Ministers and Staff
Interim Senior Minister
The Reverend Eric Posa has dedicated a decade of his vocational life to interim ministry, and he began serving that role here at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge in August 2020.
Eric was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and discovered Unitarian Universalism in the Denton UU Fellowship. He completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in philosophy at the University of North Texas, and studied divinity at Brite Divinity School, of Texas Christian University. Eric’s interim service is a return to this church for him: his ministry internship was at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge in 2002.
After serving as both an interim and a settled minister, Eric entered the Accredited Interim Ministry (AIM) track in spring 2011. Since then, he has served at UU churches and congregations in Greensboro, NC; Harrisburg, PA; Memphis, TN; Olympia, WA; and Boulder, CO. Eric received full AIM status in April 2015.
Eric and his wife, Suzi, were married in 2007, and are happy to have moved to Baton Rouge for this interim ministry time.
Senior Minister-Elect Minister
The Reverend Nathan Ryan served as Associate Minister from 2012-2020. He was called in November of 2020 as Senior Minister. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Meadville-Lombard Theological School in Chicago. He was ordained by the congregation in 2013, the church’s first ordination in its 61-year history.
Director of Family Ministry
Kathy E. Smith, CRE, moved to Baton Rouge in 2017 to join us as Director of Family Ministries. She has been a religious educator since 2006, attained her Credentialed Religious Educator status in 2016, and has worked with our denomination as a youth leader, workshop presenter, and leader in her professional organization (LREDA). In her spare time, she is a musician and book lover, who also loves to be out in nature.
Leslie Runnels joined us in September 2020 as our part-time intern for the next two years. She is currently in the Masters of Divinity program at Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary in Chicago, attending remotely from her home in New Orleans. She grew up in Lafayette and New Orleans, is an artist, an anti-racist organizer, and seeker of community healing.
Music Program Director
Lee Hartman has been Music Program Director since 2015. Lee is a multi-instrumentalist with a love of all musical genres, and is a classically-trained pianist with a degree in piano performance, but a not-so-classically-trained guitar, banjo, and accordion player. Lee has music degrees from the University of Tulsa and from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has been playing for churches for nearly 30 years. While living in Baton Rouge, Lee has rediscovered the fun of playing for the theatre, and has worked for Theatre Baton Rouge and LSU on shows such as Newsies, Cabaret, All the King’s Men, and Spring Awakening.
Dr. Trey Davis has been Choral Director at UCBR since August 2015. He holds a doctorate in choral conducting from Texas Tech University and a Master of Music in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. As an undergraduate, he specialized in accompanying and vocal performance (he’s a tenor) at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. At LSU, Trey is the Associate Director of Choral Studies, conducts the LSU Chorale and Tiger Glee Club, and teaches courses in literature and conducting to graduate and undergraduate students.
Membership, Operations, and Communications Administrator
Allison Hall has been employed by the church since February 2010. She oversees all activities related to membership and operations of the church. She is responsible for accounts receivable, creation and distribution of internal and external communications, buildings and grounds maintenance, and volunteer recruitment and coordination. She oversees daily church activities and communications with congregation members and leaders from the larger community. She provides administrative support for all paid and volunteer staff. Allison is a book nerd and an animal lover who regularly volunteers at a local animal shelter. Email Allison.
Jennifer Hirstius joined the UCBR staff in 2019. She handles all bookkeeping, accounts payable, payroll, and employee benefits. She has 12 years of experience working in bookkeeping and church finance.
Gospel Choir and Blues Band Director
Marie Flowers is a singer, composer, and a teacher in the gifted and talented music program with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. Marie received her Master of Music and Bachelor of Music from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, followed by further study at Arizona State University and Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Marie also sings with the Heart Voice Trio, UCBR’s vocal trio-in-residence.
The Reverend Dr. Steve J. Crump faithfully and meritoriously served the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge as Senior Minister for 36 years, having begun his ministry at our church in 1983. He received his M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and Doctorate of Ministry from Meadville-Lombard Theological School in Chicago.
The title Minister Emeritus was granted by the congregation to the Reverend Dr. Steve J. Crump on December 16, 2018 in recognition of his long and meritorious service to the church.