Liz Donald, Moderator
Liz Donald, married to Jim, and mother of Heather and Will. Jim and I joined the church when the kids were little. They were enrolled in MMO and I had been raised Congregationalist, so it seemed a good fit. Over the years, FCC has become my passion, an entity that has grown during the last 10 years to be an entirely different place than the one we joined over 20 years ago. It has truly become a place where all are welcome, gifts are shared, voices are heard. It has not been a smooth journey; there have been challenges, but the rewards in deeper faith and new friendships have far outnumbered them.
I joined FCC in June of 2005 with my wife Anne Garty. In a small church everyone gets a role, and quickly. So in those eight years I have been Chair of Stewardship, Vice Moderator, Moderator, a member of the MMO Advisory Committee and now Treasurer. Growing up in a UCC congregation in Stamford, CT and with a brother “in the business”, I have seen the struggles of mainline churches to maintain vibrant ministries in the face of declining membership. So it is particularly gratifying to be at a place that is challenging that trend in so many exciting ways. In 2014 I retired following a 36 career in the chemical industry.
My wife, Emily Smith and I started “church shopping” in the Spring of 2014. FCC was the only stop we made, and we both joined later that Spring. From the very beginning, we were enthusiastically welcomed. We felt inspired by the words of the closing commission, which are a positive call to action in response to the many challenges our world faces. FCC is a community with an important message, full of amazing and talented people, who continue to both impress and inspire. I am currently serving as the Secretary of the Executive Council.
I have been a member of FCC since June of 2005. Having grown up in the Catholic Church, the UCC is still pretty new, but I have learned that experience is not necessary for becoming involved at FCC! Since joining, I have served two terms as Secretary, been active in the Hospitality and Peace & Justice Ministries, and served for the past four years as the FCC representative on the Union Congregational Church (another Montclair UCC church) women’s retreat planning committee. I am currently an FCC Trustee and a member of the Pastoral Care committee. Dick Thomas and I have lived in Montclair for 20 years.
Holli Broadfoot, Member at Large
My wife, Cindy and I joined FCC in March 2014. While our backgrounds were in southern church traditions, we found at FCC a community full of people willing to wrestle with theology and engage in the world. My background is a bit of a patchwork, with degrees in divinity and business but a job in higher education. Since joining FCC, I have been engaged with hospitality, finance, budgeting, social justice, stewardship and evaluation. I have been privledged to watch FCC grow and flourish and couldn’t imagine a better spiritual home.
Rich Gilfert, Member at Large
Elaine Wells, Spirituality & Worship
My name is Elaine Wells. I’m a librarian who lives with my husband Bob Sillery and two utterly spoiled cats in Montclair. We first came to FCC about 7 years ago just to check out the “big stone church around the corner.” The beautiful music, the thought-provoking and challenging sermons, and the extravagant welcome made us feel right at home. It was clear that this was a church where people live out their faith through action, “walking the walk” and striving to make a positive difference in the lives of our church family, the broader community, and the world. I am so proud to be part of the leadership team here at FCC in this time of challenge and growth. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us, and I am excited to be a part of making it happen. I may never have all the answers I seek, but I know I am in a place where I can explore all the questions. I look forward to sharing my time and talents with so many others who make FCC the vibrant, welcoming faith home that it is.
I came to FCC in 2013 because I knew Reverend Ann through my involvement with the Montclair Clergy Association, and was looking for a new spiritual home as I left the Quaker community. Born into a family of devout, progressive Catholics, I was ordained as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church USA in 1995, and was active in Missions work there. For over a dozen years I was engaged in homeless ministries in the Greater Newark, New Jersey area. I entered the Quaker community in 2001, where I was active in the areas of Conflict Transformation and Spiritual Companionship. In 2012 I was ordained as an Interspiritual/Interfaith Minister by the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. Currently, I serve FCC as the Chair of Faith in Action, helping coordinate our efforts as a congregation in the areas of social justice and service, community outreach, and Sacred Activism. I am also Spiritual Director in Residence here at FCC, and am very grateful for this Faith community.
Phyllis Stone, Youth & Family
I have been a member of FCC since 2011. I arrived during during a Halloween weekend snowstorm after moving my family of six (including our dog and cat) from Park Slope to New Jersey the evening before. I joined shortly after because my kids didn’t veto it. I’ve stayed involved because FCC became my second family in the most unexpected ways and my faith has truly deepened over the years. I am blessed knowing that our work here at FCC extends beyond our walls into the broader community.
My wife Deb and I joined FCC in the Spring of 2014, bringing Catholic and Presbyterian roots. Our children, Emma and Sean are all grown, but make cameo appearances at church from time to time. Like so many other FCC members, I am a librarian spending my weekdays at Gregory Elementary School in West Orange. While I’ve been an educator for the past twenty years, I’ve also helped to develop low income housing in NYC as well as worked as a cartographer for the National Park Service in Boston. All that aside, it is here, at FCC, through sharing peace during services, welcoming labyrinth walkers, linking new members to first friends, and simply breathing the air in the Sanctuary, where my best self meets yours. I am so grateful for my membership in, and opportunity to serve, our congregation.
I am honored and privileged to serve in this capacity. Stewardship involves the care and management of our time, talents and treasure to ensure that our spiritual life together and our church facility is healthy and thriving. I’m excited about this aspect of FCC because we are an amazingly positive community and provide generously for the advancement of our core values and showing the good news of God’s grace to our community.