March, 2024 New Member Group

We welcomed 14 new members in March 2024.

  • Katherine (Kate) Freeman
  • Rob and Marlene Katz
  • Denise Kuhn
  • Jon and Natasha LaBarbera
  • Greg Ludlow
  • Jim Murphy and Mary Margaret Magee
  • Joetta (Jo) Miller
  • Nigel Perez
  • Nick and Jess Pineda
  • Lucy Thompson
A picture of Katherine Freeman smiling.
Katherine Freeman
A picture of Jon and Natasha LaBarbera.
Jon & Natasha Labarbera
A picture of Jo Miller outdoors.
Jo Miller
A picture of Nick Pineda outside.
Nick Pineda
A picture of Rob and Marlene katz.
Rob & Marlene Katz
A picture of Greg Ludlow sitting.
Greg Ludlow
A picture of Jim Murphy outdoors.
Jim Murphy
A picture of Jess Pineda smiling.
Jess Pineda
A picture of Denise Kuhn sitting on a couch.
Denise Kuhn
A picture of Mary Margaret Magee outside.
Mary Margaret Magee
A picture of Nigel Perez against a grey background.
Nigel Perez
A picture of Lucy Thompson with a mountain in the background.
Lucy Thompson

Katherine (Kate) Freeman

Katherine is a transplant from the UUC in Tucson and is very much looking forward to getting to know the Phoenix UUC. Like many Unitarians, Katherine has dedicated her life to the pursuit of global social justice and understands her service to others to be an intrinsically spiritual pursuit and practice. Katherine is particularly driven to eradicate gender-based violence, white supremacist violence, and violence against LGBTQI+ peoples and communities.

Katherine is currently the Executive Director of the Arizona All-Nations Refugee Resource Center, a refugee-led, grassroots, and community-based organization that provides education, advocacy, and empowerment programs for refugees in Phoenix. In her spare time, Katherine likes to garden, read, and pursue knowledge of different spiritual practices and philosophies from all over the world.

Rob and Marlene Katz

Marlene and Rob Katz recently gave up the snowbird lifestyle and now live full-time in Scottsdale (near Hayden and Indian Bend). They discovered Unitarian Universalism about 24 years ago after taking the Belief-O-Matic online quiz. Marlene is originally from Vancouver, BC, and Rob is from Los Angeles. Since getting married 32 years ago, they have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and most recently, Redmond, WA.

Rob is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of a software company that offers workflow automation for mortgage lenders. Marlene is an artist (painting and jewelry) and is working on publishing her first book about how to maintain a decluttered lifestyle.

Their 27-year-old son, Dylan, lives in Spokane, WA where he works as a software engineer. Their 20-year-old daughter, Avery, is a junior at the University of British Columbia and just got accepted to spend her senior year at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where she will be earning her BA in Psychology.

They love exploring the greater-Phoenix area, nature hikes, and dining out (lots of options around here). Their big adventure this summer (besides helping Avery move around the world) will be a complete kitchen remodel that should take several months to complete.

Denise Kuhn

Denise Kuhn was born in Fairfield, CT and graduated from Sacred Heart University where she received a B.S in Business. She moved to the greater Boston area to work at IBM/Lotus Professional Services. She attained her MBA at Simmons College in Boston and went on to work in Hospital Finance at some of the large hospitals in Boston (Partners Healthcare, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Medical Center). Denise and her son moved to AZ in late 2020 to be closer to Denise’s sister. They were joined by her daughter in July of 2023. Denise works at CVS Health/Coram Home Infusion. Her son is in his junior year of high school and her daughter is pursuing a nursing degree. The family has 2 dogs and 3 cats, all rescues, and resides in Scottsdale, AZ. Denise is joining the UUCP because of a desire for a community here in AZ and the opportunity to do volunteer work within a community.

Jon and Natasha LaBarbera

John and Natasha LaBarbera first came to UUCP in March 2019. Both grew up around the Catholic church and wanted a spiritual structure for their growing family without the judgment and Dogma that came with that particular brand. Natasha is a Phoenix-area native and is active in UUCP’s children’s ministry. John is originally from Long Island, New York and is proud to currently serve as a worship associate.

Together with their son, Felix, John and Natasha are ecstatic to finally become official members of this congregation. They love the people, the mission and the values. Both look forward to contributing to the life and culture at UUCP in the years to come.

Greg Ludlow

Greg Ludlow is married to Chris Seashore, whom you often see at the Welcoming desk. We moved out to the Phoenix area just two years ago after living in Lexington, Massachusetts for 40 years. (Our son Jamie lives in Tempe.) We were both active in Follen Church, one of the UU churches in Lexington. Greg worked for more than twenty years as an inpatient psychologist at a Harvard affiliated Boston teaching hospital. He was also an adjunct professor at Lesley University for many years.

Jim Murphy and Mary Margaret Magee

Mary: The day I discovered that I loved teenagers and teaching high school English was a great day! I enjoyed a very happy career as an English teacher and then a high school principal, mainly overseas in international schools. Now retired, I’m a volunteer with UUCP’s refugee support team and a steward at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. My husband Jim and I belong to a UU church in Minneapolis also and migrate between AZ and MN, splitting the year between the two. I have always loved to cook and read and know now that hikes in the desert are a new passion!

Jim: I was born and raised in Iowa. Influenced by some great teachers, I chose education as my career path. I started out as a social studies teacher and later became a high school principal. I wanted to see the world so I accepted a teaching position early on in Japan, and worked there for 3 years. Later I went to China as a high school principal. I worked in China for 10 years and met an incredible woman there who accepted my marriage proposal

Joetta (Jo) Miller

Originally from Ohio, Jo graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelors in Education. She was a high school teacher and coach for 7 years in Ohio then moved to Arizona. Once in Arizona her love of the outdoors blossomed. She started a landscape business and completed consults throughout the valley including the Phoenix Zoo. She retired in 2016 from the City of Glendale where she managed their environmental/water conservation programs including the care of their Xeriscape Demonstration Garden.

She lives with her wife (Tedi), her 93 year old father, and their dog, Jazper. She enjoys hiking in the Phoenix Mtn. Preserve and tending (and eating from) her winter vegetable gardens.

Nigel Perez

Nigel Perez, age 15, is a freshman at North High School in Phoenix. He is a driven, kind-spirited young man who is constantly cultivating his talents, which include but are not limited to, track, basketball, surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, rapping, and flying RC planes. When he is not studying or at practice Nigel can be found hanging with friends in the neighborhood, chillin at Songbird Coffee and Tea House, or tucked up in his bed. Nigel has been attending UUCP with his family since 2015, and came through our Coming of Age program.

Nick and Jess Pineda

Jessica Pineda (she/her) is an Arizona transplant from New England, by way of Albuquerque, NM. She spends an inordinate amount of time reading and thinking about how to raise their children to be great members of their communities, but never feels like she has the blueprint down. Free time is rare with a teenager, a toddler, and an infant. On those days she works on puzzles, very slowly crochets, and aspires to actually use the watercolor paints that bring her such joy.

Nick Pineda (he/they) is an Arizona native by way of Yuma and a valley resident of 20 years. Before children, Nick was a movie and pop culture buff, but is now happy to convince his toddler to watch a movie rather than the 4 minute Mickey Mouse cartoons. He spends a lot of time thinking about the world we are going to leave our children, and making art from reused materials that he leaves places to confuse people.

Lucy Thompson

A life-long UU, I started out in the First Universalist Church of Medford MA, where I married my late husband Paul. We raised our four children in Braintree MA, and attended All Souls UU. We moved around a bit and ended up in Scottsdale in 2010. Paul’s death After 55 great years, left me finding my way as a widow. Covid found me searching for connections, and zooming UUCP connected me to Charlotte Mitchell, who encouraged me to attend in person. Now, I’m hooked!