Church Staff

Many people contribute to the success of a church. Countless hours are generously given by many church members, too numerous to include here. Below we introduce you to the core staff of the church. Click on their link for detailed information

Church Staff

Reverend Tom VandeStadt, Pastor
Reverend Amelia Fulbright, Labyrinth Student Minister
Reverend Van Herd, Adult Christian Eduacation

Nodie Murphy, Music Director


Jonathan Geer, Pianist

Amy Harris, Violinist


Tony Rogers, Cellist



Victor Cardenas, Custodian

Donna Cravens, Office Manager



The Church has been blessed with many ministers who are or were members. In a special celebration, the women ministers of the Church were honored. Below find a listing of these oustanding women. Their generous service to the church and its members has been and continues to be a very special blessing.

Congregational Church of Austin/U CC

Woman Clergy Biography’s — Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rev, Cecile F. Adam & Board Certified Chaplain, Retired

Family: Husband David, two daughters from my first marriage, six daughters and one son that were
gifts with my second marriage to David in 2000. six grandsons, one granddaughter. One more on
the way.

Current Ministry: "Retired" from ministry, but do intake, screening and scheduling for licensed
therapist and volunteer on oncology floor at Seton. My specialty at Seton - waiting on patients,
finding green jello and harassing with love the nurses I worked with for so many years.

Past Ministries: Prior to seminary, worked at the UT Health Science Center in Houston
teaching medical jurisprudence to physicians and medical students. Taught patient rights courses
to graduate students at the Health Science Center. Co-taught medical ethics. Got my JD in 1988
from University of Houston School of Law. Prior education, B.A. and M.A. in Romance
Languages/Latin American Poetry. After seminary was oncology chaplain for Seton Medical
Center and Manager of Chaplain Services for the Seton system the last 3 years - 2002-2015.

Seminary: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2002. Completed chaplain residency at
Seton and hired as staff chaplain 2003, year of ordination with the UCC. In care with the
Congregational Church of Austin during seminary.

My ministry in five words: I understand better by listening.

Rev. Dr. Sarah Bentley

Family: Rev. Bob Breihan. three adult stepchildren, six grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, nieces,
nephews and their offspring. [they are like my kids]

Current ministry: Being present/helpful to spouse, kids, friends, especially when confronting
aging/end-of-life questions

Past ministries and/or professions/education: (Too many to count!)

Worship leader national and regional ecumenical and UCC meetings, 1977-1983, pioneering use
of movement as prayer; Visiting seminary teacher in New York, Pennsylvania, Austin; faculty
of clergy continuing education center, New York; interim pastorates in SCC 1984-1997
(including CC); counseling/retreat leader, New Life Institute (1986-1996), including program to
education religious communities about family violence; Associate Pastor, Westlake UMC, 1997-
2006; Hospice Austin chaplain, 2006-2012.

Education: Smith College, Teachers College, Union Seminary (M.Div, PhD.) Ordination: 1980

My Ministry in five words: Creative, challenging, adventuresome, growth-full, rewarding,
spiritually enriching.

Rev. Sarah Darter. Pastor Sarah, Chaplain Sarah.

Past Ministries: First woman ordained by the American Baptists of Metropolitan New York in
1975, though they were reluctant to call me to serve a local church. Having bi-racial children,
which was controversial for the small local churches; I served as a United Methodist minsiter in the Iowa
Conference. Over 25 yearsI got in four years of Clinical Pastoral Education, some supervisory
training. First woman chaplain for the United States Air Force Reserve.

Family: Three children in their thirties, Nikki, a family and child protective services lawyer
graduated from UT; Rikki, a cook for state corrections in Des Moines; David, a chiropractic
doctor. Widowed and divorced by early thirties.

Current Ministry: Working presently as a CNA, applying to hospice and hospital ministries to
return to Chaplaincy.

My ministry in five words or more: I have a passion for conversations with individual people and
small groups where we think aloud about deeply spiritual and meaningful things in our lives & in
our world.

Rev. Jo Jensen, DMin, BCC, GC—C

Spouse: Robert Garrett Children: Teresa

Grands & Greats: Ashley,‘Cody, McKenzie; J aydon, Adryan, Zayla Current ministry:
Resiliency Mentor Past ministries and/or professions/education:

Author of The BE—Attitudes of Chaplaincy published in July 2015 Oncology chaplain at Shivers
Cancer Center (Austin); Dell Children’s Medical Center (Austin), Sacred Heart Hospital
(Pensacola, FL)

Co-Founder/Facilitator of Death Cafe Austin

Founder/Facilitator of Cancer Support Group at SHH (Pensacola)

Master or Arts in Pastoral Theology (MAPT) at St. Mary-of-the—Woods College

Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling at Graduate Theological Foundation
University of Oxford (UK) in summer of 2011.

Certifications in Adult and Child/Adolescent Grief Counseling

Your ministry in five words or more: Sitting with people in the what’s next chair and walking with
them into the unknown with mindful compassionate attentiveness.

Rev. Enid L. Ross, B.C.C.

Spouse: James Ross
Children: Lucas, Julia (and husband Robin), Celia Grandchildren
Samantha and Rebecca Rosson

Current ministry: Staff chaplain at University Medical Center Brackenridge

Past ministries and/or professions/education Three years of doctoral studies in music theory and
composition at UT Austin Seminary and year of ordination Austin Presbyterian Theological
Seminary Ordained May 2003 '

Ministry in five words: Care for the most Vulnerable

Rev. Amy Villwock

Single; two children who are away at colleges

Current ministry: Director of Children and Family Ministry, Saint John's United Methodist
Church, Austin.

Past ministries and/or professions/education: Associate Minister, First Congregational, Santa
Barbara, CA; Certified Teacher - taught Middle School ESL/Language Arts; motherhood;

Seminary and year of ordination: Pacific School of Religion; ordained 1987
Finally....if you were to describe your life long ministry in 5 words or less, what would it be? If

you need to do so in more than five words that's fine too. It has been a joy to work with children; I
am grateful that I have found a "fit" in this ministry.

Rev. Dr. Liz Nash

Family: Reuel, Ellie, Annie, Becky No grandkids yet..

Current ministry: Association Minister, Heart of Texas Association -- formerly Association
Minister, Brazos Association. Since 2006

Past Ministries:

Associate Minister, First Congregational Church, Houston

Associate for Christian Education, First Congregational Church, Stockton, CA

Substantial volunteer work for a number of years at UCC Camp Cazadero as camp counselor,
chaplain, and camp director.

Co—chair of UCC Women's Network, Northern Califomia—Nevada Conference for several years.
Related work in teaching: .

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary adjunct (current semester) teaching History and Polity
of the UCC and Christian Church/Disciples of Christ

Adjunct at Dominican University, San Rafael, CA teaching ethics

Adjunct at Starr King School of Theology, Berkeley co-teaching economic social justice class
Teaching assistant (several semesters) at Pacific School of Religion for ethics courses

Ph. D. Religion and Society: Ethics, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, 2005 (on the
mommy track -- it took awhile)

M.Div. Pacific School of Religion, 1987

M.A. Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, 1983

All but dissertation in Ph.D program, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of
California, Berkeley, 1980-83

M.S. Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, 1981

B.S. Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, 1978

Seminary and year of ordination Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley (1987). Ordained 1989.

Ministry in five words or more: As a young woman, I had few roles models, but I have always felt a
call to some kind of Christian work in social and economic justice and environmental ethics.

And always a strong pull towards family, kids, and youth. Took awhile to find ways to express
that in work and in my education -- and perhaps in ways I didn't really expect -- but I seem to
have found that path and am still discovering what it will become.