Reverend Manish Mishra-Marzetti
In August of 2018, our congregation joyfully welcomed Reverend Manish Mishra-Marzetti as the thirteenth Senior Minister since our community’s founding in 1865.
Reverend Manish is a lifelong learner, scholar, author and a UU leader committed to community involvement and outspoken public ministry. His recent books include Conversations with the Sacred: A Collection of Prayers (2020), co-edited with Jennifer Kelleher, and Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment (2018), co-edited with Jennifer Nordstrom.
His warm and engaging preaching style appeals to both heart and head. He is a deeply thoughtful person with a multi-cultural background, drawing inspiration from a diverse range of literary, ethical, and spiritual sources, including Unitarian Universalism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Humanism, Christianity and Lakota spirituality.
Reverend Manish has previously served as the Senior Minister of congregations in Florida, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. He has also served extensively in Unitarian Universalist national leadership, including as president of the Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM, our national UU people of color organization), and most recently as a trustee on the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board of Trustees.
Prior to entering the ministry, Reverend Manish served as a U.S. diplomat during the Clinton administration.
Director of Music Ministries
Conductor and bass-baritone Dusty Francis enjoys an active career as a performer, clinician, and educator across both the United States and the United Kingdom. Past roles have included musical leadership of the New York City Master Chorale, London’s The Fourth Choir, and the Brooklyn-based Park Slope Singers, as well as classroom teaching positions with the American School in London and Collegiate School in New York City. Recent seasons have included performances at esteemed venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center.
When not on the conducting podium, Francis can often be heard singing with some of the country’s finest professional choral ensembles, including the GRAMMY-nominated True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Skylark Vocal Ensemble, and the Manhattan Chorale. Recent solo engagements have spanned styles and periods ranging from Bach to Puccini and Schubert to Sondheim.
Francis holds the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Xavier University in Cincinnati. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministers (AUUMM).
Deb Markum has worked in congregational administration her entire professional career. While a student at the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City, she landed her first church job as a choir director. There she discovered a passion for the systems that create community, support engagement, and cause congregations to thrive. Upon graduation she began working full time as a congregational administrator and has remained in active service to religious institutions since.
Prior to coming to Ann Arbor, Deb served a UU congregation in the Kansas City area for 17 years. She feels fortunate to continue serving Unitarian Universalism, her chosen faith, at UUAA. Deb’s social justice passions include fighting racism, income inequality, and oppression in all of its forms.
In her free time, Deb enjoys spending time with her family, reading, listening to and playing music, solving puzzles, and taking road-trips, especially to the Rocky Mountains.
Director of Spiritual Growth and Development
Stella Anderson earned a B.A. in history from the University of Michigan followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy from the Moscow Art Theatre School/the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University. Following a marketing stint at a local theatre, Stella spent three years as an actor and coordinator of a touring educational theatre group at the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), focusing on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
More recently, Stella earned a Master of Secondary Education from the University of Michigan. She spent three years teaching high school social studies and theatre arts before deciding to take time off to stay at home with her three children. Born and raised in Southeast Michigan, Stella was an active member of the Birmingham Unitarian Church as a youth and happily found her faith community at the UUAA in 2011.
Minister of Pastoral Care, Worship Team Member
reverend theresa rohlck
theresa graduated in May of 2019 with a Master’s of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. She was ordained by this congregation in April 2020, and currently holds a half time position as the Minister of Pastoral Care. She also serves in a part time capacity as a chaplain at Trinity Health – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hospital.
theresa was awarded a Fulbright study grant in her final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, where, as a violist, she graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts. After returning from studying traditional music (gamelan) and dance in Indonesia for three and a half years, theresa began what became a 30+ year career in teaching English for Academic Purposes to international graduate students at the University of MIchigan’s English Language Institute. She earned an MA from Eastern Michigan University in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and is a published author by UM Press.
A lifelong musician and teacher, rev. theresa brings those skills into her current work in pastoral care and as a member of the worship team. She finds joy in bringing the spiritual and pastoral into worship and creating services that integrate music and poetry. rev. theresa is dedicated to creating personalized rituals and services for memorials, weddings, and other life transitions, and is grateful for the opportunity to do so in the context of her home congregation.
Acting Coordinator of the Membership Journey
Reverend Mandy Beal
Rev. Mandy comes to UUAA from the Birmingham Unitarian Church (BUC) of Michigan, where she held overall lead responsibility for all aspects of the congregation’s ministry, including its membership ministries. Deepening the sense of connection that members feel, one to another, in community is a major passion of Rev. Mandy’s, one that has characterized her earlier ministries with the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester, MA, where she served as Co-Acting Director of Religious Education and Membership Coordinator, as well as her work with the First Parish in Lincoln, MA.
Allison Halerz is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music with a degree in Performing Arts Technology. As a previous member of the UMS Choral Union, she participated in the Grammy Award-winning recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience in April 2004 under the direction of Leonard Slatkin.
Allison has been attending UUAA since 2003 and became a member in 2007. She was drawn to the congregation partly because of its already excellent music program, and quickly became an active participant both as a member of the Chalice Singers and as a substitute pianist. She became the UUAA’s Pianist-in-Residence in 2007 and is excited to be a part of the continued musical experiences and growth of this congregation.
Lead Preschool Teacher
Erin has has been with the UUAA youth programs since 2006. She focuses on providing a safe, secure, nurturing and welcoming environment for children and families of preschoolers ages 3-4. She has worked with children and families for over 25 years and has an Advanced Child Development Associate Degree (ACDA), and an associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Washtenaw Community College. Her certifications include: Music Together and HighScope. She also serves on a therapy dog and handler team with Therapaws. Erin is married to Ken Dixon and has two grown children, Jill who lives in Delaware and Kenny who lives in Tulsa, OK.
Reverend Gail R. Geisenhainer
Rev. Gail served from August, 2008 to August, 2016 as UUAA’s 12th called senior minister and first female to fill that position. Rev. Gail was a huge advocate of social justice, bringing the Black Lives Matter movement to our congregation and offering inspiring sermons on a wide range of social justice topics. In March, 2014, before the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the right to gay marriage, there was a brief window of time when gay marriage was legal in Michigan. Rev. Gail went to City Hall and performed 10 joyful marriage ceremonies in one day. Under her leadership, our congregation became the first UUA congregation to be certified under the Equal Access- Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) program. In 2016 when she announced her retirement, the congregation created the Geisenhainer Music Fund in her honor and also dedicated a new concert level Steinway grand piano as an ongoing legacy of her devotion to music programming.She is known among UUs nationally for her rousing 2006 UUA General Assembly Sunday Sermon and is a contributor to the 5th edition of the The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide (Skinner House Books, 2012). After retiring from UUAA, Gail and her partner Celeste retired to their home state of Maine.
Reverend Kenneth W. Phifer
Reverend Doctor Kenneth W. Phifer was the senior minister of our congregation from 1980 – 2005. His thought-provoking sermons, caring leadership, vibrant sense of humor, and dedicated community involvement provided our congregation with much inspiration for 25 years. Reverend Ken continues to teach classes and preach in area churches. He is a founder of the Interfaith Roundtable, and has worked on issues relating to peace, aid in dying, and LGBTQ concerns. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Divinity School, he is the author of two books: Hold On: Getting Through Tough Times and Becoming at Home in the World.