Our staff at the United Church of Christ in Bayberry.
Rev. Dr. J. Mark Lawson
Rev. Dr. J. Mark Lawson is our church’s longest-serving pastor. He first came to the United Church of Christ in Bayberry in 1995. He previously served churches in Kentucky, Indiana, and Arkansas as Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Minister to Youth. “Pastor Mark” earned the Master of Divinity degree and Ph.D. in Theology degrees from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to serving as pastor, he is an adjunct professor of religious studies at LeMoyne College; an instructor in the New York School of Ministry, an alternative ministry preparation program operated by the New York Conference of the UCC; and a part-time spiritual director at the Spiritual Renewal Center in Syracuse.
Joan VanDuser, our Director of Music Ministries, leads the Chancel Choir, the New Covenant Singers, the Bell Choir, the women’s chorus ("Grace Notes"), the men’s chorus ("Men of Note") and the children's chorus. She also provides piano and vocal music support at our worship services each week. Joan holds a degree in music business with a concentration in piano from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania.
Jannie DeWees serves as Assistant Pastor for Children’s Ministry. She is commissioned by the UCC in ministry to young children and is licensed for pastoral ministry by the Oneida Association of the UCC. Jannie holds a degree in elementary education from Oklahoma Baptist University, and previously taught 4-year-olds in our nursery school. Jannie develops programs specifically for children grades K-6. She also serves as a resource for our children's Christian Education classes.
Craig Zellar serves as Assistant Pastor for Ministry to Youth grades 7-12. He is a graduate of the Christian Leadership Program of the New York School of Ministry and is licensed for pastoral ministry by the Oneida Association of the UCC. Craig leads teenage youth gatherings twice each month, and develops, with input from the youth, programs that promote worship, service, and fellowship. Each year, Craig organizes and leads a high school summer mission trip that combines service to people in need with teen-oriented worship. Craig also leads our high school Christian Education class.
Bob Welcher, our Director of Ministry to Seniors, is a long-time member of our congregation who has developed a pastoral identity with senior citizens. A former public school principal, Bob brings a strong administrative background to his work, as well as a special compassion for older adults. Bob visits our senior members in their homes and in hospitals, and develops programs that promote fellowship and education around issues faced by seniors.
Sharon Catalino has served as Director of the UCC Nursery School since 2000. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood education.
Monica Minion serves as our office manager. She is in the office two to three days each week. A retired public school librarian, she provides expertise in computers and also volunteers her time as our church librarian.
Darcy Smithers serves as office staff two days each week. She is also an outreach specialist with AccessCNY.
Deb Wilhelm provides childcare for children ages pre-school-2nd grade during the 10:30 worship service and all summer worship services.
Leah Woodworth provides childcare for children ages pre-school-2nd grade during the 10:30 worship service.