Staff 2020-03-25T23:08:16+00:00

Rev. Laura Thompson, Lead Minister

Laura (pronouns; she/her/hers) serves as the head of staff and as the professional and spiritual leader of all of MVUUF’s ministries. She is primarily responsible for creating and curating vibrant and meaningful Sunday services, serving the pastoral needs of the congregation, providing leadership and support in the social justice work of the congregation and overseeing the day to day business of the fellowship. Laura works with the Board, lay leaders, committees, members and volunteers to ensure that the mission and vision of MVUUF are being engaged in a multitude of ways that benefit MVUUF and the larger communities that we serve.

Laura began her ministry with MVUUF in 2016. Previous to joining us, she was the Ministerial Intern and Campus Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, California. She completed a Chaplain Residency at United Hospital in 2015, which was the same year she received her Master’s of Divinity from United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, MN.

Laura’s previous career was as a chef and food service director… and yes, she still loves to cook.

Laura’s ministry is driven by two-concepts; change and shared ministry. “If the only things that are ultimate are change and God, then I think they are one in the same. There is nothing but a force of change and becoming which drives all of life and indeed the universe. Rather than shrink from it or be frightened of it, I believe we should all work together to mold and steer that change toward the direction of creating Beloved Community for all.”

Laura lives with her spouse, Emily Kampa and an energetic pooch named Pip. When not working she enjoys music, movies, nature walks and time with friends.  Contact Laura at 612-216-4203 or Minister@mnvalleyuu.org

Rev. Andrea Johnson, Minister of Congregational Programs

Andrea (pronouns: she/her/hers) is responsible for planning, developing and implementing religious education programming for children, youth families and adults.

Andrea graduated from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities with a Masters of Divinity (M.Div) degree in May of 2017 and she aspires to be a “congregational theologian.”  It is her deepest desire to help UU’s tap into the theological riches of our tradition, identify our deepest convictions and ultimate concerns, to live authentic and meaningful lives, and to connect to the creative and mysterious power source at the depths of our being.  

Her work comes alive when she is facilitating a small group or teaching a class and creating space for children, youth and adults to listen to their own yearnings, explore their deepest beliefs and values, risk vulnerability and share genuinely with one another. She seeks to make visible the connections between our monthly theme(s), our rich heritage and the realities we face in an effort to deepen, restore and sustain a people’s faith in the service of transforming ourselves, the gathered community and the world.  Please feel free to contact Andrea at programs@mnvalleyuu.org or 612- 216-4224.

Nicole Collins, Music Director

As a very shy child, Nicole found her voice singing in a church choir.  Though not easy at first, her love of singing brought opportunities to sing in various choirs, travel internationally, sing in large festivals with bands, write music, record albums, create visionary live productions, and perform leading roles in musicals.  She performs as a soloist and also weaves other beautiful voices together in acapella ensembles.  Nicole shares the richness of singing with others and the value it can bring to people’s lives through her direction in front of choirs, theater productions, and individuals through private vocal lessons.  She currently sings with Vox Medusa, The Ages, Angelica Cantanti Encore, and various performing bands.

(pronouns: she/her/hers)

Contact Nicole at Music@mnvalleyuu.org

Maria Bavier, Religious Education Coordinator

Maria Bavier (pronouns she/her/hers) is our Religious Education Coordinator. Working under Andrea Johnson, Maria prepares the Pre-Kindergarten through 6th-grade classrooms. Maria graduated from The College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, MN) and studied at Luther Seminary in St. Paul for a year. Maria has been attending MVUUF since 2016 when she moved to Bloomington with her husband, Eric and elementary age son, Eli. Maria volunteers at our fellowship as a Worship Associate, RE teacher, and twice as a pianist! She enjoys caring for her cousin’s young children, swimming laps, reading and getting outside for walks with family and friends. RE@mnvalleyuu.org

Jeannie Piekos, Communications Manager and Membership Coordinator

Jeannie Piekos (pronouns: she/her/hers) is responsible for managing all the communications and administrative processes at MVUUF. She has a degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota but has spent most of her life writing, working in arts activism and developing programs for neighborhoods, nonprofits and communities. Jeannie is an award-winning writer, poet and the author of Buoyancy, a memoir which won Best Autobiography/Memoir from Midwest Independent Publishing Association in 2019. She has produced and curated for many literary and neighborhood organizations. She also works as a media writer and video producer. She was the subject of the documentary Buoyancy, Living Between Dualities. She lives in South Minneapolis near Minnehaha Creek where she often walks with her dog, Pearl.

Contact Jeannie at office@mnvalleyuu.org.

Lark Lewis, Accompanist

Lark has been playing piano for over 33 years, and was a music major at Kenyon College in Ohio, where she played piano and flute and sang with the Kenyon Chamber Singers, in addition to accompanying various musical groups. She went on to obtain both a law degree and a master’s degree in acupuncture, but has always maintained her love for making music. She’s picked up a little ukulele in recent years, and has just started learning the cello, too. Her passions, other than music, include holistic health and nutrition and social and racial justice. She’s also a huge animal lover. Prior to accepting the pianist position with MVUU, Lark was a member at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis. She is thrilled to be the new pianist/accompanist for MVUU, and looks forward to making music with each of you!  Contact Lark at piano@mnvalleyuu.org.