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July 18: Geoff Kempter
Tradition in a Liberal Church
Geoff is a third-generation Fountain Streeter whose grandparents attended the church in the 1920s and 30s. His parents, Paul and Sarah (Sallie), were married in the then-new Emerson Chapel in 1951. In the 60s and 70s Geoff participated in Character School, Tower Club, and Fountain Club where he made many lifelong friends. He, his wife Ruth Stein, and daughter Sarah moved back to Grand Rapids in 2009 and have been engaged with Fountain Street Church since then. Geoff has two grown children, Paul and Grace, from a previous marriage. His sister is lifelong Fountain Streeter Carolyn Morrison.
July 25: Robert Byrens & Jerrod Nickels
Music of the Heart
Robert grew up in a family surrounded by music and began training on two instruments at an early age. He is both an esteemed collaborative pianist in West Michigan and has also played and taught viola for many years. He was rehearsal pianist at Opera Grand Rapids from 1993 until 2018 and retired from the music faculty at Grand Valley State in May 2021 after a twenty-eight-year career. In retirement he enjoys playing music with friends, traveling, and playing pinochle.
Jerrod was raised in Grand Rapids and was one of seven kids in a devout Catholic family. He received a BA in English Literature at Aquinas College in the last century and an MA in English at Grand Valley State in this one. He retired from GVSU in 2018 after a 32-year administrative career. He and Robert became members of Fountain Street in 2015, but Jerrod has attended sporadically for many years and still remembers the awe-inspiring sermons of Duncan Littlefair. In his spare time, he loves to read, garden, and revel in the arts.
August 1: Tracy Lunquist
Looking for the Ocean
“What if we spent less of our energy pursuing the things we are told to do or want to be, and allowed ourselves simply to notice the joy and beauty in what we already have and already are?”
Tracy Lunquist first came to Fountain Street Church as a fourth-grade pilgrim escaping religious persecution at the hands of her fellow nine-year-olds. In the ensuing ten years or so, she developed confidence in her spiritual identity and lifelong friendships with her Character School classmates. After a few churchless decades wandering the wilds of Illinois, she found her way to Unitarian Universalism in Florida. She now serves as the president of Mosaic Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Orange City, Florida, and is fulfilling a long-held dream by returning to FSC as a speaker.
August 8: Amber Kilpatrick
Seeing Earth as Ourselves
Always a mother first, Amber Kilpatrick is an eco-minister, ceremonialist, and rites of passage officiant. She also holds the title of Educator, Master Naturalist, and Founder of Mindful School of Yoga & the Mindful Classrooms Project. With extensive experience in trauma-informed leadership, health and wellness, social justice, and environmental advocacy -- Amber serves her community in numerous capacities. In all her work, Amber channels a deep connection to nature and Spirit. She holds an eco-ministry certificate from Seminary of the Wild, and facilitates practices of ritual and honoring in Earth-based and Celtic wisdom.
August 15: Thomas Logan
My Life Story: What Was I Thinking?
Tom received graduate degrees in city and regional planning from University of Wisconsin and University of North Carolina. He taught planning at the University of Wisconsin for five years. In 1977, he came to Grand Rapids to work in the regional health planning agency and then as a planning consultant. He visited Fountain Street Church with his wife, Anne, early after arrival as suggested by her colleague in Madison. Tom has been an active member of FSC since then.
August 22: Karen Dunnam
An Epiphany at the Bike Rack
Karen discovered FSC in March 2005 and became a member the following year. Karen’s been an avid volunteer for various programs, and events, including playing in the Instrumental Ensemble since May 2009, participating in the Katrina rebuild trip in 2010, coordinating the 2013 photo directory and the 2014 website upgrade. In 2015 she provided styling and photographer assistance for marriage equality events. She was instrumental in coordinating the Mardi Gras fundraisers in 2014 and 2015, and she served a term on the FSC Governing Board. In real life Karen is working her encore career to help make the world a better place: volunteering, coordinating rescue efforts, and spreading happiness. Karen has worked as a city planner, small business owner, writer and editor, political campaign manager, activist, bicycle safety instructor, event planner, contra dance caller, and street musician.
August 29: Margi Derks Peterson
To Heal the Sin-Sick Soul
Margi has been attending FSC since about 1965, when she was in fifth grade. It was a great relief to her, at that young age, to find a place where questions were valued. Margi lived in Grand Rapids from 1980 to 2016, and she and their dad, Chuck, raised their daughters here. Margi returned to GR after living in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Johnson City, Tennessee, and briefly Los Angeles. After a career in music, Margi has been studying chaplaincy at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, as well as volunteering for Hospice of Michigan. She also works at Harvest Health. She and her steadfast friend, Archie, live in Forest Hills.
September 5: Steven Assarian
Our Good Labor
Steven is a librarian and writer. He has worked at the Grand Rapids Public Library since 2011 as the Business and Career Librarian. Steven has also written for numerous sites and publications including A Punk Rock Future from Zsenon Press and Workers Write! Tales from the Cafe from Blue Cubicle Press. More importantly, Steven is husband to Katie and father to a pair of goobers named Ani and Hank.