Ministers and Staff

The Rev. Suzelle Lynch - Minister

The Rev. Suzelle Lynch came to UU Church West as Minister in 2003. She loves our congregation and its people, and finds our blend of spirituality and social action meaningful, life-changing and fun. Suzelle grew up in Michigan, but moved “west of the Mississippi” for the first 22 years of her adult life, including 16 years in the Seattle area. In 1994, she earned her Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California, and she served as minister to the Kitsap UU Fellowship in Bremerton, Washington for eight years. Prior to becoming a minister she was a communications professional, working for companies as diverse as personal robotics and financial services. Suzelle loves to sing, make creatively unusual hats, and lives in Wauwatosa with her son. Suzelle keeps regular office hours and also is available by appointment. Contact her by phone or by email below.

The Rev. Joyce Palmer - Assistant Minister

The Rev. Joyce Palmer began working as UUCW’s Assistant Minister for Membership and Congregational Engagement on August 3, 2015. Prior to joining the UUCW staff team, Rev. Palmer most recently served as the Director of Religious Education at Unitarian Church North in Mequon, WI and she also served as Director of Membership and Lay Ministry at All Souls Church UU, in Washington, DC. She completed her seminary education at Candler School of Theology, at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Her interest in Unitarian Universalism began years ago at the UU church in Rockford, IL, and from that moment on she became actively involved with congregations teaching youth and adult religious education, the Our Whole Lives sexuality program, and serving on committees.

Rev. Palmer most appreciates the accepting, open-minded, and inclusive spirit nurtured in UU congregations. Before pursuing ministerial studies, Rev. Palmer worked with the Head Start Program as both Head Teacher and Site Supervisor. Here at Unitarian Universalist Church West, as a half-time minister, Rev. Palmer will facilitate membership processes and member engagement, coordinate and support pastoral care, and she will assist with worship. Rev. Palmer lives in Milwaukee with her husband and two sons. Reading, NIA dancing, Tae Kwon Do, and spending time with her family are among her favorite things to do.

Vicki Banville - Church Administrator

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Vicki joined the staff at UUCW in October 2012. She has years of experience in management including scheduling, maintenance, building and service, and holds a Master's Degree in Training and Development.  Vicki has served on a board of directors for a human services charter school and has worked with adults with special needs (within Goodwill) as well as with children with autism. She lives in Mukwonago with her wife and daughter. 

UUCW Music Staff

Jennifer Nicolosi - Lead Music Director

Joining the music staff in 2014, Jennifer accompanies the Adult Choir, but also takes responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the music program, including scheduling, budgeting, and communicating with the staff and congregation regarding the Music Program.  

Jennifer has a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano, and a Bachelor degree in Piano and Voice. She teaches piano and voice at UW-Waukesha part-time. At UUCW, in addition to her work as Choir Accompanist, she has directed the Solstice Singers and other seasonal choirs as well as leading sectional rehearsals of the Adult Choir. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Collaborative Piano denotes a field of the piano profession where a pianist works in collaboration with one or more instrumentalists, singers, dancers, or other artists.

Ruben Piirainen - Music Director

Ruben has served at UUCW for 13 years, beginning as Choir Accompanist in 2003 and moving to the half-time position of Director of Music in 2006.  Ruben directs the Adult Choir and serves  as the lead musical resource for a number of services throughout the year.


Maria O'Connor - Director of Religious Education

Maria OConnorUUCW has a very large, energetic, creative, and successful religious education program. The program is led by Maria O'Connor, our full-time Director of Religious Education and the Religious Education Committee. Maria holds a Master of Arts degree from Syracuse University in Religious Studies, a Master of Spiritual Psychology Certificate, and has been trained as a Spiritual Director. She has served UUCW as Director of Religious Education since 1997.

Kelly Bognar - Religious Education Program Assistant

Kelly is UUCW's Religious Education Program Assistant. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from UW-Stevens Point in Communication. Each week she keeps the religious education instructors well supplied with their lesson materials. She also schedules the use of any audio, visual or computer equipment. She lives in Muskego with her husband and five sons. She is in the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.


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