Board of Directors

Yvette Wynn, Chair (Class of 2021) is a Regional Mortgage Sales Director at Morgan Stanley Private Bank NA and was previously a Senior Private Banker.  She serves as the Treasurer of the New York Conference.  Her prior UCC roles include serving on the board of the Metropolitan Association, chair of the committee on ministry, Investment & Endowment committee of United Church Funds and local church moderator.  Yvette is the secretary of Community Capital New York, an alternative lender that provides micro loans to New York business owners in the Hudson Valley, financial education and training to the under-served with limited access to traditional lenders and develops affordable housing.  Yvette serves on the steering committees of the Women’s Employee Network  and Diversity & Inclusion networking group in the Private Bank.  Yvette holds a Master’s degree in Economics, professional diploma in credit analysis and is a Certified Financial Planner™.  She is a student in the New York School of Ministry (NYSOM), an alternative path to authorized ministry.  Yvette is a member of Community Church of the Pelhams and an associate member at Holy Covenant UCC in Charlotte, NC.

barr-2.pngCameron Barr, Vice Chair (Class of 2023) is Senior Pastor of United Church of Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Previously he served two congregations in Iowa. He is a graduate of Davidson College and Vanderbilt Divinity School.

no-image-4.pngFaufau Alaelua (Class of 2025) serves on United Samoan Ministries. She currently attends CCC Malamalama Ole Lalolagi in Carson, California. She has a Masters in Criminal Justice and her employment skills include education, criminal justice, and promoting family welfare. Faufau’s local church leadership and volunteer positions include: First Lady, President of Women Fellowship at her home church and Sunday School Superintendent. In addition, she served two terms as a member of Church and Ministry Committee at the Central Association, SCNC. Her special skills and interest are conflict resolution, ecumenical and interfaith relation, and mission visioning and planning.

no-image-4.pngKearstin Bailey (Class of 2025) is currently a student at Brite Divinity School. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Heidelberg University. Kearstin has participated in a variety of service programs within the UCC, including the Young Adult Service Communities, Global Mission Internship, and the Partners in Service program. Through all of these, Kearstin has gained unique insight into the work of the church on a variety of scales and settings. Kearstin has also traveled the country to speak to congregations, associations, and church camps about her work with the international church in Hungary and Greece.

Traci Blackmon – Officer of the Church (Appointed Member) is the Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri. As a featured voice on many regional, national, and international platforms, Traci’s life work focuses on communal resistance to systemic injustice. Traci’s response in Ferguson to the killing of Michael Brown resulted in national and international recognition, gaining many audiences spanning the breadth of the White House to the Carter Center to the Vatican. Traci’s work is now featured in several Ferguson Uprising documentaries. Appointed to the Ferguson Commission by Governor Jay Nixon and to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith- Based Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House by President Barack Obama, Traci is a recipient of the NAACP Rosa Parks Award; The Urban League of St. Louis Woman in Leadership Award; and the National Planned Parenthood Faith Leader Award, to name a few. Ebony Magazine lists Traci as one of the 2015 Power 100. Traci is a featured writer in several Justice publications and is a graduate of Leadership St. Louis, currently serving on the boards of The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Chicago Theological Seminary, and WomanPreach!

Brian R. Bodager (Appointed Member) is the President and CEO of the Pension Boards since 2015. As a banking executive and attorney, Brian brings more than three decades of financial, investment, and legal experience to serve the Church. Prior to joining the Pension Boards, Brian was a member of the PBUCC Board of Trustees for 12 years. Having served on the actuarial, Executive, and Personnel Committees, as well as chaired the Eligibility and Enterprise Risk Management Committees. In 1992, Brian joined Wisconsin-based Associated Banc-Corp, a publicly-traded bank holding company, with responsibilities for legal affairs, compliance, security, purchasing, and facilities. Brian also was engaged in corporate development activities of the company, including mergers and acquisitions. During a 20-year tenure, Brian helped grow Associated Banc-Corp’s assets from $1 billion to more than $20 billion. Immediately prior to joining the Pension Boards, Brian served as a principal for Performance Sciences, LLC, a Wisconsin-based early-stage business consulting and strategic planning firm. Brian is a long-time member of Union Congregational UCC in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a native of Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and his J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and the Weatherhead School of Management, respectively.

Emma Brewer-Wallin (Class of 2023) is a student at Harvard Divinity School and a Member in Discernment with First Congregational United Church of Christ in Salem, Oregon.  Emma served as a Climate Justice Intern for the Massachusetts Conference and as a Spiritual Life Coordinator for the Sierra Service Project, an organization leading youth through week-long service opportunities and spiritual reflection. 

no-image-4.pngCharles Buck (Appointed Member) is President and CEO of United Church Funds. He is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, having served as local church pastor in Northern California and Hawai`i, as well as conference minister in Hawai`i and New Hampshire. Born in San Francisco, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, earned his Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and holds a Ph.D. in historical musicology from Stanford University. He is married to Susan, and they have two adult children, Matthew and Sara.

Carolyne Call (Class of 2021) is the Transitional Conference Minister, Penn Central Conference. Carolyne holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and has served as a local church pastor, an adjunct instructor at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and as the Director of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Carolyne is active in various ecumenical and civic volunteer organizations.

Rachel Chapman (Class of 2023) brings experience as both an educator and a paralegal. She holds a master’s degree in Human Development and Education with a specialty in Social Change. Rachel is a member of the Board of Directors for the UCC Disabilities Ministries and serves as chair of the Advocacy & Education Committee. Currently, Rachel is lead for the Southern California Nevada Conference – Conference Inclusion Team. She chaired the Inclusion Team at her home church, Christian Fellowship Congregational San Diego. Rachel also volunteers with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as an activist at both state and federal levels. 

no-image-4.pngEleanore (Elly) Chong (Class of 2025) is active in the social and political life of the state. She has run for political office, worked with non-profits, and protested against the Vietnam War. She attended Hawaii public schools, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (in Political Science) from the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and had further study at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she earned a M.Sc. in the History of Political Thought. She attends the church she grew up in, Central Union. Her parents, the late Rev. and Mrs. Kim On and Pearl Chong, joined Central Union in 1952 as an intentional move to help integrate the congregation. Her father, a United Church of Christ minister, was chaplain for 33 years at a Congregational prep school, Mid-Pacific Institute. Over the years she has held many positions at Central Union including Moderator and Trustee. Elly has been privileged to participate in many settings of the United Church of Christ. Her hope is to bring that experience and an open heart to the work of the United Church of Christ Board.

Michael Cich-Jones (Class of 2023) is a member of First Central Congregational United Church of Christ in Omaha, Nebraska. Michael is the Director of Development and Marketing for the Urban League of Nebraska and also a development consulting company. Michael served on the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries Board of Directors, under the former governance structure, on its Fund Raising Committee. Michael is involved in the merger of the Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota Conferences into one Conference, serving as a member of the Conference Minister Search Committee. Michael holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Marketing.

Dennis Coy (Class of 2021) is the Chief Risk & Compliance Officer for Consumers National Bank in Canton, Ohio and the pastor of Congregational UCC in Canton. A former police officer and former Special Agent for the State of Ohio, Dennis has served in a number of justice related capacities. In addition, Dennis remains an active volunteer for various civic and social justice organizations. Prior to being called to serve as pastor of Congregational UCC, Dennis served as the Director of Youth Ministry at Trinity UCC, also in Canton.

Hannah Cranbury (Class of 2025) is the Interim Senior Minister of First Congregational Church in Riverside, California.  She has previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Southern California-Nevada Conference and Pilgrims Pines Camp. Hannah is also a J.D. student at Mitchell Hamline School of Law and has a passion for alternatives to jail expansion, immigration reform, and environmental justice.

John C. Dorhauer – General Minister and President (Appointed Member) is an author and theologian, currently serves as ninth General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.

John began his ministry serving First Congregational United Church of Christ and Zion United Church of Christ in rural Missouri. He then served as Associate Conference Minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, and then Conference Minister of the Southwest Conference of the UCC prior to his election as General Minister and President.

Dorhauer received a B.A. in Philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College (1983), and has a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary (1988), the same year John was ordained in the United Church of Christ. John received a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary (2004); his area of focus — white privilege and its effects on the church.

John has partnered with the UCC Board of Directors in providing oversight for the articulation of the denomination’s statements of Purpose, Vision and Mission – critical elements for the UCC’s evolving organizational strategy. To activate the new vision, John invited the denomination’s participation in a collective biennial mission initiative, Three Great Loves. In partnership with the UCC Board of Directors – and informed with responses from across the church to the question “what does a transformative UCC need to be in ten years?”– John has called the church to accomplish essential strategic priorities over the next 10 years to position the church for a transformative future. These include attaining inclusive excellence, developing robust technology infrastructure that benefits every expression of the church, curriculum and training towards “A Just World for All”, strategic organizational alignment consistent with purpose, vision and mission, and platforms to foster and encourage innovative church.

Mark Dutell (Class of 2021) is a retired Human Resource Executive with 35 years of diversified experience in all areas of Human Resources. Mark career includes 30 years of progressive responsibility at Gates Corporation, a global automotive and industrial rubber manufacturer with over $3 billion annual revenues and 60 plus locations in 20 countries.

As a member of the executive team, Mark participated in the development of overall company strategy including growth strategies, budgets, capital investments, new products and service development.

As the Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources he led the organization objective to improve financial performance through a Human Capital Strategy that emphasized associate learning and involvement. Specific competencies include: talent management, positive associate relations, compensation and benefits, human resource information systems, health safety and environment, and policy development.

Since retiring in 2010 Mark has pursued a retirement objective to “keep my exposure to the world growing rather than shrinking” through community enrichment classes at Denver University, travel, and volunteer work.

Mark currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Conference UCC as the Chair of the Personnel Committee. He has served on the Board of Directors of a local YMCA and local bank. In 17 years as a member of his local congregation, the Kirk of Bonnie Brae in Denver Colorado, he has served as Moderator, Council member, and Capital Campaign Chair. He has also served on a variety of committees including, mission, open and affirming, social justice, property, pastor search, and COVID response.

no-image-4.pngShernell J. Edney Stilley (Class of 2025) received her Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications from Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) and her Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University (Richmond, VA). Beginning in May 2019, Shernell will serve as Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Vitality in the New York Conference. In this position, she will provide staff assistance to the Committees on Ministry for Metropolitan and Suffolk Associations. Her programmatic responsibilities for the entire conference, as they pertain to Congregational Vitality, include Faith Reconciliation, Community Re-Discovery, Social Justice Empowerment, Revitalization Strategies, Oversight of New Church Start programs, and Readiness 360. Other programmatic responsibilities include resource person for local church ONA processes and how to become a WISE Congregation. She was selected by the Pension Boards to participate in the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI) as a member of the 2018-2028 cohort.

no-image-4.pngDerrick Elliott (Class of 2025) has a Christian foundation rooted in the Baptist tradition from childhood to young adulthood until the “God is Still Speaking,” campaign when, he says, “the United Church of Christ campaign spoke to him.” This led him on a journey to become a Member in Discernment with Casas Adobes Congregational Church, UCC in Tucson, AZ and the Southwest Conference in 2013. He was ordained as an authorized minister within the United Church of Christ in 2016. Derrick is currently the Pastor of Desert Heritage Church in Mesa, AZ and also an Air Force Chaplain Reserve Chaplain stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB in the rank of Captain. Prior to serving as an Air Force Reserve Chaplain, he spent twelve years of service in the Louisiana National Guard as an enlisted Administrative Assistant and as a Military Intelligence Officer. He has been an elementary school teacher, Community Outreach Specialist for Homeless Veterans, a Correctional Chaplain, a Hospital Chaplain, a Youth Worship leader and a member of the Board of Directors for Arizona Interfaith Power & Light. He currently holds a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary, along with Master of Education and Bachelor of Art degrees from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He has completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education and is in the process of enrolling into a doctoral of ministry program.

no-image-4.pngThaddaeus Elliott (Class of 2023) is an administrative assistant at Plymouth Congregational Church in Miami, Florida where he is a member and leads the middle and high school youth group. The son of a UCC minister and former national staff members, he has spent his entire life in the UCC and has had active roles in local churches, in the Florida Conference as a member of its Board of Directors, and on the national level as a member of the former Student Ecumenical Partnership Team. He holds a B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University (2013).

John Folk (Class of 2023) is the Associate Pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. Prior to entering the ministry, John was a Project Manager for XO Communications. As the Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s, John has a hand in all aspects of church life, but mainly focuses on the church’s youth ministry and facilitates the young adult ministry, working to keep college-aged members of the church engaged. John currently or has served on the Conference Youth Steering Committee, the Youth Event Planning Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Conference Young Adult Planning Team, Conference Annual Meeting Planning Team and the Conference Minister Search Committee. He has helped to organize the Mid-Atlantic Regional Youth Events since 2010. John has twice served as a delegate to General Synod and is a part of the GS implementation group, co-leading the youth@synod efforts since 2016. John is also part of the National Youth Event Planning Team for NYE 2020. Outside of his church life, John loves to bake, travel and is an amateur photographer. He is married to Frank Orrs who said, “I Do” on October 15th, 2019. Together, they have four dogs: Noah, Mr. Beeps, Joey and Toby-Wan Kenobi (Toby for short).

no-image-4.pngJulia Gaughan (Class of 2025) is a member of Plymouth Congregational in Lawrence, Kansas. Julia obtained her Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and her J.D. from the University of Kansas. After experience with and recovery from mental health crisis, Julia left a litigation career to pursue work as an advocate and educator with a domestic violence center and presently works as the Prevention and Education Manager for her local community mental health center, teaching Mental Health First Aid and organizing trauma-informed care and resiliency-oriented efforts. She has served as Moderator for an 1100-member church, chaired the Vision and Ministry Task Force, serves on the Racial Justice Task Force, and facilitates the Let’s Talk White Privilege Curriculum. She has just recently served on the Senior Pastor Search Committee at her home church. In addition, Julia has served on the Board of Kansas Interfaith Power and Light (now known as Kansas Interfaith Action), participated in Bishop Kemper School for Ministry, an Episcopal lay seminary, and served with Family Promise as a community care coordinator. Julia enjoys spending time with her husband and son playing board games, traveling, and watching soccer; writing; and reading as many books as possible. Her skills include: Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Group Process, Human Resources, Justice Advocacy, Mission Visioning and Planning, Organizational Skills and Public Speaking.

Darrell Goodwin (Class of 2023) is the pastor of Liberation United Church of Christ in Seattle, Washington, as well as the Dean of Students at Seattle University. Previously, Darrell served as the Assistant Director of Student Life at Creighten University in Pennsylvania. Darrell served as a member of the Penn West Conference Nominating Committee and on the Global Ministries Board of Directors, a shared ministry with the Christian Church (DOC). Darrell is a member of a local ecumenical clergy group and is active in various community and civic organizations.

Kevin Graham (Class of 2023) is a member of Friends Congregational United Church of Christ in College Station, Texas. Kevin is the Senior Director of Healthcare Quality, Clinical Education, Training, and Regulatory Affairs for Lifeline Vascular Care with Davita Healthcare Partners and holds Master’s Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Finance. Kevin has supervisory and management responsibilities for outpatient surgical healthcare facilities in 19 states across the country . Kevin has served as the Local Church Moderator, Chair of the church Fellowship Committee and is a mentor for LGBT students at Texas A&M University.

Carla Gregg-Kearns (Class of 2021) Carla Gregg-Kearns is the Senior Pastor at Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Cary, North Carolina.  Prior to entering the ministry, Carla was a case worker for a refugee resettlement agency and a women’s shelter in Austin, TX.  Carla is a former member of the Office of General Ministries Board of Directors and is a former President of the Southern Conference Board of Directors.  She has also served on the UCC/Presbyterian Ministry Board at Duke University and is the co-founder of the North Carolina Women’s Preaching Festival. 

Timothy Hachfeld (Class of 2023) is a member of Eagle Harbor Congregational United Church of Christ in Bainbridge Island, Washington. With a degree in electrical engineering, Timothy is now pursuing a graduate degree. Having served eight years in the United States Navy as a submarine officer, Timothy resigned from the Office of General Ministries Board of Directors, under the former governance structure, in 2009 to begin service. Timothy was a member of the Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries and twice a Minnesota Conference delegate to the General Synod prior to serving in the military. Timothy is a member of the Olympic Mountain Volunteer Rescue Team.

Richard (Dick) Harter (Class of 2021) is a retired lawyer and a member of the First Congregational Church of Guilford, Connecticut.  Dick holds degrees from Yale University and The University of Chicago.  Dick has served as an officer and director of many UCC-related entities, including Chicago Theological Seminary, LeMoyne-Owen College and the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries. Dick was an active member of First Church in Cambridge UCC in Cambridge, Massachusetts for many years and an officer and director of the Massachusetts Conference.

Alice W. Hunt, (Class of 2021) is the Executive Director of the American Academy of Religion.  She is the former President of Chicago Theological Seminary. Prior to that, Alice was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Vanderbilt Divinity School, worked as a Systems Analyst on the Hubble Space Telescope, and is a former school math teacher in Georgia, Alabama and Kenya.  Alice served on the Executive Council under the former governance structure and serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Progressive Renewal.

no-image-4.pngEric Jackson (Class of 2025) has held a number of volunteer positions within the New Hampshire and New York Conferences. Eric is a member of United Black Christians and a member of the 2026 class of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative of the United Church of Christ. He serves as president of the Manchester NAACP were membership, advocacy, budget, and organizational alignment strengthened, and programming has increased. He is completing his Doctor of Ministry degree at Hartford Seminary and earned his Master of Divinity degree from Drew University’s Theological School. Eric is a visionary, strategic thinker, and possesses effective organizational and management skills. Rev. Jackson was nominated by the New Hampshire Conference to serve in the Class of 2025.

Penny Lowes – Moderator (Class of 2021) has recently retired from parish ministry and is a member of First Congregational UCC in Romeo, Michigan. Penny is currently the Moderator of the United Church of Christ Board of Directors with an extensive history of service to the National Setting of the UCC. Penny is a former Chair of the Executive Council, serving as the last Chair of that body prior to the enactment of the new governance structure in 2013.

James Maki (Class of 2021) is an engineer currently pursuing an advanced degree in engineering. James is a member of Zion UCC in Le Sueur, Minnesota and holds a B.S. in computer engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. James served on the Executive Council of the former governance structure, one of the youngest members to ever sit on that body. James is a fencing instructor and while in school served as the treasurer of his college fraternity.

Yesenia Menendez-Sanchez (Class of 2021) is a Parenting Educator and a member of Iglesia Hispana de la Comunidad UCC in Boston, Massachusetts. Yesenia holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and has worked professionally for a childhood autism agency, as well as a Restaurant Operations Manager, a business consultant and as the Interim Director of a Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Yesenia is a local church Moderator and sings in the choir, and is a member of the Massachusetts Conference Board of Directors.

Gloria-Ann Muraki (Class of 2023) is a member of Kona Lanakila Congregational Church in Kealakekua, Hawaii.  Gloria-Ann is retired from TNT Payroll Services Inc. as an Accounting Clerk.  She serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of her church, sits on the Investment Financial Audit, By-Laws, and Endowment Committees of the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches.  Gloria-Ann volunteers time in cultural practices with Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona and Unukupukupu (cultural halau of Hawaii Community College).

David Nelson (Class of 2021) is the President of Nelson Equity Development, LLC and of Ocean Energy Company, both of Des Moines, Iowa, and a member of Plymouth Congregational UCC in Des Moines. David holds an A.B. and an MBA from Harvard and served as the Chief Financial Officer at various Midwestern companies. David began his career as a bank officer in New York and has long been active at all levels of the local church and served on the Iowa Conference Board of Directors. David volunteers his time as President and Chair of the Board of Directors of Plymouth Place and has previously served his local YMCA and Polk County Youth Law Center as a board member and President.

no-image-4.pngShari Prestemon – Conference Minister (Class of 2021) has been the Conference Minister of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ since 2013. Previously she served as minister in local churches in Illinois and Wisconsin, before serving as Executive Director of Bay Back Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi from 2000-2013. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities, as a member of the Cornerstone Fund Board of Directors, and is past Co-Chair of the Common Global Ministries Board of the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ. Ms. Prestemon received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in social work from Luther College in 1989. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1993 and was ordained as a minister that same year. She received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Heidelberg University in May, 2010.

no-image-4.pngGordon Rankin – Conference Minister (Class of 2021) serves as the Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference.  His previous employment includes serving as Conference Minister of the South Dakota Conference and pastoring churches in Naugatuck and Madison, Connecticut.  Gordon is a member of First Parish Church in Dover, NH, where his wife, Rev. Paige Besse-Rankin, serve as pastor.  Gordon and Paige’s daughter, Emily, is a student at Piedmont College.

Michael J. Readinger (Appointed Member) was called to the role of President & CEO in November of 2014. He previously served as CHHSM’s vice president from February 2005 to November 2014, after working at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Cleveland, where he was an associate vice president/financial advisor for 12 years.

Prior to his work in financial services, Mike was involved in a number of entrepreneurial endeavors in the restaurant and club industry, specializing in management accounting systems.

Mike holds a BA in psychology from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA in finance from Cleveland State University. Mike is recognized as a CHHSM Diakonal Minister, having graduated from the Faith Based Leadership Institute in 2006. (FBLI is the predecessor leadership formation class to today’s Nollau Institute.) He is also a 1995 graduate of the Leadership Development Program Cleveland (United Way).

Mike currently serves on the United Church of Christ Board of Directors, the National Benevolent Association Board of Trustees, the Western Reserve Association investment advisory committee, and is the Moderator of Amistad Chapel United Church of Christ. Previous board service includes board chair of United Church Funds, board chair of the Cleveland Synergy Foundation, and board chair of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland.

Inez Reid (Class of 2021) is a retired Senior Judge, District of Columbia Court of Appeals and a member of Peoples Congregational UCC in Washington, D.C. Inez holds the LLB and PhD degrees; taught at several universities; served in various state, federal, and local governmental positions; and practiced law in private firms prior to being appointed to the bench. Inez served on the Board for Homeland Ministries; the Local Church Ministries Board of Directors, as Vice Chair for two years under the former governance structure; and the Cornerstone Fund Board of Directors. Inez was a contributing participant in the effort that brought the new governance structure to the UCC. She is active in various community, civic, and educational boards.

Franz Rigert – Conference Minister (Class of 2021) is the Conference Minister in Wisconsin since January 2015.  Prior to joining the Conference Staff, Franz served Pilgrim UCC in Grafton, Wisconsin for nearly 20 years.  Franz is committed to fostering covenantal care among colleagues and collaborative ministries between congregations.  Franz’s leadership prioritizes the resourcing and guiding of local churches, and a conference wide commitment to justice issues.  Franz and his spouse Trinn (an early education teacher) have three children:  Mitchell (26), Jordan (22) and Marianna (20).  Franz’s hobbies include traveling, mountain hiking, home projects, nature and music.

no-image-4.pngRobert (Bob) Sandman, Assistant Moderator (Class of 2021) has an MBA and a Master’s Degree in economics. He is currently a professor of business and economics. In addition, he has held positions in printing and publishing at the American Baptist Board of Educational Ministries and as a textbook editor at South-Western Publishing. Bob was previously the moderator of Collenbrook UCC, Lakeview UCC, and the Southwest Ohio Northern Kentucky Association. He taught History and Polity for SONKA. He is currently the Moderator & Wider Church Delegate at North Windham Union Church UCC. For the Maine Conference, Bob is Conference Treasurer and a member of the Maine Conference Anti-Racism Resource Team and the Cumberland Association Church and Ministry Committee. He has been a General Synod Delegate Committee Chair, a corporate member of the Board for Homeland Ministries, a delegate to the Executive Council, and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Office of General Ministries. His skills include strategic thinking, public speaking, analysis of business and economic data, publishing, and project management.

no-image-4.pngD’Angelo Smith (Class of 2025) is a pediatric Chaplain with Advocate Children’s Hospital.  He is a member of University Church Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, and holds a Master of Divinity degree. His work history includes: Contingency Chaplain, Chaplain Resident, Youth Counselor, Youth & Young Adults Director, Youth Development Worker, and Fields Assistant Director. D’Angelo is active with many justice groups in the Chicago area, such as Assata’s Daughters, Black Lives Matter, and National Youth Pride Services. His skills include church educator, ecumenical and interfaith relations, global mission, group process, justice advocacy, local church development, mission visioning and planning, and public speaking.

no-image-4.pngKylie Steever (Class of 2025) is an Education Specialist and Results Driven Accountability (RDA) Coach for Black Hills Special Services Cooperative (BHSSC) in Rapid City, South Dakota. She graduated with her Bachelors Degree in K-12 Special Education and K-12 Art Education from Black Hills State University, taught Special Education in Rapid City for a few years before beginning her work for BHSSC in July of 2018, and then later earned her Masters Degree in K-12 Curriculum & Instruction in May of 2020. Kylie’s current work for BHSSC includes a variety of tasks including Special Education compliance reviews; conducting data retreats, root cause analyses, and goal-writing with action-planning to work towards improving outcomes for students with disabilities in school districts across South Dakota and Wyoming; coaching school staff, particularly in special education departments; and developing and administering a variety of professional learning opportunities for educators and administrators. Kylie is a member of South Park UCC in Rapid City, where she serves on the Christian Education committee in her church council. She loves volunteering her time and efforts in youth ministry, especially through her church and through Placerville Church Camp, where her dad has been the director since 1997. Kylie has given much of herself in service to youth and children over the last 16 years as church camp staff, camp counselor, camp dean, sunday school teacher, confirmation mentor, youth group leader, and a variety of other tasks – her heart truly lies here, in doing her best to create a better world for our future generations.

Paul S. Tché (Appointed Member) is the President of the Council on Christian Unity (CCU) since April 1, 2016. Paul offers leadership as the ecumenical officer for the Disciples of Christ, representing the church in local, national and international efforts in giving expression to the unity of the church and its oneness in Christ. In addition, Paul is currently the co-president of the Korean American Ecumenical Network, a consortium of five denominations working for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Paul has also served as a Disciples representative for the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Consultation on Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, and the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea in 2013. Paul had completed a six-year term on the CCU Board, including two as chair, prior to being called to serve as president of CCU. Paul had served various local congregations as pastor in California and Kentucky and had also served as the moderator-elect of the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada for two years while serving a local church. Paul, a first-generation immigrant from South Korea, received a Bachelor’s degree in French and Philosophy from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a Master of Arts in Catholic Social Philosophy from Sogang University in South Korea, and earned a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Paul is married to Yeon, who is a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy and has a son, Brandon.

no-image-4.pngKaren Georgia A. Thompson (Appointed Member) is the United Church of Christ’s Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations and Co-Executive for Global Ministries. She is an inspiring preacher and theologian, who shares her skills and gifts in a variety of settings nationally and internationally, often using her poetry as a part of her ministry.

Rev. Thompson served in the national setting of the United Church of Christ for 10 years – two years as Minister for Racial Justice and 8 years as Minister for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. She led the UCC’s Sacred Conversations on Race, facilitating trainings and workshops across the life of the denomination for congregations and conferences. Her passion moved her work on behalf of the UCC into a global context, affording the opportunity to participate globally in efforts to reduce the marginalization experienced by African descendant peoples and other communities globally.

Before joining the national staff, Karen Georgia served in the Florida Conference United Church of Christ as a Pastor and on the Conference staff as the Minister for Disaster Response and Recovery. She also worked in the nonprofit arena for over 10 years in senior leaderships positions.

Karen Georgia earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College in New York, a Master’s in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC, and a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She also studied Public Policy at Duke University and earned her Doctorate in Ministry at Seattle University.

John Vertigan – Conference Minister (Class of 2021) is the Conference Minister in the Florida Conference and a member of First United Church of Christ in Orlando. Licensed for ministry in 1989 and ordained in 1995, John holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Bangor Theological Seminary. John served local church settings ranging from small-church rural to suburban multi-staff in New York and Illinois before being called to judicatory leadership in 2008 in the Indiana-Kentucky Conference. John currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Church of Christ Insurance Board.

Harriet Corean Ward (Class of 2021) is a member of Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Brentwood-Kingston, New Hampshire, where she has been chair of trustees, search committee chaplain, choir member, celebration planner, bathroom cleaner, and baker of Communion bread. Professionally, Harriet has focused on the educational aspects of vision loss, especially in young children. Harriet also provided technical support to teachers/programs in underserved areas of the country and the world, She is mentor to graduate students in the UMASS Program for Vision Studies and has worked in research, curriculum development and grant writing teams. In her “retirement” she continues teaching young Braille readers in a New Hampshire public school. Harriet is grandmother of two busy children who are growing up in the UCC. She hopes to leave them memories of cats, gardening, quilting, singing and cooking.

Diane Weible – Conference Minister (Class of 2021) has now served as Conference Minister over four years – traveling to visit and preach at most of the churches, and leading the Conference in exciting new directions and initiatives in the area. Diane received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in May 2019. Her thesis focus is on White Privilege. Diane is a member at First Congregational Church of Berkeley (UCC) and has has three young adult children, two daughters in Hawaii and a son in Oregon.  

Marsha E. Williams (Class of 2023) is an Associate Conference Minister for the New York Conference and a member of Safe Haven, UCC in Queens, NY. Marsha holds an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership and Psychology, and is a former University of Phoenix Religion and Sociology professor. Over a span of 25 years Marsha has provided pastoral leadership to churches in Indiana and Washington State. As a bi-vocational pastor, Marsha previously worked as a Financial Analyst for the Indiana State Supreme Court. Marsha is a Certified Mediator for the state of New York, and has served on the Executive Committee of the New York Council of Churches, the Indiana Ministerial Alliance, and the Pacific Northwest Conference Committee on Ministry.

Bill Worley – Conference Minister (Class of 2021) is the President and Conference Minister of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference and charged with the spiritual and administrative care of 337 pastors and 160+ congregations. Bill is a Gettysburg College and Lancaster Theological Seminary graduate and was ordained in 1994 while Associate Pastor of Union Congregational Church in Montclair, New Jersey before becoming Senior Pastor at First Reformed UCC in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Bill is an Iraq war veteran and twelve-year Navy/Marine Corps Reserve Chaplain. Bill is the proud father of two grown sons, Zach and Justin.  

no-image-4.pngJeanette Zaragoza De Leon (Class of 2025) earned a Bachelor’s degree from Lesley College in early childhood education and an M. Div. from Pacific School of Religion. A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico with an M. A. in Translation, in 2016 Jeanette completed all requirements for a Master’s in Research in Translation and Interpretation Studies from Universitat Jaume I (UJI), Castellón de la Plana, in Spain, the title of her thesis “The Search for a Mendi-court Interpreter in The Amistad Case in order to Challenge the Institution of Slavery” and in 2018 earned her PhD. Her doctoral thesis received a cum laude, entitled “The Critical Translation and Interpreting Stories of the Amistad Case.” Rev. Dr. Zaragoza is trained and certified as a professional court, medical and conference interpreter. Her ministerial calling involves designing multilingual-multi rhythmic worship experiences towards a decolonizing church that invites worshippers to honor their ethnicity. She has extensive international, ecumenical and interfaith experience. Rev. Dr. Zaragoza is a PhD Visiting Researcher at Yale Divinity School and a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Transnational Migration at Yale University. She submitted her nomination at an invitation from the Council for Hispanic Ministries (El Colectivo of the UCC Latinx Ministries).

no-image-4.pngLewis (Lew) Zeidner (Class of 2025) started, grown and sold businesses and as a result understands the difference between developing a strategic plan and successfully executing on that plan. Lew started his career as a clinical psychologist and was a hospital administrator for 15 years, after which he transitioned into industry, running an M&A department of a fortune 500 company. Lew was named CEO of several of the acquired companies and became experienced in the cultural transitions that go into bringing an acquired team and business into a larger company. Lew subsequently founded and led three start-ups; one grew to $350M in annual sales within 5 years and the others to $150M and $120M in 3 years each. Subsequently, he has been a management consultant focused on helping entrepreneurial business founders prepare for transitions into retirement. Lew spent eight years on the Board of Trustees of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and became Chair of the Board in 2014. In 2016, he was asked to serve as the President of the Seminary and, as such, has focused on utilizing the deep historical successes of the school to create a foundation for its future in an evolving market for theological education. Lew and his family are long-term members of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis.



Donyale Copeland is the Executive Assistant to the General Minister and President and Chief Strategic Officer. Donyale began working at the National Setting of the UCC in September 2000. During her tenure, she has worked in the offices of Wider Church Ministers as the Administrative Assistant to the Treasurer, Justice and Witness Ministries as the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Associate and later as the Grant and Contract Administrator, and Church Building and Loan Fund as the Office Administrator. Donyale graduated from Tiffin University with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Behavior.

Heather E. Kimmel is the General Counsel of the United Church of Christ.  Heather serves the United Church of Christ National Setting and the Conferences, having joined the United Church of Christ Office of General Counsel in 2013.  Prior to that, Heather practiced primarily in the areas of corporate criminal defense and general civil litigation at the law firm of Jones Day.


John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President

Karen Georgia Thompson
Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations and Co-Executive for Global Ministries

Traci Blackmon
Associate General Minister 

Brian R. Bodager
President & CEO, Pensions Boards United Church of Christ

Charles Buck
President, United Church Funds

Michael Readinger
President & CEO, Council for Health & Human Services Ministries (CHHSM)

Penny Lowes 
Moderator (Class of 2021)

Robert (Bob) Sandman 
Assistant Moderator (Class of 2021)

Shari Prestemon
Conference Minister, Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ (Class of 2021)

Gordon Rankin
Conference Minister, New Hampshire Conference (Class of 2021)

Franz Rigert 
Conference Minister, Wisconsin Conference (Class of 2021)

John Vertigan
Conference Minister, Florida Conference (Class of 2021)

Diane Weible
Conference Minister, Northern California-Nevada Conference (Class of 2021)

Bill Worley
Conference Minister, Pennsylvania Southeast Conference (Class of 2021)

Seung Un (Paul) Tche
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Class of 2021)

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