Association for Practical and Professional Ethics

Religious Leaders Panel Discussion

Lobby of the Musical Arts Center

Tuesday, October 13 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.


Religious Leaders Panel - Biographical Information



Bill Breeden

Bill Breeden began his ministry at UUCB in 2002 and retired in 2014. He was ordained in theBill_Breeden.jpg Disciples of Christ in 1976, and gained full fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 2002. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington congregation named him Minister Emeritus on June 8, 2014.

Reverend Bill Breeden was sabbatical minister for Reverend Barbara Carlson in the year 2000, and was called as co-minister with Rev. Carlson and Reverend Mary Ann Macklin in 2003.

Bill Breeden was born in 1949 in Washington, Indiana. Bill studied in Tennessee and supported himself in a supermarket. While throwing out over-dated foods, he encountered a black woman who changed his life. She asked him to let her sort through the discarded food so she could feed her children and herself. Up to that time Bill did not know there was real poverty in America. He graduated from college and Seminary and was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He served two parishes in Missouri.

On December 7, 1979 Bill met Phil Berrigan, an ex-priest and peace activist who became a friend and mentor. Soon he went to Washington, D.C., to pray for peace in the Capitol rotunda, resulting in his first arrest for protests. He later lived with his wife Glenda and their two teenage children in a tepee in Brown County.

Their daughter Denise Breeden discovered the UU Church of Bloomington through friends at Harmony School. Before long Bill and Glenda joined the UU Church of Bloomington, and in the year 2000 he served as a part-time sabbatical minister during Reverend Barbara Carlson’s sabbatical. In 2003 he joined the ministerial team as co-minister with Reverend Carlson and Reverend Mary Ann Macklin. After Barbara’s retirement in 2005, he and Mary Ann continued in co-ministry. He said “It was a place where I could say what I believe without being fired for it.”  Furthermore, he found a church whose DNA included social activism and a hunger for justice. 

Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington
2120 North Fee Lane
Bloomington, IN 47408

Rabbi Brian Besser

Shalom! If you are not a member of Congregation Beth Shalom or have not yet joined us, thank you Rabbi_Brian_Besser.jpgfor your interest in our community.

Like Beth Shalom itself, my background is multifaceted. I grew up in a Conservative household in suburban New Jersey. My early career was in mathematics; after pursuing an advanced degree at U. C. Berkeley, I remained in California to work for the software giant Oracle in education and later as a technical writer. In San Francisco, I became active as a lay service leader of the Reform Congregation Shaar Zahav.

After moving to Vermont with my partner Joe in 1999, I was hired as the spiritual leader of the newly founded Jewish Community of Greater Stowe, where I served for eleven years. During this time, I also studied Talmud and Hassidic literature with the Orthodox Rabbi Sholom Brodt from Jerusalem, explored Jewish Renewal at Eilat Chayyim, and eventually entered the third graduating class of the trans-denominational Hebrew College Rabbinical School, where I was ordained in 2010.

A congregant once offered testimony that was so dear to me I have never forgotten her words: “Rabbi Brian’s personal history reflects the diverse composition of this community. No matter where you are in your life, from Orthodox to Reform, from religious to secular, or even atheist, Rabbi Brian can relate, because he’s been there.” These days, rather than identify with any particular denomination, I prefer to call myself simply Jewish.

I arrived here in July, 2012. My passions at Beth Shalom consist of fostering a warm, welcoming and inclusive communal culture, engaging and exploring traditional Jewish texts to maximize their relevancy to contemporary life, and nurturing caring relationships with and among individuals.

I consider my life’s purpose to serve God by serving others. My primary role at Beth Shalom is as a facilitator—to support our congregants in their Jewish journey, rather than to impose my own beliefs and practices by dictating what they should do or think. I seek to educate, support, nurture, comfort, and guide by example.

I am grateful to have been led to Beth Shalom at this point in my life. I cannot imagine a better fit than the one that we enjoy as Rabbi and congregation.

Congregation Beth Shalom
3750 E Third Street
(812) 334-2440

Rev. Helen Hempfling

The Rev. Helen Hempfling has served First Christian Church in various capacities since 1996. Rev._Helen_Hempfling.jpgAn ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Helen received her BA in Political Science from Hiram College and her Master of Divinity Degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has served congregations in Tennessee, Indiana, and the state of Washington.

Some of the highlights of her life include: speaking to the 1983 Assembly of the World Council of Churches (where she had a life changing conversation with Archbishop Desmund Tutu), sharing a meal with Millard Fuller (founder of Habitat for Humanity), being in the home of Will Campbell (author of “Brother to a Dragonfly”), and giving a shoulder rub to Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame).

Highlights aside, she finds greater joy in the simpler things of life: playing a board game with her husband Bruce every night, watching her sons Sam and Jonathan play rugby, relishing her mother-daughter phone conversations with Allison, and spending time at the beach and in the mountains with her extended family. She is humbled by the gift of being able to share bread and wine at a table that welcomes all, and is honored by the privilege of being invited to be present with others during the many and varied circumstances of life.

First Christian Church
205 E. Kirkwood Ave.


Reverend Tom Kammel

Pastor Tom Kammel was called to be the Associate Pastor of Emmanuel in 2002 after serving Rev._Tom_Kammel.jpgwith CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for 18 years. He is responsible for Christian Education, Discipleship, Youth and Small Group Ministries. Tom also coordinates annual short-term mission trips, disciples some of Emmanuel’s teenage men and loves to engage in extended times of silence and solitude.

Reverend Kammel graduated from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 1982.  He received a diploma for Ministerial Theology from the Evangelical Church Alliance in 1993 and was ordained for the ministry shortly thereafter.  While serving with CRU, Tom and his wife Kay took numerous missionary trips to “closed” East Asia. Tom and Kay were married in 1982 and have six children and three grandchildren.

Emmanuel Baptist Church
1503 W. That Road
Bloomington, IN 47403

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