UUS Welcomes Our New DLRE, Marsha Thrall

We’re delighted to announce that after an exhaustive search, which included restarting UUS RE visioning process to discern what our hopes are for family ministry and lifespan religious education, UUS has hired Marsha Thrall to be our new Director of Lifespan Religious Education. Marsha will join us in August. We say goodbye to our current beloved DLRE, Jessica Zimmer, at the end of June.

Marsha comes to us from at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, MD where she was Interim Director of Religious Education for two years. Prior to her work at UUCSS, Marsha spent a year as the Interim Religious Education Coordinator at Unitarian Universalist Church – West, in Brookfield, WI.

The DLRE Search Team, which includes Alan Swanson, Alice Atkinson, Ernie Cox, Jason McGiness, Mary McMurray, and Rev. Diana Smith, is delighted to have found such a creative, warm, experienced DLRE for our congregation. Here’s what some of the members of the search team had to say about Marsha:

I’m very excited that Marsha will be joining us as our new DLRE.  She has a wealth of experience in religious education and working with communities and families before and during the pandemic.  Her strong academic background will help our congregation grow in new directions.

– Alice Atkinson

Marsha’s experience in religious education with children, young adults, and mature adults, along with her scholarly accomplishments, creativity, and organization skills, make her a good fit for UUS.  She is deeply rooted in UU principles. I believe she’ll be a catalyst for exciting programming as we evolve.

– Alan Swanson

Marsha will bring to UUS an amazing combination of lived experience in faith exploration, racial justice work, and deep academic preparation. In her previous positions Marsha has demonstrated that she has a strong sense of vision for religious education within the whole church process. She is able to create a profound integration of RE into worship services and the life of the congregation.

– Mary McMurray

Though Religious Education within the UU context is a relatively new experience for her, Marsha is following a vocational call to Religious Education that began in earnest with almost a decade of volunteer service to Religious Education programming within the Christian Methodist Episcopal church.  While serving as the Director of Children’s and Youth Church at St. Matthew CME church in Milwaukee, WI, she entered seminary with the intention of becoming a religious education professional. Marsha received a BA in Theology and Philosophy with Peacebuilding certification from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and is currently in PhD pre-candidacy in the Religion, Ethics, and Cultural Studies program at Chicago Theological Seminary.

As a life-long Wisconsin resident, Marsha is excited to be moving back to the Midwest. Marsha’s adult son and daughter-in-law live in Rice Lake, WI, and her daughter lives in St. Paul, MN while doing graduate work at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. In her free time Marsha enjoys traveling – especially to places with mountains, visiting farmer’s markets, crocheting, and preparing delicious meals while singing off-key.  Marsha lives with her American Brown Dog companion, Luna, and perpetually hungry feline friend, Benedict Cumbercat.

Later in the summer we’ll be announcing ways to welcome Marsha when she begins her position at UUS on August 1st. In the meantime, please let me or the other members of the search team know if you have questions. And please join us in extending profound thanks to the search team members, who gave considerable time to making this search a success.