Our Ministers

The Reverend Doctor Doug E. Wadkins, Interim Senior Minister

The Rev. Dr. Douglas E. Wadkins is delighted to currently serve as the interim Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Society of Madison. For nearly 30 years, Doug has been grateful to have meaningfully served in chaplaincy, settled parish and interim ministry. Previously, Doug served the First Unitarian and Universalist Society in Cleveland, OH, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, and the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor.  He also served as the settled Senior Minister for the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Bellingham, Washington for thirteen years and minister for the Unitarian and Universalist Society of Mukwonago, WI for 6 years.  Doug has also ministered with congregations in North Carolina, Florida, and Oregon, as well as working as a campus minister and a hospice chaplain.

Interim ministry has been especially gratifying to Doug because it emphasizes exploring the essential components of a congregation’s community and sense of purpose. It is a time of trying new things and discovering new facets of congregational life that is very fulfilling and energizing.  Over and over again, congregations, as they complete interim ministry with Rev. Doug have commented on the time being so much more meaningful and compelling than they had imagined.

When not at church, Doug loves exploring his new turf, hiking, and biking.  He enjoys learning new skills and trying new foods in the kitchen, and appreciates an inspired restaurant experience (perhaps too much). He loves to read, although much of his reading is for church, and loves film. Finally, he has eclectic tastes in music and enthusiastically explores new music in many genres.

The Reverend Kelly J. Crocker, Minister of Congregational Life

The Rev. Kelly J. Crocker has been the Minister of Religious Education at First Unitarian Society since July 2001. She was raised in Scranton, PA and after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies at East Stroudsburg University, she attended seminary at Louisville Theological Seminary in Kentucky. It was during her time in Louisville that Kelly was introduced to Unitarian Universalism, and subsequently, her call to serve our faith.

Upon graduating from seminary, Kelly completed a two-year internship as Minister of Religious Education at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. During this time she realized her passion in ministry to be one of connecting people from across the generations into fellowship, spiritual growth, and active service in our community.

Kelly was thrilled with the possibility of a ministry with First Unitarian Society. She saw in this congregation a kindred commitment to education as a lifelong process for us all and was excited to become a part of its vibrant religious education program. Over the years she has seen this commitment grow and thrive as our programs for children, youth and adults flourish. At FUS, Kelly’s responsibilities include overseeing our lifespan religious education program, working with the Ethical Eating program, advising the Partner Church Council, leading worship, officiating at rites of passage and offering pastoral care.

Kelly is married to Dan Raysbrook and together they have two amazing sons, Sam and Owen. Her passions include knitting, gardening, reading good mysteries and spending time with her favorite little guys playing with dirt, trucks, mud piles and worms.

Carin M. Bringelson, Intern Minister

Carin Bringelson joined the First Unitarian Society staff in September 2018. As a part-time ministerial intern, she will be an integral part of congregational life for two years. Currently Carin is a full-time student at Meadville Lombard Theological School located in Chicago—one of the two Unitarian Universalist seminaries in the United States. The Rev. Kelly Crocker is her Teaching Pastor and mentor.

Carin grew up United Methodist in Lincoln, NE and found Unitarian Universalism in high school. She graduated from Grinnell College with a bachelor’s in Sociology/African American Studies. She has two master’s degrees from UW-Madison: one in Educational Policy Studies and another in Library & Information Studies. Her professional life has included working with underprivileged youth, adults with developmental disabilities, and teachers and librarians interested in children’s books and young adult literature.

With her passion for intellectual freedom and social justice, Carin has been an active volunteer and member of the James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation for over 20 years. She and her wife Bev Buhr live on the east side of Madison. Their 30-something-year-old, Brianna Buhr, lives in Canada.

The Reverend Dr. Michael A. Schuler, Minister Emeritus

Michael A. Schuler was called as Parish Minister to First Unitarian Society in the spring of 1988 and served the parish with distinction for 30 years.  During that time the Society raised funds for and constructed the award-winning Atrium Addition and embarked on several ambitious restorations of the Frank Lloyd Wright Meeting House.  FUS also gained distinction in the Unitarian Universalist Association as a “Breakthrough Congregation” and as winner of the Eugene Pickett Award for congregational growth.

Dr. Schuler earned an undergraduate degree in political science and holds a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. degree in the Humanities from Florida State University.  He previously served congregations in Iowa and Upstate New York.  Schuler has written numerous essays and articles for publication and in 2009 Berrett-Kohler published his book Making the Good Life Last: Four Keys to Sustainable Living.

Trina, his wife of 45 years, and he enjoy travel, good movies and communal life in the Village of Shorewood Hills where they continue to reside.  He practices Ta’i Chi, yoga, and has been a distance runner for over forty years. Michael and Trina have an adult son, Kyle, who works as a curriculum designer and trainer for JAMF, a software company based in the Twin Cities.  He is also an accomplished artist with a BFA in Illustration and an MA in Education.