Judy Welles grew up as a pre-merger Unitarian in Wellesley, Massachusetts and has always had a UU church in her life. After a career as a mid-level manager for Planned Parenthood in Southern California, she graduated in 1994 from Starr King School for the Ministry, where she met her husband, Duane Fickeisen. Following a long and happy settlement as the first ministers of the Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley, a new congregation in south central Pennsylvania, Judy and Duane retired to Portland, where they have lived since 2011. Judy loves being Nonna to her three grandchildren and Duane's five; she is a member of the First Unitarian knitting group and enjoys reading and gardening. She continues to be active for Unitarian Universalism, serving on the board of the UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association, on the Western Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and being a trained mentor to ministerial candidates and ministers in preliminary fellowship.
Duane Fickeisen grew up in Bremerton while sailing on Puget Sound and backpacking in the Olympic Mountains. He came to Unitarian Universalism in 1981 and was an active lay leader in the Pacific Northwest before going to seminary at Starr King School for the Ministry in 1993. There he met and married Judy Welles. After their successful ministry in Pennsylvania, Duane was happy to retire and return home to the Pacific Northwest when he and Judy moved to SE Portland three years ago. He serves on the board of the UU Ministers Association as secretary and is a coach to other UU ministers as well as consulting with UU congregations on behalf of the district during ministerial transitions. He is webmaster for the UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association. As a member of First Church, he is on the UUA Outreach Group, has offered classes in process theology and photography, and serves as the Chalice Lighter Ambassador. He and Judy were the First Church summer ministers in 2012 and were sabbatical fill-in ministers for the UU church of Vancouver (WA) last year. In addition to grandparenting, he enjoys gardening, cooking, photography, and walking. He joins Judy frequently in marveling at the good fortune of living in Portland, landing in a great neighborhood, and participating in First Church.