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 Stella. When not working she enjoys music, movies, nature walks and time with friends.  Contact Laura at 612-216-4203 or Minister@mnvalleyuu.org

Jeannie Piekos, Administrator and Director of Communications

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.

Nicole Collins, Music Director

Nicole Collins (pronouns: she/her/hers) serves as the music director at MVUUF for a mixed voices choir, a treble choir, and a children’s choir. She is currently participating in the UU Music Leader accreditation program.  She has a degree from McNally Smith College of Music as a vocal performer and has enjoyed a widely diverse and successful career as a premier Twin Cities singer that includes headlining major music festivals with rock bands, multidisciplinary production companies, singing multi layered choral and a capella ensembles, and studio singer. She now teaches both public and private schools theater productions, and all ages one on one private voice lessons. Her style is rooted in classical techniques and complemented by her solo career encompassing blues, jazz, and soulful singing. Nicole loves helping people to find their voice in all things.

Contact Nicole at Music@mnvalleyuu.org

Maria Bavier, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry

Maria Bavier’s (pronouns she/her/hers) goal is to prepare and administer a CYF Ministry that inspires and guides faith formation, spiritual growth and moral and community grounding for the children and youth of the Fellowship from Nursery level through High School and their families. Maria graduated from The College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, MN) and studied at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Maria has been attending MVUUF since 2016 when she moved to Bloomington with her husband, Eric, and elementary age son, Eli. She enjoys swimming laps, reading, caring for her cousins’ children and getting outside for walks with family and friends. Please feel free to contact Maria at maria@mnvalleyuu.org or 612-216-4224.

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.

Gabe Vigliaturo, Youth Coordinator

Gabe (pronouns: he/his) is our youth ministry coordinator. 

Gabe is a student at the University of Minnesota and on staff at Camp Unistar. He has great memories of his own youth group and is enthusiastic about working with youth at MVUUF! 

Please feel free to contact Gabe at youth@mnvalleyuu.org