UUCB 2022-2023 Ministerial Search Committee Members


Ariel Smith-Iyer

I’ve been a member of this congregation through two settled ministries and now two interim ministries. I first visited UUCB in the summer of 2006 when I moved to the east bay. I quickly joined the choir and a chalice circle and became a member the following spring.

Unitarian Universalism is my spiritual recovery. Growing up in a highly restrictive and insular Christian faith, I never thought I would choose to be religious. Then I found UU and that changed. Finding all my personal values listed in our Seven Principles- and looking forward to adding the 8th- never ceases to comfort and amaze me.

The settled ministry of the Revs Hamilton-Holloway really touched me and when they retired I confess that I was dubious of their pronouncement that they are not the congregation, we, the congregants are the congregation. I wasn’t sure I would stay. But you had seen me through my wedding at Freestone and the birth of my children, bringing food, offering support when we were sick. You teach me things, great and small, in every committee I’m part of- UUCB has always been a place of learning for me. I am so glad I stayed! As the years go by, I find that UUCB is more and more a fiber of who I am. I’m excited for our future and eager to help us step into it.


Deborah Schmidt

Brought up in Taos, New Mexico by parents who were open-minded seekers, I was exposed to a rich variety of sacred practices, including Quakerism, Presbyterianism, Catholicism, and Pueblo earth-centered observances. A fascination with fairy tales, folk tales and mythology from around the world deepened my sense of the commonality of human wisdom. I learned early in life to translate religious terms into more inclusive, spirit-based language, so attending a UU service for the first time felt like coming home. My husband Daniel and I were married at UUCB, but I first became involved with the congregation as director of the children’s music program (1993-1997) and soon was drawn even more deeply into the musical life of the church, often playing flute for services. Before long Daniel and I, along with my mother Jacquie Pentony, joined the choir, which served eventually, through the music committee, as an entry path for me into church governance and operations. I served as board member from 2013-2015, president of the congregation from 2015-2017, and convenor of the coordinating team from 2017-2019. Commitments since then have included the Governance Manual revision task force, the Committee on Ministry, and (currently) Worship Associates. I am a poet and delight in bringing poetry to worship, recognizing that, with its imagery, emotionality, and concise yet multifaceted nature, it has the power to teleport us to a place of heightened receptivity.


Don Klose

I’ve been deeply involved in UUCB during three periods in my life.  In the 1950’s in my teenage years, my parents brought us to the old Berkeley church on Dana and Bancroft.  There, in the Youth Group Elliot Club and then as a young Cal student, I attended regularly and became devoted to the minister, Dr. Raymond Cope, whose influence led to my study of philosophy in my 20’s.  Then turning to making a living, I pursued a career as a school psychologist and child therapist.   In middle age I became active again, in the 1990’s, helped form the mental health committee and was a regular at Personal Theology, collaborating with Huston Smith in two series, one on evil and the other on the soul.  As a senior, I returned to UUCB in 2016, to renew community after retirement and formed many meaningful connections and friendships in activities such as Personal Theology, Humanist Connections, the Bereavement Chalice Circle, the Freestone Committee, other church committees (Nominating, Sustainability, HIP, Stewardship, and Landscape), and recently becoming a Worship Associate.  I have formed a tangible attachment to our Kensington campus grounds, enjoying its serenity and urban wildness while cutting, with other church volunteers, the dry grass each spring to make us more wildfire safe. I look forward to participating in our congregational dialogue surrounding the selection of our future minister.


Gregory Lemieux

My name is Gregory Lemieux, and I am grateful to be a part of the Ministerial Search committee. I’ve been a member of UUCB for seven years. My wife, Alice, and I were drawn to the church as new parents seeking out progressive religious education for our child, Adeline. During my time with the church I’ve volunteered in a few roles, the most recent of which was working as a Tech Team Broadcaster editing together the Sunday worship videos during the pandemic restrictions. Prior to the pandemic, I was part of the Safety Task Force that was charged with educating and training church groups about our Safety Plan and helping to institute annual Sunday service fire drills. Additionally, I was recruited as a member of the Committee on Ministry (COM) for Rev. Kristen and Christian where I was able to interface with the ministers and help attend to their needs. After their departure, I transferred to the COM for Rev. Catherine where we helped organize her ordination service.

Outside of church, I work as a research software engineer at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There I volunteer as a member of the Community Emergency Response Team. I also recently wrapped up a two-year volunteer effort with Berkeley Mutual Aid delivering groceries for a neighbor, now friend, during the pandemic.

I look forward to engaging with our congregation to better understand our needs and working with the other members of the search committee.


Ladie Malek (she or they)

My wife and I joined UUCB 15 years ago. We were overjoyed to find a faith that brings people together instead of driving them apart, blends wisdom from different sources instead of preaching a rigid dogma, and not only welcomed people like us, but was willing to marry us — before it was legal!

Our daughter has grown up here. And we have grown in so many ways as well. Over the years I have taught RE and OWL, served on the UUCB board and the GRIP board, served on Zackrie Vinczen‘s intern ministry committee, and currently serve as a youth advisor and on the stewardship committee.

Our family has gotten to know the different UUCB ministers and the wonderful things each has brought to the position. We have high hopes and great expectations for our next settled minister. I am honored to serve in this capacity and help us find the right person to bring us back together, lead us post pandemic, and inspire and challenge us in the years to come.


Lorraine Schnurr

I am a Kaiser Richmond retiree who is a local, Licensed Clinical Psychologist.  I have had a private practice in Berkeley, CA for the last 30 years.  My patients are individuals, couples, and families from all over the Bay Area. My private practice includes a special mission to serve extremely low-income individuals, including unhoused people, helping them get health insurance, receive financial benefits, and receive regular psychotherapy.

At age 16 I first became passionate about social justice and marched for the equal rights of Native Americans in Buffalo, New York.  I have served on the Boards of Directors of numerous non-profit organizations but up until now, have never served on a ministerial search committee.

I have been a member of UUCB for over 30 years and have attended meetings of the Chalice Circle #12, the Social Justice Council and the LFDMC.

Outside of work, I love the arts, reading, gourmet cooking, HAM radio and writing 10- minute plays about actual funny people and situations.


Sandy Portillo-Robins

I am honored to serve on the Ministerial Search committee and believe I can bring an open and diverse perspective to the committee.  I grew up Catholic in a Spanish speaking home; my parents were immigrants from Central America.  When I had children, I knew I wanted a more open-minded spiritual upbringing for them and am very grateful to have discovered UU.  I have been a member of UUCB since 2008, when we first moved to the area and had been a member of MDUUC prior to that. In that time, I have served on the RE committee, I have taught in RE and in the OWL program for middle schoolers.  My daughters have grown up here and UUCB has helped them be the strong young women they are today.  I have attended chalice circles to get to know members in a deeper way.  I am currently in the POCC, the nominating committee, and the accompaniment team and am a worship associate. I very much enjoy being involved in a variety of activities at UUCB because it has given me a chance to get to know so many of our members.  I have seen us go through many transitions with the different ministers who have served here since Barbara and Bill Hamilton-Holway.  UUCB is an important part of my life and my spiritual home.  I will work diligently, collaboratively and in keeping with our covenant to help in the search for our new minister.


Suzette Anderson-Duggan

I’m very blessed to be a member of this awesome community! I came to this church indifferent to religion but have been pleasantly surprised by how easy it has been to fall into UUCB. The best thing about this community of friends and firebrands is that you are never alone. There is always someone ready with a hug, a smile, words of comfort or a commiserating ear. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in several groups and committees and each experience has nurtured me into becoming a better person while challenging me to engage in conversations and activities if left to my own devices would not be explored. The pandemic has been an unforgettable life event, but what has been most amazing is how this community has embraced each other and that has been such a huge source of solace. My professional training is in human resources, and I am on an Anti-Bias Committee whose purpose is to strengthen work culture by unpacking bias and dominant culture norms through training sessions focusing on reflection, conflict exploration, and healing. In the UUCB space, I’ve served on a few hiring committees, the most recent being the search for an Interim Minister and Director of Family Ministry. I’m excited for UUCB’s future and am honored to serve on the Ministerial Search Committee.