Reverend Lora Young
Rev. Lora Young began serving South Valley in August 2020. Prior to answering the call to the UU ministry, Rev. Lora worked in the non-profit sector in various leadership roles from program development to fundraising and management. She earned her Masters of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology in June 2017 and was ordained the following June. She worked as a chaplain in hospice and hospital settings prior to coming to South Valley.
Her approach to ministry is collaborative, compassionate and grounded in evidence-based approaches to learning and human development. She hails from a traditional protestant background and still maintains a theistic orientation but has incorporated a warm-hearted humanism, celtic christianity, and a bit of mysticism into her outlook over the years. Meditation, yoga and a voracious love of fiction ground her as she seeks to co-create beloved community with others here in the Salt Lake Valley.
Rev. Lora has two young adult children, two adorable cats and a partner who is the delight of her life. She is teaching herself to garden and loves the sound of snow in the winter.
Reverend John Cooper
John works as a Board-Certified Chaplain at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, providing spiritual care to patients, families, and staff. Areas of interest include the use of research to demonstrate the role of spiritual care, life stories as sacred texts, and end-of-life needs. John is also a member of our choir, The South Valley Singers.
Director, Religious Exploration
Robb Carlson hails from northern Colorado and has served local congregations in the United Church of Christ over the last fifteen years in the area of children, youth, and family faith formation ministries. Robb holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Northern Colorado and is currently completing his Thesis at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities for a Master of Arts in Ethics & Justice. Robb has been involved in the leadership of numerous outdoor/camp ministry programs for children and youth as a camp counselor, camp director, retreat coordinator, song leader, and worship musician.
Brenda is a professional administrator, marketer, and event planner. She is also a mom, traveler, and life-long learner who enjoys a good esoteric dive into the intersections of spirituality and psychology. A Utah native, Brenda recently returned to Salt Lake after living for some time in San Francisco, and later, in Denver. She loves to study comparative religion and find the threads that connect us all. She is also an avid reader who lists Joseph Campbell, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman among her favorite authors. She identifies as Native American of the Flandreau Santee Dakota and Northwestern Band Shoshone.
Brenda’s “in-office” hours are Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
A product of musical parents, John Knight Allen began his musical development with the piano in LA at age 4. He continued his studies with the violin at Brigham Young University for his undergraduate career, and recently completed a Master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Utah as a student of Robert Breault and Barlow Bradford, where he is now working on a DMA in voice and choral conducting. Summer studies include the Chautauqua Institution in New York, the Aspen Music School in Colorado, and abroad in Italy. John has performed internationally both as a violinist and singer, and enjoys interpreting the standard repertoire as well as championing new works.
Rick is a keyboardist, vocal coach, composer and music educator. His long career includes stints with the Oakland, San Antonio, and Utah symphonies, and he was instrumental in creating the Film Composer’s Lab at the Sundance Institute. He has been associated with Utah’s Repertory Dance Theater for over thirty years.