In alignment with the Unitarian Universalist Association, “…we believe that faith is a journey we take together…education takes a lifetime.  It happens both within and beyond a congregation’s walls.  We support one another as individuals, families, and communities in an ongoing search for truth and meaning…”  (

This encompasses all ages, and includes small group ministry, as well as social (which is interpersonally educational and important to relationship development) and educational (in the more formal sense) opportunities – those programs that enhance and enrich the lives of members of our community through creating connection, generating conversation, promoting learning, and supporting our journey together.  To get to the heart of the matter, Religious Education is ministry.


Claire and Alison teach our Sunday RE classes and help develop and facilitate special events. They also assist with program development. They both have a wealth of experience working with children, youth, and adults in various educational capacities and we are very lucky to have them.

Claire Crandell 

Claire has an abundance of experience teaching children and adults in various settings from college to public school to community settings. She grew up in Northern Michigan and has traveled throughout the world. She loves art, music, nature and the two-legged and four-legged beings of this sweet planet. Claire is a widow, her husband was a yooper. She loves to laugh and likes jokes but when telling them she can seldom remember the punch line!

Alison Ernst

Alison is a librarian by profession, a writer by compulsion, an avid cyclist, and a lover of the outdoors. She’s a life-long learner, a strategic thinker, and a fan of experiential education. Originally from upstate New York, she lived in beautiful Western Massachusetts for three decades before moving to Metro Detroit in 2010. A recent resident of Traverse City, she and her recently retired spouse Jim Mumby, are enjoying living “up north.”

Our Whole Lives (OWL)

Comprehensive Sexuality and Health Education for Youth in Grades 7 – 9

This course is offered to Youth who will be in grades 7-9 during the 2019-2020 school year. Families do not need to be members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grand Traverse to enroll.

The program will be facilitated by Katie Tomczyk, MS and Joan Sheard. Classes will be held twice a month from October 2019 through April 2020. Consistent attendance is required in order to maintain a safe and comfortable space for all participants.

For questions about the OWL program, please email Betsy, Director of Religious Education at For more information about OWL, see the following:

OWL Brochure

OWL Dates

Introduction to OWL, Katie Tomczyk, facilitator

Traverse City Record-Eagle article

Northern Express article

UUA – OWL Program

Katie Tomczyk resume

Joan Sheard resume