About Our Community
Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society (SUUS) has been a progressive religious voice along the shoreline of Connecticut since 1962. We are a community where people with different beliefs worship as one faith, where religious inspiration comes from not one but many sources.
If you are seeking a place to grow your spirit, to deepen your connection to our human family, and join with others to create a better world, Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society welcomes you.
As a Welcoming Congregation dedicated to Love, Faith, Justice and Reason, the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society‘s mission is to:
- nurture the spirit and enrich the mind;
- foster a reverence for life in all of its complexity and mystery;
- build a spiritual community dedicated to social, economic, and environmental justice;
- explore the search for truth by providing a safe space for the exchange of diverse perspectives;
- inspire members, friends and our larger community to go forth and make the world a better place.
Our Congregational Covenant
To ensure our community is a safe and inspirational place where we welcome all, embrace diversity and support individuals, we the members of Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society commit to the following:
- Act with good will and stay in relationship
- Listen deeply and assume good intentions
- Be open to change
- Maintain mutual respect
- Take concerns to the person(s) involved
- Share strengths, talents, and resources
- Support each other in living this covenant
When resolution is elusive, seek help from the Committee on Healthy Relationships
SUUS Minister and Staff
About Our Ministers
The Reverend Craig M. Nowak
Reverend Craig comes to SUUS after ten years as Minister of the Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church in Brookfield, MA and Consulting Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Storrs, Storrs, CT.
He is a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School (now Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School) and was a Chaplain Resident at Hartford Hospital from 2012-2013. He is a past Co-President and Program Coordinator of the Clara Barton Chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association (UUMA), and has been published in All Those Whom God Has Joined Together: Resources for Same-Gender Loving Couples and Clergy by Leanne McCall Tigert and Maren C. Tirabassi and the journal Conversations in Religion and Theology.
Reverend Craig is particularly interested in the potential of imagination, aesthetics, and contemplative practice to inspire, deepen, and promote justice and compassion in our relationships to others, ourselves, and the wider world.
Jill Brunelle, Office Administrator
Jill Brunelle came to SUUS as our Office Administrator in 2023. She is a member of the faculty of Southern Connecticut State University in the Department of Theater, where she is a Conductor and Music Director. She is also on staff at Yale’s David Geffen School of Drama as a pianist, coach, and Music Director. Jill has an extensive background in opera and musical theater and has served on the faculty/staff of Yale School of Music, Boston University, New England Conservatory, Tufts University, Hartt School of Music, and University of Connecticut. She also works with local companies around Connecticut. As a pianist, Jill, performs internationally as well as in New York City at Carnegie Hall, in Boston at Jordan Hall, and has performed world premieres at numerous festivals. While not pursuing any of the above activities, Jill will probably be found reading a book, researching food trends, or arguing with her two cats.
Molly Nolan, Director of Faith Formation
Molly joined the Unitarian Society of New Haven in 1984. At USNH, she facilitated adult programming and taught in the church school. Over time, she served as a member and Chair of both Adult, Children and Youth Religious Education committees. She became a Religious Educator in 2010 and served as Director of Religious Education in three UU congregations in CT and MA. She has volunteered with Love Makes a Family, Welcoming Congregations Connecticut and True Colors and is currently enrolled in the Black Ministries Program at Hartford International University (formerly Hartford Seminary). In an earlier life she was a caterer and baker. Molly lives in Durham with cat Myrlie.
Amy Buckley, Director of Music
Amy joined our staff as Music Leader in 2017. Amy has been a music educator for over twenty years. She received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Connecticut, where her study afforded her the opportunity to train at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She then went on to receive a Master of Music from The Juilliard School. Since moving to the shoreline Amy has frequently appeared at the Ivoryton Playhouse along with other local community theaters. Some of her musical theater and operatic highlights include: Marion Paroo (Music Man), Mrs. Banks (Mary Poppins), Antonia (Man of La Mancha), Miss Lynch (Grease), Despina (Così fan Tutte), La Fée (Cendrillon) and Despina (Così fan Tutte). Amy resides in Westbrook where she has a private voice studio and plays her favorite role of Mom to daughter Viviana. Amy is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).
Nick Stanford, Pianist
Nick is a Haddam, CT native who earned his Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Connecticut studying piano with Irma Vallecillo as well as his Bachelor of Science in mathematics. He then went on to graduate school in mathematics at Indiana University for four years, taking graduate coursework at the Jacobs School of Music while there. His favorite works of music are piano pieces from the late Romantic period in the French and Russian styles. The more obscure the piece, the better! Nick often serves as the Music Director in various community theater musical productions. Recent credits include Into the Woods (GetUp Stage Company), Thoroughly Modern Millie (White Rabbit Theater), and Chicago (GetUp Stage Company). Outside of music, Nick will always continue to be amazed by abstract mathematics, in particular number theory, but he is also cultivating interests in data engineering and analytics.
The Reverend Jeanne Lloyd, M.Div., M.A, Affiliate Minister
Rev. Jeanne was called by this congregation on May 6, 2016, and retired on November 22, 2020. She continues to work with our congregation as our Affiliate Minister
Prior to her arrival at SUUS in Madison, CT, she served as minister to All Souls UU Church, Greenfield, MA (2006-2010), and Mattatuck UU Society, Woodbury, CT (2008-2016). In 2013, she also served SUUS as its sabbatical minister. Preceding her entry into parish ministry, she was a Unitarian Universalist Community Minister addressing the issues of racism and ableism in non-profits/congregational settings in the Hartford/Manchester area.
She is a graduate of the Unitarian Universalist seminary of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago (M.Div.) From 2001-2007 she served as President of the UU Professional Society for Community Ministries. She lives in Madison, Connecticut with her husband, Bob.
Minister Emeritus – The Reverend Bob Swain
Our Minister Emeritus, the Rev. Robert Swain, served UU churches for nearly three decades – in the Pacific Northwest (Bellingham and Eugene), Westport, and Knoxville, TN – before coming to SUUS, part-time, in 1992. That was his “first retirement.” (Most of the week he ran a small computer graphics business in Monroe, where he and Wendy lived then.) In Madison, Bob was thus principally a preacher, with just one day a week in the office plus occasional weddings and memorial services.
After graduating from Tufts University, Bob started his ministerial career representing the UUA in Japan. An avowed Buddhist Unitarian throughout his career, he was principally known as a social activist and a specialist in world religions, although for a few years in Knoxville he became a local TV celebrity, too, interviewing religious figures for the Council of Christians and Jews. In the 1970s, Bob was a UUA trustee as well, representing the Pacific Northwest District.
Board of Trustees
The Congregation is governed by a Board of Trustees who is elected annually. The Board of Trustees has the responsibility of managing the financial affairs of the Society. They create policy and procedures, plan for the future, and work closely with committees, staff and the minister to create an environment of collaboration and cooperation.
SUUS Board of Trustees, 2023-2024
Gary Feder, Ann Bowdler – Co-Chairs
Mike Roy- Secretary
Frank Sirianni – Treasurer
Andrea Scranton – Trustee
Bill Waltrip – Trustee
Mike Rosen – Trustee
The Church Committees, along with the staff, are responsible for the day-to-day running of the Society. These volunteers are the backbone of this congregation and keep SUUS living its mission.
The Communications Team facilitates getting information to its members through weekly emails, social media, and our website. They are also involved with increasing the visibility of SUUS in the community with press releases and publicity.
Chair: Mary Strieff
Is a committee comprised of three subcommittees: Membership, Caring and Stewardship.
Membership is responsible for welcoming all, members, friends and visitors and assisting those new to the church to feel connected and get to know others. They provide information and programs for those seeking to better understand the UU faith and what SUUS has to offer them as a faith community. they provide guidance in the process to become a member.
Caring is responsible for providing meals, phone calls, visits, and rides to members as the needs arise.
Co-Chairs: Jennifer Farmer-Etzel and Alice Fleming
The Faith Formation Committee oversees all religious educational activities for children and youth and is responsible for establishing a calendar for the year in collaboration with the Minister, Sunday Services and Music Committees. Other duties include recruiting and training of teachers, advisers and facilitators for its programming; maintaining communication with teachers, advisers, facilitators, parents, and the congregation; and encouraging participation in F.F. programs.
Chairs: Scott & Jennifer Swenson
The Finance Team – in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, has the responsibility for the finances (budget and generating revenue) of the Society in support of its mission and vision. It coordinates with the Board, and to support their work and, in conjunction with the Treasurer, plans the annual operating and capital budgets based on these needs. All committees/teams wanting to raise funds will advise the Finance Committee of their plans and schedules.
Provides hospitality for special events at SUUS such as memorial receptions for SUUS members, friends and families, and occasional special events hosting of District, Ministerial or Interfaith meetings and special gatherings of the congregation.
Chair: Tracy Ernst, Sarah Jane Dailey
House and Grounds
Takes responsibility for all buildings and property owned by SUUS, carries out repairs, maintenance and/or arranges for outside contractors to come in as needed. Decorating is also under the umbrella of H&G.
Chair: Chris Jobson
Maintains the Douglas A. Farmer, Jr. Memorial Garden, and works with Minister and families to plan and perform Memorial Services and interment services in the Memorial Garden.
Chair: Beth Chipman, Jennifer Farmer-Etzel
The Nominating Committee assembles and presents the slates of Board Officers and Trustees, and Standing Committee Chairs that are voted on by the congregation at the Annual Meeting.
Social Events & Activities
Plans and presents programs that celebrate our UU community in order to foster friendship and to promote an extended sense of fellowship and community. These events give us a chance to share our views and/or highlight our talents across the ages.
Co-Chairs: Kathy Helmrich, Lindalea Ludwick
Informs and educates the congregation in areas of social justice, identifies ways to promote social change, sponsors and/or supports groups and causes organized for social justice. They encourage members to participate in local and global activities that support our Principles and Values.
A team of congregants who assist the minister and participate in envisioning, creating and evaluating our weekly worship services
Inclement Weather on a Sunday morning???
If you wake up on Sunday and there is inclement weather, and you are not sure whether or not there will be a worship service, check this page for our inclement weather procedure…
AFTER 8:00 a.m.
1. Call SUUS: (203-245-8720) and listen for an updated phone message.
2. Check the home page of the SUUS website: www.shorelineunitarian.org
3. Check television: (WFSB News Channel 3) for cancellation information
This is a check list for those who sponsor and create events and programs.
1) If you have a SUUS meeting or event you wish listed on the SUUS calendar, send “What, When, Where, and Who (which SUUS member is in charge) to firstname.lastname@example.org Please put Calendar Listing in the subject line. Our Congregational Administrator will get back to you whether that the date, time and room is available. Then it will be posted on the website calendar and will appear in the Weekly News during the week of the event.
2) If you have a SUUS meeting, event, program or announcement you wish to be posted in the Weekly News and the Sunday Announcements, check availability with the Congregational Administrator and send completed copy that includes What, When, Where, Who (which SUUS member is responsible) and necessary details to email@example.com. Please put Weekly News in the subject line. If appropriate, once a post has been published, it will be sent to the SUUS Facebook page and from there it will travel all around the world. Deadline for the Weekly News is 10am, Wednesday morning.
3) If you want to list your item in both the SUUS Calendar and the Weekly News, see 1 & 2 above and put Calendar & Weekly News in the subject line!
4) If you have an oral announcement for Sunday morning, print it out and give or send to the office. Deadline is 9am Thursday, in order for it make it into the lay leader’s folder.
5) If you have a poster or flyer, please use the appropriate bulletin boards in the coffee room. For safety reasons, nothing is to be posted on the entry glass doors or the coffee room doors.
6) The Chairs of the Congregational Life Committee and the Greeters are in charge of what is displayed in the foyer. Please see them if you have a special request.