Our Ministers

Rev. Jake Bohstedt Morrill

The Rev. Jake Morrill grew up attending the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.  He spent his twenties playing in bands and working in group-homes.  In 2003, upon graduation from Harvard Divinity School, Jake was called as Minister to ORUUC, where he has happily served ever since.

Jake is a long-time student of family systems thinking.  Following a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from East Tennessee State University, he entered the Post-Graduate Program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, in Georgetown, DC.  From 2013-2016, he served as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserve, with the rank of Captain.  Since 2015, Jake has served as Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, which supports his own Christian spirituality, even as his own faith is strengthened by sharing community with Pagans, Humanists, Buddhists, and others.  A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, Jake enjoys writing.  He published a novella, Randy Bradley, in 2011, by Solid Objects (published in French translation in 2013, by joca seria), followed by The Cherry Jar in 2017.  Jake enjoys involvement in the larger Unitarian Universalist movement.  From 2009 to 2013, he served as a Trustee on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Association; he currently serves on the Board of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, a large, online UU congregation.  In Oak Ridge, he has been an active collaborator, reaching across lines of difference to forge unity and partnership through many community efforts, including the Strong and United community organizing effort.

Jake’s wife, Molly, is a teacher, working with migrant families in agricultural communities in Tennessee.  Jake and Molly are the proud parents of two boys, who are students in the Oak Ridge Schools.  

Jake says, “I’ve learned so much from ORUUC-ians: about resilience and humility, and compassion and service.  We’ve taken a lot of risks together.  We’ve learned.  We’ve grown.  It amazes me that, after over twelve years, I continue to learn from this community, and from the chance to serve with them.”

Rev. Tandy Scheffler

The Rev. Tandy Scheffler grew up attending Watts Street (American) Baptist Church in Durham, NC. There she absorbed messages of Jesus’s teachings and how we should live now, rather than Jesus’s divinity and what happens after we die. When no such church could be found during her college years in Greensboro, NC, she turned to the inner voice of Quakerism.

She and her husband Peter found a home at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church when they moved to Knoxville in 1978. Tandy filled many roles there, among them chairing the Religious Education Committee, teaching religious education, leading Pastoral Care, and serving on the Board. After fourteen years teaching public school, Tandy focused on family when sons Ben (1988) and Sam (1993) came along. She worked in the boys’schools—Knoxville Preschool Coop and Garden Montessori.

In 1997 she was hired as ORUUC’s half-time Director of Religious Education. Since that time, she has known that she is doing the work she was meant to do. Her work here has grown and deepened, from half-time to full-time, and from Director of Religious Education to Minister of Faith Formation. Tandy is a Credentialed Religious Educator, Master Level. She has a Masters of Education. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Masters of Divinity from Earlham School of Religion. In 2014, she was ordained by ORUUC. In the wider UU world, Tandy has chaired the District Religious Education Committee and served as a Church Consultant. She currently chairs the UUA’s Religious Education Credentialing Committee. Her rat terrier, Willow, comes to work with Tandy, and is growing into her own church ministry.

Religious growth and learning is a lifelong endeavor that happens best when we are fully known and deeply loved for who we are, within a safe and challenging community of people who differ from us, whether by age, religious outlook, socio-economic background or other. At ORUUC, we come together, not as an enclave of like-minded people, but as a community of seekers, where people are inspired to live more generous, loving, courageous lives that contribute to a more just world and healthy planet.
— Tandy Scheffler
What I love is when people share their authentic selves. When they say what they love. Or who they love. And then live accordingly. What I love is the taste of the Beloved Community—which I also know as the Kingdom of God—where everyone is set free from shame and fear. I get to taste that here, with the people of ORUUC, pretty regularly. Lots of different people, different from each other, but somehow, they come together, they help each other, and they understand themselves all as one.
— Jake Morrill