Short biographies of Earth Ministry's board members.
Dr. Brian Naasz
Brian is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Pacific Lutheran University where he teaches Environmental and Analytical Chemistry. Prior to this, he worked in a variety of research, management, and business development roles in the specialty chemical industry. He has a BS in Chemistry from Seattle University and a PhD in Physical Chemistry and Catalysis from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Earth Ministry Board in January 2005. Brian also serves on the board of the Peace Community Center in Tacoma, Washington. His church home is Agnus Dei Lutheran church in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Rev. Hunt Priest
The Rev. Hunt Priest joined the board in 2010. Hunt is the Rector (Sr. Pastor) of Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Mercer Island. Prior to moving to the Seattle area, he was on staff of the Episcopal Church in Newnan, Ga. Before attending seminary and becoming ordained at age 40, Hunt was as a copywriter for an Atlanta advertising agency and delta.com. He's the father of 10-year old Will – who is a founding member of the Kids' Green Team at Emmanuel – and has been married to Lisa Lee Priest for 15 years. The strange confluence of surname and vocation is complicated by the fact that his mother's maiden name was Bishop.
Rebecca Cate was welcomed onto the board in 2010. As mother, wife, homemaker and sometimes attorney, she is an active member of Bethany United Church of Christ in Seattle. Rebecca graduated from the Willamette University School of Law and then spent 8 years as a criminal defense attorney with the Seattle-King County Public Defender Association. Since joining Bethany UCC in 2001, Rebecca has served on several ministry teams and co-founded Bethany’s Sacred Earth Ministry Team. Through Rebecca’s leadership Bethany has partnered with Earth Ministry and become a Greening Congregation. Rebecca loves to garden, sew, bake, hike/backpack, cross-country ski, listen to classical music and make annual pilgrimages to Holden Village with her husband and two children.
Dr. Kevin O’Brien
Kevin joined the Earth Ministry board in 2008. He is an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Pacific Lutheran University, and also teaches in the International Honors and Environmental Studies Programs. He has an M.A. in theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a Ph.D. in Christian Social Ethics from Emory University in Atlanta. Kevin's teaching and research focus on the interconnections between human ethics and environmental concerns, scientific data and moral commitments, religious commitments and social justice. His wife, Mary, teaches elementary school.
Mikaila Barton-Gawryn was honored to join the Earth Ministry Board in 2010 after volunteering and working with the organization for over five years. With a degree in Environmental Studies from Seattle University, Mikaila has focused on the connection between food production, environmental care and social justice. As a staff member at Earth Ministry she contributed to publications, administrative work and public speaking. Since graduating she has worked in small scale food production and she currently works in food service gaining a better understanding of how small business concerns play a role in global food justice relationships. Mikaila is currently applying to graduate programs and hopes to work on international agriculture and justice issues in the future.
Rev. Steve Grumm
Steve is a retired Lutheran (ELCA) parish pastor/community resource facilitator. He has served parishes and communities in Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. He resides with his wife Carolee, in the northwest corner of Seattle in the Ballard community. Presently he serves on the Safe Parking Steering Team administering a neighborhood grant from the city of Seattle; the Ballard Community Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness; and the Earth Ministry Board of Directors. In the past decade he has found energy and community in his volunteer and political advocacy work with The People of Puget Sound, Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, Ballard Food Bank, Lutheran Community Services, Faith Action Network and Earth Ministry. Steve very much enjoys urban and forest hiking, gardening, and the challenge of sustainable living practices.
Frederica (Freddie) Helmiere
Freddie joined the board in 2011. She moved to Seattle in 2010 after receiving a MAR at Yale Divinity School and a MESc at the Forestry & Environmental Studies School at Yale. There she studied environmental ethics, eco-justice, and international development, and spent a summer interning with Interfaith Power & Light in San Francisco. Freddie is a founding board member of the Lwala Community Alliance, an organization working on capacity-building in a small village in Western Kenya. She currently researching and writing material for Cynthia Moe-Lobeda's forthcoming book, Ethics for the "Un-creators": Morality in the Face of Systemic Evil and teaches Environmental Writing and Research methods at University of Washington. Freddie lives with her husband, John in Columbia City and is a member of Valley & Mountain Fellowship in Rainier Valley.
Maryfrances was elected to Earth Ministry's Board of Directors in December 2001 and served as Chair of the Board from 2006-2009. A recent alum of Microsoft, she has over 30 years experience in marketing, customer information oversight, and project management. A founding member of the Spiritus Dei congregation of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, she is working to integrate creation care into the liturgical and social justice life of the community.
John A. McCoy
Earth Ministry's newest board member, John McCoy, joined the board in 2011. A retired communications professional, he most recently served as chief communications officer for the Christian humanitarian organization, World Vision International. Prior to World Vision, he was the public affairs director of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, the vice president for communications at Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, and an editor and reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He is the author of a book on prison life and numerous stories and articles. A member of St. John Vianney Church on Vashon Island, John is also a gardener, beekeeper and poultry farmer. He and his wife, Karen, have three adult children.
Tim Nuse joined the board in 2010. As the Retail Energy Manager for Recreational Equipment, Inc, he implements programs to make REI stores more efficient and sustainable through energy retrofits, green power purchases, and solar generation. Prior to REI, Tim worked on environmental programs for Starbucks Coffee Company, including efforts to conserve energy and water and reduce waste. Tim collaborated with colleagues at Starbucks to found Partners for Sustainable Living, an organization that educates and inspires people to live more sustainable lifestyles. Outside of work, Tim volunteers his time as Chair of the 34th Legislative District Democrats focusing on empowering citizens to pass progressive legislation and elect effective leaders. In his spare time, Tim enjoys relaxing with friends and family, exploring the great outdoors, and is an avid sports enthusiast.
Sarah is a transplant from the east coast and understands the importance of stewardship and why it is imperative we take better care of our surroundings. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 2004 with a degree in Environmental Studies, after which she promptly joined the United States Peace Corps to serve two years in Jamaica. In those years she created an environmental studies curriculum for elementary aged children, led environmental workshops for 4-H club members and worked with local schools to create organic gardens. After leaving the Peace Corps, she backpacked around New Zealand working on organic farms and eventually found herself in Seattle. Her career evolved into working for the Fund for Public Interest, the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and currently the University of Washington – all in positions that centered on marketing. Aside from her career, Sarah enjoys hiking, skiing, tennis (when it’s warm enough!), backpacking, and camping as if she is a native Seattleite.
Sr. Jo Ann Showalter, SP
Environment has been a life long passion and interest for Jo Ann. She has been on various committees including the Reclaiming Earth Committee for Mother Joseph Province and the Sustainability subcommittee for UNANIMA, an NGO representing more than 16,000 women religious and having UN status. Last year, she was able to attend the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development at the United Nations. Jo Ann graduated from St. Mary of the Woods College with a MA in Earth Literacy. She is about to begin a new ministry as a member of the Provincial Council of the Sisters of Providence.