The MIND steering committee, elected annually at the September general meeting, meets five or six times a year to set strategic direction and plan programming for the organization.
Rev. Bruce Lamb, Chair
Rev. Lamb is a provisional elder in the United Methodist Church and serves as pastor of Ardsley UMC and St. Paul's UMC. Bruce was one of the 15 LGBTQI clergy and clergy candidates who came out to the church in May 2016. Previously Bruce served as the Associate Pastor at Mt. Calvary/St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Harlem and the Assistant Coordinator for Social Justice, Advocacy and Engagement for the New York Annual Conference. Bruce has a passion for all things social justice. Bruce has a Masters of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. While at Union, Bruce has worked on multiple social justice issues in the Black Lives Matter movement and on LGBT rights issues. Bruce received a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and minored in political science at Texas Tech University. Originally from Sugar Land, Texas, Bruce moved to New York in 2009 to pursue his love of broadcasting and worked at NBC's TODAY Show and CNN before leaving journalism to pursue ordained ministry. Bruce has a strong passion for working towards justice for all God's children and strongly believes that loving God means loving people.
Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, Vice Chair
Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy shares life with her spouse, Kristin Marcell, in Kerhonkson, NY, where they are raising their two boys, Maximillian Frederic and Rowan Crawford. Among their family members are the dog, Mister Jones, and two cats, Etta and Thelonious. After graduating from Yale Divinity School, where she won the Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize [no relation] for "exceptional promise for pastoral leadership," Sara followed in her mother's and uncle’s footsteps as a United Methodist minister. She served as the pastor of The Federated Church of Kerhonkson for seven years before moving on to SUNY Sullivan, where she currently serves as the Dean of Student Development Services. She also is part of the larger inclusive ministry of Memorial UMC in White Plains, NY, a Reconciling congregation and signors of The Covenant of Conscious, where she preaches on the second Sunday of each month. In March 2013, an official complaint was filed against Tweedy accusing her of being a "self-avowed practicing homosexual," a violation of UMC rules; the case was referred to counsel for the church in October 2013, and dismissed in May 2014. Reverend Tweedy was honored with the 2014 Gwen and C. Dale White Award from the New York Chapter of MFSA for her witness in the United Methodist Church while under complaint.
Michael Cobb, Coordinator of Communications
Michael Cobb is an Associate Pastor at Yorktown UMC and is working on his M.Div at Yale Divinity School. Prior denominational activism work included co-founding of a congregational task force at Jesse Lee Memorial UMC in Ridgefield, CT that created opportunities to discuss how the congregation could better live out Christ's love towards LGBT people: SAFE (Sacred Access For Everyone). His professional work has included serving as Director of Outreach and Communications for the Religious Institute, a multi-faith nonprofit working for sexual justice and education in faith communities and in society, including abuse prevention, sexuality education, and LGBT inclusion, and the National Black Justice Coalition, a national nonprofit advocating for African-American LGBT people. He is passionate about justice, faith, comics, cooking, good tea, and his wife and two sons (not always in that order).
Rev. Scott Summerville, Treasurer
Rev. Scott Summerville has been a clergy member of the New York Annual Conference since 1976. He has served churches in Kingston, NY, Stamford, CT, and Brooklyn and is serving currently as the pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Yonkers, a reconciling congregation. Scott is married to Rev. Mary Ellen Summerville, who is also a NYAC clergy member and who works as a hospice chaplain. They have two adult children, Meredith and Thomas. In addition to parish duties and his work for MIND Scott is a trainer and consultant in congregational conflict and mediation. He is also a trainer in the New York Annual Conference in boundaries and sexual ethics for clergy.
Rev. Elyse Ambrose
Rev. Elyse Ambrose is a provisional deacon in the United Methodist Church, and serves as an Associate Pastor at Church of the Village. She received her Master of Divinity in Ethics and New Testament Studies from Gammon Theological Seminary at The Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, Georgia). She is a Ph.D. student at Drew University (Madison, New Jersey) where she studies Christian Social Ethics, and concentrates in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, as well as African American Studies. Her work and activism focuses on the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and economic disparity, with an emphasis on queer studies. Elyse was one of the 15 LGBTQI clergy and clergy candidates who came out to the church in May 2016.
Rev. Dr. Brian Bodt
The Rev. Dr. Brian Bodt has been a clergy member of the New York Annual Conference for 38 years. He has actively supported full LGBTQ inclusion in church and world since high school. He currently is Pastor at Mary Taylor Memorial UM Church, a reconciling congregation in Milford, CT. Building on the work of pastors and laity before him, he led the church to become a church signer of A Covenant of Conscience in 2013.
Rev. Melissa Boyer
Melissa Boyer grew up in Arkansas, the youngest of five in a family of Christmas-and-Easter Catholics. It was in the context of the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) that she first felt a calling to ministry, but she couldn’t be a priest and didn’t want to be a nun. She attended the United Methodist-related Hendrix College, and there found a home in United Methodism. She earned her M.Div. in 1999 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. While at Union, she seriously considered moving to a denomination that did not believe that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” She was inspired, however, by the strength and power of the movements for justice for LGBTQI people within the United Methodist Church. Recalling that she had regarded with envy her mentors and colleagues who had taken part in the Civil Rights movement, she realized that she had an opportunity to take part in another historic movement for equality. She felt called to work for justice for all within the United Methodist Church. She has served UM churches in Manhattan, White Plains, Coppell, TX, Buchanan, NY, and currently, Katonah, NY, where she joyfully officiated her first same-sex marriage. She is grateful for the blessings of her own marriage to Barry Mangione, a pediatric physical therapist, musician, and awesome stepdad to their two teenage kids.
Rev. Thomas Carney
The Rev. Thomas P. Carney is a native New Yorker who is currently serving the United Methodist Church of Babylon on Long Island. He was ordained an Elder in the New York Annual Conference in June of 1980. He has also served churches in Palenville, Quarryville, Malden-on-Hudson, Lamb's Corners and Greenville-Norton Hill, NY. He served the Greenville-Norton Hill Church for 36 years. At this time in his ministry the full inclusion of LGBTQI persons in the Methodist church is a priority in his witness. He has 5 children and 11 grandchildren.
Mickey Correa, LCSW, M.Div. is a licensed psychotherapist in NYC. He currently serves as pastor of Christ Church Washington Heights and an employee assistance counselor working with professionals in the field of education around issues with addiction and grief among a host of other stressors. Mickey is also an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York and has also served as lecturer at Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service. Of Puerto Rican descent, Mickey was born and raised in the infamous public housing complex of Red Hook projects, in Brooklyn. Mickey obtained his BA from Hunter College, majoring in History & Religion. Upon graduation and working at the Coalition for the Homeless as a bilingual Crisis counselor he was accepted into a joint MSW/M.Div. program between Fordham University and the New York Theological Seminary. At Fordham he specialized in Clinical Social Work and obtained a specialization in Substance Abuse Treatment. Mickey has also done postgraduate training in psychoanalysis.
Rev. Hermon L. Darden Jr.
Rev. Hermon L. Darden Jr. is a native New Yorker who attended the NYC public schools. He is a graduate of York College, CUNY, BA 1974; Johnson C. Smith Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Ga. M Div. 1977; and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL. D Min. 2011. He has served as an instructor at NYC Technical College, and adjunct lecturer at New York Theological Seminary. Rev Darden has served as pastor of churches in Harlem, southeast Queens, the Hudson Valley, lower Manhattan, and Westchester County, NY He worked as an officer or active member in ecumenical organizations of each area where he has been appointed. Hermon has held leadership positions for several districts and the annual conference of the United Methodist Church.
Hermon has been an educated advocate for the rights of LGBTQI people for his entire tenure in the NY Annual Conference. He has traveled for missional and ecumenical healing to South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Korea, and Nicaragua, Israel and Palestine. His ecumenical work includes travel with the Witness for Peace and the World Vision Organizations. Rev. Darden is a member of the board of directors of the Brooklyn Council of Churches, and a participant in the 67th Precinct (East Flatbush) Clergy Council. Dr. Darden is appointed to serve as the senior pastor of the Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church, East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Mary Edwards-Ransom is a cradle United Methodist and the daughter of three clergy parents. She is a member of the New Paltz United Methodist Church, and she lives in Highland with her wife and toddler son. Mary teaches 7th grade biology at Fallsburg Jr/Sr High School in Sullivan County.
Rev. Karen Eiler
Rev. Karen Eiler is a native Hoosier and cradle United Methodist, who has lived in Connecticut and New York long enough for the East Coast to feel like home. Her undergraduate degree in foreign languages led to a career in marketing and management at IBM, during which it never, ever occurred to her that she would end up as a pastor. She imagines God laughing as she worked as the Christian Education Director of a large program, then made her way through Yale Divinity School. She has served United Methodist churches in Ridgefield and Danbury, CT, and has been the senior pastor at Memorial UMC in White Plains since July 2013. Karen is passionate about helping people connect with God and one another through high-quality worship, engaging education opportunities, social justice and service work, and just plain having fun together. Karen has three young adult children.
Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt
Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt is called to be a lay person. She has an MDiv from Perkins School of Theology, SMU, and is Director of the Ministry Resource Center, Yale Divinity School. She has been a delegate to several General and Jurisdictional Conferences of the UMC, member of the NY Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and District Committee on Ordained Ministry. Carolyn has long been a member of MFSA and MIND, was an 18 year politically elected member of the Board of Education in Cheshire, CT. Carolyn is a co-leader of an adult learning group every Sunday at Cheshire UMC, is on the Missions/Social Concerns Committee. For fun she enjoys learning through world travel and exploring the outdoors. Carolyn is married to George Engelhardt as has two children, Hardin and Jeffers.
Rev. Vicki Flippin
Rev. Vicki Flippin is the Pastor of Social Justice, Exploring Faith, and Inter-generational Ministries at The Church of the Village, a progressive, multi-racial, and Reconciling United Methodist Church in Manhattan. A graduate of Yale Divinity School ('08) and the University of Chicago ('05), Flippin has served previously as senior pastor at Diamond Hill UMC in Connecticut, which joined the Reconciling movement during her tenure. She currently serves in leadership roles in the New York Annual Conference's Commission on Religion as well as MIND, working for both racial and LGBT equality with equal fervor. A proud signer and clergy recruiter for the Covenant of Conscience, she is committed to the practice of marriage equality in the UMC. Flippin has close family and church ties to both Taiwan and the American Midwest and currently enjoys life in New York City with her husband and two eccentric cats.
Alexis Francisco serves as Assistant Pastor for Discipleship and Leadership Development at New Day Church, a Bronx based multi-racial faith community committed to connecting with God authentically, crossing boundaries and confronting social injustice. Alexis received a Masters in Social Work from Silberman School of Social work at Hunter College and is passionately engaged in transformative community organizing that aims to improve the material conditions of residents of the Northwest Bronx, and shift the dynamics of power and oppression in New York City. His identities as a queer AfroLatino first-generation immigrant guide his commitment to intersectional movements for justice. Alexis is currently an M.Div. student at Union Theological Seminary.
Rev. Roy Grubbs
Roy Grubbs is the pastor of the Centerport UMC. He is a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry and Chairperson of the Long Island East District Committee on Ministry.
Rev. Wongee Joh
Rev. Wongee Joh received her M.Div. degree from Drew Theological School in 2008 and currently serves at NOW UMC, a larger cooperative parish of six churches in the NY-CT district of the NYAC. She served as an associate chaplain at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie for six years. As a Korean-American woman pastor, she encounters challenges in ministerial contexts that require critical reflection on how biblical authority is abused and misused to legitimate injustices as well as active engagement in order to transform them. She was active in Coloring Beyond the Lines, a network of clergy working on intercultural communications/competency through a grant from the General Commission on Race and Religion. Joh is Chairperson of the New York-Connecticut District Council on Ministry, and Vice Chair of the Conference Board of Church and Society. She served on the board of directors for the United Methodist Frontiers Foundation and currently serves as a board member of non-profits in her local communities, serving to meet the needs of those marginalized by poverty as well as fighting economic injustices that maintain such unjust conditions. She enjoys hiking, gardening and taking photographs. She loves raising two daughters with her husband Ben.
Rev. Lea A. Matthews
Lea A. Matthews, a native Mississippian, is the Associate Pastor of Family Life and Connection at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist, in New York City. She served the same church as the Director of Ministry Operations before moving into full ministry. Lea graduated in May with her Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. She holds a Masters of Education from Lehman College, and a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University, where she studied literature. Lea moved to New York City in 2001, where she entered the New York City Teaching Fellows Program. For 10 years, Lea taught English in 3 high-needs schools in the Bronx: Grace Dodge Vocational High School, Teaching and the Professions High School, and most recently, DeWitt Clinton High School. Lea currently resides in Riverdale, with her wife, Rachel, and their 8 year old daughter, Nora.
Rev. Siobhan Sargent
Rev. Siobhan Sargent is the Senior Pastor of Memorial United Methodist Church. Prior to moving to White Plains, Rev. Sargent served as the Associate Pastor of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in Manhattan. Over the last seven years she has worked with children and youth while also developing ministry with students at Columbia University and Morningside Heights.
Rev. Sargent's gifts rest in developing leaders within the church community. She is committed to a fully inclusive church where all ages, races, sexual orientations, gender expressions and economic circumstances are lifted up and affirmed as not only children of God but also as vitally integral to the Body of Christ. With a heart for social justice, Rev. Sargent believes that the "Good News" of the Gospel is found in sharing Jesus' radical message of love with the least, the lost and the marginalized.
Matt Schaeffer has served at Bethel United Methodist Church in Staten Island for six years. Originally from Ohio, he has lived in Virginia, Washington State, and South Korea. He has been married for twenty-three years and has one son who is currently in college. His hobbies include music, travel, and hiking.
Rev. Cathy Schuyler
Rev. Cathy Schuyler is the pastor of the Catskill, Palenville, and Quarryville United Methodist Churches. She has been involved with work for justice and inclusion in the church since before her ordination in 1990. She is married to the Rev. Rick Edwards. They have three daughters, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and a beautiful grandson.
Rev. Dr. Althea Spencer Miller
Dr. Althea Spencer Miller, a Jamaican, was ordained elder in the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. She is Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies at Drew Theological School, a provisional elder in the NYAC, and a Minister in Residence at Church of the Village, Manhattan. Her commitment to justice for social transformation integrates her life. She understands Christian commitment as grounded within a community of faith that is always restless for expressions of God’s “kin-dom” as an ever branching tree that can nest every seeking bird. This is a summation of all that she learned through Sunday school at Lyndhurst in Kingston, the United Theological College of the West Indies (B.A. Th.), Candler School of Theology (Th.M.) and Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D).
Charlotte Patton is an actor and member of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, a reconciling congregation on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She grew up United Methodist and left the church for a few years to explore other spiritual paths. When she returned to the church she was reluctant to join because of the UMC’s prejudice against lesbian and gay people; she was and remains especially offended by the clause in the in the Book of Discipline that states “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” She decided that the only way she could re-join the UMC was to do everything in her power to change that clause. MIND is the most effective way she has found to carry out that pledge to herself. She has appeared in a number of theatres in New York, L.A. and regional theatres where she has become quite adept at playing alcoholics and drug addicts. She has appeared in soaps, commercials, network television and in her critically acclaimed one-woman cabaret show, “Looking for Love in the 21st Century,” for which she received a nomination for Best Female Vocalist for Broadway World Cabaret Awards.
Karen G. Prudente
Karen G. Prudente is a lifelong United Methodist and a member of Christ Church United Methodist, a progressive and reconciling church in Manhattan. For 17 years, she served as Assistant Treasurer and created dynamic programs as Executive Secretary for International Ministries for the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission agency of the United Methodist Church. Karen has also served as Vice President of United Methodist Women - NY Conference. Working with and advocating for those marginalized in their communities is Karen’s ethos and witness in sharing God’s love, grace and mercy. Karen continues to hope that the United Methodist Church be a truly welcoming and authentic host to all who serve and are served. Currently, Karen is the NYC Director of Finance & Operations for The Nature Conservancy.
Reverend Jeff Wells
Reverend Jeff Wells is the lead pastor at Community United Methodist Church in Massapequa, NY. He was commissioned in 2005 and ordained in 2008. Jeff has served on the Conference Commission on Religion and Race and the Conference Board of Church and Society, which he chaired from 2006 through 2012. As a Board chair, he also served on the Connectional Ministries Vision Table. Jeff also served for three years as a board member of the United Methodist City Society. He currently serves as a clergy mentor in the Long Island East District. He helped to write and implement the NY Annual Conference policy requiring anti-racism training for all clergy. Jeff has been a life-long passionate advocate for social and economic justice, and human and civil rights. His non-fiction writing has been published widely in print and online. He is currently working on his first novel. Jeff is grateful to be married to Diane Barclay, a gifted psychoanalyst, leader, teacher, singer, and compassionate human being.