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NTAUUS Recognition Awards for 2010

The awards for 2010 were presented at our Spring Awards Luncheon on March 27th, 2010 and were recorded by Videographer Rusty Hann.

Marty Robinson Award:

Mike Ellsberry
Howard McMahan
Myrtle McMahan
Amy Hoffman-Shehan

The Robert Raible Award:

Rev. Dennis Hamilton

The Ruth Clark Award:

Don Krehbiel

Recognition Awards

NTAUUS Recognition Award

Other Awards Pages:



Marty Robinson Award Recipient: Mike Ellsberry

Based on remarks by Anne Smith, NTAUUS Secretary:

I am sort of glad Mike is not here today as I think we all recognize his tendency to be self-effacing about such personal awards. His focus has always been on our cluster as a whole and on encouraging best practices from all of our congregations. He would definitely not like being singled out for this honor.

Notwithstanding his feelings, I want to share some of his ideas and projects that he so ably worked for during his tenure as our NTAUUS President during thirteen of his fifteen years on the board. The worthy projects that he supported and saw to fruition included the development of a Social Action Network at the cluster level, a public Lecture Series, and a revision of our Mission and Vision statements.

He encouraged all of us serving our local congregations to invest in ourselves and reach out to our communities beyond our societies with our Unitarian Universalist message of hope, equality, and love. One of his passions from the very beginning of his tenure was the celebration of and encouragement to grow in our smaller congregations, reflecting his membership in several of these societies over the years.

During his time as President the following events took place due in part to his continued support: cluster outings such as Rangers baseball games, sale of Raible Place and establishment of the Endowment Fund grants to local congregations, the advocacy and help during the UUA General Assembly held in Ft. Worth, establishment of the Pathways UU Church, and various advertising strategies such as KERA ads and a new NTAUUS brochure, plus the possibility of a NTAUUS website.

Mike has had a glorious vision for NTAUUS over his years of service and I for one have appreciated his personal support, his wonderful sense of humor, and his acknowledgement of hope for our future in spite of setbacks. His vision, eloquence, and dreams have contributed greatly to NTAUUS' role in North Texas and to the strength and continued deep faith for Unitarian Universalism within our cluster and beyond our walls.


Marty Robinson Award Recipients:
Howard and Myrtle McMahan

Howard and Myrtle McMahan have always worked as a team, supporting each other as they engaged in activities for Unitarian Universalism.

Howard was a member of the NTAUUS Board for many years from First Jefferson Church. Later he served as President of NTAUUS from 1992-1995, then as Treasurer of NTAUUS from 1996 until 2009. He was instrumental in the sale of Raible Place (a low-cost housing development owned by the Unitarian Universalists) in 2003, and then served on the endowment committee which was established to handle the money from the sale.

Myrtle, meanwhile, was the UUA Annual Program Fund chair for the Southwest District from 1995 through 2003. Together they co-founded Westside UU Church of Ft. Worth in 1995 and during its formative years assumed every role in the church to assure its continued growth. They are worthy recipients of the Marty Robinson Volunteer Award for the year 2010.

Marty Robinson Award Recipient: Amy Hoffman-Shehan

Amy began attending First Unitarian Church of Dallas at the age of five, having moved here with her family. She is a loyal member of the Red River Unitarian Universalist Church in Denison, Texas, and combines two valuable skills in a mix found in a few very fortunate UU communities.

The first skill is one of outreach, the ability to identify an issue that will resonate in both the local religious community and in the larger community, and which brings those two bodies together.

The second skill is organization, the ability to take an issue and turn it into an event by identifying the myriad of talents and resources and bringing that mass of talent into a coherent schedule.

After she organized her own neighborhood which made some very effective changes in the area, including cleaning out drug activity, Amy was trained as an organizer in Dallas Area Interfaith, and worked with the Katrina Survivor Network. This group is part of the regional Industrial Areas Foundation, headed up by Ernie Cortes. Several of our churches participate in organizations which are a part of the IAF, as we do our best to annoy certain media commentators with our work for social justice.

She has served on the City Council of Sherman and she has been active, a stalwart, in Red River UU since it was founded in 1997. Four years ago Red River embarked on an environmental initiative known as Green Team Chalice Circle, and Amy was a facilitator from that beginning. As part of their work, the church has also developed and adopted a Green Policy.

During her second year as facilitator the Green Team held a small Earth Day Festival at the church, one attended by approximately 100 people. She led the group in expanding the festival into an area-wide event, drawing participants from a 50-mile radius circle centered in Denison/Sherman Texas area. In its second year, more than 1200 people attended; next month, they expect even larger numbers. You can find out more about this extravaganza at

The success of the event is very much because of her skill and dedication, and many hours of work. Amy was the leader and chief facilitator who made this happen.

Intuitively we know and we want to believe, sometimes we desperately want to believe, with Margaret Mead when she said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has..."

Amy Hoffman-Shehan validates that for us today. Through her consistency, diligence, perseverance and results, she gives us the hope that we can, indeed, change the world; Amy gives us the strength we need to build a world we want to live in.

Robert Raible Award Recipient: Rev. Dennis Hamilton

Rev. Dennis Hamilton accepted the challenge of a new congregation (Horizon had 34 members when he came to visit) when he graduated from Starr King Theological School in 1987. He was brimming with ideas for the congregation, and saw the group increase in size from 34 to 172 when it moved from its strip mall storefront to land purchased on Hebron Parkway in north Carrollton. Dennis immediately became active in both the local community (serving on the board of the Metrocrest Service Center) and in NTAUUS. Horizon became a "teaching church" and Dennis became known as an excellent mentor of UU ministerial students. He also was one of the first to serve on the regional Ministerial Fellowship Committee which reviews those who are pursuing UU studies. He served in the board of SWUUSI (the Southwest Summer Institute) and led workshops at many conferences.

Dennis' interest in music and his ability with the guitar led to many performances. He was also invited by the UUA to help select the music which was submitted for the publication of Singing the Journey, 1999.

Rev. Hamilton was on the UUA/NTAUUS committee which selected the minister to lead the new large-congregation effort in the Metroplex in 2004.

Under Dennis' leadership, Horizon is now a congregation of over 300 members and is embarked on expansion plans for continued growth in the community. His creativity, his inspired sermons, his dedication to the UU denomination make him a most worthy recipient of the Robert Raible Award.

Ruth Clark Award Recipient: Don Krehbiel

Text of the presentation made by Karen Lewis,
DRE, First Unitarian Church of Dallas:

Ruth Clark was the Director of Religious Education here when I first passed through these doors as a child. Ruth was a consummate professional who built a wonderful program here, making sure the teachers she worked with were well-trained, curriculum was carefully chosen, and that nothing was left to chance.

Ruth excelled at making each child feel special and loved. Bringing out the best in each person who was fortunate to know her is what Ruth did best.

Like Ruth, the first-ever recipient of the award named in her honor is a consummate professional. Don Krehbiel makes sure the people he works with are well-trained and he leaves absolutely nothing to chance. In the twenty years he has served First Unitarian Church of Dallas, directing both the Sanctuary Choir and Kindred Voices, Don has made manifest the words of the hymn we sing together – thanks to his leadership, here truly "all speech flows to music, all hearts beat as one." Don has served this congregation well. But he has not stopped there.

Don has served two two-year terms as the Representative for Large Churches with the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network and has directed choirs at our General Assemblies. But Don has not stopped there. His work has not been confined to our faith; his passion is too large for that.

Don's passion has led him to direct Choral Reading Sessions for both the American Guild of Organists and the Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians. But Don's passion for perfection and love for music has not stopped there.

Don has taken it to the streets serving as Artistic Director of the 24-voice Orpheus Chamber Singers. If you have not attended an Orpheus concert, get to one as fast as you are able! Orpheus sets the standard for choral singing in North Texas and regularly receives critical acclaim. Their repertoire includes diverse styles of music from around the globe and commissions of outstanding new works. The ensemble has made numerous guest appearances and outreach to area schools in addition to its regular concert series.

Now you might think a man like this could be arrogant but, in fact, Don is surprisingly shy at heart and I’ll bet right now he’s blushing. Don’s like that because, while he’s certainly studied and worked hard, the excellence he inspires in others, the beautiful music he makes, just flows like tap water, or perhaps wine would be more apropos. Music is in his very bones. When Don is making music, love is in the air and all present are inspired indeed.

It is my great pleasure, and indeed my honor, to present the Ruth Clark Award to Don Krehbiel.


2010 Grants Awarded:

  • Total Awards: $82,800
  • Horizon - Carry over from 2009 - $5,000
  • Arlington - Sanctuary lighting & fans - $1,000
  • Community - Full time DRE - $10,000
  • Denton - Long Range Planning - $3,000
  • Horizon - AV Equipment for Outreach - $10,000
  • Oak Cliff - 1 - Half-time DRE - $10,000
  • Oak Cliff - 2 - Long Range Planning Consultant - $3,000
  • Pathways - Increase DRE time - $10,000
  • Red River 1 - AV Equipment - $2,500
  • Red River 2 - Long Range Planning Consultant - $3,300
  • Tyler - Part-time Minister - $7,500
  • Westside - Lighting - $10,000
  • Sacred Journey - 1 - RE & Outreach - $2,500
  • Sacred Journey - 2 - HVAC - $5,000