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Staff & Board of Directors


Rev. Kent McKusick, Minister


On sabbatical until July 1, 2019

Rev. McKusick was called in May 2012 to serve as the UUFA's third settled minister, after serving congregations in Laconia and Franklin, New Hampshire.  Prior to attending Starr King School for the ministry, Kent's diverse work experiences included recreational management (skiing and whitewater rafting), theatre (acting and directing), stained glass crafting, and banking. 

He carries these diverse perspectives deep into his ministry, helping to serve the UUFA's broad theological spectrum.  He writes, "As Unitarian Universalists, our theologies often intersect, parallel with each other, or diverge wildly in opposite directions! I attempt to understand and be understood in the spirit of good will.  We each experience truth as we understand it.  Being open to other understandings of truth helps us better know and experience our own understanding of our world.  Interreligious dialogue is critical for a stronger, developing Unitarian Universalism in our own congregation as well as in the broader context of world faiths."

Rev. McKusick is available for consultation about pastoral and spiritual concerns.  You can reach him via direct line at 515-292-8929 or via email.


Bradley Duckstein, Congregational Administrator


The congregational administrator's responsibilities include bookkeeping; maintaining the website; communications and graphic design; responding to telephone, email, and in-person inquiries; coordinating building use for Fellowship activities and rentals; and providing support to the UUFA Board of Directors.

Bradley joined the Fellowship staff in late 2014 and is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in business management.  His background of banking and finance, as well as his extensive experience with customer service and non-profit organizations, has helped him drive the day-to-day operations of the UUFA.  In his spare time, Bradley enjoys gardening, volunteering, and spending time with his partner, Chris, and their beagle, Henry.


Janelle Carlson, Director of Religious Education, part time


through July 14, 2019

Janelle has worked with families at the UUFA since August 2012 and transitioned into the role of Religious Education Coordinator in Fall 2015 and Director of Religious Education in early Spring 2019.  She is a 2014 graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Her past experiences in teaching and education guides her work with Religious Education curriculum and program coordination. She is also a graduate student in Human Development and Family Studies at ISU, with anticipated graduation in December 2019.  In her free time, Janelle enjoys settling down with an iced coffee and a good book.


Jamila Johnson, Religious Education Coordinator


The religious education coordinator supports the UUFA by ensuring that all parts of the religious education (R.E.) program are running smoothly.  Duties include monitoring R.E. facilities and equipment; coordinating program curriculum and activities; overseeing childcare staffing; and communicating R.E. news, happenings, and needs.

Jamila Johnson began her journey at the UUFA in June of 2019. Her background in children's programming, art, and literacy led her to work and volunteer at the Des Moines Art Center, the Ames Public Library, and with many organizations at Iowa State University. She received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts at Iowa State in May 2019. In her free time, Jamila loves to draw, paint, read, and write. She also loves a good hike in the woods!


Emily Watts, Membership Development Coordinator


The membership development coordinator supports the UUFA mission by promoting visitor and member engagement; handling all accounts receivable functions, providing administrative support for UUFA stewardship initiatives; and providing office assistance for the congregational administrator. The overriding objective is to deepen people’s engagement with and living into the mission of the Fellowship.

Emily joined the UUFA staff in January 2019.  She grew up in Ames but moved away for twenty years, the result of which is a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University, more theater than is possible to quantify, and a deep exploration of New England and New York City. She believes in art and the profound good nature of humanity. She also likes cats!


Barb Evenson, Fellowship Voices Accompanist

Please contact the UUFA office for phone/email.

The Fellowship Voices accompanist supports the choir of the UUFA.  Responsibilities include accompanying the ensemble during weekly rehearsals and monthly performances at Sunday services during the program year.



Youth & Family Intern

The youth and family intern supports the UUFA religious education (RE) program by working closely with the RE coordinator and  committee to expand current programming for youth and families.  Duties include serving as a youth group co-leader, developing RE summer camp programming, and assisting the RE coordinator with other programming activities.

Board of Directors


UUFA Board of Directors meetings are held at 6:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month and are open to all members.  Agendas are available before each meeting on the Members Section of this website, or by contacting the office.

The board consists of four officers (president, vice president, past president, and secretary-treasurer), four at-large members, and a youth representative (or co-representatives). The Minister and the Congregational Administrator serve on an ex-officio basis.  The president, vice president, and past president serve one-year terms; the secretary-treasurer is elected for two-year terms beginning in odd years. The youth representative serves for a one-year, renewable term; other directors-at-large serve two years. See the UUFA Bylaws for more information.


2019 Board of Directors

  • Melissa Niesen, president
  • Sarah Carlson, vice president
  • Ben Woline, past president
  • Chris McClure, secretary-treasurer (through 2020)
  • Jaiden Fuqua, youth representative
  • Molly Helmers (through 2019)
  • Angie Poole (through 2019)
  • Dennis Dake (through 2020)
  • Sue Koehrsen (throguh 2020)
  • Rev. Kent McKusick, ex officio
  • Bradley Duckstein, Congregational Administrator, ex officio


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