Rev Steve Colladay as been named as our Transitional Minister and will begin serving at Unity Albany on Sunday, March 29. Click below for more on Rev. Steve.
Rev. Roger Mock, Assistant Minister and Music Director
Roger has a lifetime of experience in church music ministry, starting back in high school days where he helped to form a contemporary ‘folk’ choir in his local Catholic parish in Little Falls, NY. His college years were spent in the Capital District at Siena College and the College of St. Rose (from which he graduated with an Art Education degree and where he later pursued musical studies). During college he continued his music ministry at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Albany eventually becoming music director and serving that parish for two decades.
Though raised in the Roman Catholic Church (and still having a great love for that religious tradition), Roger’s own spirituality has long been rooted in a wider understanding and experience of the Divine – that it finds expression in the full breadth of humanity’s religious traditions.
The Unity movement has been a natural fit for him and, since about 2004, Roger has been serving as a minister of music here at Unity of Albany. He brings with him significant skills as a song leader, worship leader and instrumentalist (guitar, hammered dulcimer, mandolin) as well as an ability to draw a group of musicians together as a unified, harmonious channel for spiritual ministry.
In June, 2015, Roger completed a year of studies at All Faiths Seminary in New York City and was ordained as an interfaith minister.
Trudy Ellis, Youth & Family Ministry
Trudy currently heads up our youth program, coordinating Sunday morning youth education, having stepped in with the passing of former Youth Ministry leader, Jane Bloom. We have a caring, compassionate, loving program that nurtures the Christ presence in our children and embraces individuality through instruction and activities in Unity Principles.
Our vision is to empower children and youth to use their spiritual wisdom to fulfill their soul’s purpose; to empower parents to see themselves as the primary spiritual educators of their children and youth; and to empower facilitators to see education as a process, through which they effectively support the unfolding of the child’s spiritual nature and model the living of the spiritual principles.
Board of Trustees
Heather Diddel, President
Dottie Frament, Vice-President
Peggy Kaufman, Secretary
Karin Reinhold, Treasurer
Dave Ferrill, Trustee
Pat Wood, Trustee
Carol Morris, Alternate
Heather Diddel, President
I want to serve on the board because Unity Church in Albany has changed my life and I feel strongly called to give back in a bigger way than I have done for the last 4-5 years. I view the board not as a hierarchical structure, but as a circle of people coming together to give their best in service to the church. Being a church Trustee means being entrusted with holding and growing Unity consciousness of the church and myself, being a guardian and steward along with the minister, other Trustees and members of the Church, and becoming, in effect, a walking-talking-listening expression of the Mission of Unity Church in Albany. This is a time of significant transition and growth for our church and our congregation and I would like to be of service now in any way I can.
Dottie Frament, Vice-President
I have been attending Unity Church in Albany since 2004 and I became a member in 2007. I was a longtime student of A Course in Miracles and became a Unity Class junkie thanks to Rev. Jim & Rev. Crystal’s classes. I have also taken the 4-T classes and Rob Geyer’s “Little Buddha” and “Conversations with God” classes. For the past 2 ½ years, I have served as a facilitator of our Unity group that is committed to the lifelong task of healing racism by increasing our awareness of our own unconscious bias and internalized racism through educating ourselves using books, documentaries, workshops, and by inviting dialogues with mixed races in safe small groups. We aim to come from a pro-human agenda rather than an anti-racism one. We have only begun to scratch the surface, but I believe Spirit is guiding the pace.
I was a Trustee of Unity Board from 2011-2015, serving as President the last 2 years, and liaison to Sunday Service ( Hospitality, Ushers, A-V team) and Special Events. I enjoyed organizing pot luck lunches, Christmas parties, gardening activities, doing Unity Church Cares, and serving on the Search Committee that brought Rev. Crystal to us. I am also a prayer chaplain, and I am a “Keeper of the Flame (a group of people who pray for the board during their meetings). I began tithing with my first 4T class and I haven’t stopped.
My experience of being a church Trustee is that it is a calling of Spirit to be a container for the highest consciousness that the congregation has or is growing into, and to have a spiritual practice that one can rely on to stay the course when there are conflicting needs and desires of the community that have to be addressed. I wish to serve because although I was absolutely dead set on not getting involved at this intense level of service, I got a very clear call from Spirit that I can be of service to this church during this time of transition, but only if I surrender to Spirit’s guidance. And so, I let go and let God, and I am willing to “be with” and trust what shows up.
Peggy Kaufmann, Secretary
Peggy has been coming to Unity for more than 12 years, and became a member in 2014. She began ushering soon after that, and upon retiring a year and a half ago, was able to become more involved with Unity. Peggy took charge of the Christmas family adoption; she took the lead in making contact with FOCUS to pursue membership with them; she began volunteering in the office once a week; and started the Unity Social Action Committee. Peggy also participates in the Building the Beloved Community group to heal racism. She collects donations for the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (where she also volunteers once a week), and is now helping to organize the ushers.
Peggy’s focus in life, with the support of her loving wife and partner (who shares her passion), is to be of service, at Unity, and in the community. In these difficult times, she finds it very important to work for positive change.
Karin Reinhold, Treasurer
Karin says that “what feeds my spirit is the many ways spirituality is in my life via the community of this church, the practice of yoga, the readings from A Course in Miracles, and other inspired books and traditions.” She currently leads the Course in Miracles group on Sunday nights at Unity. She keeps looking for ways to deepen her connection to God and to expand her range into ever-increasing awareness and expression of who she is. She also supports the Albany Peace Project, now named the Global Peaceful Cities Project, as the statistician, designing studies and analyzing data for the project.
Karin is an associate professor of mathematics at the University at Albany. She has taught math for over 25 years at all levels. She is also currently finishing a 3-year term of service in the University senate.
Karin has a daughter who recently graduated from college. She lives with a loving companion who, Karin says, “is brave enough to step with me into new ways of seeing the world.” They live with 3 “idiosyncratic” cats. They love movies, science, innovation, and going on hikes. Having been born in Argentina, Karin loves to dance the tango whenever she gets a chance.
Dave Ferrill, Trustee
Dave has been a member of Unity Church in Albany for over 20 years. He was drawn to Unity by the concept of the indwelling divinity of all persons. Unity offered a faith community to deepen his spiritual life in a significant way. Early on, he served on the church board and was president during a difficult but successful ministerial transition, helping to restore a solid spirit-filled community from a place of brokenness. He has also served on the boards of other nonprofit organizations.
Unity is his spiritual home, always there as sustenance for his journey. Over the years, Dave has served in several capacities at Unity. Currently he is serving, as he has for many years, as a reader on the Daily Word recording team. More recently Dave has been serving on the Prayer team, becoming a prayer chaplain in 2017.
Dave is a retired engineering manager with a post-retirement career as a substitute school teacher and personal fitness trainer. He enjoys cycling, yoga, history, and travel. With his bike, he has participated in many fund-raising athletic events for health-related organizations, particularly the MS Society, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Patricia Wood, Trustee
I have been attending Unity Church in Albany for approximately three years and I became a member in 2019. In the fall of 2019, I was appointed co-chair of Unity’s Fundraising Committee and I also currently serve on the Finance Committee. I attend services as much as possible, as well as special events like the Burning Bowl ceremony. I also signed up as a monthly donor and I contribute at each service or event I attend. Among the highlights of the past year for me were to meet more Unity members and leaders and offer my skills and experiences to help our church develop “best practices” that allow for more continuity among committees.
I believe that Church Trustees should work in partnership with the ministry to ensure effective management of the church’s operations. Trustees should show leadership in terms of overseeing business and financial operations, spiritual programming, and also help with relations with other local church networks and organizations. Trustees should ensure a successful future for Unity in Albany. I also want to help develop “best practices” for Unity’s volunteer committees, including (as appropriate) clearly understood committee purposes, standard operating procedures, evaluations, etc. For any voluntary organization, it is important to regularly evaluate committee purposes and operations (“tune-ups”) and, at times, consolidate or sunset groups that are no longer needed. With finite people and finances, it is essential that Unity Church in Albany understand its resources and limitations and stay focused on its core spiritual mission and purpose.
With the recent news of Reverend Crystal’s departure, there is likely to be a lot of sadness, pain and disruption among Unity members in the year ahead. While I am not privy to the factors behind her departure, I think I can help the Board and the interim ministry understand the dynamics between staff and volunteer leaders, and perhaps develop more realistic expectations of staff vs. volunteer contributions. The Board should also place a high priority on developing consistent and professional finance management, as well as systems that allow for an ongoing understanding of financial practices and standard procedures, and continuity between staff and volunteer finance officers year to year.
Carol Morris, Alternate
I have been attending Unity Church in Albany since I moved to upstate NY in August, 2017. I became a member on June 30, 2019. To date, my primary service to the Unity community and the highlight of my activities has been through singing – I sing regularly with “the band” and the choir. This involves a time commitment of approximately 3-4 hours per week. I have also participated in several Clean Up days and assisted with a few social events. I love to sing and am grateful for the opportunity to sing with “the band” during services most weeks, and with the choir when it sings.
Some other skills and talents of mine include high levels of conscientiousness and responsibility and well-developed organizational skills. In addition to being a member of Unity, I am also a Quaker – this means that I have experience in listening more deeply to the leadings of Spirit. I attended my first Unity service in Tulsa, OK, in 2011. I fell in love with Unity at that first service. I continued to attend when my late husband and I moved to North Carolina; I was active in the Unity Church of the Triangle in Raleigh and sang with the choir there. Over time, attending Unity has become more and more important in my life; it has truly become my spiritual home. On a more personal level, my primary goal is to become ever more aware of my true nature as a manifestation of God and to be a positive influence in the world; in Quaker terms, to “let my life speak.”
I see being a Trustee as a way to be of service to the community, to be involved at a deeper level, and to deepen my commitment to the Unity Church in Albany community. Highest on the list right now is providing a smooth transition to a new Minister. This means listening carefully and prayerfully to the community, as well as providing support and reassurance as the community moves through this process.