Denny McCracken, President

Denny and his wife Barb have been members of Sunnyhill since 1984. They originally visited the church while shopping for a suitable religious environment for their son Michael, who was 3 years old at the time. The short story is that they fell in love with the place and never left. Over the past 30 years, Denny has served as a member of the board, treasurer, canvasser, RE teacher on several occasions, chair of the Personnel Committee, and a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. Denny is currently chair of the Follow-up Committee for the Capital Campaign, and he is involved in numerous grounds keeping and maintenance projects around the church.

Denny and Barb’s children are now grown and on their own. Although none of them are practicing Unitarians, Denny can see the positive influence of the RE Program and the UU principles in each of them. He is thrilled by the renewed level of excitement and involvement at Sunnyhill, and he looks forward to working with the board once again, focusing on the continued growth of the RE Program, the settling of the new minister, and the building of Sunnyhill’s New Home.

Denny is now retired. His professional career includes a background in accounting and finance, and over 30 years of management experience.

Jay Thornton, Vice President
Jay, his wife Bethany, and their four children began attending Sunnyhill in the fall of 2012, and signed the membership book in early winter. Within that time, Jay and Bethany have become involved in RE and children’s programming. Bethany is the Membership/Outreach Coordinator, and Jay has substituted when needed and can be found supervising Chalice Club on a regular basis. Jay was honored when approached to be on the Ministerial Search Committee, and he found great satisfaction working for the benefit of the whole congregation. His perspective as a new member to both Sunnyhill and Unitarian Universalism brought an added dimension to the ministerial search process. Jay and his family have become highly invested in the family that is Sunnyhill!

Jay has a Ph.D. and works as a school psychologist in the Hampton Township School District. Prior to his tenure in the public school system, he worked with children and adolescents in inpatient, outpatient, residential, and research settings. His professional interests lie in neuropsychological assessment, learning, and mental health issues.

As a board member, Jay would like to foster and develop some of the innovative ideas and programming that surfaced through the work of the ministerial search committee. In this regard, Jay believes that a MSC member at the board level will serve to further support the growth and development of Sunnyhill and our new minister. This is an exciting time for Sunnyhill!

Janie Elliott, Secretary
Janie discovered Sunnyhill in 2003. She has taught RE and been a mentor in the Coming of Age program. She has helped organize and execute various cook-offs, soup sales, service auction dinners, and pancake breakfasts. Janie is a former editor of the Drummer and assisted with the creation of the Sunnyhill Facebook page, The Beat!, and the website. Janie joined the Board in May 2014 as a member-at-large.

Janie and her husband, John, own Elliott Marketing Group, Inc., a database marketing company whose clients are arts and culture organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. They live with four cats in Sewickley. They have four children: Becky, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Jack; two sons-in-law, Howard and Jason; and four grandchildren (Kate, Ben, Alice, and Stella).

Regina Yankie (appointed by Board of Trustees), Treasurer and Accounts Payable

Regina Yankie has been a member of Sunnyhill since 2014, when she moved to Pittsburgh from Morgantown, WV. She has been serving as Treasurer by appointment since February 2016.

Regina graduated from West Virginia University in 2009 with degrees in Accounting and Women’s Studies. She is employed as a Commercial Credit Analyst with Huntington National Bank.

Regina lives in Castle Shannon with her wife, Megan Smarr, and their four cats, Mr. Fuzzybritches, Princess, the Gremlin, and Grey.

Dean Hazelton, Member-at-large
Dean has been a Sunnyhill member since 1991, active as a board member, supporting two capital campaigns, and serving on various committees, including the Sunday Service Committee, the Worship Committee, the Support team, the Religious Growth and Development Committee, and the Committee on Ministry. Dean facilitated Chalice Circles for eight years and led training sessions for new facilitators. Dean has also presented 25 Sunday services and has taught (or jointly taught) several adult education courses.

As a Sunnyhill cook of some fame (think Coconut Green Chicken Curry), Dean has helped prepare dinners for Service Auctions and other culinary extravaganzas–Chinese, BBQ, Cajun, and more. An energetic leaf raker, paint slosher, and micro gardener, Dean is always on hand to support the efforts of the Facilities and Gardens and Grounds Committees.

“Sunnyhill has been my spiritual, social, and intellectual home for years. I am honored when I am asked to give back, whether as a board member or committee chair. I know I can only give back a fraction of what I have received.”

Bob Hedin, Member-at-large
Bob Hedin and his wife Beth have been members of Sunnyhill for 20 years. They have three sons who all were involved in RE and Youth Group activities. Bob is a past board secretary, has taught RE classes, and has assisted with Youth Group for several years. Bob is an ecologist and owns an environmental consulting firm that is located in Mt. Lebanon.

Lynne Heltman, Member-at-large

Lynne has been a member of a Unitarian Universalist Church for 35 years. She and her husband Jim, first joined Cedar Lane Church in Bethesda MD, where Lynne served as a Board member, a survey administrator (twice) for the Long Range Planning Committee, an RE parent, and a delegate to GA in 1996.

In 2001, she and Jim moved to All Souls Church in DC, where Lynne was the volunteer Membership Director for three years (bringing in 400 new members), and then served as Membership Secretary on the Board of Trustees from 2007-09. After joining Sunnyhill in 2015, Lynne is just completing her first year as a member-at-large on the Board.  She is currently Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee.

Professionally, Lynne was employed as a demographer, statistician and survey director for 30 years, serving in multiple federal agencies.  Locally, Jim and Lynne have a daughter, Liz Dell (active at Allegheny UU Church), a son-in law, Paul, and a granddaughter Pauline, 13 months old.  Their son John and daughter-in-law Maggie recently dedicated their son James (ten months old) at the Baltimore UU church.

Kavita Iyengar, Member-at-large
Kavita has been a member of Sunnyhill since 2010.

She and her husband, Matthai, came across the Unitarian Church when visiting Matthai’s brother in Seattle. And in a few years, after the kids came, they signed up because they wanted their kids to be raised in an open and accepting community that had a broad worldview. And Sunnyhill it was!

She feels incredibly honored and humbled to be part of the board and the Sunnyhill choir. She has volunteered in many cook-offs, soup sales and other events. She feels that this is a truly exciting time for Sunnyhill with the new building and a whole lot of new members!

Kavita lives in Upper St Clair with her husband Matthai and two kids, Anoushka and Aadi and their dog, George. She is an engineer by education and has over 15 years of management experience.

Open, Member-at-large


The Board of Trustees also appoints an Assistant Treasurer who manages all receivables. The Assistant Treasurer position is currently held by Barb McCracken.