“I believe we are ultimately responsible for our planet and each other. Together we must seek JUSTICE for the marginalized; protect, conserve and sustain the Earth — and BUILD the Beloved Community.”
Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel is the settled minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County in State College, PA. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion and a Master of Science in Nonprofit & Association Management from the University of Maryland, University College. Before moving to Pennsylvania to join the UUFCC congregation, she served UU congregations in Maryland, California, Washington State, Oklahoma, and New Jersey.
“I am a Spiritual minister who believes in the power of LOVE . Nurturing individuals and families, while creating meaningful community matter deeply to me. There is no better place to do these things than in a Unitarian Universalist congregation. We UU’s are people that care for the world and each other. My ministry blossoms in the company of those who walk with me, as we make it OUR business to lift others burdens and recognize the pain of the neediest and the marginalized.”
Walking with others, as they make meaning out of their lives, is some of the most important work I do. I am light on the journey and seek to help the people I serve as they explore faith, embrace hope and lay claim to their personal theology. My work is centered on helping others look inward to grow their spirits, and then gaze outward, replenished and ready to serve the world.”
Rev. CTC is passionate about Interfaith Activism, Seeking Justice, Crafting Exuberant Worship, and Prophetic Preaching, Travel, and Small-Batch bourbon. She enjoys reading thrillers and contemporary poetry, day hikes and live music in small venues (blues, folk, classic rock and a bit of country).
Carol also finds JOY in collecting the masterworks of Native American and First Nations Peoples artists, rooting for the Washington Nationals baseball team, parenting 2 amazing adult children and stealing kisses from her delicious grandson Andrew as often as she can.
Matthew Shineman has been serving as the Director of Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE) at UUFCC since August of 2014. Before that, Matthew served as the DRE at 4th Universalist Society in New York City under the guidance of Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt.
While music is a large passion and hobby of his (you’ll often find him performing during services), Matthew found his true calling in ministry. Believing strongly in the lifespan aspect of faith development, he trusts that each day brings us some newer, deeper truth. He stands firmly in his belief that Unitarian Universalism is the vibrant religion of the 21st century and describes himself as an unabashed UU evangelist.
Olivia began working in our newly created position of Membership Coordinator in July 2016.
Olivia is a State College native. She lives just around the corner from the UUFCC, with her husband, Mike, and their children—Jack (16), Chloe (13), and Hawkins (5). For the past few years, Olivia has been a stay-at-home mom. She also worked for several years at the Center for Well-Being in Lemont, first as their office administrator, and later, after attending the Mount Nittany Institute of Natural Health, as a massage therapist. She has her bachelor’s degree from Clarion University in Library Science.
A native of Los Angeles, Colleen has over 25 years of experience as a choral musician. Colleen attended UCLA, where she received a B.A. in Music, with an emphasis in Music Education, and a Master’s degree in Education. Over the course of her career, she has worked with singers of all ages, in church settings, schools, and community groups.
In addition to serving at UUFCC, Colleen sings with the State College Choral Society, where she is also the organization’s Chorus Manager. When she’s not making music, Colleen can be found in the accounting department of a local manufacturing company
Audrey has served as the Office Administrator since February 2010. She brings to the Fellowship her cheerful attitude, love of people, a background in administration and supervision, as well as management skills gained from years of work as a freelance transcription contractor. Audrey is responsible for the day-to-day running of the office, manages facility use, provides support to the minister and board, and oversees the cleaning crew.
Martha Jordan, Piano Accompanist
Martha joined the UUFCC in 1999 and has enjoyed being the piano accompanist for the adult choir since 2003 and more recently our Youth Choir. Being a part of the music ministry at the Fellowship and providing music that follows the themes of our services throughout the year brings Martha personal and spiritual satisfaction. She appreciates and supports the wide acceptance of various musical genres used during our services and programs as a way to promote inclusiveness.
Martha’s musical background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Penn State and a variety of previous experiences as church organist and piano accompanist.
David Morris, Jazz Band Leader
David started trumpet studies privately in 1966. He participated in orchestra and concert band programs starting in junior high and continued his music studies at Allegheny Community College. While in college he was drafted, so he auditioned for the Air Force Field Bands and was accepted. After six years as a featured soloist with various Air Force bands, David was discharged from the service in California and went to study commercial music at the famous Dick Grove Music Workshops in Studio City, Ca.
Locally, David has volunteered to play lead in numerous school pit orchestras for musical productions. He currently teaches trumpet at Robert M. Sides Family Music Store where he started The Central PA Youth Jazz Experience for like-minded students who enjoy big band music. His students have gone on to music programs at Ithaca College, Brigham Young University, and Gettysburg College to name a few. Currently David’s experience in everything from Polish and Mexican Polkas, nightclub acts, big bands, Dixieland and pit orchestras is being utilized in his work as the Jazz Band Leader for the UUFCC.
Joe Kowalski, Financial Secretary
Joe joined the UUFCC staff in January of 2016. He is semi-retired after a wide-ranging business career that began in accounting and auditing, and then advanced to positions in business growth and, most significantly for him, customer care. Joe identifies with one of the Fellowship’s primary focal points—social awareness and involvement, because it connects well with one of his post-career enthusiasms—volunteering. Since transitioning into semi-retirement, Joe has become a very active volunteer with Mount Nittany Medical Center, Clearwater Conservancy, Centre County Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Centre County PAWS, the “KidTech” solar-car program (founded and headed by UUFCC member Toby Short), and several other programs. The common thread is interacting with people, sharing, learning, and giving back.
Joe and his wife Lori have lived in State College for 10 years. His family includes four pooches, two of which adopted Lori and him from PAWS. Joe and Lori were both born and raised in Pennsylvania but have enjoyed moving around with their careers. One of the most remarkable and memorable periods for them was living and working in Germany for three years.