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 staff at First UCC in Northfield.
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.
Rev. Abigail Henderson, Email Abby
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, 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.
Jennifer Kluzak, Email Jennifer
Jennifer became the church’s office manager in July 2011. She was raised in Philadelphia and Southern California, moving to the Twin Cities in 1995 where she met her husband Keith. Prior to adopting their boys from Russia and being a stay-at- home mom for five years, she worked for over ten years in office settings, including administrative positions at the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Coldwell Banker South Metro.
Bookkeeper and Website/Newslestter Manager:
Andrea Pegram, Email Andrea
Andrea became the church’s bookkeeper 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. Additionally, she manages our church website and publishes the monthly church newsletter. Andrea is a Northfield native and St. Olaf College alumni, 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.
Interim Director of Children’s Music:
Anna Koester, Email Anna
Anna is a music education major entering her junior year at St. Olaf College. She plays the clarinet and piano in the St. Olaf Band, and sings in the St. Olaf Cantorei choir. She taught piano and clarinet lessons to elementary aged students during high school. The past two summers she worked at a church camp in northern Minnesota as a counselor and the worship coordinator. Anna enjoys rock climbing, playing guitar and piano in her free time. Anna will assume Shana Hodel’s responsibilities for the rest of 2013.
Director of Spirit Voices Choir:
Bob Gregory-Bjorklund, Email Bob
Bob is active in leading music for many regional and national UCC events, and leads the Spirit Voices Choir in our worship service once a month.
Theo Wee, Email Theo
Child Care 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.
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.