Rev. Karen Armina – Minister

Rev. Karen (she/her) was called to be the minister of the James Reeb UU Congregation in May 2014 and we ordained her in May 2015.  She comes to ministry out of a background in plant ecology, and understands the interconnected web of all existence as both a physical and a theological reality.  This understanding leads her to be deeply passionate about how we treat each other and our Earth home.

Click here for more about our minister.

Genevieve McPherson-Shambarger) – Director of Religious Education

Genevieve (she/her) is a third generation UU, growing up in the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Annapolis and has been involved with children’s and youth programming since she herself was a youth in YRUU. As a youth she served both her home congregation as well as co-chaired the Joseph Priestly District’s Youth Steering Committee and later served as the worship coordinator for the Young Adult Action Committee.

Since graduating from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2016 Genevieve had lived in Washington, DC using the opportunity of living in the Capital to engage in multiple social action and justice campaigns including with All Souls Unitarian Church as well as Climate Now, the Poor People’s Campaign and the Reeb Voting Project named after the same James Reeb this congregation honors, before moving to the East side of Madison, Wisconsin in the summer of 2022.

Genevieve looks forward to giving back to the faith community that helped shape her into the confident and competent woman she is today and working with our most important church members, our children.

Tony Hebblethwaite – Office Administrator

Tony Hebblethwaite (he/they) grew up in South Africa and Belgium, and moved to Madison in August 2023. Over the past 10 years, he has held administrative and marketing positions at Big Ten and 12 universities, as well as in law and nonprofit organizations. This includes four years as a law firm administrator in a social security disability practice. Tony has completed academic work in religion, information systems, and digital marketing.

Tony is a fervent advocate for housing justice and resides at Ambrosia, a housing cooperative in Madison Community Cooperative. His favorite weekly task is cooking a vegetarian dinner for the house. Tony is also committed to queer rights advocacy. He worked at More Light Presbyterians when the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to permit the ordination and marriage of LGBTQ+ individuals within the denomination.

After a personal journey in search of truth and meaning, Tony has found a spiritual home in the Plum Village tradition of Buddhism. He is eager to become part of the James Reeb community, where he looks forward to getting to know its members and offering his support in any way possible.

Tony will be in the Reeb office Wednesdays 9am-1pm, and Fridays and Sundays 9am-noon.

Jennifer Hedstrom – Music Director

Jennifer Hedstrom (she/they) grew up in the Chicago suburbs and has called Madison her home since 2010.  Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s in Piano Performance from Illinois State University and a Master’s in Collaborative Piano from UW-Madison.  Jennifer loves leading a multifaceted musical life and splits her time between composing, performing, teaching, and music directing.

Jennifer believes music is a powerful tool for expression, healing, and connection.  She also believes music is for everyone, which is the reason she is drawn to congregational singing.  She is looking forward to using her musical gifts to lift up the voices and spirits of everyone at James Reeb.  And she is excited to get to know the members of the James Reeb choir.

Jennifer lives on the east side of Madison with their partner and two cats.  Beyond music, they love reading, walking, dancing, crafting, and spending time with close friends.  Jennifer’s spiritual teachers include water, prairies, songbirds, Pema Chödrön, Rumi, and Beyoncé.

Click here for more about Music at JRUUC.

Click here for this week’s Music Update from the weekly email news.

Rev. Monica Kling-Garcia – Affiliated Community Minister

Rev. Monica (they/them) became our congregation’s first affiliated community minister in 2023.  They serve as the Lead Staff Chaplain at UnityPoint – Meriter Hospital here in Madison, with a focus on Palliative Care patients.  Rev. Monica’s understanding of a higher power is that there is a Spirit which surrounds us and is a part of us.  Their ministry is focused on nurturing that divine connection through storytelling and community. 

At home, you’d likely find Rev. Monica enjoying a good book, movie, or board game with their husband Logan and energetic cat Yennefur.  They love to talk all things Star Wars, dinosaur, and drag queen related!  Rev. Monica uses pop culture media often in their own spiritual practices. 

Rev. Monica was ordained into ministry by the First Unitarian Church of Chicago in 2021.  They hold a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School (2021) and are in Preliminary Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association (2021).  They also have a Master of Arts in Religion from the University of Bristol, England (2015) and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Cardinal Stritch University (2014). 

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