Speakers & Special Music

Guest Speakers

CCC was founded by lay people in 1975 and has never had a regular pastor who preaches each Sunday. Instead, each week the pulpit is filled by a guest speaker. These guest speakers/preachers are both ordained and lay, men and women, from diverse religious backgrounds, including other religions — Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim — and many Christian denominations — Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed Church in America, Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist and Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.

We often welcome preachers who are graduates of the New York Theological Seminary program at Sing Sing prison or who are affiliated with Exodus Transitional Community, an ex-offender support program, as well as former participants in the Rising Hope educational program in New York state prisons.

We’ve also been addressed by hospital chaplains and seminary faculty and students. On a few occasions, members fill the pulpit, speaking about worship, community, or their own spiritual journeys.

We hope and expect that our speakers will occasionally stir controversy. We appreciate the thinking and reflection they stimulate, the insight and strength they offer, and their inspirations for our day-to-day lives.

Below is the list of speakers and special music for the current quarter, and below that, a list of recent past speakers and special music.

 

Guest Speakers, September – November 2013

September 8 Julio Medina (United Church of Christ) is founder and executive director of Exodus Transitional Community, an organization that works with ex-offenders. He is also associate director of New York Theological Seminary’s Master of Professional Studies program at Sing Sing, of which he is an alumnus. Having earned an M.Div. at the seminary’s Manhattan facility, he is now working toward a D.Div. there.Special Music: Martina Bruno will sing Robert Perretti’s setting of Psalm 85

SHIRK Sylvia devantNYC 2012-8 190 w x 160 hSeptember 15 Rev. Dr. Sylvia Shirk (Mennonite) is pastor of Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship. She works part time at Lutheran Social Service of New York, serving immigrant clients from Haiti and Central America as well as in the New York Mennonite Immigration Program. Before coming to New York she was campus minister at Goshen College in Indiana for 10 years. She holds a master of theology degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and a D.Min. degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Special Music: Virginia (Ginger) Ray

SINGH Sarbjeet 190 w x 158 hSeptember 22 Sikh Guru Sarbjeet Singh, to be introduced by Prit Paul Singh Walia, a trustee of Gurdwara Sahib Sant Sagar, a Sikh house of worship in Bellerose, Queens.

Car_newcolor RESIZED 190 w x 163 hSeptember 29 Sister Carol Perry (Roman Catholic) is resident Bible scholar at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. A member of the Sisters of St. Ursula, she studied at Regina Mundi in Rome, where she earned the equivalent of a master’s degree in theology. She also holds an M.A. in theology from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. She has retired from the faculty of John Coleman High School in Hurley, NY. Special Music: Pamela Palmieri

MAGISANO John (1) ca 190 w x 160 hOctober 6 Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. He also works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the New York area. He earned his M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and previously served as assistant pastor for development at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford. Special Music: Barbara Mundy

BRITTON Mariah mBrittonphoto  190 w x 155 hOctober 13 Rev. Dr. Mariah Britton (American Baptist) is the founder and chief executive of the Moriah Institute, which provides comprehensive sexuality training for seminarians as well as adolescents. She serves as a consultant to several churches as well as the United Church of Christ, Reformed Church in America and American Baptist denominations. An associate minister for youth and young adults at Riverside Church for 17 years, she earned a Ph.D. in family, marriage and human sexuality at New York University. Special Music: Rob Mosher  

Dog cprd rszd P1120951October 20 Blessing of Animals Service  A heartwarming and often unpredictable service, conducted in association with St. Peter’s Chelsea and led by Otto Walberg, with special guests including award-winning author and dog trainer Carol Lea Benjamin, below with her service dog Skye, who will be the special guest speaker. Her books include Mother Knows Best, The Natural WayBENJAMIN Carol Lea 190w x 157h to Train Your Dog, and the popular mystery series Rachel Alexander and Dash.  Animals of all species and denominations, as well as their human companionss, are welcome. Special Music: Otto Walberg, tenor, performing a commissioned work, “I Was Thinking,”  by cabaretist Carolyn Montgomery-Forant. Walberg will be accompanied on piano by CCC Music Director Jeff Cubeta, who also actively writes for and performs in cabaret. 

October 27 Raul Burgos (Nondenominational Christian) is an intern at Exodus Transitional Community. He was released from prison in June after being incarcerated for 19½ years. While in prison he earned a certificate in ministry and human services in the New York Theological Seminary program at Sing Sing and an A.A. in Biblical studies via correspondence from Grace Bible College in Morrisville, N.C. He served as a pastoral assistant while in prison. His career goal is to be a pastor.

November 3 (Anniversary Sunday) Rev. Susan Switzer (United Church of Christ) is interim pastor of Plainview Reformed Church in Plainview, NY. She previously served as interim pastor at Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church on Long Island and at Emanuel United Church of Christ in Woodhaven, Queens. She is involved with immigrant issues and works with the Tree of Life Education Fund on promoting peace in the Middle East, specifically on Palestinian issues. A former director of stewardship and fund development at Riverside Church and campaign manager and director of major gifts and planned giving for New York Theological Seminary, she received her M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary. Special Music: Arbender Robinson

November 10 Rabbi Michael Feinberg (Jewish) is executive director of the Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition. An activist for social justice for more than 35 years, he has been a rabbi in the Reconstructionist denomination of the Jewish faith for 24 years. He is a graduate of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.

SHEERAN Mary 190w x 160hNovember 17 Lay-Led Service Mary Sheeran will present excerpts from her play, The Gospel of Martha,with music composed and performed by Robert Perretti. Theplay’s story: Martha of Bethany finds it impossible to forgive her sister Mary Magdalene for a deep wrong, despite Mary’s attempt to change. Their conflict continues to fester even when they and other women work together to support Jesus’ ministry, about which Martha has some grave doubts.

November 24 Rev. Lisa Hill (Presbyterian) is director of quality care for the West Side Federation for Senior & Supportive Housing. She was previously the director of the Frederic Fleming House in Chelsea, which is operated by the same agency. She holds an M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary. Special Music: Scot Albertson

June  – July 2013 (No services in August)

June 2 Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. He also works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the New York area. He earned his M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and previously served as assistant pastor for development at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford. Special Music:  Christopher Preston Thompson

June 9 Rt. Rev. Mother Lynn Elizabeth Walker (Orthodox Catholic Church of America) is a director of housing operations at Housing Works. Ordained in 1988, she is a bishop in her denomination’s Atlantic Diocese and has served parishes in western New York, New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn. Currently she is a nonstipendiary associate at Trinity Episcopal Church in Kearny, N.J. and a chaplain of the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force. She holds an M.A. degree from St. Joseph’s Seminary at Dunwoody in Yonkers and a D.Min. from the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Ind. Special Music: Martina Bruno will sing a setting to Psalm 85 written by Robert Perretti

 June 16 The Rev. Dr. James Reho (Episcopal) is the chaplain and director of pastoral care, deployment and formation at General Theological Seminary. He is a certified yoga instructor, a retreat leader and student of spirituality, both Western and Eastern. Coming from a Greek Orthodox family, he earned a B.A. at the Institute of Asian Studies at St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY, with a focus on Hinduism and Buddhism and a B.S. in chemistry at Wagner College, Staten Island. He went on to receive an M.A. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University and an M.Div. from General Theological Seminary. As an ordained Episcopal priest, he served at Trinity Cathedral in Miami. Just before joining the seminary faculty in 2011, he was a professor of chemistry at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, where his research related to product development for the commercial crabbing industry.

June 23 Barbara Barron (Pentecostal) is the office manager at Exodus Transitional Community in Harlem. She was released from Bayview Prison in Chelsea in late 2011. She received a B.A. from the College of New Rochelle in 1991and earned an associate in arts degree in a Bard College program while in prison. She is currently studying to become certified as an anger management facilitator. She is a member of the Faith Assembly of God Church in Yonkers.

June 30 Imam Al-Hajj Talib W. Abdur-Rashid (Islamic Brotherhood) is the spiritual leader of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. He is also the amir of the Islamic leadership council, Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York, and deputy amir of The Muslim Alliance of North America. He is the author of A Muslim Manifesto on Darfur and Healing Indigenous Muslim Families in America. His next two books, Social Justice Writings of an African American Muslim and The  Qur’an, The Sunnah, and The Non-Violent Jihad against HIV/AIDS are to be published in late 2013. In April he received the Bridge Building Award for Leadership in Community Relations from the All Stars Project in recognition of his interfaith work, and in May he will be given the Micah Justice Award at New York Theological Seminary.

July 7 Lay Led Service

July 14 Dr. Mary Ann Cejka (Roman Catholic) is a psychologist, writer, activist and longtime friend of Chelsea Community Church. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Loyola Marymount University, an M.Div. from Yale, and a Ph.D. in psychology from Purdue.  Her articles have appeared in a number of periodicals including National Catholic Reporter, America, The Christian Century, Sojourners and The Catholic Worker. She currently serves in the Mission Services Department of Maryknoll Lay Missioners and teaches a graduate course in multicultural psychology for the University of Phoenix as well as a variety of Peace Studies courses for Global Ministries University. Special Music: Martha Bernard

July 21 Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor.  (See June 2 for more.)

July 28 Rev. Gay Tompson Steele (Baptist) is co-pastor with her husband, Rev. Willis Steele, of Faith Mission in Yonkers, a church started by her godmother in 1997. She is also an associate pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon and is an advertising copywriter with WebMD. While working toward her M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary she held an internship at Memorial Baptist Church in Harlem.

March – May 2013                                                                      

March 3 Rev. Emily Brown (United Church of Christ) is the associate pastor of Broadway United Church of Christ. Ordained in October at the church, she was formerly a community minister at Judson Memorial Church; she earned her M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary in 2010. While at Union she received the David H.C. Read Memorial Preacher/Scholar Award, a national honor that enabled her to travel in Israel. She also received Union’s Kneeland Award for Preaching

March 10 Min. George Chochos (Union Missionary Baptist Church) is the assistant director of operations and a chaplain at Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany. He earned a master of professional studies degree in urban ministry in the New York Theological Seminary program in Sing Sing Correctional Facility. He is on the board of Club Zoe, which offers after-school programs. He is also on the board of Cov Ministries in Partnership for World Missions. Licensed for ministry by his denomination on February 24, in August he will enter Yale Divinity School.

March 17 The Rev. K. Jeanne Person (Episcopal) is director of the Center for Christian Spirituality at General Theological Seminary. The author of two books, Where You Go, I Shall: Gleanings from the Stories of Biblical Widows and Lifting Women’s Voices: Prayers to Change the World, she serves the national Episcopal Church as vice chair of the Executive Council’s Committee on the Status of Women. She is also a retreat leader and spiritual director. She holds an M.Div. degree from Harvard Divinity School, STM from General Theological Seminary and M.S. from the Columbia School of Journalism.

March 24 (Palm Sunday) Sister Carol Perry (Roman Catholic) is resident Bible scholar at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. A member of the Sisters of St. Ursula, she studied at Regina Mundi in Rome, where she earned the equivalent of a master’s degree in theology. She also holds an M.A. in theology from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. She has retired from the faculty of John Coleman High School in Hurley.      Special Music: Maureen Taylor

March 31 (Easter) Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. He also works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the New York area. He earned his M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and previously served as assistant pastor for development at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford. Special Music: Arbender Robinson

April 7 Ann Sinclair (Baptist) is an evangelist affiliated with Community Protestant Church in the Bronx. She earned a B.A. in psychology at the College of New Rochelle and is now enrolled in a certificate program at New York School of the Bible. She hopes to pursue seminary studies toward an M.Div. degree. A gospel singer, she performed at the Cotton Club for 18 years and is a director of the ARC Choir sponsored by the Addictive Rehabilitation Center. Special Music: Ann Sinclair

 April 14 Rev. Vincent Corso (Roman Catholic) is manager of spiritual care and bereavement services at Hospice Care of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. A member of Celibacy Is the Issue, a consortium of married Roman Catholic clergy, he received an M.Div. degree from St. Anthony on Hudson and an M.S.W. from Syracuse University. Special Music: William Safkow

April 21 Ginena Dulley Wills (United Methodist) worked for her denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries for 10 years, serving in the United Methodist Committee on Relief and in Mission Education and as director of the Women’s Division. In 2004-06 she held the Sara Shingler Public Education Internship with the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, doing grassroots organizing within United Methodist Women. She was also dean of the Upper Atlantic Regional School of Christian Mission.

April 28 Rev. Tom Martinez (United Church of Christ) is pastor of All Souls Bethlehem Church in Brooklyn. A multidenominational church, it is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist and Disciples of Christ. Rev. Martinez was previously associate pastor of Christ Church in Summit, NJ, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and American Baptist denominations. He earned an M.Div. degree at Union Theological Seminary and an M.A. in counseling and psychology at Antioch University in Seattle. In addition to being a pastor, he is a professional photographer.

May 5 Rev. Elizabeth Junod (Presbyterian) is parish associate at Westside Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood, NJ. She was the pastor of the Scarsdale Congregational Church for 15 years before assuming her current position. She holds an M.Div. degree from Yale Divinity School.

May 12 Minister Kenneth Brown (Baptist) is associate minister for education at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Far Rockaway, NY. Super Storm Sandy flooded the church basement, destroying facilities located there. The church is receiving help from Clean Congregations United for Action and engaged in fund raising to repair the damage. Min. Brown is a graduate of the New York Theological Seminary program in Sing Sing Correctional Facility, where he earned his master of professional studies degree in 1996. He spent nearly 30 years in prison before being released in 2008.   Special Music: Sarah Miller

May 19 Rev. Joanna Tipple (Reformed Church in America) operates Pearl Creek Farms and Sanctuary in Columbia County. It offers hospitality and healing to humans and animals as well as providing retreat facilities. She earned her M.Div. degree in 2005 from New Brunswick Theological Seminary and also has training in spiritual direction. Ordained in 2006, she served for two years as pastor of Livingston Memorial Church in Linlithgo, NY. She served as a local pastor in Methodist churches upstate.

May 26 Lay-Led Service

June 2 Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. He also works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the New York area. He earned his M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and previously served as assistant pastor for development at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford.

December 2012  – February 2013

Rev. Dr. Lauren Hunter

December 2 Rev. Dr. Lauren Hunter (American Baptist) provides pulpit supply ministry at the First Baptist Church in Bronxville. She was previously assistant pastor at Union Square Restoration Temple Ministries, a nondenominational congregation, and a  minister on the staff of Potter’s House Church of the Living God in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. A guidance counselor at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, she earned an M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and an Ed.D. at North Central University in Minnesota. She also holds master’s degrees in counseling and education administration. Special Music: Charles Ramsey

December 9 Thomas Southern (Presbyterian) is a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers. An ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA, he is a retired social worker. After working in the New York City Administration for Children’s Services for several decades, he spent the last 10 years of his career as an adjunct professor at several graduate social work schools in the New York metropolitan area. He earned his MSW degree at Columbia University and an advanced certificate in social work at the Hunter College School of Social Work.

December 16 C.B. Stewart (United Church of Christ) is a student at Union Theological Seminary who expects to receive her M.Div. degree in 2013. She is also a community minister at Judson Memorial Church, where she is “under care,” a step toward ordination in her denomination.  In 2010 she assisted the pastor at Lemuel Haynes Congregational United Church of Christ in Jamaica, Queens, via a fellowship from Judson.

December 23 Lay Led Service

December 30 Rev. Addie Banks (Mennonite) is part of the ministry team at Infinity Mennonite Church in Harlem. She is co-chair of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, an interfaith organization, and is a member of the executive committee of the national governing board of her denomination, Mennonite Church USA. A spiritual director, she is executive director of the Groundswell Group, which provides mediation and conflict resolution and works with community organizations. She holds two master’s degrees from the Metropolitan College of New York, one in public affairs.

Special Music: Debby Karpel

Deborah Karpel

January 6 Benny Custodio (Nondenominational) mentors youth, aged 16 to 24, in the Arches Program of the Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable. Before his 2011 release from prison, he was a coordinator of the Rising Hope program in the Fishkill Correctional Facility. He earned a master of professional studies degree in the New York Theological Seminary program in Sing Sing Correctional Facility after getting a B.A. from the International Bible College and Seminary of Independence, Mo. via correspondence courses. A founding member of the Latin Kings, he is supported by the Innocence Project in litigating what he contends was a wrongful conviction for murder in the second degree.

January 13 Rev. Susan Switzer (United Church of Christ) is interim pastor of Plainview Reformed Church in Plainview, NY. She previously served as interim pastor at Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church on Long Island and at Emanuel United Church of Christ in Woodhaven, Queens. She is involved with immigrant issues and works with the Tree of Life Education Fund on promoting peace in the Middle East, specifically on Palestinian issues. A former director of stewardship and fund development at Riverside Church and campaign manager and director of major gifts and planned giving for New York Theological Seminary, she received her M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary.

Special Music: Susan Palmer Marshall

January 20 Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. He also works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the New York area. He earned his M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and previously served as assistant pastor for development at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford.

January 27 Rabbi Jill Hausman (Jewish) is the spiritual leader of Congregation Ezrath Israel, also known as the Actors Temple. Before coming to the 47th Street shul in 2006, she was with the Boro Park Progressive Synagogue in Brooklyn, first as a cantor and then as assistant rabbi. She was ordained at the Rabbinical Seminary International in Manhattan.

Special Music: Rabbi Jill Hausman

February 3 Pastor Todd Stout (Seventh Day Adventist) is senior pastor of Church of the Advent Hope in Manhattan. Before moving into this role in 2011, he was an associate pastor at the church. He previously was in a pastorate in Indianapolis for five years. He holds an M.Div. degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Special Music: Martina Bruno

February 10 Retta Blaney (Episcopal) is the author of Working on the Inside: The Spiritual Life through the Eyes of Actors, which was read by our Book Group. A freelance writer whose articles have appeared in such publications as The Washington Post and Crain’s New York Business, she edited the anthology Journalism Stories from the Real World. She is the founder and producer of Broadway Blessing, an annual interfaith service of song, story and dance that asks God’s help for the new theater season. Holding an M.A. in modern dance from New York University and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Brooklyn College, she has taught at both of these alma maters and Marymount Manhattan College.

February 17 Lay Led Service

February 24 Rev. Dr. William Weisenbach (Presbyterian),a member of the Board of Trustees of New York Theological Seminary, recently retired as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Katonah in Westchester County. Previously pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown in Cold Spring, NY, he earlier was vice president for academic affairs and professor of church management at New York Theological Seminary. He earned his D.Min. degree at the seminary and was awarded an honorary D.D. after his 24 years of service to the institution. In the early years of Chelsea Community Church he was a frequent speaker at our services and informally advised the Board of Trustees on a variety of issues.

 

Roster of Recent Past Speakers and Special Music

Worship Service, Sundays 12:00 p.m.

September 11 Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. He also works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the New York area. He earned his M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and previously served as assistant pastor for development at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford. Special Music: Aminda Asher, cello, and Linda Fennimore, violin.

September 18 Rev. Danielline Martinez (Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church) is a spiritual care counselor at Hospice Care of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She was previously a spiritual counselor at an AIDS service program. She grew up in East Harlem as a Roman Catholic. She learned of her present denomination, which is an independent Old Catholic Church, while studying at Union Theological Seminary and was ordained a deacon in 2001 and a priest in 1010. She holds an M.Div. degree from Union and is now studying in the psychoanalytic program at the Blanton-Peale Institute on a part-time basis.

September 25 Rasheed Hart (Nondenominational) works with Back in Stride, a re-entry program for ex-offenders founded by Rev. Loren Russell. Released from prison in 2010, he is the author of Play Your Position, published by Author House in 2005. While in prison he earned a certificate in theology and human services from the Rising Hope program. He is starting a company, Pet Life Assurance, to offer life insurance policies for pets. Special Music: Charles “Chuck” Ramsey accompanied by Lesley Barth

October 2 Rev. Lisa Hill (Presbyterian) is director of quality care for the West Side Federation for Senior & Supportive Housing. She was previously the director of the Frederic Fleming House in Chelsea, which is operated by the same agency. She holds an M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary.

October 9 Blessing of Animals Service with Otto Walberg as lay leader. He is the companion of Bucky, a mixed breed beagle and blue tick coon hound. A tenor in the Chelsea Community Church choir, he is a singer, actor and a specialist in 19th- and 20th-century dog paintings.

October 16 Rev. Joanna Tipple (Reformed Church in America) is establishing Pearl Creek Farms and Sanctuary in Columbia County. It offers hospitality and healing to humans and animals as well as providing retreat facilities. She earned her M.Div. degree in 2005 from New Brunswick Theological Seminary and also has training in spiritual direction. Ordained in 2006, she served for two years as pastor of Livingston Memorial Church in Linlithgo, NY. Before attending seminary she served as a local pastor in Methodist churches Upstate. Special Music: Janet Jordan

October 23 Rev. John Magisano (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) is Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. He also works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the New York area. He earned his M.Div. degree at New York Theological Seminary and previously served as assistant pastor for development at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford. Special Music: Arbender Robinson

October 30—Ginena Dulley Wills (United Methodist) worked for her denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries for 10 years, serving in the United Methodist Committee on Relief and in Mission Education and as director of the Women’s Division. In 2004-06 she held the Sara Shingler Public Education Internship with the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries. She was president of United Methodist Women and dean of the School of Christian Mission in the former Northern New Jersey Annual Conference. She was also president of the Core Planning Group of the United Methodist Northeastern Jurisdiction and dean of the Upper Atlantic Regional School of Christian Mission.

November 6, Anniversary Sunday Rev. Jerry Fargo (United Church of Christ) is a graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary. He has worked in youth and campus ministry, with performing artists and as a journalist and art director. He was formerly Chelsea Community Church’s pastoral counselor. Special Music: Martina Bruno

November 13 Sister Carol Perry (Roman Catholic) is resident Biblical scholar at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. A member of the Sisters of St. Ursula, she studied at Regina Mundi in Rome, where she earned the equivalent of a master’s degree in theology. She also holds an M.A. in theology from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. She has retired from the faculty of John Coleman High School in Hurley. Special Music: Barbara Mundy

November 20 Thomas Southern (Presbyterian) is a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers. An ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA, he is a retired social worker. After working in the New York City Administration for Children’s Services for several decades, he spent the last 10 years of his career as an adjunct professor at several graduate social work schools in the New York metropolitan area. He earned his MSW degree at Columbia University and an advanced certificate in social work at the Hunter College School of Social Work. Special Music: Debby Karpel

November 27 Hector Rivera (Baptist) is supervisor of case workers in preventive services at the Lower East Side Family Union. He earned his master’s degree in professional studies in 2001 in the New York Theological Seminary program in Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Subsequently he conducted a series of workshops in prison on overcoming criminal thinking. He was released from prison in 2006.