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.
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.
Abby’s family includes her spouse, Will, a teacher; her mom, Jane, a retired UCC pastor; and a host of beloved pets.
Gladys joined the First UCC staff in 2015. Gladys earned her B.A. in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University in St. Paul. Gladys was raised in northeastern Wisconsin. She loves to travel, read, try new recipes on family and friends, and watch the Green Bay Packers. Gladys’s family includes her husband Jerry, son Philip, daughter Antonia and son-in-law Nick. They also have a yellow lab named Zoey.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.