Staff

Senior Minister
Rev. Todd Smith Lippert, Email Todd

The Rev. Todd Smith Lippert received his Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  He served two UCC churches in Southwest Wisconsin before joining the First UCC staff in Northfield in May 2012.

Todd is particularly interested in nurturing faith formation for people of all ages.  He’s also interested in offering an interpretation of the Christian faith that helps us address the ecological challenges that we face.  The Scriptural call to be good stewards of the land, “to till the garden and keep it,” (Genesis 2:15)  has led to an abiding interest in sustainable agriculture and the many ways that this approach nurtures the health of our bodies, our communities, and the land.

Todd is married to Sara and they have three children, Clara, Simon, and Ruth.

Todd enjoys spending time playing ball and reading books to his children.  He also enjoys everything about food: growing it, raising it, harvesting it, cooking it, and eating it.

 

Associate Minister
Rev. Abigail Henderson, Email Abby

Abby Henderson 001

The Rev. Abigail Henderson was ordained as a United Church of Christ minister in 2010. A born and bred New Englander, Abby graduated with a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and an M.S.W. in clinical mental health from the University of Minnesota. Before coming to First UCC in June 2013, she served as an associate minister and hospital chaplain in the Twin Cities metro.

In her ministry, Abby is passionate about worship leadership, faith formation, community building, pastoral care, and social justice concerns such as LGBT equality and healthcare reform. Abby shares her life with her partner, Will, and their three black cats.

 

Office Manager
Sheryl Vande Kamp, Email Sheryl

sheryl

Sheryl Vande Kamp began her work as Office Manager at First UCC in September of 2014.  She greets visitors, answers the telephone and provides office support to the church community.  Sheryl worked at a church in Apple Valley before coming to this position.  She also teaches piano lessons from her home in Farmington where she lives with her husband Brent and their two children.  Sheryl loves music, reading, and spending time with family.

 

 

Finance Manager
Andrea Pegram, Email Andrea

Andrea joined the First UCC staff in 2008, and is responsible for all tactical fiduciary operations of the church.  She works closely with the Treasurer and Trustees in development and implementation of the church’s annual budget, and with the Stewardship Committee during the church’s annual pledge drive.  She is also responsible for administering staff payroll.  Andrea is a Northfield native and St. Olaf College alum, with a background in Economics and Finance.

 

Director of Music 
Christopher Brunelle, Email Chris

Christopher Brunelle has served as Director of Music since 2003, conducting the Senior Choir and organizing the musical life of the church. His Congregational roots go back to his childhood at Plymouth Church in Minneapolis.  As a student at Carleton College he performed in over 100 concerts, and from 1989 to 1991 he sang in the King’s College Choir of Cambridge, England, the first American to do so.   Chris encourages anyone interested in contributing to the church’s musical life to get in touch with him.

 

Director of Children’s Music
Shana Hodel, Email Shana

Shana becaume our Director of Children’s Music in September 2010.  She is a member of First UCC and a teacher at Northfield’s Montessori School.  Shana has a wealth of experience in leading children and in teaching and playing music, and she has been involved with the church’s musical life for over a decade.

 

 

Director of Spirit Voices Choir/Arts Coordinator
Bob Gregory-Bjorklund, Email Bob

Bob Gregory-Bjorklund serves as Director of Spirit Voices and Arts Coordinator at First UCC. He is a workshop presenter at the state and national levels and was a member of the music worship teams for United Church of Christ General Synods 24, 25 and 26. A graduate of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, Bob spent twenty-five years producing, directing and performing professionally.  Bob is also a veteran theater educator and director, currently teaching and directing at Arcadia Charter School, Northfield High School and the Northfield Arts Guild. He has directed many productions at all levels from professional to elementary, some of the most memorable being The Crucible, The Laramie Project and West Side Story.

 

Organist
Theo Wee, Email Theo

In the fall of 2009 the congregation honored Theo Wee for her “first” forty years on the church staff!  As Minister of Music, combining the roles of organist and director of the senior choir, she was instrumental in guiding and encouraging the congregation to purchase a beautiful, historic 1876 Johnson pipe organ of 52 ranks from a Buffalo, New York church.  The organ was moved and installed in Northfield in 1994.   In Northfield Theo has always been an active teacher, both privately and as professor of music at St. Olaf College.   Her academic career started in her home state of South Dakota, graduating from the University of South Dakota, and continued at Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music in New York, where she received her master’s degree in sacred music.  Further study was done at Indiana University, Bloomington, and at the Royal School of Church Music in Croydon, England.

 

Childcare Coordinator
Tammy Rischmiller, Email Tammy

Since 2008 Tammy has been responsible for overseeing the equipment and supplies in the church nursery, and scheduling childcare volunteers for Sunday mornings.  She is both present and in charge of the nursery during worship service and special events.

 

 

Sexton
Mark Fischer, Email Mark

Sexton Mark Fischer has checked the building nightly since 1982, making sure doors are locked, lights turned off, and taking care of minor emergencies that become evident in the course of rounds.  In 2012 he received his Boiler Engineer license and now is in charge of the operation of the church boiler.

Besides these activities Mark is also musically inclined.  He is a Registered Piano Technician member of the Piano Technicians Guild, and has tuned and maintained the church pianos since 1979.  He also plays bass with the Blue Wolf Bluegrass Band both locally and internationally.

Other musical endeavors include singing and playing with the Spirit Voices choir ensemble at First UCC.  Additionally, he is often the sound technician for weddings and funerals at the church.