Our New UUSS Ministers

Rev. Lynn Gardner and Rev. Wendy Bartel

The Ministerial Search Committee is THRILLED to announce that Rev. Lynn Gardner and Rev. Wendy Bartel have been called as our Settled Co-Ministers. Thank you to everyone who came out for events during candidate week and to worship services last Sunday and today. We look forward to a joy-filled and exciting future together!


Rev. Wendy grew up in Massachusetts and earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Ann Maria College (MA) in 1989/90 (graduation ceremonies were held at the completion of 4 years of coursework for students (back then) and the diploma was issued after an additional 6 months required internship.) Rev. Wendy then moved to California and worked as a Music Therapist with children and adults with severe and profound developmental disabilities.

Rev. Lynn is from the West Coast and has lived in California and Oregon.  She earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood education from De Anza College (CA) in 1988 and ran an in-home daycare, which included several employees and served many families. In preparation to attend seminary, Rev. Lynn earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Oregon State University in 2005.

Rev. Wendy and Rev. Lynn met while attending Starr King School for the Ministry. They were married in 2008 and earned their Masters of Divinity from Starr King in 2009. Rev. Wendy did an internship at the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) and served as Summer Coverage Minister in 2009. During seminary, Rev. Lynn served as the UUA Regional Organizing Consultant for Young Adult and Campus Ministries in the Pacific Western Region. Upon graduation, she served as the Worship Arts and Education Specialist for the First Unitarian Church of Oakland.

In 2010, they were hired as Consulting Ministers at the Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists in Auburn, CA. After a six-month adaptive call process, the congregation voted unanimously to call them as their settled Co-Ministers in 2012.

Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy have been very active in the Pacific Central District (PCD) and the Pacific Western Region (PWR) of the UUA. Rev. Lynn currently serves as co-chair of CENTER Committee of the UU Ministers Association (UUMA) and is a Good Officer for the UUMA. Rev. Wendy currently is President of the PCD Chapter of the UUMA. Together they have served on the Worship Faculty for the Russell Lockwood Leadership School, have answered the call to Standing Rock, and led the Opening Celebration of General Assembly 2015 with colleague Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley.

Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy are the co-parents of Meghan, their young adult daughter who lives and works in California. They also are “the people” to a small, shy dog named Luna. Between them they have many interests and passions including spending time with family and friends, dark chocolate, drumming, organic gardening, poetry, strong coffee, hiking, reading, yoga, cooking, acrylic painting, spending time in or near bodies of water, Harry Potter, photography, meditation, camping, and risking joy.

They are also warm, compassionate and fun to be with. But don’t just take our word for it. Find out for yourself during Candidating Week:

Sunday, April 30       10:30              Worship Service led by Rev. Wendy and Rev. Lynn

Sunday, April 30       11:30-1:00      Extended Coffee Hour with light refreshments

Monday, May 1          12:00-2:00    BYOBB – bring a brown bag lunch for an informal lunch with Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy to learn more about Co-Ministry (Dining Room)

Wednesday, May 3    5:30-7:00      Potluck Dinner with Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy – vegan and gluten free offerings appreciated (Dining Room)

Saturday, May 6        5:00-7:00       Potluck Dinner with Rev. Wendy and Rev. Lynn for RE Families of All Ages and Sizes – vegan and gluten free offerings appreciated (Dining Room)

Sunday, May 7           10:30            Worship Service led by Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy

Sunday, May 7           12:00            Congregational Meeting to vote to call our Candidates


The Ministerial Search Committee is thrilled to invite Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy to be our co-ministers! Their warmth, integrity, empathy, inspirational worship, respect for a variety of theological perspectives, love of music, passion for social justice, and commitment to wider denominational involvement are just a few of the MANY wonderful things they bring to their co-ministry. We are excited for our future together and look forward to Candidating Week, April 29-May 7. They will preach at UUSS on Sunday, April 30th and on Sunday, May 7th, and there will be many opportunities to meet them during the week (schedule to be posted soon). We will vote to call them as our Co-Ministers at a special congregational meeting following the service on May 7th, so mark your calendars and be sure to take part in this important event in the life of our church.

Please read below for a message from Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy:

Co-ministers + Congregation = Better Together

You’ll learn more about our background and our ministry in the coming weeks!

For now, here’s a little bit about us to give you as sense of us as people-Listed below are some of the many things in which we (each of us to varying degrees) are interested:

​Our families and friends-celebrating, eating, being together, conversations; Our small shy dog, Luna; Gardening; Music-singing, drumming, etc.; Yoga; Photography; Pokémon Go; Meditation; Social Media when used well; Dismantling the Patriarchy; Cooking healthy and yummy food; Stories; Hiking; Poetry; Time in or near Rivers and Lakes and Oceans and other bodies of water’ Sun Magazine; Reading good novels, the Red Sox and SF Giants (guess who is who!); Deep conversations; Exploring spiritual practices; Listening to lots of different genres of music from all over the world; Rainbow hunting; Camping; Finding exceptionally good gluten free pizza (a challenging task); Musical theatre, live music, art; Saying hello to folks as we pass them on the street (not everyone says hello back but we think extending kindness is an important spiritual/ communal based practice!)

We find pronouns to be a bit challenging.

Our language hasn’t yet caught up with our lived experiences of living life larger than the binary boxes of female and male can contain. Lynn’s pronouns of She, Her, Hers more or less work. They and theirs work too. Wendy would prefer a third pronoun that was in common usage and widely accepted. There are several to choose from but most people have never heard of them so for the most part, Wendy goes by Wendy. She, he, or they aren’t wrong pronouns, they just aren’t quite the right fit, a bit like a glove that fits a little too tightly. Thanks for being willing to practice with us. We want to know about your life, your ideas, your faith, and your pronouns too.

We are grateful that Unitarian Universalists are near the front of the line in making space for this developing understanding of the spectrum of gender identity and expression.

Open to the unfolding mystery, let us begin this new path together.

In anticipation,

Rev. Lynn and Rev. Wendy


Ministerial Search Committee

Ministerial Search

Committee members, from left:  Gary Feinland, Melissa McKinnon, Trish Williams, Eric Dahl, Kevin O’Connor, Mike MacLaury, Betsy Bittner

Ministerial Search Committee’s Covenant with the Congregation

Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady

We the members of the Ministerial Search Committee will . . .

Be grateful for each other and the trust bestowed upon us by the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady.

Bring our best selves to the process.

Genuinely discern the congregation’s vision for a settled minister.

Adhere to the formal search process and best practices as outlined by the UUA Settlement Offices

Keep the congregation informed of the search process. We will share as much information as we can while respecting the people involved and the process.

Contact us: search@uuscenectady.org

Click here for Ministerial Search Committee Updates