Board of Trustees
ERUUF is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees elected by the Fellowship and follows a policy-based governance model. Under policy-based governance, the Board of Trustees serves as representatives of the congregation and both gives voice to the vision and mission of ERUUF as well as writes the basic governing policies of the organization.
- Term: 2018-2021
We moved to Durham from Chicago four years ago for a change of scenery and a job. Minnesota born and raised, I lived primarily in the Midwest before moving to Durham, but have come to love the Southern speed of life and amazing weather. Professionally, my work is in cancer research with a focus on racial health disparities. Outside of my work I do my best to embody my values with a car-free lifestyle, front yard food garden, and commitment to the continual practice of racial justice.
Finding ERUUF was an unexpected wonder that has transformed my life in unaccountable ways. i am passionate about the future of our community and helping it live into its promise. I believe that working towards racial, economic, and environmental justice is our only way forward, and that it is spiritual work.
I have been a member of ERUUF since 1996 when my wife, Tanja Atkins, and I began attending services and wanted a spiritual home for ourselves and in which we could raise a family. Over the years, ERUUF has become much more than a religious community for us. We’ve made life-long friends here and have relied on a network of people to raise our children, Ivy and Emmy, into caring young adults.
Professionally, I am a managing director for a NC based consulting firm specializing in the health and life sciences industries. I work with global companies to apply technology to solve business challenges. While I’m now a technology leader, early in my career I taught high school through Teach for America and led educational programs for Duke TIP.
Outside of work, I enjoy hiking at the Eno, biking, and kayaking and camping at Jordan Lake and am on a mission to develop my woodworking and welding skills! Tanja and I will be taking our youngest daughter to France in the fall for college while our oldest lives and works in Durham.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in a variety of ways at ERUUF. I’ve taught RE, been a member of the adult education committee, served as a greeter, contributed to the auction, hosted dinners at our house, and helped with the Christmas pageant. Pre-pandemic, we attended services regularly but have been less engaged over the last year. As I enter a new phase of my life with both children out of the house, I am looking forward to re-engaging on a regular basis with services and as an active member of the Board.
- Term: 2018-2022
My wife Cheryl and I started attending ERUUF in December 2015. Having moved from California a few months prior, we were looking for a place to share our passion for community, equality, and service. Shortly thereafter, we decided this would be our home and joined the Fellowship. In my short time here I've served as a Greeter, Visitor Host and currently serve on the Membership Team. My goals in each of these positions have been to welcome each newcomer and new member with the same spirit of enthusiasm and inclusiveness that we experienced the first time we walked in the door. I have also co-chaired the auction, have been responsible for all aspects of the IT portion of the event, and prepared and served meals at Urban Ministries in Durham. Service to the Fellowship and community are very important to me.
Professionally, I've held various positions in my 25+ years in the Information Technology industry. The past 8 years I've worked as a Project Manager for Blue Shield of CA and Cisco Systems Inc. My hobbies include gardening, woodworking and experiencing the outdoors; hiking, kayaking, and four-wheeling. Cheryl and I live in a quiet area of Bahama with our fur son Tyler. After living in the congested area of Northern California, we wanted a home in the woods, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We are surrounded by trees, wildlife and enjoy our time outside amongst all the beauty it has to offer.
- Term: 2019-2022
Although I am not a longtime UU member, my interest in ERUUF is well-founded: It was one reason that my wife and I chose Durham. Having read of ERUUF’s many groups, activities, and vibrant membership, we saw the community that we sought. ERUUF has become central to our lives here. We enjoy supporting the Pastoral Care team, helping at special events, serving as back-up Visitor Hosts, and lending a hand as able.
I hope that my experience, skills, and beliefs will prove helpful in supporting the ERUUF Board. My career spanned over 40 years in the behavioral healthcare, educational, and not-for-profit arena, including developing outpatient and inpatient programs supported with 100-400 staff and overseeing 400k square feet of facility construction. That experience, and a turn away from the dogma of a Catholic upbringing, align my beliefs with UU humanism and inclusiveness.
I am honored to serve on our Board.
- Term: 2019-2022
I began attending ERUUF in 2011. I was in search of a welcoming and diverse community that would foster growth and development for my growing family. With an Italian and Catholic background growing up and experience as a practicing Buddhist, I felt that ERUUF embodied an authentic and vibrant community, consistent with my values. My involvement with ERUUF has included assisting with religious education for the 3/4yrs olds and most recently serving with the RE Ministry Group.
I live in Durham with my daughter (Venia), our dog (Guido), and our two cats, (Bella and Rocky). I work at Duke Medical Center on faculty as a nurse researcher and practicing nurse practitioner in cardiology. For fun, we enjoy everything outdoors and especially time with friends and family.
I am honored to be considered for this role on the Board of Trustees. My goal is to serve by engaging with this community to foster growth and diversity that leads to deepening connections.
- Term: 2020-2023
My wife Laney and I started attending ERUUF in the late 90s; we “dated” ERUUF for several years and then became members. I have been married to Laney for well over thirty years, have two adult children—Leo and Keara—and my extended family includes two standard poodles.
Over the years I have been very involved in ERUUF, starting off as a Greeter, then becoming involved in social justice activities such as collecting food for the homeless at Food Lion and preparing and serving meals at Urban Ministries in Durham. Over the past ten years I have been involved in the important work of Stewardship; I currently serve as Chair of the Stewardship Team. I have also been involved with small group ministries, and I get the creative side of me fed through my involvement with the ERUUF Players Group.
I earned a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, and my professional career has encompassed market research, marketing, account management, strategic planning, and consulting.
I am passionate about the future of our community and helping it live into its promise—against the backdrops of a global pandemic and (as Rev. Cayer recently shared with us) “metastatic racism.” I would be honored to serve on the ERUUF Board of Trustees.
- Term: 2020-2023
Sara Terry has been an ERUUF member for over 20 years and has been involved over the years with UUSC, ERUUF's race equity work, serving as a greeter, gardener, Coming of Age mentor, and parent of three Religious Education graduates. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and current employee of the US Environmental Protection Agency's air quality policy office.
Sara has been an active community organizer with Durham People's Alliance and other community groups, leading efforts such as Durham's fight against Amendment One, supporting activism around criminal justice reform, dismantling racism, and organizing on environmental issues, such as current efforts for a Green New Deal for Durham. She has lived and worked in Durham since 1996 with her partner, Julie, and their three children, Sam, Jake and Emma who will all be attending UNC-Chapel Hill this fall.
- Term: 2020-2023
I was born in 1959 to Rosetta Vaughn in Charlotte, North Carolina. I have two sisters and one brother. My life partner is Lynne Howard. I was baptized as a Presbyterian, then became an AME Zion member at age 12. I attended ERUUF in the 90’s for 10 years and was a founding member of the Pink Triangles. I visited MCC churches for years. In April 2019, I renewed my membership at ERUUF. I believe we are here to help one another. We are complements of each other.
In 1992, I founded Cedar Chest for Lesbians of African descent. My education includes a BA degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in Radio, TV, and Film, and a BSN in Nursing from East Carolina University. My working experiences include an Account Executive for WSOC-Radio, a portrait photographer for PCA International, a Nutrition buyer for Whole Foods, and a RN at UNC and CRH hospitals for 17 years.
My husband, JM, and I moved to Durham in 2018 and started attending ERUUF later that year. We were recently engaged and had been looking to purchase our first home and to find a church home. We were looking for a place where we could continue to grow spiritually, engage in community and fellowship, and be of service. I don’t remember the content of the first service we attended at ERUUF, but on our drive home afterward, we both agreed that we thought ERUUF was going to be the right place for us and that we wanted to check out the Inquirer’s series and continue to learn more.
Since joining ERUUF in 2019, I’ve enjoyed attending Sunday services, participating in small group ministry as a member of a chalice circle, looking for opportunities to connect with ERUUFians in the ’20s and '30s group, and participating in book and film discussions hosted by the Multicultural Team and Earth Justice Team.
Professionally, my work is in health services research, with a focus on program administration and implementation, implementation science, quality improvement, and program evaluation, within the content areas of mental health and interdisciplinary approaches to care. My educational background includes clinical and health psychology and public health (with a focus on health administration). While not directly part of my current professional roles, my personal and professional interests also encompass a desire to better understand and address “upstream” factors associated with human flourishing as well as poor mental and physical health, particularly at the intersection of individual-level factors and structural/systemic-level factors.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time outside--often with our dogs, Iris and Opal--running and walking in our neighborhood, on the tobacco trail, or through Umstead State Park. I’m an avid audiobook listener and also enjoy cooking, traveling, and spending time with JM and other friends and family. I am grateful for the spiritual home and community that I have found at ERUUF and look forward to continuing to connect, grow, learn, and be of service within and alongside this congregation.
Deborah Cayer is a graduate of Smith College and Harvard Divinity School. She was ordained in 1996 and served as minister for the Unitarian Church of Sharon, Massachusetts for twelve years. She has served the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship since August 2008, first as a part-time Consulting Assistant Minister, then as Acting Lead Minister for two years.
In June 2011 the congregation called Deborah as Lead Minister. In her current role, Rev. Cayer is primarily responsible for excellence in worship, senior staff supervision, and stewardship, particularly of finances. She is a member of the Board of Trustees.
- Role: Ex-officio Member