Ministerial Search Committee Member Bios

Barb Backler

Barbara Backler

Barb Backler grew up in Dearborn, Michigan with 5 sisters and a brother. Barb’s mother was an amazing woman whose love drew everyone home to Michigan on an almost monthly basis, so when Reverend Macklin asked Barb to start an Elder Focus Task Force to honor her mother when her mom died at age 94, Barb couldn’t refuse and has enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful members of the church. 

Alan and Barb joined the church in 1979, the year after the last of their four children was born.  Barb was the Director of Religious Education for a couple of years in the 80s and wrote to Sophia Fahs’ family (Sophia Fahs started a revolution in Unitarian religious education) and introduced church families to Sinterklass Day.

Barb received her Bachelors in Sociology and Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan where she and Alan met in the cartography lab.  From I.U. Barb received a teaching certificate, administrator’s license and special education endorsement.   She taught for a year in Indianapolis, 20 years at Harmony school, and finished her teaching career in the inner city of Detroit.

Mary Boutain

Mary Boutain

Mary Boutain has been attending UUCB for the last 14 years. She wasted no time getting involved, singing in the choir the first day she arrived, thanks to meeting Guy Loftman in the parking lot.  She has had the good fortune to be a mentor for two amazing youth and has been a stewardship co-chair for the last 3 years.

Mary and her partner, Colleen Haas, were happy to be married last November in the UU sanctuary with a small group of friends after 22 years of life together.  Their little dog, Missy, is still a little upset that she missed the ceremony. Mary is looking forward to getting to know the congregation better and serving on the Ministerial Search Committee. 

Craig Coley

Craig Coley

Craig Coley began attending the Unitarian Universalist Church when he moved to Bloomington in 2009 with his wife, Heather Blair, and his daughter, Madrona, now 6 years old. Born in Delaware, he grew up in the Chicago area, studied philosophy in college, and moved to New York with a guitar and a band and a dream of rock and roll stardom. Instead he became a journalist and then a public school teacher, following Heather to Seattle, Boston, Palo Alto and Japan. Since Madrona joined the family, he has been a stay-home dad who writes crime fiction as a hobby.

Michelle Cook

Michelle Monroe-Cook

Michelle Monroe-Cook has been attending UU Bloomington since July 2012. She and her wife, Jessie, became members of the church in December 2012. Michelle has served on the Greeter and Auction Committees for three years. She enjoys being an advisor to the high school youth group, YRUU, and is a member of various Youth RE committees. Last year, Michelle was elected to the Leadership Cultivation Committee at the spring congregational meeting. Michelle’s professional life involves conducting condition assessments and trainings related to accessibility for persons with disabilities in recreation settings, including National Parks. She and Jessie also own and operate a small pet sitting business. In her leisure-time, you can catch Michelle sipping a cup of coffee, working on home improvement projects, enjoying the antics of her four dogs, or shamelessly binge-watching Netflix.

Abby Gitlitz

Abby Gitlitz

Abby Gitlitz grew up in the Bloomington UU church. In her teens she served as the YRUU representative to the board which sparked her interest in the long term health of the organization. She bucked the national trend and remained an active participant in Unitarian Universalism through her twenties and thirties. In 2009 she moved back to Bloomington, because this is the only place that truly feels like home.  She served on the UUCB Board from 2010-12, and again in 2013-14. When she is not deeply involved in UU affairs she runs a nonprofit glass blowing school, The Bloomington Creative Glass Center, and works part time at IU in the Department of Religious Studies. In her downtime she plans to marry her partner, Matt Stonecipher, this September.

Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor first attended UUCB out of curiosity, and found a home with us.  After Amy began attending UUCB, she quickly became involved as an Our Whole Lives Sexuality facilitator and joined the Rainbow Rights Task Force.  Amy also participated in adult religious education classes and had a wonderful experience as a member of a Chalice Circle.  In 2007, she attended the Midwest Leadership School in Beloit,WI, and signed the membership book. Soon after becoming a member, she joined the UUCB Board and worked on transitioning governance style.  This was followed by positions on the Heartland District Board and the Mid America Regional Board. She has been a UUCB delegate at many UUA General Assemblies and District/Regional Assemblies.  She has taught a social justice focused religious education class.  For the last two years, she has been on the Holiday Bazaar finance team.  Most recently she have participated on the Reproductive Justice Task Force and as a Worship Associate.  Amy feels it is a privilege to be selected to the Ministerial Search Team and to serve this congregation in a different way.

Stuart Yoak

Stuart D. Yoak

Stuart Yoak and his wife Jana joined UUCB in 2011 when they moved here from St. Louis where they were members of the First Unitarian Church for almost 30 years. Three of their four children went through the UU RE and Youth program. In St. Louis, Stuart served two terms as Board President, led a number of committees including adult education, ministerial internship, annual and capital campaigns.

Currently, Stuart serves on the UUCB Special Purposes Fund committee, teaches a UU history class, co-facilitates the Exploring UU class, and serves as a Sunday welcomer.  Previously, he served on the stewardship committee and participated in a chalice circle.

Stuart teaches professional ethics and serves as the Executive Director of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics – an international, multidisciplinary association advancing ethical understanding and practice in the classroom, the workplace, and society.