Board Members

Board Meetings

Board meetings are usually held on the fourth Tuesday of every month, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Board meetings are open to members of the congregation.

To find out how to attend a board meeting, contact the UUFR office.

To find agendas and minutes of upcoming or past board meetings, click here.

Board Members

(To find out more about a board member, click on their picture.)

Sarah Ford Neorr, President

I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and went to college in Ohio. As an adult, I lived in Los Angeles, where I was a teacher with Teach for America, and New York City, where I went to law school.   After moving to Raleigh in 2003, I worked as an employment lawyer with a focus on sexual misconduct.   I retired from active practice in 2018 in order to spend more time at home with my children.   My husband Steve and I have a beautiful blended family of six kids – two are in college, three are in high school, and our youngest is in middle school.  One of three high schoolers is our host daughter from Afghanistan who joined us in 2022.  Being a full-time parent is the most challenging job I have ever held, and I feel grateful (usually, haha) to have a diverse crew of insightful young people in my life.   

As a college student, I broke with the conservative evangelical faith of my upbringing and took a long break from religion.  In my 30s, I found my way to a liberal Episcopal church.    It was a loving community with progressive ideals, but I did not like having to tune out so much of the liturgical content.   I wanted to be able to say the words of the hymns and prayers and actually believe them.     After visiting UUFR on and off for the better part of a decade, I began attending in earnest in 2019.  Since that time, the fellowship has become an important part of my life.   I feel delighted to have a spiritual home where I connect with so many caring, engaged people.  I love that we are part of something that began before us and will hopefully continue long after us.   Many hands have blessed these walls.   

I have served on the boards of Equality NC, a statewide LGBT rights organization, and The Monti, a Triangle non-profit which creates community through live storytelling events.   I currently serve on the  board of Ascend, an international organization which works in the Middle East to empower young women through athletics and leadership training.   At UUFR, I enjoy serving as a Worship associate and on the Care Team.   I also am involved with Social Hour and like thinking about how we can promote connections and make everyone feel welcome.    I feel deeply humbled to have been elected to UUFR’s board and honored to serve alongside the other board members.   My door is always open to questions, concerns, and suggestions!

Rachel Wellons, President Elect

I am a former corporate and trial attorney and, in addition, I have a MSLS in Library Science. It’s an odd combo, but what that gives me is a unique ability to find and analyze information and an ability to make and support good decisions based on the information and facts at hand. I’m an excellent listener and communicator. I feel like I have the ability to make other people feel seen, heard, and valued.

I’ve spent the last two years on UUFR’s Committee on Ministry. It was relatively labor intensive compared to other UUFR committees, but what I got from my experience on COM was a better knowledge of how UUFR’s governance works and what it takes to run a congregation. Nancy Stone is an exceptional chair and it was a privilege to learn from her. Being on COM was an opportunity to serve, which was quite meaningful, and to do good. Participants in our listening sessions appreciated the opportunity to have their voices heard and I think the Board valued and was able to use the information we collected. I really didn’t dislike much about my time on COM.

I’ve been a member of UUFR since 2021. I come from a legal background, but I’ve worked a lot in libraries and bookstores since leaving the law in 2006. My career trajectory was interrupted by the death of my wife in 2010 after the birth of our child, Christopher, and I spent the next 10 years as a stay-at-home parent. What I learned through that experience was that tragedy, while painful, often brings blessings if you are open to receiving them. When not at work or UUFR, I read a lot. I love to write. I make beaded jewelry if the mood strikes. I hike several miles a week. Nature is my most important sanctuary. I feel very close to my higher power in nature. I have been in discernment for the past few years about attending seminary. That is in my future but I will delay it until any commitment I make to the Board is over.

Cathie Feild, Treasurer

At the UU Congregation of the Outer Banks I served as: Board Secretary and Treasurer (1.5 years) Professional experience: Office manager supporting the Session (Board) and minister at a Presbyterian church, including secretarial and financial duties. (4 years) Executive Director of two statewide professional associations (6 years total).

I was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in the Maryland suburbs, where I lived for my first 40 years. In 2000, my husband and I moved to Raleigh, where we lived until we moved to the Outer Banks of NC in 2016 after he retired. He passed away suddenly in 2021 and I stayed at the beach for about 2.5 more years until I moved to Cary in October of 2023. I have a stepson, Adam, who lives on the west coast. My constant companion is my dog, Ollie. I have an undergraduate degree from Towson State University and a master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. My work life was spent primarily in managing non-profit professional associations. I have been retired since November of 2021. While living at the beach, my husband and I became members of the UU Congregation of the Outer Banks, where I served as Secretary and then Treasurer before moving to Cary. I like to read, travel, watch TV, and spend time with friends.

I have knowledge and experience with budgets, spreadsheets, data analysis, financial policies, and Board and Committee structures and operations.

Holly Thomasson, Secretary

 I am eager to contribute my personal and professional skills in several key areas. For context, my career background involves designing and delivering software to serve a variety of complex business processes (primarily manufacturing, supply chain, and engineering). While that has many fun technical challenges, doing this successfully often requires strong communication and organizational skills. Drawing from that experience in managing software, projects, and stakeholder, I possess communication skills that will enable me to convey complex information, foster productive discussions, and ensure understanding between board members and congregants. I love to help the board increase transparency (where appropriate) of what they’re working on and promote engagement with the wider congregation. I am also well versed, technically, in document management, and am happy to pick up or improve any tools or systems currently used.

I was born in small-town North Carolina and grew up attending Christian churches and vacation bible school as a child. While I never felt a religious connection through those experiences I very much enjoyed the community aspect. I didn’t discover religion again until I was 27 and planning my wedding ceremony, looking for scripts and readings, and found the only ones that resonated with me came from UU sources. In 2019, when Chris and I moved back to NC, the first thing we did when we settled in Raleigh was look for a UU church. Our first service was Rev. James’ first service in 2019 and we’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve been involved in various aspects – the young adult group, chalice circles, and Care Team and have enjoyed all of the connections made along the way.

While I have only been a UU for a few years, I feel like those years have been some of the most transformative years – moving, settling down, a global pandemic, starting a family. I am so grateful for the roots and support we have here, and to have a home where we can pour our talents into things that matter. We have two young girls and I am also excited for them to age into and experience the family ministry programs in the next few years. During the day I currently work for a startup working on launching a rocket where I lead the design and development of their manufacturing and supply chain systems. I love tinkering with technology, building apps, and solving the complex problems that come with that role. At home, I enjoy all the time I can with my family and have discovered joy in quiet time spent crocheting and gardening. I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the board and offer a new perspective and set of skills!

My relevant involvement at UUFR – young adult group member (since 2019, less active now but still attend some events) – young adult chalice circle (2 seasons) – parents of young children chalice circle facilitator (1 season) – care core team (1.5 yrs). I have enjoyed all of the connections made in these groups, especially the intergenerational ones. Only dislike is that trying to get something done can be like herding cats. It can be tough to rally interest and involvement when leading something.

Tom Karches, Board Member at Large

I have been an active UU since 1986. I taught RE at First UU Church of Dallas and participated with their UU young adult group as president and newsletter publisher. At a national level, I worked in leadership with C-UUYAN, a national UU young adult organization. I have facilitated OWL classes for almost 15 years and have chaperoned for trips to Shelter Neck, The Mountain, and Coming of Age in Boston.

I published the Mugbook (conference pictorial directory) at SUUSI for 5 years and have assisted with AV and Technology committees at UUFR. I have been active in the choir at UU churches in Dallas and UUFR.

I am married to Kerry Mead and we have a daughter Ava and a son Liam. I met my wife Kerry in the Dallas UU Young Adult group. We have been members at UUFR since 1997. I currently teach middle school OWL, and have been active with the One Wake committees and provide technology support for the Living the Pledge program. I also play with the UUFR ukulele group

Outside of UUFR, I have volunteered for 7 years as a marching band parent and continue to support the Cary High band program by working at the annual Cary Band Day. I have a passion for sustainability through repair and volunteer for Repair Cafe NC. I also play multiple musical instruments enjoy photography can ride a unicycle.

Warren Keyes, Board Member at Large

I served for 8-or-so years on the Candidacy Committee of the NC Synod of the ELCA. I liked very much getting to know seminary students who were preparing to become ELCA pastors. Their new insights, perspectives, and ideas were encouraging. Dislike was when meetings were not organized, therefore allowing the meetings to sometimes sway greatly from the intended purpose of the particular meeting. Also when there are not clear goals for the group, I am not particularly pleased.

Raised a Baptist, married a Lutheran and became one myself. After years of Sunday School, bible study, spiritual enrichment through Via de Cristo, and exploring the mystic branch of Christianity, my wife Judy and I arrived at a spiritual place that didn’t seem to fit what we had followed. Throughout our journey, social justice, equality, and advocacy called to us and seemed to guide us to Unitarian Universalism. Here, we have found a spiritual home, among like-minded service/action-oriented believers seeking a liberal religious home, working for the common good of all.

My interests, besides social justice, equality, and advocacy include music (hand drumming and singing), NCSU Wolfpack football and basketball, and even Carolina Panthers football. I enjoy flying different aircraft on MS Flight Simulator, traveling to interesting sights and historic sites with Judy, my wonderful wife of 42 years. In retirement from restaurants (cooking and management), radio commercial production, and computer customer support, I have become an audiobook narrator credited with over 25 titles I’ve narrated. Taking advantage of a white beard and a portly appearance, I have portrayed Santa Claus (Santa Keyes) for the past ten years and have enjoyed that immensely, bringing smiles of glee and joy to kids, parents, and grandparents.

I have active listening skills, have had sales experience, customer support and customer support management experience. I have served on several boards and committees in other churches.

Sandy Pearce, Board Member at Large

I am a rare bird, born and raised in Raleigh!  I have been lucky to live close to my family who also live in Wake County, except my sister who absconded to Arizona. I was brought up in a Southern Baptist church and it was a narrow, guilt producing, prejudiced culture.  The only good thing about it was the youth group where I had close friends.

I was the first in my family to attend college (NCSU) and what a world it opened up to me.  What I learned and experienced there changed my life and in some ways made me an alien in my biological family.  They didn’t understand the feminist I became, the choice I made not to change my name when I married (twice), my desire to march for equality, and my decision not to attend the Baptist church after I left home (except with my humble and extraordinary mother for special occasions). 

I first attended UUFR on the advice of a UU friend when I got divorced from my first husband.  I didn’t get involved except for my “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” group which supported and grounded me.  I wandered off for years and then rejoined in 2011 when I retired from state government.  I had a wonderful career in the justice field starting in direct services with juvenile and moving into grants management, planning, research, policy development and program management. My professional life was always meaningful, demanding, and stimulating.  

Tom and I have been married 25 years.  We don’t have children of our own.  I volunteered with Lutheran Family Services 30 years ago when they were resettling Vietnamese refugees.  Little did I know that I was gaining a family which now consists of six adult godchildren and twelve god grandchildren.  They forever changed and enriched my life.  Tom and I love to travel and have been to Viet Nam twice. Do we have stories to tell!

UUFR brings me spiritual connection and grounding in a community of like-minded people.  I have volunteered as a worship associate, Chalice Circle administrator and facilitator, coordinator of the Food Security Ministry Team, member of the Refugee and Immigrant team, and core member of the UUFR and Cary One Wake Teams.  These projects form the basis of my life now.  My vision is that UUFR offers a spiritual and interpersonal connection to those who come through our doors and does justice in our community.

To Give Feedback to the Board

To give feedback to the board about any matter, please use the feedback form.

To Contact the Board

To contact the board about any matter directly, email .

Stay Connected

Office Hours

Sunday: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Monday - Thursday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: Closed

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