Lifespan Faith Development
Michael begins this year as our Acting Director as we discover what kind of program best serves our needs here at First Unitarian. Michael enjoys helping organizations find their voice and has served as minister, teacher and counselor to schools and churches across the nation that strive to provide clarity of purpose and meaningful engagement with all ages in community.
Michael received his Master of Divinity degree in 2009 from Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC. He also holds diplomas in Education from Loyola University New Orleans, in Music from the University of North Texas and in Drama from Studio Theatre in Washington, DC.
Michael enjoys playing various instruments, cycling and tickling his four children until they are too old to think that's cool.
Did you ever meet an Okie from Muskogee? Do you even know what one is? Well, this select group is represented in First Unitarian Church by at least two of them, one being the administrator. The other is her husband, Jim. Muskogee is part of “them Oklahoma hills” where they were born.
Ruth and Jim Gordon have been active in First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City since 1982. Jim joined that year but Ruthie joined much later. Prior to working for the church, Ruth was a BOS (business office supervisor) for Mother Bell (both Southwestern and Northwestern) back in the good old days of monopoly phone companies. After ten years of servitude, she changed careers and went into high finance. She became the credit manager of an exclusive men’s store in Muskogee as well as later becoming an officer of another now defunct organization: the savings and loan. Hopefully, her having worked in those two areas did not have a direct effect on their demise. She sums up her resume with customer service being the driving force of her career choices, including her present job as Financial Assistant of First Unitarian Church. Presently, her office hours are Monday – Thursday, 9:00 to 2:00.
The entire family enjoys baseball and trek frequently to St. Louis to see their favorite team. Ruth ‘s dreams of becoming a baseball star were cut short when she received her M.r.s. in 1962.
Ruth was the administrator of First Unitarian Church from 1992 to 2009. At that time she changed to half-time and today serves as Financial Assistant. She hopes to work many more years doing what she does best, customer (people) service.
Music Director and Composer
Beverly has directed choirs in secondary schools, colleges, churches, and communities in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
With music degrees from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, she comes to First Unitarian with experience in both sacred and secular repertoire. As a member of the American Choral Directors Association and the American Society of Composers and Publishers, Beverly approaches her work in the tradition of the conductor/composer and is frequently involved in conducting and/or performing her own compositions.
A soprano, Beverly has appeared as a soloist with groups as diverse as the Tanglewood Choir at the Berkshire Music Festival to the Oklahoma City Chamber Players. Included in her awards is "Oklahoma Musician of the Year, Ambassador of Good Will," by the State of Oklahoma, and a Citation from the State Senate for contributing to teaching and composing music in our state.
A member of First Unitarian since the spring of 1980, Dianne Broyle became the church organist in January 1981 and, except for 1989-90, which she spent in Bethesda, Maryland, has served in that capacity ever since.
A lifelong musician who remembers her mother teaching her to sing harmony and play melodies on the keyboard before she could read music, Dianne began studying piano at the age of nine and organ at age thirteen. She studied organ with Dr. Paul Robinson at Wake Forest College (now University).
Although music was a very important part of Dianne’s life and studies, she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Wake Forest, and later a master’s degree in Spanish from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After moving to Oklahoma City, she studied organ with Dr. Antone Godding at Oklahoma City University, and she has attended numerous organ workshops conducted by Dr. Godding. Dianne is a singer as well as an organist and pianist, and she has sung with the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, the Cantate Chamber Singers of Bethesda, Maryland, and the Canterbury Choral Society of Oklahoma City. Whenever the First Unitarian choir sings a cappella or with instruments other than organ or piano, she joins them in singing.
When she is not performing music at First Unitarian, Dianne is at her other job as Professor of Modern Languages at Oklahoma City Community College, or she is traveling. In her travels to Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, and France, she has visited many churches and cathedrals, where she has heard wonderful organs, including those of Chartres and Notre Dame.
She currently serves as chair of the Department of Languages and the Arts at the college, and her department includes Modern Languages, English as a Second Language, Art, Theatre, Graphic Communications, and Music. She enjoys the opportunity to interact on a regular basis with music faculty and to participate in choral rehearsals and concerts.
Dianne’s husband, Robert H. Broyles, is also an active member of First Unitarian and is frequently heard at the Forum speaking on scientific issues.
Information to come