STAFF

Christian Coon, Lead Pastor – South Loop

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Christian has been a pastor since 1998 and served two Chicago-area suburban churches before moving to the South Loop. He’s a native Iowan who worked in the not-for-profit public relations and journalism fields before going into church ministry. He loves running, blogging (christiancoon.tumblr.com), all kinds of music, baseball, ice cream, and, most importantly, his wife, Anne, and two children, Caroline and Ethan. You can read some of Christian’s writing in the books: 365 Meditations for Young Adults and 365 Devotionals for Men by Men.

Brittany Isaac, Edgewater Site Pastor

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After finishing seminary and feeling burned by the church Brittany chose to work at the Church of Starbucks instead of the Church of Jesus Christ. After 7 years her thirst was still not quenched and she left her management position to follow God’s leading back to ministry In 2011 she left her coffee addiction to plant Urban Village Church’s 3rd site in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago. In 2017, Brittany transitioned her site to the Edgewater neighborhood. An aspiring raised bed gardener, a novice quilter and a chef for her family, Brittany loves her life and is passionate about helping others to discover their vocation too.

Emily McGinley, Hyde Park | Woodlawn Site Pastor

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Rev. Emily McGinley is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). With roots in the non-denominational, evangelical tradition, she has extensive experience working with leaders across diverse networks and Christian traditions. She has preached and presented on vocational discernment, preaching, church planting, social media in ministry, inclusive evangelism, and anti-racist church leadership. Her commitment to building gospel-shaped inclusive spaces that nurture, challenge, and expand imaginations have helped cultivate beloved community at UVC and beyond. Rev. McGinley has coached other congregations and was a contributing writer to the book, Inter-Cultural Ministry: Hope for a Changing World.

Hannah Kardon, Wicker Park Site Pastor

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Hannah believes that God is good, that God made us all to be who we are, and our differences are a gift. This has brought her to Pastor in a Filipino neighborhood church, an outdoor church for homeless people, and an urban graduate student ministry as well as the bold, inclusive, relevant ministry of UVC. She was previously an educator and a trainer with the Interfaith Youth Core. She loves puzzles, trashy TV, swimming, her husband Matt and her daughter Annabel. She also wants to know you better, and know how you can change our church.

Erin James-Brown, Director of Discipleship

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Hailing from the great state of Texas (and proud of it!), Erin comes to Urban Village having previously ministered with two church plants in very different cities in her home state. In addition to filling her time as a group exercise instructor, a dog owner, and a voracious reader of young adult literature, Erin has also recently served as a hospital chaplain and as the director of a ministry for youth and children. She is incredibly excited to be working with UVC in fulfilling its mission to be a community where discipleship (i.e., the conversion of individuals and communities to increasingly act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and desire the very things Jesus desires) happens by sharing life together. If you are interested in small groups, shoot Erin an email because she’d love to talk with you.

Grant Crusor, Director of Operations

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Grant is a Chicago native and joins Urban Village from the world of graduate theological education. For the past few years he’s traveled the country to help guide future seminarians in their preparation for ministry. Prior to that he served as an online pastor, ministering to those in Chicagoland and beyond. You can find Grant roaming the city taking shots for photo essays, crate digging for the perfect record, or convincing tourists that the Bulls are the greatest team ever. Grant is a graduate of Howard University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, each integral in forming his passion for creating peace-filled communities citywide and combating systemic racial and ethnic injustices.

Taylor, Church Planting Fellow – South Loop

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Taylor Smith was raised in the United Methodist Church. Growing up, he was highly involved in his local youth group, camps, mission trips and various lay ministries. Exploring a call to ministry, he received his BA of Religion from McMurry University in Abilene, TX. After college, Taylor earned his Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. He was commissioned as an Elder in June of 2017 in the North Texas Conference, where he and his wife, Katie (and their puppy, Luna) will return after his fellowship with UVC. Until then, they love food… so grab a bite with them soon!

Monica Isaac, Director of Children’s Ministry and Children’s Ministry Coordinator – Edgewater

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Monica Isaac is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church serving as a chaplain at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as well as mother to Ruby, her daughter. She enjoys playing, reading, cooking and cycling along the lakeshore. Passionate about children’s spirituality, she is excited to be in ministry with the children and parents at our Edgewater site.

Cobey Bienert, Worship Leader – Wicker Park

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Cobey Bienert has been our Assistant Worship Leader since last fall and is excited to move into the Worship Leader position. He’s been playing music ever since he was old enough to have a memory. He is the songwriter, singer, and a musician for the Chicago-based band, Hudson Branch. Check them out here. He was born in Baltimore, moved to San Diego, then made the cold trek with his family of nine to the Midwest. He went to school in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, but felt the city calling his name in 2012. Email Cobey if you’d like to help out with music this year.

Enoch Kim, Worship Leader – Edgewater

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Enoch is a singer, songwriter, musician, and a radio and music producer who loves to lead and sing songs with church communities. A native of Guam (the Pacific island), he originally moved to Illinois to study Audio Engineering at Greenville College and afterwards he moved to Chicago to pursue a career in music and radio. He loves being silly and sharing in laughter. A few of his inspirations are Michael Jordan, Will Smith, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Enoch is excited to share life, community, and music with Urban Village.

Darren Calhoun, Worship Leader – South Loop

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Darren comes to UVC-South Loop after serving as a volunteer worship leader at Willow Chicago for 9 years. He was born and raised in Chicago where he’s heavily engaged in local community and social justice efforts. For more than 16 years, worship has been a central part of Darren’s ministry life including leading choirs, dance teams, and visual arts ministries. He brings with him an intentional focus on worship being inclusive of a diversity of cultures, musical styles, and expressions as an authentic reflection of the Kingdom of God. Lastly, Darren is an extrovert who loves hugs, anything involving chocolate and peanut butter, and social media.

Rico Howard, Worship Co-Leader – Hyde Park | Woodlawn

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Rico Howard is a pianist, aspiring educator, and social dancer. He didn’t pursue formal piano lessons until he was a sophomore at Grinnell College.  Working diligently, Rico became the pianist for the Latin American Performance Ensemble, the Grinnell College Jazz Ensemble and also leader of his own funk and soul cover band. Rico has attended Urban Village Church since 2011 and has been volunteering on the worship team as either a pianist or a vocalist since then. He’s currently studying classical piano at VanderCook College of Music training to become a music teacher with the hopes of inspiring youth through music.

Leslie Moore, Worship Co-Leader – Hyde Park | Woodlawn

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Leslie is a classically-trained vocalist with experience singing Spirituals, Gospel, Contemporary Christian and Jazz. She has a passion for teaching about how the music of the African American experience has contributed to social justice movements, ultimately effecting change and transforming society for the better. Leslie has traveled widely and has been touched by music from around the world, which has allowed her to house within herself a multifaceted expression of life, love and music.

Carolyn Roncolato, Theologian in Residence

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Dr. Carolyn Roncolato is a scholar, activist and teacher. She is a feminist theologian who works on the intersections of race, class, and gender. In 2014, she earned her doctorate in Theology, Ethics, and Human Culture from Chicago Theological Seminary. She got her BA from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and her MA from Chicago Theological Seminary. Prior to graduate school she worked in domestic and sexual violence response and prevention. She has worked in Appalachia Kentucky for many years and is currently working on developing a method of feminist theology that is accountable to women in poverty. Carolyn also works on labor justice with the local hotel workers union as well as writes about race, gender and reproduction.

Gihane and Nate Jérémie-Brink, Children’s Ministry Coordinators – Hyde Park | Woodlawn

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Gihane and Nathan Jeremie-Brink are the proud parents of two young children, and committed to the faith formation of the youngest members of the Hyde Park | Woodlawn community. Gihane holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University Chicago and currently is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Family Institute of Northwestern University.  Nathan is completing a PhD in History at Loyola, and holds a Masters of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. They hail from Boston and Los Angeles, and have lived in Chicago for nearly 12 years, in Hyde Park and Woodlawn. Their family brings together Catholic and Reformed faith traditions, and passions for ecumenism, social justice, critical-thinking, and empowering children and youth.

Elba Iris Nazario, Children’s Ministry Coordinator – South Loop

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Rev. Elba Iris is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination and was a Hospital and Hospice Chaplain before retiring in 2009. Her hobbies include reading, writing poetry, making jewelry and spending time with her two grandchildren: William Khari and Marley Sarai. Rev. Elba has enjoyed preaching and teaching Sunday School at other churches in the Chicagoland area before coming to serve with us at Urban Village Church. She has been a part of the UVC community since 2016 and began her ministry with us in early 2017.

Jonathan Grant, Ministry Exploration Intern – Hyde Park | Woodlawn

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Jonathan is passionate about encouraging creativity in the church, and about challenging the ways we engage aesthetics and faith. He grew up in Mishawaka, Indiana, studied History and Public relations at Asbury University, and Archaeology at U.C. Berkeley. Most of his work has been in the world of Fashion as an art director, stylist and writer. Over the past few years he has been transitioning into ministry by serving as the Artist-in-residence at The American Church in Paris.

Danny Sanchez, Ministry Exploration Intern – Wicker Park

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Danny was born and raised in South Florida, the oldest son of a Baptist pastor. He moved to Chicago to earn his BA at the University of Chicago almost a decade ago. Since then, he has worked in the online ad industry, helping brands reach their customers through advertising. Danny is now joining UVC to explore how he can help God reach God’s people instead! He has been intermittently hearing (and ignoring!) God’s call to ministry over the years, and is thankful for the opportunity to lean into God’s whispers.

Grant Swanson, Student Pastor – Wicker Park

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Grant Swanson was born and raised in Omaha, NE. He attended North Central College and later taught sixth grade elementary at St. Francis Indian School on the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Reservation in South Dakota for four years. Concurrently, Grant spent summers as a park ranger at Yellowstone National Park and earned his MA in English at Middlebury College. In 2015, he enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, began attending Urban Village Church: Andersonville (now Edgewater), and loved every minute of it. Grant is thrilled to be serving, learning, and growing as an intern at the Wicker Park location of Urban Village Church.

Jesseca Reynolds, Church Planting Intern – Wicker Park

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Jesseca Reynolds is a happy wife, loving daughter, bossy sister, devoted cat-mom, meticulous PowerPoint-guru, curious question-asker, and passionate Cincinnati-native. She is deeply moved by UVC’s community and committed to its inclusive vision. Lately, God has seemed to be tugging at Jesseca’s passions for UVC and Cincinnati with the possibility of church planting there in the future. She’s actively exploring what this might look like by learning from the church who she believes is doing it best.

Trey Hall, Gospel-Inclusive Missionary to Europe

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One of the founders and former co-lead pastor of Urban Village Church, Trey now serves as UVC’s missionary to the United Kingdom and Europe, coaching and resourcing partners in the church planting and church revitalization movement there and regularly interpreting learnings back to Urban Village and the US context. A coach and strategist with The Epicenter Group, Trey presents regularly at church planting conferences; writes articles and chapters on 21st-century church for books, journals, and blogs; and is the co-author, with Paul Nixon, of a forthcoming book on multisite church planting. Read more about his transatlantic ministry at his blog, Recovering Control Freak.