Meet the Board

Aug 23, 2023

Todd Eklof

President

Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof, born in 1964, has been minister at UUCS since 2011, having moved to Spokane from Louisville, KY, where he was minister of Clifton Unitarian Church for twelve years. A native of San Francisco, CA, Rev. Eklof grew up in an “unchurched” family, but became a Born-Again Christian in his early teens and eventually began attending a Southern Baptist church. He went on to study ministry at a Southern Baptist university in Texas, was ordained a Southern Baptist Minister, and attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. After completing a semester there, however, he realized he no longer believed, dropped out, renounced his Christian faith, left the ministry, and began a sixteen-year career in television news and corporate video production. Shortly after marrying his spouse Peggy, in 1988 (whom he met at Southern Seminary), they both became Unitarian Universalists. Ten years later he reentered the ministry at Clifton Unitarian Church. Rev. Eklof holds undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Communications, a Masters in Religious Studies, and a Doctorate of Ministry, and has been nationally recognized for his activism in the areas of peace and justice, LGBTQ rights and marriage equality, the environment, Restorative Justice and criminal justice reform. He is especially appreciated at UUCS for his insightful and provocative sermons as well as his compassionate heart.

Lynn Jinishian

Treasurer

Lynn Jinishian was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. She recently completed a 36 year career as a Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator. Lynn joined UUCS in 1996 to be part of a religious liberal community with her husband Robert and their then infant son, Brian. Today she enjoys learning the tiniest details of things she didn’t have time for previously—like how to make the perfect loaf of sourdough. She loves all dogs. If she is not at church on Sunday to learn more about Unitarian history and values, she’s not far away—probably just unplugged at a cabin in the woods of North Idaho where there is a never-ending list of projects.

Frank Casper

Secretary

Frank Casper has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta since 1993. He has served a number of positions in that time, Head of Adult Education and Lay Minister among them. He holds a Master’s in Theological Studies from Boston University School of Theology and is co-founder of the Fifth Principle Project.

Stephen Polmar

Member at Large

Stephen Polmar, Ph.D.,M.D. was Professor of Pediatrics, Immunology and Molecular Microbiology at Case Western Reserve University and Washington University in St. Louis as well as a Director of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. Subsequently, he was Vice President of the Immunology Therapeutic Area for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and served as a consultant to and member of the boards of directors of biotech and venture capital companies prior to his retirement in 2008.

Stephen and his wife Suzanne live in Woodbridge, Connecticut and Perugia, Italy. Stephen has been a Unitarian since age 17 and has been a member of Unitarian churches in New York, Ohio, Missouri, Connecticut and most recently the Unitarian Universalist Church in Spokane. He currently serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for an Interfaith Group that supports the refugee resettlement efforts of the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.

Stephen is committed to the perpetuation and growth of liberal religion and combines his Enlightenment-based Unitarianism, with Stoic philosophy, Taoism and Religious Naturalism. In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees, he is a member of the NAUA Academy Advisory Committee, the Membership Committee and is a frequent contributor to the Liberal Beacon.

Terry Anderson

Member at Large

 

Terry Anderson PhD is a Professor Emeritus and former Canada Research Chair in the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University. Terry has published widely in the area of distance education and educational technology and has co-authored or edited 10 books and over 90 peer reviewed papers.

Terry and his wife Susan live in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a 50 year+ Unitarian and has been a member and a leader in four Unitarian Congregations across Canada.  His current interests including figuring out how to manage this website and helping to organize the NAUA Academy. He is also a woodworker and sailor.

Terry’s interest in the NAUA stems from a deep commitment to positioning Unitarians as a religious alternative that welcomes all – including Freethinkers and atheists. He is also deeply committed to growing liberal religious ideas and practices.

Mike Long

Member at Large

Mike Long grew up in Columbia, S.C. with five wonderful sisters. He was raised as a Roman Catholic and was taught by nuns and Jesuits for his first nine grades before rebelling and going to public school.

He graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in Economics with a passion for filmmaking. He moved to Manhattan where he met his wife Heather and lived for 15 years. He has always been interested in speculative markets from an analytical, trading and investing point of view.

After New York, they moved to Charlotte, where he became heavily involved in the Unitarian Church. He served as Membership Chair, on the Boards of the Church and the Open Door School and chaired The Endowment Fund. He is mostly interested in the community aspects of church and devoted long hours to developing the small group ministry program. He enjoys playing tennis and fixing stuff. One of these days he claims he and Heather are going to travel.

Candace Schmidt

Member at Large

Candace Schmidt has been attending the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane for 16 years.  She currently serves asa board member of the North American Unitarian Association and also on the Editorial Board of the Liberal Beacon.  Candace is so grateful for the existence of the NAUA as it has given her a liberal home and a means to contribute to building that home.  Her hope is to continue to contribute to the NAUA as it becomes a thriving and vigorous organization meeting the needs of people searching for a place that values the worth and dignity of every person.

Ron Strange

Member at Large

Ron Strange lives near Port Townsend, WA. He has been a backpacker and long distance walker for some 50 years; worked on potato farms, driven trucks as a teamster, worked as a teacher  with educationally handicapped kids taking them backpacking into the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. As a former vocational nurse he spent 40 some years working in a surgical intensive care unit and the emergency room. 
 
 He has worked with the Sierra Club, Earth First and Friends of the Earth in years past and has been deeply interested in the philosophical concept of “Deep Ecology”, the psychology of Carl Jung and depth psychology in general for many years. He helped form the group known as Port Townsend Friends of Jung, which is still active.
 
For the past 15 years, he has developed classes mostly in the area of depth psychology and offered them through the adult learning program at his local Unitarian fellowship. He is deeply committed to the ideal of liberal religion, the concept of classical liberalism in general, the Transcendentalism expressed by Henry David Thoreau, a Zen/Taoist approach to life and still survives as a romantic idealist currently. 

Richard (Dick) Gammon

Member at Large

Richard’s affiliation with Unitarian-Universalism began in 1957 with his marriage in Community Church in NYC. He has served on committees and boards and as an officer in UU associations including his current UU Church of Spokane; Central UU Church in Paramus, NJ; Delaware Valley UU Church in Media, PA; and the UU Fellowship in Mobile, AL.

Richard’s education includes a BA from Swarthmore College and an MBA from Columbia Business School. His career was in human resources management.

Richard’s interest in NAUA is the overwhelming necessity to preserve historical Unitarian values.

Robert Jinishian

Member at Large

Robert found the Unitarian faith through his wife 30+ years ago in Spokane, Washington. He believes that freedom, reason and tolerance should help to guide our individual paths.