Staff 2019-05-16T17:57:57+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.

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.

Sonja Johnston, Minister of Music

Sonja Johnston (pronouns: she/her/hers) became Music Director at MVUUF in 1976. The congregation voted in January 2004 to recognize Sonja as Minister of Music. Sonja was schooled in classical music, is an accomplished pianist and a composer and arranger of a variety of music. She is an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians’ Network (UUMN) attending and participating in the annual conferences. In past years she has served as the UUMN liaison to the Prairie Star District, as the chair of the UUMN mentor program and as a good officer who assists members who are in difficult situations. Sonja co-chaired the annual UUMN conference in August, 2006, in St. Paul with Ruth Palmer, Director of Music Ministries at Unity Church-Unitarian.

When asked how she envisions her position, Sonja said, “I simply love my job. I like to think I bring a sense of dedication, skill, enthusiasm, passion and yes, FUN, to the music at MVUUF. My life is richer because of this position.”

Sonja is married with two adult children and has three grandchildren. She raises the level of our community experience with rich and varied music.

You may e-mail Sonja at music@mnvalleyuu.org.

Sara Sweeney, RE and Youth Coordinator

Sara Sweeney (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) is our Religious Education and Youth Coordinator. Working under Andrea Johnson, Sara plans the 6th through 12th-grade curricula, pulling from her various experiences in communal living and peer ministry. Sara graduated from Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA) in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, where she swapped a mildly Catholic childhood for an academic interfaith endeavor. Upon graduation, she moved to Colorado to serve in the Episcopal Service Corps. Now, as a resident of Uptown, Minneapolis, Sara is pursuing her passion for teaching as a private writing/English tutor. She enjoys traveling, live music, and non-profit volunteering. You can reach Sara at REY@mnvallyuu.org

Kate Stomberg, Communications Manager and Membership Coordinator

Kate (pronouns: she/her/hers) joined the team at MVUUF in July of 2018. Her focus is in maintaining their Facebook page and website, along with all forms of communication – newsletters, emails, and programs. She also manages the daily office and building operations and handles membership at all levels, including new member outreach and member events.

She has a history of working for nonprofits, in communications and administration. Kate chaired the PTA for her son’s school and the Special Education Advisory Council for Minneapolis Public Schools. She currently volunteers with the Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative, advocating for the needs of all children receiving mental health services in Ramsey County. Kate is the mother of three amazing children, all of whom have special needs. Her family also has three dogs, two cats, and a hamster in their home in Frogtown. Her Education background is in the fine arts, specifically photography. In her spare time, she makes baby and children’s clothing, knits, works in her dark room, and reads.

Feel free to contact Kate at any time at office@mnvalleyuu.org or 612-216-4113 with questions or concerns.

She is so excited to be working here at MVUUF!

Custodian
Paul Stresnak