The Reverend Erik David Carlson, Minister
Rev. Carlson has served as Bradford UU's settled minister since 2016 following a unanimous congregational vote. Rev. Carlson is a life-long UU who has held leadership positions at every level of our Association, including the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the Central Midwest District (now part of the MidAmerica Region) the UUA Board of Trustees, and served from 2010 to 2016 as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton, IL.
Dedicated to the spiritual growth of our young people, Rev. Carlson is a recipient of the UUA’s Donna DiSciullo Award for Young Adult and Campus Ministry and consistently donates his time to serve as Chaplain for youth and young adult events in the MidAmerica region.
Prior to ordination, Rev. Carlson served as intern minister for the three New Orleans area UU congregations who were struggling with rebuilding their churches and communities in the post-Katrina period. He was instrumental in developing the promotional materials for a joint capital campaign that raised over $1M for Katrina-affected UUs, and worked closely with the leadership of the Center For Ethical Living, housed at First UU New Orleans.
His work on technology and UU evangelism was a featured essay in the 2008 Jenkin Lloyd Jones Press publication Reverend X: How Generation-X Ministers are Shaping Unitarian Universalism and upon graduation from seminary received the coveted Meadville Lombard Theological School Faculty Leadership Award for his leadership within and outside the Meadville Lombard community.
Rev. Carlson currently lives in Kenosha, with his wife, Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson who is a student at Meadville Lombard Theological School and intern minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, WI, his precocious three-year-old son Miles, and two opinionated felines.
Since arriving at Bradford UU in August of 2016, Rev. Carlson has served as Co-Chair of the Religious Leaders' Caucus of Congregations United to Serve Humanity, helping fundraise for CUSH and lead vigils in support of immigrant justice and an end to community violence.
Denise Cawley, Student Minister
Denise Cawley is our part-time intern minister for the 2018-19, 2019-20 academic years. She is a Unitarian Universalist seminarian at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. She also provides spiritual and emotional care in her chaplaincy role at Planned Parenthood. Denise is completing additional units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) with Community Care Chaplains.
Denise has long been a pivotal player in Milwaukee and Door counties working on diversity, inclusion, marriage equality and voting rights. Denise has long been involved with community centers including founding the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center in 1998, as well as returning to the board of directors fifteen years later, when the organization was in significant debt. Denise has taught ministers and lay leaders at The Salvation Army how to serving diverse families including LGBTQ families. Some of Denise’s favorite work was creating the regional billboard campaign “Gay Neighbor” for the Cream City Foundation and assisting the ACLU in filling their marriage equality plaintiff class.
Denise has been a Unitarian Universalist since 1997 and grew up Catholic, attending many women’s Catholic institutions. Denise’s studied art, feminist art, fiber art and professional communications, marketing and public relations at Alverno College. At Parsons School of Design she studied art and design. Denise has studied Rudolph Steiner theology, feminist and goddess theology prior to entering seminary.
Denise spiritual practices include walking by Lake Michigan, photographing nature, and drawing. In fact, Denise sketches during most meetings. While she doesn’t have much free time these days due to the voluminous reading requirements of seminary, Denise also enjoys cooking, gardening and preserving. Another favorite activity is sipping good coffee and discussing theology. Denise is a renowned fiber artist in the Midwest.
Denise and her family live in Milwaukee, WI. “Ministry is a way for me to combine my greatest loves of advocacy, social justice, art, reading and writing into my life’s calling,” she states.
Krystal Rose, Director of Religious Education
For Krystal, religious history and education has been a consistent interest over her life. She knew from a young age that it would be something that would heavily influence her life, and proceeded to involve herself in her local community and delve into books to discover the world around her. At the age of 18 she began taking her religious education more seriously, and in doing so she acquired many hats to wear for a variety of situations. She began attending a Wiccan college where she later started teaching, and she sought further understanding and learning from any source that would tell their tale. She helped establish multiple communities in Kenosha, and is excited to finally join the ranks of Bradford UU. She is a firm believer that everyone should have community if they would like it.
Additionally, Krystal has further education as a horticulturist, permaculturist, and herbalist. She adores life of all sorts, and in the plant world she particularly fancies terrariums and unique specimens.
Alex Poyner, Music Coordinator
Alex has been playing the piano since 2005 and it has developed into a life-long passion. In 2015 Alex earned a Bachelors in Piano Performance from UW Parkside and later attended University of Michigan for harpsichord and fortepiano performance. Besides degrees in music, Alex has performed both piano and classical organ for many churches as well as for assisted-living facilities and nursing homes around the Kenosha area. He has shared his joy of music with many people.
Alex has also competed in many musical competitions and festivals including Oberlin Baroque Music Festival. Since starting piano Alex has developed an interest in playing diverse musical styles: classical, ragtime, blues, early jazz, popular music of the early 20th Century, and even some classic country music.
From Alex: “I am excited to return to Bradford Unitarian Universalist Church to enjoy and share wonderful music. Music is something to be enjoyed and it enriches everyone’s lives. I am honored and delighted to be at Bradford.”
Leif Dickinson, Facilities Manager
A lifelong Kenoshan, Leif has worked as a bottle-maker, machine repairman, millwright, welder, and for the City of Highland Park as a public works foreman for 31 years. In Highland Park he was responsible for maintaining the city's sewer system and worked many snowplowing shifts and responded to late-night water main breaks.
At home, Leif's multiple hobbies include antique motorcycle restoration, canoeing and camping. One of his favorite things is visiting the Boundary Waters canoe area wilderness every summer. Since his retirement from Highland Park Leif has been doing handyman work and volunteering at Bong Recreation area.
Leif and his wife Ruth have been married for 38 years and have three children and eight grandchildren.
Ashley Larsen, Nursery Care
Ashley Larsen is an experienced manager and child care provider from Kenosha and is happy to care for our youngest spiritual seekers during services and special events.
Ashley and the nursery facilities are available for children 0-5 years old and open at 9:45am on Sundays and select evening events.