Leadership Nominations, 2023
Below is an example of last years bios for the Annual Meeting.
Jay grew up moving around small-town Iowa. His family would join whichever Methodist or Presbyterian Church had the best sermons and/or the best choir. He married the love of his life, Lisa, a couple of weeks after graduating from Iowa State University, and he started his career in the IT consulting industry. Lisa and Jay lived in Ohio, Illinois, and Arizona before their son Benjamin arrived and pulled them back to the Midwest. They moved to St. Anthony Village in 2008 and fell in love with Plymouth for its intellectual curiosity, welcoming atmosphere, and great music. Jay has been involved in the church on several boards, the Growth Task Force, and many youth activities. He is passionate about building a diverse and engaged community here at Plymouth as we transform and adapt.
My husband, David, and I found our way to Plymouth about 15 years ago, seeking a spiritual community that offered engaging sermons, beautiful music, and friends with whom we could accompany life’s journeys, celebrating the joys and sharing the grief those journeys always seem to offer. After joining Plymouth, my areas of involvement have been BeFrienders, Beacon Leadership Team, Climate and Environmental Justice, One More Chair and a Friday Women’s Group. If approved, I look forward to joining the Board of Deacons.
Annette Atkins – 1 year term
I joined Plymouth for many reasons, especially our commitment to be on a spiritual journey in community. That journey’s path for me has been enriched by so many Plymouth people, sermons, activities, actions. I am currently on the Board of Deacons and have been grateful to Katie Dillon for her faithful clerking for the Church. I am a Minnesota/United States historian. I taught for my career at Saint John’s University/College of Saint Benedict. I live within walking distance of Plymouth Church—but rarely do! I write, knit, ice skate, and like to try new things.
Karen Barstad, 2nd 3 year term
As we continue to adjust to the pandemic and how it has reshaped our community, Plymouth Church’s efforts in creatively serving our congregation and the wider world are being reshaped as well. Having served two years as Moderator, I’ve learned so much about the inner workings of the church and its programs. I hope to use that knowledge and my past experience at Plymouth to help open our doors to new ideas, new members, new programs, and new enlightenment. Boundless opportunities await!
I grew up in the Lutheran Church but found Plymouth’s theology to be more expansive and welcoming. I’ve lived in Minneapolis since 1981 and now live within walking distance of the church. I’m grateful for a faith community that comforts, encourages, and celebrates us as we walk together.
John Cairns, 1 year partial term
Peter Eichten Vitae
Peter is the life long partner of Jane; they have five grown children and five grandchildren. Peter and Jane were Peace Corps Volunteers in Iran in the 1970’s. Peter spent 10 years in the family shoe business; he has been a high school teacher and coach. He has worked in Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Montana. For 26 years he served as a church administrator in both Catholic and Protestant churches. For the past 12 years he has been an adjunct professor at Metro State University. At Plymouth he has served on the Board of Outreach, the Leadership Council, the Racial Justice Initiative, the lead pastor search committee, the Beacon Leadership Team, and among other things is presently one of the co-chairs of the Campus Task force.
Mike McCallister –
I am delighted to continue in my role as Treasurer of the Deacons. Serving as Treasurer for the last year has been a new and interesting way to contribute to the church, and it has deepened my understanding and appreciation for how Plymouth operates. In the past I have served Plymouth as a board member and on the Leadership Council, and I remain active as a Church School teacher and on the Committee for Children, Youth, and Families.
I was born in South Dakota but raised in Florida, where most of my family still lives. I’ve lived and worked in many states, but we have made our home here in Minnesota since 2001, and now we can’t imagine leaving. I live in Golden Valley with my wife, Heidi, and our school-age daughters, Clara and Nora.
Eric Olsen, Chair
I am honored to serve Plymouth’s congregation as chair of the Leadership Council. I am especially looking forward to working with the incoming group of church leaders and Plymouth’s ministers on the important matters that come before the Leadership Council. I also serve on Plymouth’s Investment Committee. My previous leadership experience at Plymouth includes six years on the Board of Finance and Administration, including two as chair. I am the Vice President and General Counsel of Great River Energy. I came to Plymouth in 2002, joined the choir later that year, and became a member in 2003. My wife Sara and I were married at Plymouth in 2008. Sara and I live in Minneapolis.
Elizabeth Glidden, Chair-Elect
I’m honored to join the Leadership Council and strengthen my engagement with Plymouth Church members, staff and clergy. I am wife to Eric Pusey and mom to Cecelia and Emily. During my career I’ve spent over a decade as an employment lawyer, served as an elected local government official, and now am the Deputy Executive Director at the Minnesota Housing Partnership. Plymouth has been my chosen church home for over 15 years. We have been blessed to participate in many children and youth activities, including choir, festivals, summer camps, and church school; we’ve enjoyed attending 100 hands as a family; and currently, I have deepened my commitment to Plymouth as an involved member of the Racial Justice Initiative and its subcommittee, Reimagining Community Safety. Plymouth has been a trusted space to my family, and especially my kids, at times we needed it most, and I am glad to join the many Plymouth members who give back through service and collective action.
Anne Seltz, Secretary
Anne Seltz has served as Leadership Council Secretary during the 2020–2021 program year. She formerly served as Chair of the Board of Stewards and actively developed the NonViolent Communication Program at Plymouth, which features Dr. Yvette Erasmus.
A former Deacon and BeFriender, she has served Plymouth in several capacities over the years. She is most well known as the mother of Emily Chandmuni Bains Seltz, who arrived from India some years ago.
Anne says, “I have been a strong supporter of our valuable embroideries and hope to see them hanging in Guild Hall in the future.”
Plymouth has been part of my life since 1983, and it has been an important part of my life’s journey. The beautiful sanctuary in which to worship, the arts, the music, and the spiritual community have all been part of that journey. I have been a member of the Board of Member Care, and the Legacy Giving and Annual Committees. I have also been a Stephen Minister and am presently a church visitor. I became interested in the archives because of the stories about Plymouth that I heard from those I visited. I worked in the Archives in 2018 and have been a regular volunteer since 2019. Gaining a deeper understanding of Plymouth’s past helps me see not only the common themes that help define who we are as a church today but also some insights that help us learn from our past. As I take on this new challenging role, I know there is a great group of volunteers that will be working together to keep our church history well documented and alive for everyone to enjoy.
Linda Campbell, Racial Justice Initiative Co-Chair
Linda has been a Plymouth member since 1990 and with her husband, Fred Quirsfeld has been an ardent supporter of Plymouth’s mission and values. She has served on numerous boards and committees and loves giving her time to this Beloved Community. When asked to serve as co-chair of the Racial Justice Initiative after the tragic death of Ann Manning, she gladly accepted. Events in our nation and city in these past few years have strengthened her understanding of and belief that through individual action we can make a difference in the world.
Linda feels lucky and understands her privilege in being able to stay home for her career to raise her two beloved children (now adults) Peter Quirsfeld and Franny Quirsfeld.
Barb Iverson, Racial Justice Initiative Co-Chair
Barb Iverson is a new member of Plymouth, having joined in December 2020 after beginning to attend in 2019. She co-chairs the Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) with Linda Campbell. Barb is a communications professional and retired in 2020 after spending 21 years as president of the financial service industry practice at Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm with headquarters in New York City. She especially brings strategic planning and communications expertise to the RJI. Barb was widowed in 2016. Now that she’s retired, she regularly visits her adult children and three granddaughters in San Diego and New York City. She spends her spare time socializing with friends, traveling, volunteering, consuming the news, reading, and listening to music. Until recently, she chaired the alumni advisory council for the Greenlee School of Journalism at her alma mater, Iowa State University.
Board of Community Life
Tom Anderson, Chair
My relationship with Plymouth has grown in-depth and breadth over the last three and a half decades. The first year I was happy finding a quiet spot in one of the side pews on a Sunday morning and escaping after the service without talking to anyone. I have gradually added friends and activities.
I have done a variety of things at Plymouth, some of them looking inward, some outward, and some of them just for fun. I like doing things. Hand me a shovel or a hand clipper and tell me to dig or prune and I will smile at you. I have also met many wonderful people at Plymouth. In the first years, they were often older than me and I enjoyed visiting with them and having them tell me what they knew. In recent years I have met more people younger than I am and I have enjoyed hearing about what is important to them and offering a little help when I can.
Most of my friends are Plymouth members. I am lucky to know so many wonderful people.
Plymouth is a real anchor point in my world and I am grateful.
I am home at Plymouth, and I felt that from the fall of 2018 when Rick and I first attended Plymouth regularly. I am home in its liberal theology, its commitment to racial, environmental, and immigrant justice, its inclusiveness, and its efforts to look at itself critically from the core. I am challenged and supported in my journey.
We felt welcomed in so many ways as we came into this community, and yet, I know that it takes a constant effort to extend that circle of welcome to those that enter into any relationship with a group. I feel so strongly about what Plymouth is and can be, that I want everyone who is touched by this relationship – current members and possibly new relationships— to feel that presence and that feeling of being welcomed and invited to journey along. I am inspired by the confirmation program at Plymouth, and I strive to stay open on my spiritual journey after hearing their stories.
I am part of the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee, Spiritual Exploration committee, Chapel Singers, Care Team visitors, and One More Chair committee. I have been an enthusiastic participant in many classes and am always grateful for the many ways I can grow spiritually and personally as we confront our privilege in the world.
Rick and I have two married children and two grandsons. We grew up in a small, farming community in southwestern MN. I graduated from the U of MN in music education, taught briefly in the schools and then transitioned to private piano teaching for the rest of my career. We lived in WV for 25 years, Rochester for 20 years, and now enjoy living in Richfield.
Board of Finance & Administration
Jim Lawrence, Chair
Jim, Mary, and their family joined Plymouth Church in 1998, having moved to Minneapolis from Greenwich, Connecticut.
They have two sons; Christian, who lives in Minneapolis, and James, who lives in Los Angeles.
Mary is a surgeon, formerly a professor at U of M Medical School, whose clinical work has largely been focused on our Veterans and our active-duty soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jim is a financier, whose last corporate position in Minneapolis was Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of General Mills. Subsequently, he was Executive Director and CFO of Unilever, headquartered in London. His final full-time position was running the Rothschild Family’s Bank (and other interests) in NYC.
Jim has served in several not-for-profit positions. He was Chairman of the Investment Committee for the Endowment of the University of Minnesota. Currently, he is President and Chairman of the Trustees of Kent School, an Episcopal Boarding School in Connecticut.
Of most relevance, he has spent the past three years as a Deacon at Plymouth. He wishes to continue his service to Plymouth in a position to which he brings some experience and expertise.
Music drew LARRY BRANDTS to Plymouth Congregational Church. He has been a member of the Plymouth Adult Choir since 2015 and officially joined Plymouth as a member in 2020. He was raised as a Roman Catholic, went to a Lutheran college, was a member of an Episcopal church for about 25 years and now he’s found his home with Plymouth Congregational Church. Larry served in several leadership roles during his tenure at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, including as a member of its Finance, Endowment and Dean’s Advisory Committees, and three years at Treasurer. In addition to working as a commercial real estate lender with WhiteStar Advisors, he is currently a member of the Finance Committee for VocalEssence and Treasurer for Melodious Accord, a non-profit that supports the work of Alice Parker.
I grew up in Peoria, IL. My husband Mike is from MN. We moved to Minneapolis in December of 2010. Mike and I have been attending Plymouth since the Fall of 2013. However, it took a few years for us to officially join! Mike’s family has a long history of multiple generations being members. Plymouth felt right for us from the first service we attended. I have enjoyed being on the Community Giving Fund, and being a part of Tom Anderson’s gardening team!
Since October 2019, I am working as a flight attendant for Endeavor Air, a regional carrier owned by Delta. I am a Check Flight Attendant, meaning I work with new hire flight attendants conducting their inflight exam once they graduate ground school. I was elected in May to the Secretary/Treasurer position for our Local Executive Council within our union. Prior to my work at Endeavor, I was a prosecutor in both Anoka County and Bronx County, NY.
I look forward to continuing my work on the Board of Finance and Administration.
Board of Fine Arts
Diane Hallberg, Chair
Music is what drew me to Plymouth. I had long wanted to hear Phillip Brunelle play at the church and one August Sunday morning we showed up. I was pleased to learn that not only music but theatre and visual and literary arts played a prominent role at Plymouth. My avocation has always been music.
In the past, I have been a member of the Board of Deacons, and served on the Leadership Council and Board of Membership. I was a charter member of the Plymouth Center for Progressive Christian Faith, and its predecessor, the Visiting Scholars Committee. I have been involved in the bi-yearly visits by Jesus Seminar scholars from Westar Institute.
I am currently a member of the School of Education faculty at Capella University. Prior to that, I was in an administrative position at St. Cloud State University, worked in corporate outplacement for over 18 years and held teaching positions at two community colleges. My spouse, Susan, and I joined Plymouth in 2001.
Board of Outreach
E.J. has long felt pulled towards outreach and justice work. He also is a practitioner of centering prayer and believes that contemplation and action are mutually supportive and reinforcing. E.J. would like to see our community take even more steps to put into practice the radical hospitality and compassion that we espouse on Sundays. E.J. loves spending time outdoors – in all seasons – and finds this time to be an important part of his spiritual journey.
Anna grew up in Minnesota attending Wayzata Community Church, where her mother was a minister for 30 years. She currently works as the US Ministry Director for the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation. She loves singing, reading, and getting outside in all seasons. She lives in South Minneapolis with her husband Nathan and their puppy, Lille. Anna is looking forward to building community and growing in faith at Plymouth!
I’m active in numerous Plymouth outreach activities, including Third Sunday Meal, Families Moving Forward, Habitat for Humanity, and the Afghan refugee family welcoming group. I’m a member of the Riverside Innovation Hub (exploring the public church concept to deepen our relationship with our neighbors/neighborhood) and the marketing task force. Outside of Plymouth, I volunteer with those living with ALS, tutor through Reading Partners, and teach gardening skills in low-income neighborhoods as a Master Gardener. My daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren are my treasurers. My professional career included newspaper writing and editing and health care communications.
Leah grew up in the Twin Cities before moving to Chicago and then Washington, D.C. She returned to St. Paul in 2017 with her husband, Jeff, and their two school-aged sons. She has spent most of her career as a newspaper and magazine journalist writing about education, but over the past year has shifted to part-time freelance writing and editing, and part-time teaching. She loves the outdoors and finds it a perfect place to imagine the work of building a more just world — work she is eager to do as part of the Board of Outreach.
Board of Spiritual Formation
John Gisselquist, Chair
I’ve been attending Plymouth for several years. My daughter Maria and I became members in October 2019. Shortly before the recent stay-at-home orders, I started serving as a greeter and usher. I’m seeking new ways to grow and serve at Plymouth. I enjoy worship, music, and all the educational opportunities. Serving on the Spiritual Formation Board would be a great way to work with others, support our education programs, and foster spiritual development.
Board of Worship
Lisa Matre, Chair
I moved to Minnesota with my husband, Jay, and my son Ben, in 2008 and our family joined Plymouth Church in 2011. Professionally, I am the Director of Operations at True Talent Group, a staffing and recruiting firm here in the Twin Cities. I am responsible for everything from day-to-day office management, human resources, finance, and vendor management. At Plymouth, I have served as a Sunday school teacher, helped with the Christmas craft festival and Halloween party, and I was on the Board of Children, Youth and Families for a short time too. In 2015, I became very active at my son’s school and began serving on a school board committee. Then I was appointed as a member of the school board, eventually taking the reigns as chair for three years. My time on the school board will be ending in June 2020. Aside from that board, I am also an active committee member and supporter of Dress for Success Twin Cities. I am honored to have been nominated for a position on the Board of Worship. I was raised in the Catholic church, but also spent time attending a non-denominational church when we lived in Phoenix, AZ. I love the mix of tradition and progressive faith at Plymouth and I am proud of the way we have tackled tough conversations as a congregation recently. I believe that my past board service and attention to detail will be put to good use as a member of the Board of Worship at Plymouth Congregational Church.
I grew up in the Minneapolis area and have lived in Montana and Wisconsin for much of my adult life.
When our 3 adult children all ended up working and living in the Twin Cities it was a no-brainer to return to Minnesota in 2012 after my husband Dan and I retired. Dan sings in the choir. I do not sing. I do enjoy and appreciate the Adult Forums, Women’s Book Club, Reflection Circle, and various study and group opportunities, and this last year I joined the Handbell Choir.
I did serve on the Spiritual Formation Board in the time before Covid and look forward to being part of the Board of Worship as we live and worship amid and “after Covid,” whatever that may prove to be.
I am excited about the future for Plymouth. Not because we have the answers all figured out but because we are willing to ask the questions and vision of a community of faith, embracing the diversity of our understandings of God.
I joined the Board of Worship in 2019 and am grateful for an opportunity to serve another term. I look forward to continuing to work with the BoW to offer inclusive and spiritual worship services that are relevant, inspiring, and welcoming to all in our community. I also work for the City of Minneapolis and live in Minneapolis with my husband, Jason, and two children, Ender Sylvia, and Maxwell. I grew up in New York, moved to Colorado in my twenties, and relocated to Minneapolis with my husband in 2005. I enjoy exploring new places in our camper, biking, kayaking, and playing with our two dogs, Martha and Chewie.
I grew up in Northern New York but lived in the South for most of my adult life, moving to Minneapolis in the fall of 2016. My studies and experiences have led me to practice mainly in Buddhist circles over the last two decades. A couple of acquaintances introduced me to the writings of Richard Rohr several years ago though which had a significant impact on my spiritual journey. In 2018, I became a member of PCC and have been active with the Plymouth Contemplatives and served on the Board of Worship.
When I joined the Plymouth Choir in 1982 I knew I had found my church home. The choir has been like a family to me and the music we’ve created together has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. The texts of the anthems and hymns have guided, inspired, and comforted me over the years.
Plymouth’s focus on the arts has been especially meaningful to me. I participated in a Writing Group, attended Women’s Retreats led by poet, Sam King, and had the pleasure of performing in four plays with The Eat Street Players.
Woven through it all have been the worship services. The reverence reflected in the music, sermons, and pastoral prayers continues to sustain me. The calls for social justice have encouraged my activism, beginning with Plymouth’s Gun Violence Prevention Group which led me to accept a Statewide position as an Arts Outreach Lead for Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America. Understanding and working to dismantle racism has been a more personal endeavor that has been spurred on by Plymouth’s work in this area.
It is an honor to be asked to be part of shaping the future of our worship together.