ERUUF is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees elected by the Fellowship and follows a policy-based governance model. Under policy-based governance, the Board of Trustees serves as representatives of the congregation and both gives voice to the vision and mission of ERUUF as well as writes the basic governing policies of the organization.

Connie Pearcy - Chair

Term: 2021-2024

I have been a member of ERUUF since 1996 when my wife, Tanja Atkins, and I began attending services and wanted a spiritual home for ourselves and in which we could raise a family. Over the years, ERUUF has become much more than a religious community for us. We’ve made life-long friends here and have relied on a network of people to raise our children, Ivy and Emmy, into caring young adults.

Professionally, I am a managing director for a NC based consulting firm specializing in the health and life sciences industries. I work with global companies to apply technology to solve business challenges. While I’m now a technology leader, early in my career I taught high school through Teach for America and led educational programs for Duke TIP.

Outside of work, I enjoy hiking at the Eno, biking, and kayaking and camping at Jordan Lake and am on a mission to develop my woodworking and welding skills! Tanja and I will be taking our youngest daughter to France in the fall for college while our oldest lives and works in Durham.

Over the years, I’ve been involved in a variety of ways at ERUUF. I’ve taught RE, been a member of the adult education committee, served as a greeter, contributed to the auction, hosted dinners at our house, and helped with the Christmas pageant.  In 2022-2023, I am looking forward to working with Rev. Brett, the congregation, and Board colleagues as we advance the mission of ERUUF under Rev. Brett’s new ministry.

Heather Ladd - Secretary

Term: 2022-2024

My introduction to ERUUF was through Clicking for a Cause, a group of spiritual knitters and crocheters. I had just moved to Durham in 2015 and was looking for connections.  I appreciated the group’s shared purpose of spirituality, craft, and service.  I became a member in 2017 after getting involved in multiple aspects of ERUUF's Justice Ministry. I have served in ERUUF's Justice Ministry on both the Steering Committee as the Planning Coordinator and as a Co-chair of the Durham CAN Action Team. I continue to serve as a member of the Durham CAN Action Team and Clicking for a Cause. I also coordinate and facilitate the Justice Ministry segment of the Inquirer’s Series for new members. I served on ERUUF’s Nominating Committee from 2019-2022 including as Co-Chair for one year.

In my professional life, I work as a Statistician for the University of California, Irvine doing health services research with a focus on nursing home and home health care quality.  I am a member of Durham CAN's Affordable Housing Team, formerly serving as a Co-Chair for 2 years, and a member of Bike Durham. I am interested in leadership development both within ERUUF and in communities outside of ERUUF whose voices are underrepresented. Durham CAN has been instrumental in my own development as a leader and a spiritual being. In my spare time, I enjoy walking with my dogs, Fido and Mack, loving on both my dogs and cats, spending time with my spouse, Steve, studying martial arts, gardening, and knitting or crocheting.


Summer Anderson - Trustee

Term: 2021-2024

My husband, JM, and I moved to Durham in 2018 and started attending ERUUF later that year. We were recently engaged and had been looking to purchase our first home and to find a church home. We were looking for a place where we could continue to grow spiritually, engage in community and fellowship, and be of service. I don’t remember the content of the first service we attended at ERUUF, but on our drive home afterward, we both agreed that we thought ERUUF was going to be the right place for us and that we wanted to check out the Inquirer’s series and continue to learn more.

Since joining ERUUF in 2019, I’ve enjoyed attending Sunday services, participating in small group ministry as a member of a chalice circle, looking for opportunities to connect with ERUUFians in the ’20s and '30s group, and participating in book and film discussions hosted by the Multicultural Team and Earth Justice Team.

Professionally, my work is in health services research, with a focus on program administration and implementation, implementation science, quality improvement, and program evaluation, within the content areas of mental health and interdisciplinary approaches to care. My educational background includes clinical and health psychology and public health (with a focus on health administration). While not directly part of my current professional roles, my personal and professional interests also encompass a desire to better understand and address “upstream” factors associated with human flourishing as well as poor mental and physical health, particularly at the intersection of individual-level factors and structural/systemic-level factors.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time outside--often with our dogs, Iris and Opal--running and walking in our neighborhood, on the tobacco trail, or through Umstead State Park. I’m an avid audiobook listener and also enjoy cooking, traveling, and spending time with JM and other friends and family. I am grateful for the spiritual home and community that I have found at ERUUF and look forward to continuing to connect, grow, learn, and be of service within and alongside this congregation.

Dom Grimes-Medlin - Trustee

Term: 2023-26

Dominique 'Dom' Grimes-Medlin joined ERUUF in 2017. Since he joined, he has been a very active member, participating in poetry readings at services, Pride Plus, the BIPOC committee, and Nominating Committee. Dom was married by our beloved Rev. Jacqueline in 2018 to his husband, John Grimes-Medlin. Dom comes from a strong operations management and HR background. Today, he's an HR/DEIB consultant, a Board member for TSHRM (Triangle Society of Human Resource Management), and a Board member of StepUp Durham.

Trisha Lester - Trustee

Term: 2022-2025

I came to ERUUF in 2018 looking for a spiritual home and became a member the following spring. I immediately got involved in a Chalice Circle in which I’m still active. I immersed myself in numerous racial justice offerings during 2020 that were transformational. I’ve served on the Generosity Sunday Committee and baked cookies for Urban Ministries’ Community Café. I’ve also been active with the Refugee and Immigrant Action Group on behalf of a young family who resettled to Durham from Afghanistan in 2021.

I’ve lived in Chapel Hill for 30+ years -- most of that time with my late husband Jerry Oster until he passed away in 2020. I was born in our nation’s capital but grew up living abroad, mostly in Latin America because my father worked with the US Agency for International Development. It was an extraordinary experience, and it gave me both an appreciation and respect for other cultures and a love of travel.

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in modern dance and danced semi-professionally with the Roz Glatter Dance Company before moving to New York to study at the Erick Hawkins studio. I got my masters in Nonprofit Management from New School University and worked in a few different educational and arts nonprofits in NYC and NJ.

I worked for 26 years at the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, a statewide nonprofit which works with board and staff members of 501(c)(3) nonprofits. I served as Acting President when our longtime founder and CEO retired and the board was hiring her successor. I left as Senior Vice President in 2018 because of chronic health issues. I am now retired and am thoroughly enjoying it.


Mel Downey-Piper - Trustee

Term: 2022-2025

When I was in first grade, my grandparents gave me a children’s Bible and I became enamored with the stories.  As I acted out each story with the book’s paper finger puppets, my parents realized that they wanted me to be raised in a more liberal tradition and began seeking a spiritual community.  That is how I ended up as a lifelong UU from Milwaukee, WI.  

As I aged out of religious education, I found my people in the UU ministry at UW-Madison and spent many weekends at retreats and protests at Fort Benning, GA with my college peers. I paused while in graduate school at UNC, but found my spiritual home at ERUUF once I had children and have been here for 13 years. I began to feel connected to this congregation by participating in smaller groups and taking on leadership roles. Over the years, I joined Rev. Brett's Student Ministry Lay Committee, taught RE and adult OWL, sang in the Beloved Community Chorus, organized Parent Group camping trips, and selected organizations to fund through the Generosity Committee.

Professionally, I am a Community Health Consultant with the American Heart Association. In this role, I help set the national strategy for health priorities using an equity lens with a focus on policy, system, and environmental changes. Before this, I stayed connected to the local community in my role as the Health Education Director at the Durham County Department of Public Health and as a Board member of TreesDurham. 

I was married by Rev. Jacqueline to my wife, Sophie McMillian, in May 2023. We have two children, Logan (13) and Dylan (11), and a Basenji pooch, Mrs. Boozle. I love being outdoors and try to squeeze in as much stand-up paddleboarding, camping, hiking, running, cycling, disc golfing, and pickleballing as possible. ERUUF is my spiritual home and has provided a place to reflect, connect and embody the values of being a UU through direct action.

Ann Verdine-Jones - Trustee

Term: 2023-26

I have been a member of ERUUF since 2019. My wife, Lisa Jones, and I moved to Durham from Savannah, GA, and, while I was uncertain how to name or define my spirituality, we desired a welcoming environment that supported free thinking. acknowledged varied spiritual journeys, and championed causes and initiatives with the mission of making the world a better place. We have found all of our ideals and more at ERUUF. Since joining, I have been a member of the Multicultural team, Adult Programs, Theory of Change Committee and am currently the co-lead for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color group.

I am a human resources consultant with a varied background in all facets of HR. Most recently, I have been consulting with organizations nationwide about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging from understanding the key concepts to introducing sustainable programming to promote healthy work environments. I have an MBA and am currently a doctoral candidate.

Outside of work and with limited leisure time as a student, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling both near and far, cuddling with my fur babies CoCo and Nala, and being in any space where my wife, Lisa, and I are together.

Barbara Welanetz - Trustee

Term: 2023-26

I joined ERUUF in 2015, just after retiring. I quickly joined Eno River Singers and the Chalice Circle/Covenant Group program, for which I have long been a group leader and coordinating team member. I have also served ERUUF as a signage system designer, greeter, gardener and volunteer for many special events, most recently the 2500 Hours of Love project and Rev. Brett's installation. I bring to the board my long-range planning and project management experience as a facility planner for Mass. General Hospital and UNC, and my communications skills honed as a marketing consultant for design organizations. I live in Old West Durham with my spouse, Peter Welanetz.

Nicholas Yates - Trustee

Term: 2022-2025

My wife Nicky and I moved to the area in 2006. After multiple unsuccessful searches to find our spiritual home, we came across ERUUF in 2017, and we have been attending ever since. As a family, we felt instantly welcomed and enjoyed all the opportunities to get involved in the fellowship. I started my service in this fellowship as a member of the Religious Education Team.

Currently, I served as the Co-Chair of the Membership Team and enjoyed facilitating ERUUF’s Inquirer’s Classes. I am honored to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees. Our children have benefitted from the programs ERUUF has to offer. Violet (15) our oldest daughter and our youngest daughter Genevieve (11) have had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the ERUUF Our Whole Life’s (OWL) class and have been regulars in Religious Education (RE) classes.

Professionally I have been a licensed North Carolina attorney since 2003 and am currently the Deputy Town Attorney for Cary. My legal career has primarily been in public service. Public service extends into my personal life. I’ve coached both my daughter’s recreational soccer teams for years, served as the Treasurer for my daughter’s elementary school PTA for two years, and am currently the Business Alliance Officer, and serve as President of my neighborhood’s HOA. With such growth in the Triangle, I look forward to watching ERUUF’s message reach a larger audience, and the excitement of the future members and families finding a HOME at ERUUF.

Rev. Jacqueline Brett, Lead Minister

The Lead Minister is an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees.

Role: Ex-officio Member