Ministry is her second career, after 20 years in social work and many years of political activism.

In the early 1990s, she spent a year as the national spokeswoman for the Green Party. She ran for city council in Ann Arbor, Mich., once. (She didn't win.) She's even made a few bucks as a pool shark: Her paternal grandfather, who ran a pool hall and speak-easy during Prohibition, continued his love of pool later in life and bought a pool table for her five brothers to learn to play. She learned, also, and won tournaments in college.

But with a Pennsylvania Dutch grandfather from Lancaster County, she doesn't find Lancaster County ways to be totally foreign.

She served a small church in Illinois and a church of about 1,200 in Oklahoma before becoming the new minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster in August.

Family: Married to Bill Ackerman, a mechanical engineer; daughter Heather, 28; son Nate, 19, both full-time college students; granddaughter Keegan, 6.

Education: A bachelor's in psychology and business from the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg; a master's in social work from the University of Michigan; a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago.

Birthplace: Pitcairn.

My parents always told me: When you point a finger at someone, notice that three fingers are pointing right back at you and one is pointing at God.

Someone who has influenced my life: The late Dr. Guy Rossetti, my adviser at Pitt, was a great mentor and supporter when I was a young adult. Currently, the teachings of the 14th Dalai Lama and Jesus guide me.

The best thing about my job: The work of ministry that I find most rewarding is caring for people as they die and supporting their survivors with a loving and celebratory memorial for the deceased.

The toughest part of my job: Church politics.

A person I admire: Margaret Fuller, 1810-1850, a Unitarian laywoman who wrote feminist texts, edited a liberal religious magazine, worked as a foreign war correspondent and heavily influenced the thinking of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the other transcendentalists of the 19th century.

My unfulfilled ambition: I am torn between wanting to learn to weave and wanting to be the first liberal televangelist.

One thing I've learned is: To give up idealism is to give up one's soul.

If I could change one thing: I would imbue all humanity with more compassion and less avarice.

There ought to be a law against: Poverty. We can create a system of laws that will make poverty virtually impossible.

One cause I support wholeheartedly: The anti-war movement. War is simply not compatible with right living and religious faith.

What I'd like to get around to doing one of these days: I want to learn to speak Spanish. I often listen to WLCH Radio Centro, 91.3, the Hispanic radio station, to try to learn.

The music I like best: Nearly everything. I once shocked a music store employee by buying compact discs of Tibetan chant, Rage Against the Machine, Loreena McKennitt and Patsy Cline on the same trip.

The best movies I've seen recently: I thought "The Station Agent'' was absolutely perfect filmmaking; I loved "Bend It Like Beckham''; I try to see every film in which Patricia Clarkson or Frances McDormand appears.

Books I highly recommend: Anything by the Dalai Lama, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Alice Walker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mary Oliver, Michael Moore or Barbara Kingsolver.

My favorite entertainer: My husband, who taught me to have a sense of humor.

My favorite television programs: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer,'' "This Old House'' and "While You Were Out.''

My hobbies include: Reading, watching movies, browsing for bargain antiques.

My pets include: A 10-year-old cockatiel named Sprite (named for the mythical creature, not the soft drink), who thinks she is human.

My favorite foods: Dr Pepper, dark chocolate, goat cheese, ice cream, not necessarily in that order.

Things that can always be found in my refrigerator: All of the above, plus Paul Newman's Balsamic Vinaigrette, yogurt, organic soy milk and lots of take-out containers if my husband is out of town since he's the family cook.

What makes me laugh: Puns get me every time.

My idea of exercise: Necessary, but best done if dancing and meditating at the same time.

My favorite quote: "Well-behaved women rarely make history'' historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

When I really want to relax, I: Do counted cross-stitch or iron clothes.

My greatest accomplishment: Sustaining a good, long marriage and earning the respect of my children.

My greatest disappointment: War and poverty still exist.

My favorite extravagance: Buying organic foods instead of the cheapest foods.

My secret vice: Eating a pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream for dinner.

The car I drive: A 1998 chili pepper red Jeep Cherokee.

The car I would like to drive: I am torn between a hybrid gas/electric car or a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

Words that describe me: Direct, catalytic, forgiving.

If I could have dinner with anyone in the world, living or dead, it would be: The Prophetic Sisterhood, female Unitarian and Universalist ministers of the 19th-century frontier states of Michigan, Iowa and Illinois.

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