Meet Our Staff

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Reverend Ben Atherton-Zeman


Rev. Ben Atherton-Zeman is thrilled and honored to be our Settled Minister! He served as our Contract Minister from July 2021 until June 2024.  

Ben graduated with his Masters of Divinity (Magna Cum Laude) from the Boston University School of Theology in 2021.  Ben was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister that same year, by the UU Church of Nashua, NH.

Before UU ministry, Ben gave anti-violence presentations and performances in 46 states, Canada, China, England, Turkey, South Africa, India, Nepal and the Czech Republic.  For thirty years, Ben worked as a prevention educator for rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, and state coalitions.

Ben began his activist career at age nineteen in 1986 by walking 3700 miles across the United States on the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, where he first learned about Unitarian Universalism.  He has attended UU churches since the early 1990s but was baptized a Catholic when he was born in 1966.  Ben is a pagan (believes that the Earth is alive and is a living Mother Goddess) and a pantheist (believes that divine energy is everywhere and in everything) but strives to make UU St. Pete a welcoming congregation for people of all beliefs.

Ben is a white, cisgender, bisexual man with ADHD.  He neither expects nor does he offer perfection, and feels called to be in Florida doing this essential work for social justice, building UU community.  Ben met and fell in love with his incredible wife, Lucinda, 23 years ago while they were both doing improvisational comedy - they live in South St. Pete and have no children except themselves.

Djiné J. - Director of Religious Education & Communications


Born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Saint Petersburg, Florida, she has worked with children for over 15 years. From child care to visual arts along with her vast experience in spiritual development, journalism, law enforcement, communications, and civic engagement, she utilizes her love for the emotional intelligence and mental development of children to encourage their innovations. She has been involved with UU St. Pete since 2017. She is also a seminary student attending Starr King School of Ministry for a Master's degree in Divinity.

She lives to provide a loving and universally inclusive atmosphere for the youth. Her mission reflects the same mission that the RE department upholds:

"The purpose of RE is to foster the full spiritual and faith development 

of children and youth from preschool through high school so that they may lead healthy, happy lives."

Cheyenne C - Office Coordinator


Cheyenne is a former nurse and St. Petersburg native. She spends her free-time working in the community to fight for social justice and bring awareness to issues that impact us right here at home

Jon Arterton - Music Director


Our Director of Music Jon Arterton holds a Master's Degree in Choral Conducting from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He was the founder and musical arranger of The Flirtations, an a cappella singing group which performed in venues around the world and which was seen in the film Philadelphia. In 2002 he founded the classically-oriented Outer Cape Chorale in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

In 2016 he moved to St. Pete and founded the One City Chorus, a 120-voice community chorus specializing in songs of social justice, civil rights and equality.

James Mack - Technical Support


Tim Burnaman - Accompanist


Tim was a piano accompanist with the  University of South Florida Department of Dance and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts. He created music for a wide range of dance forms including Ballet, Modern, and African dance.  

Tim was the Assistant Music Director at Unity Church of Clearwater.  While there, he composed a collection of songs focusing on positive living.  Tim is now writing music that commemorates the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. .  His music has been featured by One City Chorus in St Petersburg, where he is the accompanist.  Tim also provides joyful entertainment for residents of senior communities in Tampa Bay.

Lisa Dawn - Sexton


Ms. Trish - R.E. Teacher


My name is Patricia Harding, though I have many nicknames. Most people call me Trish, while young students usually called me Miss Trish. I was born in St. Pete, Florida and raised (mostly) in this area. After high school, I traveled a bit and settled in boulder, Colorado, where I eventually graduated from CU with a BA in English literature and a diploma and education, thanks to receiving my first 6 credits as an employee benefit while I worked at the University. Those 6 credits I used to study Spanish. In my junior year, I was fortunate enough to study Spanish for one semester in Guadalajara, Mexico. After finally graduating, I taught in a wide variety of settings to Student both young and old. I even taught a semester in Seoul, Korea. Wow, was that different! I returned not to Colorado but to Florida halfway through that Academic year. My father had suffered a heart attack, and I had spent most of my adult life living in Colorado. So I returned to Gulfport, where there were no good ESL jobs. So I went to work with adults with disabilities at PARC. There, I became interested in behavior analysis and subsequently got a masters degree in that subject. It was an interesting career, but not for me. So, I re-took the and gained certifications teach elementary general education, and K-12 ESL and special ed. For the last few years of working full-time, I taught in the Pinellas County school system. As soon as I was able, I “retired“ to part-time.

So, how did I get to UU St. Pete? When I first return to Florida, I was in search of spiritual community. I found the Center for Conscious Living, in Largo. I was happy there until our beloved minister and church founder moved away. It was not the same after she left. So next, I attended First Unit. My fellow congregants were a lot of fun, and I loved being a part of the choir, the talent shows, and the Christmas plays. When those activities were cut, I was no longer drawn to that church. One day, while browsing Craigslist, I saw an ad for a religious educator at UU Saint Pete. Someone had just told me that they really liked that church’s way of being in the world. I got the job! I’ve found the UU spiritual philosophy is a good fit for me. I truly enjoy working with the kiddos. I look forward to spending time in their company once again while together we examine the values we hold---and do crafts, music, and have fun being in community.

Ms. Fox- Nursery Teacher


" Hi! My name is Miss Fox. I am currently finishing up my final 2 semesters at USF with a degree in music education/music studies. I’ve been working with kids of all ages for as long as I can remember. I also currently work at a local high school teaching percussion, where I’ve been for the past 4 years! I’m so excited to be joining the Unitarian Universalist family!" 

Elliot Zitnyar - Nursery Teacher


Elliot enjoys to work with nursery-aged children. They have a kind heart and is always going the extra mile to be sure that any baby who cries, is found to smile before they go. Every Sunday, Elliot displays a calm and patient spirit that the children gravitate to. We are lucky to have them here at UU St. Pete.

Erin Powers - R.E. Teen Teacher


Erin Powers (they/them) is a Unitarian Universalist religious educator and seminarian at United Theological Seminaries of the Twin Cities. Erin has been a Unitarian Universalist since 2009 and has worked in Unitarian Universalist religious education since 2012. They have worked with all ages, and youth work continues to be a favorite. Youth are the future and they are excited to help them develop into their most awesome selves! Erin is also trained to facilitate Our Whole Lives for elementary, middle, and high school. 

Erin is inspired by the interconnections woven throughout humanity and the greater living world. They believe we can learn how to build stronger community by paying attention to the rhythms of nature.

Contact Us!

If you have any questions or comments, please email

You're also welcome to call us at 

(727) 898-3294