Tracy McCaffrey, At Large
I’m Tracy Jayne McCaffrey and I have been a member of the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Springfield, Illinois since 2013. Born and raised in Springfield, I have a BA and an MA in philosophy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and I recently retired after 23 years at the Illinois Department of Revenue.
I’m a pagan and a pantheist. Nature is my true church and I enjoy visiting the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois and Lincoln Memorial Garden here in Springfield. The first UU Women’s Connection retreat I attended was in the fall of 2015. I try to make it to the spring and fall retreats every year. As an avid fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, I really enjoy the fall retreats in Racine, WI which is home to the Johnson Wax headquarters as well as Wingspread, the home of Hib Johnson and now used as a conference center. I have visited many Wright sites in the Midwest as well as Pennsylvania and Florida. I could talk about Wright and architecture in general all day long!
I enjoy photography, retro computers, and relaxing/sleeping as much as possible. I have been on the council for the UUWC for a couple years and I enjoy the fellowship that the Women’s Connection provides. Being queer, I have been active in the LGBT community having been on the Board of Directors for the local LGBT community center and have facilitated their Transgender Support Group. In 2012 I was a volunteer for the Obama reelection campaign and then as a member of the local Organizing For Action team in central Illinois. In 2013 I had the opportunity to hear President Obama speak at Knox College (and I got to shake his hand!).
Pauline Jackson, At Large
I am a member of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, and have been a member of several fellowships and smaller UU churches for the past 40 years. I participated in "Cakes for the Queen" when it was introduced and never looked back.
My mundane life centers around my family — I have 6 lovely grandchildren, Progressive politics, and my desire to protect and honor Mother Earth. I work at the Milwaukee School of Engineering where I am a Professor in the Engineering Management Program.
Kathy Riley, At Large
Hi Everyone! I’m Kathy Riley, and I’m honored to be on the Women’s Council. I have been attending the UU Women’s Retreats for several years. Gathering with women who truly care and support each other is something every woman should have in her life, and I’m so glad I found all of you!
So, a little bit about me. I will turn 50 in November… woohoo! I live in Mundelein, IL and am married with two children. My son is 26 and recently married and my daughter is 15. I have a full-time left-brained corporate day job but I’m more passionate about creative/metaphysical things. I love to read and write (poetry, unpublished novels, rituals). I love yoga and crocheting (can’t knit a thing though, lol). I am an intuitive/medium and have multiple Reiki certificates (Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, Crystal Reiki Master, Karuna Reiki Level II) and am also a certified Crystal Healer. I have 6 tattoos, 3 of which I designed myself and have special meanings. I was raised Catholic, but have chosen a Pagan path for my life. A personal goal for me is to get more involved in direction action regarding the social issues I am passionate about.
I hope to see all of you at this year’s retreats and have an opportunity to get to know you better.
Diana DeWeese, At-Large
I previously served on the UU Women’s Connection Council from 2014 – 2019. I have been a member of the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation in Springfield for a long time. I enjoy drumming, singing in the choir and being the registrar for our week long Ecology Camp at ALUUC. I also enjoy photography and sewing – having made several quilts in the past 5 years.
My husband and I have lived in the same house for almost 45 years. As teenagers, my children found this to be very boring! But having lived in 17 different homes/places growing up, I thought a little stability would be best. Wrong again! After we retired, my husband and I have taken a few trips to Europe to “find our roots”. Oh, did I mention I am heavy into genealogy.
Patricia Hyams, Secretary
I live in Deerfield, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago, about 20 minutes from the Wisconsin border. My husband and I are long time members of North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield. We have five gorgeous grandchildren. I sometimes feel I have waited my entire life to be a grandmother. They all live in the area and I am blessed that way. I grew up in rural southwest Wisconsin and still feel the call of the Driftless Area of my childhood. I am a retired fourth grade and music teacher. I love to travel and discover and appreciate our beautiful planet. I am honored to be the Secretary on the Council. I am a pagan, vegan, musician, and happy to be alive.
Janet Adams, Vice-Chair
Many thanks to past Council members!
Debbie Czarnopys-White, At Large
I live in Southern Illinois and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Wildlife and nature surround us and have been a blessing. I continue to volunteer as a master naturalist and master gardener. Learning about the many things I still don’t know about has become a real fascination to me.
Volunteering at a no-kill shelter now and previously walking dogs at an animal control shelter to help socialize them have been teaching tools for me as well. All creatures need affection and what I give them, they more than return to me.
I look forward to returning to the Council and look forward to sharing with you and learning from you all.
Karin Janowski, At Large
I was born and raised in Germany, and moved to Chicago, my husband’s home town, in 1970. We have 2 children who are in their 40's and 5 grandchildren. I’m a member of the Unitarian Church in Hinsdale and the Prairyerth UU Fellowship, which has members all over the country. Having retired from International Banking and an assignment as a special education teaching assistant at our local inclusive grade school a couple of years ago, I now spend my time volunteering for various organizations and enjoying the freedom to travel when-ever I want to. My last big trip was the same pilgrimage to Crete that Pat Hyams also enjoyed.
I became involved with women’s groups after moving to Western Springs and attending a Drum Making Workshop at UCH in the early 90’s. It literally changed my life and created a balance to the male corporate world I worked in. I became part of a group of 13 women who used Jamie Sams’ The 13 Original Clan Mothers to explore and learn about Native American spirituality. After this it was just a short step to Womens' Spirituality and finding the Church I always belonged to.
Heather McMeekan, At Large
Heather McMeekan is an artist, activist, kite enthusiast, and proud Mom to two teens and one dog. With a passion for education, politics, human rights, labor, and healthcare access for all, she advocates and trains advocates in the use of social media for social good. Heather is the founder of the Macomb Kite Festival and the Macomb Community Drum Circle, the Macomb “Liberal Lunchers” Brown Bag lunch, as well as several other community & social media organizations and groups. She is a former paramedic, emergency room technician, and EMS Instructor. Her graphic design work and writing has been viewed by millions of people around the world. She holds a master’s degree in Health - Community Health and works as a webmaster at Western Illinois University. Heather is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Macomb, Illinois.