About the UUCC Staff
Rev. James C. (Jay) Leach
(704) 366-8623, ext. 223
Jay Leach was called as Senior Minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte in 2003. He offers spiritual leadership and pastoral presence to the congregation and in the larger community. He also functions as Chief of Staff managing the programming of the congregation through his leadership of the UUCC’s Coordinating Team.
Ordained in 1987, Jay is a ministerial transfer to Unitarian Universalism. He came to Charlotte from the San Francisco Bay Area where he was the Consulting Minister of the UU Fellowship of North Bay in Napa, CA.
Jay Leach was born and raised in Greenville, SC. A third-generation alumnus of Furman University, he graduated with a major in philosophy in 1982. His seminary studies took him to Rüschlikon, Switzerland; Louisville, KY; and Wake Forest, NC. His extensive continuing education includes studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and Austin Presbyterian Seminary in Austin, TX. He is now a member of the Henry David Thoreau Society and a participant in the Society’s annual gathering. Jay completed his second Master of Divinity degree at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA, where he also taught preaching and worked in the area of new student recruitment.
In a ministerial career spanning more than two decades, he has served congregations in Charlotte, New Orleans, Houston and Napa. Among his many community activities, he served on the Board of Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans and the Board of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, worked as a clergy counselor at a hospice for people with HIV/AIDS, and helped initiate the work of a Corporate Responsibility Committee for a major Catholic healthcare system.
Jay is a Class XXVII graduate of Leadership Charlotte. He currently co-chair of the Clergy Advisory Committee for Mecklenburg Ministries, is a part of the leadership team of the newly-forming Interfaith Clergy Network, and on the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent’s Interfaith Council. He also serves as president of the Senior Ministers of Large UU Congregations.
Jay has a deep personal and spiritual interest in poetry, a passion that is often reflected in our services. He is a scholar of the life and writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, an affinity that also frequently informs the content of our services. An on-again, off-again runner (he has completed two marathons) he enjoys baseball and most other sports as a spectator, hiking, travel, photography and music of all kinds.
Jay’s partner, the Rev. Melissa A. Mummert, is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She is a 2003 graduate of the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley and is an Affiliated Community Minister of the UUCC. She is on the staff of Changed Choices where she works with incarcerated women and women in transition from incarceration . Her work as a documentary filmmaker includes A Perversion of Justice and Life Without. She is also a singer/songwriter.
Melissa and Jay are the proud parents of a daughter—Emerson Anne “Annie” Leach—who was born in 2006.
Rev. Eric G. Hausman
(704) 366-8623, ext. 229
In his role as Assistant Minister, Eric Hausman provides professional ministry with a focus on Adult Religious Education/Spiritual Development, Community Building, Congregational Care, and Social Justice.
Eric grew up in New England and studied philosophy at Central Connecticut State University and Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany. After a subsequent career in project management, Eric answered his call to ministry and earned his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 2009.
Prior to joining our staff at UUCC, Eric served for 2 years as the minister and mentor to a 750-member cluster of 17 Unitarian congregations in Germany. He then returned to the United states and served the First Parish Church of Ashby, MA. Passionate about liberal religion abroad as well as at home, Eric has presented papers at the IARF conference in Kerala, India as well as the ICUU Symposium in Kerkrade, Netherlands.
Residing in Noda with his partner, they enjoy music, outdoor adventures, learning new things, and being part of the community.
Director of Religious Education
(704) 366-8623, ext. 225
As Director of Religious Education for Children and Youth, Kathleen works closely with the CYRE Management and Activities Teams to run a program of faith development for almost 250 children and youth. This includes the development of goals, curriculum development and approval, recruitment of and support for over 200 volunteers, management of a youth program with multiple components, and oversight of all administrative functions involved in running the program.
Kathleen grew up the daughter of a career Army officer, living around the U.S. and in South Korea. She graduated from Furman University and completed course work toward a Masters in Public Administration from the College of Charleston. She moved to Charlotte in 1980. After working for several governmental agencies, she "retired" to stay home with her three children and to devote her spare time to volunteer work, most notably, the Sierra Club. She was hired as Director of Religious Education at UUCC in 1992. She has served in leadership positions with both the Thomas Jefferson District RE Committee and the Liberal Religious Education Association, her professional organization. She stays involved in the Charlotte community, including a current position on the Board of Mecklenburg Ministries.
Kathleen’s favorite responsibility in her role as DRE is to officiate at the annual Senior Baccalaureate service. She’s the one beaming in the front row, holding back tears of pride each and every year as another group of UU youth move out into the world.
Director of Music
(704) 366-8623, ext 230
John Herrick, our Director of Music, oversees all aspects of the music program, including staff management and selection of music and musicians for Sunday services and special musical events. He is responsible for the program’s vitality and growth and continuing relevance in our active UU faith community.
John joined the staff of UUCC in August 2007. Prior to his move to Charlotte, he served as the music director for the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, the music director for the First African Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia and the organist/choir director for the Falls of Schuylkill Presbyterian Church. He has degrees from West Chester and Temple Universities in Pennsylvania, with additional studies at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. John was credentialed as a music leader by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in the spring of 2011.
John is an adjunct faculty member at nearby Wingate University and teaches piano at Southern Park Music School. He was the guest conductor for Charlotte’s One Voice Chorus at the 2008 GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) International Conference in Miami, Florida, and he served on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network as Treasurer from 2009 to 2010.
Director of Administration
(704) 366-8623, ext. 222
In his role as the Director of Administration, Jeter oversees the business operations of the congregation including finance, stewardship, facilities, communications, personnel, maintenance, general operations and budget management. Jeter came to the UUCC in 2005 from Orlando, FL, but is actually a North Carolina native and has lived most of his life in the Carolinas, having grown up in Morganton, and graduated from Wake Forest University. He has two grown daughters, one in Nashville and another in High Point. That, along with the ability to work in a position that fulfills his personal values, is what attracted him to our church.
In Orlando, Jeter was a member of the UU Church there and served on the Board as Treasurer with that congregation. He also brings 25 years of experience in managing convention and visitors bureaus in several southeastern cities and has served as President & CEO of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, based in Washington, DC.
Jeter currently serves on the Board of the Association of UU Administrators and is active in several local organizations. In addition, Jeter has also served as President for the Orlando Gay Chorus and Treasurer and member of the board for the Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Community Center of Central Florida.
Alesia M. Hutto
Church Administrative Assistant
(704) 366-8623, ext. 221
Our Church Administrative Assistant, Alesia has been with the UUCC since 2005. Her duties include being editor of Voices, preparer of the order of service, coordinator of facility use, keeper of keys and the only one in the office respected by the copier. Her work also includes serving as the answer/help desk for the church and doing some finance work as well.
Alesia is from Augusta, Georgia and holds a BA degree in Sociology from Augusta State University which she earned while working as Assistant Manager for Applebee’s restaurants. After five years in the restaurant business she was ready for something else, “I wanted to do something that would add to my office and business skills,” she said. “Charlotte seemed like a great place to start.”
Alesia is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Part-time Administrative Assistant
(704) 366-8623, ext 224
Belinda Parry became a member of the UUCC in 2009 and joined the UUCC staff as Administrative Assistant in 2011. Her responsibilities include, but are far from limited to, providing support for the Children and Youth Religious Education program & teachers (a complicated role, which requires the frequent use of markers and craft glue), bookkeeping, and organizational/administrative tasks for UUCC staff members. She also edits and posts the Sunday Sermon podcasts.
Prior to joining the UUCC staff, Belinda was an active member of the CYRE Team, the visioning body of the CYRE program. She has been a UUCC Follies cast member since 2009 and part of the writing & production team since 2010.
Belinda has lived in Charlotte since 1993 and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from UNC - Charlotte. She has 2 daughters in the CYRE program and children’s choir.
704-366-8623, Ext. 231
Children's Choir Director
“Inspiring, uplifting and fulfilling…” is how Donna describes her job as Children’s Choir Director at the UU Church of Charlotte. Through singing she promotes children’s self-esteem, confidence and an enjoyment of music to last a lifetime. Before coming to UUCC Donna was Music Director at the Community Church UU in Chapel Hill for ten years. After moving back to her birthplace, Charlotte, she taught at Open Door School at which music plays a big part in the curriculum. She received a Bachelor’s in Music from UNC-Chapel Hill and has been the Executive Administrator of the UU Musicians Network for nine years. She lives with her beloved husband, Jim Alexander, Pancake the cat, and Bela the African grey parrot.
Scott Whitesell, our Accompanist, assists John Herrick with music for the choir as well as performs in John's absence. He joined the UUCC staff in January 2010.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from the highly renowned UNC-Greensboro School of Music, and has certification to teach music to ages K-12. He is also fully certified to teach Musikgarten to children ages birth - 9. While at UNC-Greensboro, Scott was the winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing's top prize for each year he was enrolled as a voice major. Scott has performed leading roles in Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, La Boheme and Sweeney Todd as well as several other opera and musical theatre performances. While studying voice, he was accompanist for several graduate and undergraduate music majors at UNC-Greensboro as well as for community theatre productions and other venues.
From 1995-2005, Scott was a member of the Bel Canto Company, a professional chorus that is based in the Triad area of North Carolina. He was also music assistant for touring artists such as James Galway, Mandy Patinkin, Barry Manilow, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, and Yo-Yo Ma. He has recorded two CDs of piano and vocal music featuring his compositions and arrangements.
He has recently completed building a music recording studio, where he records as well as teaches. He is also head judge for several local talent competitions. In addition to his varied music interests, Scott enjoys earth sciences, gardening, and Tarot reading. He lives in Charlotte with his partner, Tim Maness.