Search Committee

Within the UUA ministerial search process, the search committee plays a key leadership role. Our search committee was chosen through a rigorous process. All members of the church were asked to nominate three individuals. Then those members receiving the most nominations were approached to see whether they would be willing and able to serve, then the committee was elected at a congregational meeting.

These are the candidate statements of the members that we chose to represent Northlake in our search.

Mariana Álvarez-Tostado

How long have you been a member of Northlake? Close to 2 years.

Did you have experience in other churches, or similar organizations, before Northlake?  I grew up in the Catholic church, but my family was never very involved.

What activities does your family participate in at Northlake? I am part of the Religious Education Committee. I participate in Women’s Group and Pablo in the Men’s group. We coordinate so he can attend the vigils at the Detention Center, and I the Attain Housing dinners. Our daughters are taking OWL and Pablo taught his first OWL class.

What brought you to Northlake, and what keeps you here? The Catholic Church position on gay marriage disenfranchised me; but our turning point was understanding, during 1st communion preparation that our youngest was an atheist. We had heard excellent things from UU so decided to give it a try. We immediately found a home for the 4 of us. We love the community, the acceptance and the social justice emphasis.

What is your professional / volunteer background, what skills would you bring to the job of search committee member? I am a mathematician and math teacher and tutor. I have volunteered extensively with Girl Scouts/Guides. I am a member of the LWSD Equity Team. I am reflexive and have an analytical mind and feel like I can listen and work with others. I bring the perspective of an immigrant, middle aged woman with teens.

Mary De Friel

How long have you been a member of Northlake? About 3 years.  Attending for 4.

Did you have experience in other churches before Northlake? We were members of First Presbyterian of Bellevue for several years.

What activities do you (or your family) participate in at Northlake? If you volunteer at Northlake, what capacity do you serve in? I am a member of Seamsters and was the Shop Steward last year. Formerly, a member of the choir, but left due to time constraints.

What brought you to Northlake? What keeps you here? I moved to Kirkland 4 years ago and came to a Meaningful Movies event.  When living in South Bellevue, I attended East Shore a couple of times and thought I would give Northlake a try.  What keeps me here is that I love having a church home and find Northlake to be full of thoughtful people who have different perspectives, beliefs, and interests.

What is your professional / volunteer background, and what skills would you bring to the job of search committee member? My professional life involves managing a group of real estate agents as well as assisting my husband with our business, Yacht Deliveries NW which is a training/yacht delivery business. Volunteerism includes President of the Kirkland Emergency Communications Team, board member of Greater Kirkland Citizen Corp Council, and Secretary of Kirkland Creek HOA.

Pam Derry

How long have you been a member of Northlake? 6+ years (Joined in Fall 2011)

Did you have experience in other churches, or similar organizations, before Northlake? I was brought up as a Unitarian at First Parish Unitarian in Canton, Mass., where I was youth group treasurer and a nursery caregiver. My husband and I were married at Neighborhood UU in Pasadena Calif. I was a member of East Shore from 1996 to 2011. At East Shore, I was an RE teacher and an usher.

What activities do you (or your family) participate in at Northlake? I am an active member of the Seamsters and participate in the Women’s Group. In the past I served on the Committee on Ministry and on the Northlake Board as Vice President.

What brought you to Northlake, and what keeps you here? I originally came here because I heard good things about the minister who served at that time. The caring community and the Seamsters keep me here. Northlake feels like home; it reminds me of the UU church I grew up in.

What is your professional / volunteer background, and what skills would you bring to the job of search committee member? I am a partner in a small architecture firm. In my job, I have to make hiring decisions. I think that I have gotten better at this with practice. At Northlake I was on the committee to select an interim minister, which was a crash course on evaluating ministerial candidates.

Stacy Duffy

How long have you been a member of Northlake? I have been a member for 4 years.

Did you have experience in other churches, or similar organizations, before Northlake?  When I was a teenager I was a member at People’s UU Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  I was a delegate at the UUA General Assembly in Cleveland, OH in 2001 and attended General Assembly in Portland, OR in 2015.

What activities do you (or your family) participate in at Northlake? I have volunteered as a religious education teacher in the K-3 and 4-6 classes at Northlake on a regular basis for about 3 ½ years.

What brought you to Northlake, and what keeps you here?  I started attending Northlake when we moved to Kirkland because I wanted my children to experience the rich religious education that I received as a youth.  I continue to come to Northlake because of our strong RE program and because each Sunday I meet new people and build a stronger relationship with everyone here.

What is your professional / volunteer background, and what skills would you bring to the job of search committee member?  For the last 2 years I have served on the board at a Coop Preschool with a focus on membership and welcoming families.  Before that I was a 1st and 3rd grade teacher.  I am responsible, organized, and a good listener.

Laurence Fennema

How long have you been a member of Northlake?
Started attending in 1971, member since April 1973.

Did you have experience in other churches, or similar organizations, before Northlake?  Only as congregant.

What activities do you (or your family) participate in at Northlake? Usher, Healthy Congregation Team, and Safety teams

What brought you to Northlake, and what keeps you here? 1971 – wanted a UU community.
It’s our primary community of like-minded people.

What is your professional / volunteer background, and what skills would you bring to the job of search committee member? Professional: dual career in computer programming and 29 years service in army reserve, retired as colonel. Long-time history with the community, experience with all ministers and lay-led periods during that time. At least three times on Board, twice served as president (first time in 1975 when we were at times lucky to get more than 20 people at a service. I arranged all the speakers and services during that year.) I have presented a number of services, and I’ve officiated about 20 weddings and one memorial service. I’m quite lay-participation oriented. Fairly skilled writer, I think, but who knows, eh?

Minnette Lesser

How long have you been a member of Northlake?
I have been a member of Northlake for approximately 21 years

Did you have experience in other churches, or similar organizations, before Northlake? I was a member of the Jewish religion as a child and belonged to a synagogue until I was 19 years old. I was also a member of an Egalitarian commune for 14 years.

What activities do you (or your family) participate in at Northlake? I attend services almost every week and my Grandson is in the Religious Education program. He’s currently in K-1 OWL. I have served as Treasurer, Coffee committee chair, Religious Education director (volunteer), RE teacher, Religious Education team member and chair for 10 years.

What brought you to Northlake, and what keeps you here? My daughter and I came to Northlake when she wanted to be in church. We visited Northlake first on our tour of churches and I found a home here. Northlake has become my family and my community. I stay here because of the people.

What is your professional / volunteer background, and what skills would you bring to the job of search committee member? My skills include: listening skills, leading meetings, making very difficult decisions, team player, bookkeeping and money matters, with a consensus system, ability to maintain confidentiality, knowledge of Northlake history and members and I have the necessary time to serve. Professional background includes: Bookkeeper, Accounting manager, Child care worker, Fixed Asset accountant.

Dave Thompson

How long have you been a member of Northlake?
Since the early 90’s

Did you have experience in other churches, or similar organizations, before Northlake?  I was raised Presbyterian, but my adult church experience was limited before Northlake.

What activities do you (or your family) participate in at Northlake?  Sunday services, choir, occasional potluck or social events when available.  I’m on the Music Team and have served twice on the board (once as chair), Buildings and Grounds and the Long-range Planning committees.

What brought you to Northlake, and what keeps you here?  It was the great choir that first brought me to Northlake.  The choir and the people of the Northlake community are what keep me here – singing, socializing, working and worshipping with them.

What is your professional / volunteer background, and what skills would you bring to the job of search committee member?   Extensive tech/corporate leadership, multiple non-profit boards and leadership councils, including Habitat for Humanity, Social Venture Partners and 501 Commons.   I also like to “hands-on” volunteer, working with social impact organizations on construction, tech and organizational development.

Email the search committee.