Caroline East Berardi was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Caroline graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2009 and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She recently relocated to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where she juggles life and ministry as the parent of a wild preschooler and the spouse of a fellow minister. Caroline loves baking, reading, frozen margaritas, afternoons in the backyard, and all kinds of travel.
Sarah Hooker is pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Delhi, New York, a cozy farming community in the Catskill Mountains. She earned a BA from Macalester College and a MDiv from Columbia Theological Seminary. Her passions in ministry are pastoral care, mission, and being involved in the greater church. Sarah and her husband Chris keep busy with their ever-inquisitive son, enjoying traveling, hiking, and biking, throwing stones in the many local creeks, and cooking together.
Emily M. Brown is ordained in the United Church of Christ, and serving as Pastor of First Reformed Church in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her MDiv from Union Theological Seminary. She was the 2010 recipient of the David H. C. Read Memorial Preacher/Scholar Award, given annually by Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, as well as Union Theological Seminary’s Kneeland Award for excellence in preaching. She serves on the UCC New York Metro Association Board of Directors and on the Board of Young Clergy Women International, and is the Managing Co-Editor of Fidelia. Stepmom to one child and mom to two more, she enjoys exploring great restaurants and bakeries, reading memoirs and graphic novels, choral singing, and playing in a competitive online trivia league.
Sarah E. Ross is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and serves as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Adrian, Michigan. She was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, and is a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Prior to seminary, she served in the Peace Corps, teaching English and U.S. History in Ukraine. Sarah lives with her rescue dog, Molly, who is terrified of everything except things that are actually dangerous. Sarah enjoys reading, baking, cross-stitch, and working lines from Parks and Recreation into normal conversations.
YCWI Board Members
Bre Roberts is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and was ordained in 2010. She received a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona and a MDiv from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. Bre serves as campus pastor at Lutheran Campus Ministry in Albuquerque, New Mexico and previously served as an associate pastor in Baltimore, Maryland. Together with her spouse (and fellow pastor) Ryan, they co-parent two charmingly ordinary pastors’ kids and are the caretakers for the family’s cats. Bre speaks fluent nerd, has six tattoos, and is slowly learning to quilt.
Dwalunda Alexander was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where she graduated from Texas Southern University with her BA in Psychology in 2005. She moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in 2005 to attend Brite Divinity School on the campus of Texas Christian University where she received her MDiv with a concentration in Black Church Studies in December 2008. She is currently in her final stages of completing her DMin in Preaching from Lincoln Christian Seminary. Dwalunda is an ordained elder through the Rhema Fellowship of Churches and currently serves as a part of the worship ministry at Destiny Church in Fort Worth. She is also the founder of Antioch Kingdom Ministries and an educator with Fort Worth ISD. The best part of her days is spent loving, laughing, and enjoying life with her husband Jon and their four wonderful children.
Elizabeth Grasham is the Solo Pastor of Heights Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Houston, Texas. She is a graduate from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University and was ordained into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 2009. Elizabeth is married to Gene, mother to Gareth, and stepmother to Roman and Odin. Elizabeth loves preaching and teaching, and has very firm opinions about the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate. She is always willing to talk to you about Dungeons and Dragons, if you’re interested. Elizabeth draws on her son’s lunch napkins (instagram: @elizabethlgr) and blogs at elizabethlgr.blogspot.com.
Emelie Hjerth was born in Linköping, southeast of Sweden, grew up in Söderköping, a tiny town in the same region and attended Linköping University where she received her degree in social work with a focus on leadership. Emelie graduated from Uppsala university with a degree in theology in 2016. After a year in Church of Sweden educational institute she was ordained in the Diocese of Linköping, Church of Sweden (Lutheran). Emelie once again lives in Linköping, and serves a parish in the neighbouring city were she mostly does youth ministry and social work. She has a great love for preaching, outdoor activities and sleeping on her balcony (which is also technically an outdoor activity). Emelie is a reading and chocolate addict, loves to run and is planning to do a half marathon in September 2019.
Geila Rajaee is a board certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and ordained through the Evangelical Covenant Church. She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), the University of Michigan (MPH/MPA), and begins a PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2018. Born in the great state of Michigan, Geila has lived on both coasts before returning to the midwest for school. She loves her little flock of birds, spending time with friends and family, and finding new quirky art projects and hobbies to try.
Jennifer Quanbeck is an ordained ELCA pastor who has served congregations in Washington and Montana. A graduate from Luther Seminary (MDiv 2008) and The College of William and Mary (BS 2003), Jen enjoys working with youth, health/fitness, and to-do-lists. An analytic at heart, but with a twist of artistic flair, Jen is motivated by opportunities for innovation and change. A lover of hiking, photography, and sunshine, Jen and her clergy spouse, Ben, share life with two young children and currently serve the same congregation in Billings, Montana.
Jo Kershaw is the parish priest of St Anne’s Wrenthorpe, in one of the south-eastern bits of the north of England. She grew up in Scotland, studied German at St Andrews and Oxford, where she completed a doctoral thesis on Mechthild of Magdeburg. She still loves all things mediaeval and thinks we could learn a thing or two from the writings of the period and its deep attention to the body and incarnation – even if, sometimes, it’s what not to do. She trained for the Anglican priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge, where she married her husband Jonathan, also a priest. Her ministry has been spent in the North of England – her current context is famous for rhubarb and brass bands (luckily she likes both these things!). Jo loves knitting, photography, and science fiction and fantasy – though she’ll read most things. She also loves to travel, and probably drinks too much coffee.
Kari Olson serves as the pastor of East Falls Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. She earned her MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary with a concentration in women’s studies. She especially loves preaching and the variety that comes with solo pastoring. A Seattle native, one of her favorite things about her Philadelphia neighborhood is that there is a fantastic coffee shop less than two blocks from the church. She loves life on the east coast, but still goes out of her way to recycle because you can’t take Seattle out of the woman. She enjoys playing guitar, practicing yoga, and extending hospitality.
Lesley Ratcliff serves as Associate Pastor for Children at Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Lesley Ratcliff spent several years in Exile, also known as Texas, while completing her MDiv at George W. Truett Theological Seminary before returning to her Mississippi roots. Lesley and her husband Brock (Pastor and Assistant Principal) are the parents of two human children, Marlow and Mary Alden, and two four-legged children Sophie and Duke (both 60 lb. lap dogs). In her spare time, Lesley can be found working algebra problems for fun, reading children’s literature or pretending to be an interior designer.
Lindsay Hills currently serves as Rector of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale (Anglican Church) in Vancouver, Canada. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College in Sociology with a concentration in Feminist and Gender Studies, she found herself in a one year internship in campus ministry that lead to her discernment and finally being received into the Episcopal Church and eventually pursuing Holy Orders. Lindsay is passionate about God’s abundant love and is excited about making that love known and experienced by others. She and her wife have been together 11 years and have 2 children that are 20 years apart! She loves handicrafts of all kinds, crocheting, cross stitching, knitting, and scrapbooking. She’s a huge fan of the National Parks and is an avid camper – enjoying all of God’s magnificent creation.
Megan Clapp serves as Associate Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Northwestern Minnesota. She is a graduate of Luther Seminary, and, along with her MDiv, received a degree in Children, Youth, and Family ministry. She was ordained in 2011. Megan is passionate about helping God’s people grow in faith that is connected to every part of life and equipping families to grow together in discipleship. Megan is married to Eric (who serves as Pastor in a nearby congregation) and they are parents to Lillian. She loves good books, delicious coffee, great conversations, and spending time with friends and family on any available patio, deck or lake.
Sarah Pomerantz currently serves as the Designate Pastor of Cedar Grove Community Church. She is a graduate of Drew Theological Seminary and, after a successful career in Corporate America, she was ordained in the United Church of Christ. She also earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree in Early American Colonialism from Lehigh University. Sarah is passionate about fostering a fully inclusive faith community. She lives New Jersey with her wife, Bailey, and enjoys spending her free time hiking, reading, and drinking good coffee.
Sarah Weisiger was born and raised in the Bay Area. She left her home in response to God’s call in order to attend university at the University of Southern California and later seminary at the Harvard Divinity School. After exploring a call to chaplaincy in the US Navy, Sarah embraced traditional church ministry and has never looked back. She was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in November 2009 and has served as a solo pastor in churches in western New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. She currently serves on the staff of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Philadelphia as the Director off Membership Development.
Whitney Wilkinson Arreche is a teaching elder (minister) in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She received a BS from Texas A&M University and a MDiv from Columbia Theological Seminary. A native Texan, she served as a mission worker in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for two years and is currently is a Doctor of Theology (ThD) student at Duke Divinity School, exploring practical theology and ecclesiology of peace and conflict. She finds joy in peacemaking and reconciliation, ecumenism, long chats over (several) cups of coffee, meandering walks with her dog, Fifi, modern dance, travel and New York Times crossword puzzles with her husband, Carlos.