Interim Lead Minister
Pastor Wendy joined the staff of United Church of Christ in New Brighton (UCCNB) as Interim Lead Minister on April 23, 2023. Wendy most recently served as Interim Senior Pastor at Union Church in Waban Massachusetts. Prior to that, she served as Interim Senior Minister at First United Church of Christ in Northfield, MN. From 1989 to 2007, she served two congregations in the Massachusetts Conference, and then as Associate Conference Minister in that Conference until 2020.
Pastor Wendy will lead UCCNB during this period of transition in pastoral leadership by helping us clarify our vision of who God is calling us to be. In so doing, she will help us prepare to call our next settled minister.
When she is not ministering, Wendy enjoys spending time with her spouse Joanne, golfing, traveling, walking everywhere, playing Scrabble and has a newly found interest in birding.
Associate Minister for Education and Faith Formation
Amy came to us in 2009 after finishing studies at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and serving as the Director of Outdoor Ministries for the UCC Conference Camp in Alexandria, Minn. Amy grew up in Elk River, MN, and went to Concordia College in Moorhead, where her call to ministry grew after spending a semester abroad studying development in India. Amy met her husband working as an Instructor Naturalist at Camp Widjiwagen in Ely, Minn, teaching middle schoolers about the North Woods.
In her ministry, Amy continues to enjoy leading youth and church members of all ages on retreats, mission trips, and wilderness adventures, such as a trip to Hawaii to learn about UCC history and ancient agricultural practices, winter "camping" trips to the end of the Gunflint Trail, and weekend retreats on Lake Ida. Amy enjoys working with our children and families as they grow in their faith and a community centered on practicing God's love.
Gigi joined the staff at UCCNB in October of 2023. She had previously been Music Director at Union UCC in Elk River. Prior to that, she served as Music Director at a number of churches within the MN Conference, and also served as Director of Pilgrim Point Camps & Retreats. In addition to choral music, Gigi enjoys guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele. Djembe drums and a number of other instruments.
When choosing music, Gigi likes to focus on ways that music can enhance the worship service and hopefully broaden our understanding.
She is delighted to be a part of UCCNB.
Since September 2004, Aaron Swestka has enjoyed the love, nurture, and talents of the UCCNB community. During UCCNB worship services, weddings, and funerals, he accompanies congregational song on the piano and the organ, and also plays for the UCCNB Choir and summer Special Music offerings. Additional collaboration includes work with the UCCNB Dancers, instrumentalists, and vocal soloists and ensembles including children, youth, and adults.
Aaron began music ministry at age 12, in his hometown church, St. Patrick Parish, of Monona, Iowa. He obtained a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Aaron and his partner Richard are blessed to share their South Minneapolis home with their two cats, Big Sam and Ivy. Other endeavors include most all genres of music and musical theatre, and enjoying the vast array of great art organizations in the Twin Cities…oh yes, and all things Disney, too!
Cathy joined our staff in January of 2021. Cathy comes to us with MANY years of administrative experience. She worked at Edina public schools from 2003-2006, moved to Duluth in 2006, and started working at the University of Minnesota. She was in Duluth until 2011 when she moved back to the twin cities to continue working at the University of Minnesota until 2019. Cathy worked in four departments: Geology, Chemical Engineering, Institute of Linguistics, and Geography. She shares this about herself: “I grew up in Yuma, Arizona, moved to Minnesota in 1981, and have been here ever since, except a couple of years when I lived in Colorado.
Alan joined us in January of 2020. More information about Alan will be coming soon. We are grateful to have him on staff.