About

Welcome! A little about me: I am a native of the Pacific Northwest and live in the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. I’m married (to Judy Welles)..

We are actively retired after a 14-year co-ministry of a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Boiling Springs, PA, where we were the founding pastors starting in 1997 and are now Ministers Emeriti.

I’m quite active, in fact, supporting ministerial colleagues in various ways. Judy and I are consulting ministers at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver (WA) during the six-month sabbatical leave of their parish minister. Mostly that means pulpit supply and support for the leadership as well as being available for pastoral emergencies and rites of passage. We are members of First Unitarian Church of Portland (OR).

I serve as Secretary of the UU Ministers Association, filling an unexpired term through June 2015. I am also a coach to a couple of colleagues who are in final fellowship as UU ministers as part of a pilot coaching program sponsored by the UUA. And I serve at the invitation of the District Executive in the Pacific Northwest District of the UUA as part of a Transitions Team of consultants who work with congregations and ministers during transitions in ministerial leadership.

In my neighborhood, I’m part of an ad hoc team of neighbors who are working block-by-block to increase neighborhood resiliency to emergencies by encouraging family, household, and neighborhood preparation and collaboration, particularly with the potential for a devastating earthquake in mind. In that role, I edit another blog, Tabor Neighbors.

We have five grandchildren, who are bright lights in our lives. Four of them live with their parents in the Pacific Northwest, the other is in Brooklyn, NY.

We live with a female black lab, Maya, who is an energetic and demanding six-year-old dog. She is obsessed with chasing a ball and nearly every morning begins with a walk at the dog park — well, after coffee and the paper, that is. I also walk once a week with a group that goes every Thursday, rain or shine, for a 90-minute walk/hike in a Portland area neighborhood or park.

I am an avid kitchen gardener and cook. The kitchen garden provides fresh vegetables and herbs just a few steps out the door. I’m a rather eclectic cook and mostly omnivorous, without a particular niche. I seldom follow a recipe without some experimentation. The results are much-more-often-than-not quite acceptable.

I have volunteered in the past as a Penn State master gardener, specializing in vegetable growing and home composting. I practice integrated pest management in gardening — not strictly organic, but with limited use of low-toxicity and non-persistent herbicides and pesticides. I am an advocate of adaptive environmental management.

My education includes a graduate degree in fish physiology, fish biochemistry, and aquatic ecology. I worked as a senior research scientist in aquatic ecology at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, WA, and in Portland, OR, for about 16 years.

I also have a graduate degree in organization development/whole systems design. I worked for a few years as the administrator of The Context Institute before being fired (technically laid off), and while there helped edit the quarterly journal In Context (now in a recast parent organization and renamed Yes!).

And I have a M. Div. degree from one of two Unitarian Universalist affiliated seminaries, Starr King School for the Ministry, in Berkeley, CA. I am in full, final fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister.

I also worked as the interim director of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for a brief stint. While in seminary, I was the houseboy at a UCal sorority, working in the kitchen. Other unusual or short-term jobs I’ve had include monitoring sewer gas in the Seattle and Port Townsend sewers; pruning grapes and bottling wine; handyman, house painting, and remodeling; and consulting with non-profit organizations (typically as a retreat leader). I have also run and taught at a church leadership school, served on boards, chaired the planning commission and served on the city council in West Richland, WA. More recently I was the Treasurer of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania. CAB’s mission relates to advocacy, public education, and monitoring of fine particulates in the air, which have demonstrated negative health effects.

For ten years we enjoyed spending two or three weeks each summer in a cottage on the coast of Maine, at Pemaquid Point, a place that became very special to us for regeneration. Having moved across the country, we most likely won’t be going back there. I miss it.

I enjoy reading (mostly non-fiction and poetry), digital photography, and the outdoors. I am drawn to enjoying nature by hiking, walking, and strolling; by kayaking, rowing, and sailing; and by cross-country skiing. But not by motorized vehicle — no thanks to powerboats, jet skis, downhill skiing, motorcycles or ORVs, and the like. I prefer to plod and notice the environment in more detail than to cover more ground.

My politics are progressive, though I am conservative in the sense of protection of natural resources. I support strong land use planning and environmental protections, mandatory carbon limits, and protection of the common wealth.

I was born in 1947, and am still learning how things work, what makes me tick, and what it means to have grown up in America in the 1950s. Life is pretty darned good and always interesting. I’m an introvert by nature, but also a divergent thinker and generalist. I’m entrepreneurial, more drawn to planning than to implementation. My desk is nearly always messy. My filing always behind. I have stacks of unread and partially-read books. My lists too long and my commitments typically over the top. But I must love having too much to do. I hope to guard my commitments in retirement, however, while listening for the genuine call to service and learning and ways to practice creativity in this new phase of my life.

My hope here is to have a forum here for reflection, for venting, and for bragging. I expect to be eclectic, hope to be provocative, and imagine that I have something of value to say about a lot of stuff. May it be so.

(Updated 11/7/12)

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One Response to About

  1. Dot says:

    I don’t think I knew half of this info about you, Duane! Nice to learn some more about your ecclectic background. Thanks for sharing. Glad it wasn’t in the middle of the 300+ Facebook messages that accumulated today… or I’d likely never have found it! I’d love to hear more about how to create a blog!! I often feel I have a lot to say– but have lost my listening ear in Kay. I miss that!!!!! Safe travels home– when it’s time!

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