UUFE Member Spotlight is a regular feature introducing a member of our fellowship and their unique story. Here is a piece on Mike and Judy Darnel, who keep themselves busy across a number of UUFE’s committees:
Judy Darnel, who has been a Unitarian Universalist since she was 12, helped introduce her husband, Mike, when they moved to Lawrence, Kansas, for his graduate studies. As Judy says, the family started attending the UU fellowship there “… so Mike could have a quiet morning to study and, mainly, in my opinion, for me to have intelligent conversations with adults.” Mike remembers their first day in the Lawrence fellowship in this way: “On that first visit, they learned I was a mathematics graduate student, and one greeter said to the other, ‘We’ve found our new treasurer!’”
The Darnels attended UU congregations wherever they lived. They found their home at UUFE when they attended first in 1990 for the open house of the then-new addition of the foyer, kitchen and church offices area.
In 1991, a friend of Judy’s family, “Scotty” Meek was the guest speaker at UUFE. Mike says, “ I loved the cozy, friendly feel of the leafy wood screen, the paneling, and the backdrop of the woods during services. The people were friendly and welcoming. This is why we finally chose UUFE as our church in fall 1992.”
Mike said he found at UUFE “kindred souls who shared interests — genealogy, gardening, landscaping, history, science — and taught me construction, electrical, and plumbing skills when we built the kitchen annex and remodeled the Learning Center.” Judy remembers fondly the weekly hymn sings and choir practices that Doris Stickel led.
These days, Judy puts together information for Fellowship Life during Sunday services and the monthly newsletter, and crocheting for the mitten tree, Project Linus. The Darnels enjoy reading; traveling, and playing with their seven grandchildren. Two of the grandchildren attend RE classes at UU congregations, making for a fourth generation of UUs on Judy’s side of the family.