Olsen in Fellowship Hall in 1967. We both were inspired by his spiritual message, his activism, and the political activity of the Social Action Committee, now the SJC. We both became active members.
In 1980 I stepped away from BFUU, however, after years of trials and tribulations I realized that again I was seeking to grow and express a sense of spirituality for both my political and scientific interests. In 2014 I rejoined BFUU, along with my wife Jinky. Since then, I have been a member of the Ministerial Relations Committee, a member of the Personnel Committee, a member of the Board of Trustees and Board president.
Today, I believe BFUU and the Board face a serious watershed moment. Our membership must grow for us to remain relevant in the crisis-ridden world we now have. I am seriously concerned that our Board is becoming more insular in its decision-making process, and less focused on the contribution of our congregation. I want to help direct the Board towards a more transparent functioning, and to seek more input from our congregation.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to represent you on the BFUU Board of Trustees in these in these spiritually, socially and financially difficult times.
Phoebe Sorgen (she/her)
Phoebe Sorgen became a BFUU friend 27 years ago when she enrolled her boys in the RE program. Though unavailable on Sunday mornings due to work, she became active via the Social Justice Committee, which she eventually chaired. After becoming a BFUU member, she was elected to the Board during the time that BFUU transitioned from lay led and hired Rev. Kurt Kuhwald in hopes of increasing membership. She served on the then newly reconstituted Personnel Committee, and has also been on the Aesthetics and Nominating Committees.
For effective peace, democracy, and human rights advocacy, Phoebe was a 2005 Outstanding Woman of Berkeley and 2015 Tom Paine Courageous Spirit awardee. As a Peace & Justice Commissioner, she wrote many Resolutions that were adopted by the City of Berkeley. Some were adopted by other cities.
Phoebe is a Green Party County Councilor and state delegate to the GP-US National Committee (the decision making body.) She serves on the GP-US Peace, International, and Conflict Resolution Committees, and is active in the Women’s Caucus. Despite those responsibilities, and being on the Steering Committees of Move to Amend and Berkeley Citizens Action, she also serves as a BFUU Board of Trustees Alternate because our beautiful BFUU community means the world to her.
Gene Herman (he/him) (Alternate)
Gene Herman, AKA poppa green gene, has a BA in Political Science UNC-Charlotte, and an MA in Educational Psychology College of St. Rose. He is currently serving as BFUU Poet Laureate, and is a Co-Chair of the Social Justice Committee. He is a member of Green New Deal.
Gene has served BFUU as a member for close to 30 years in many capacities. He had led BFUU Qigong/T'ai Chi for many years. He was twice the Board President, and was Chair of the Personnel Committee.
Steve Ogden (he/him) (Alternate)
Steve's involvement with Unitarian Universalism started as a member of a Liberal Religious Youth group at the UU Fellowship in Pensacola, Florida, in the early 1970s. He moved to California in the early 80s and has lived in Stockton, Manteca, Livermore, San Carlos, Belmont, San Jose, and now Walnut Creek. He has raised two children, has occasionally been active in local and national politics, and pursued a career in software development and information technology in various forms. At BFUU, he has served on the Committee on Ministry and the Worship Services Committee. He likes to take photographs or play the guitar in rare moments of free time.