Southwest Conference Staff
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Bill was ordained in the U.C.C. on October 13, 1985 and has 30 years of pastoral experience.
Dr. Lyons served St. John's United Church of Christ in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as their pastor for 11 years. During his ministry the congregation adopted new vision, mission and welcome statements, expanded their wedding policy to include all couples regardless of gender, became open and affirming congregation #869, and shifted from beliefs-based to values-based ministry - in that order. Along the way St. John's reconfigured staffing and programs to reflect its identity and size, and crossed the threshold to financial sustainability. While he can't tell you their average worship attendance, he will tell you that since 2013 when the congregation changed the way it measures their success, St. John's has documented at least 365,721 people's lives impacted through the ministry of their 123 members.
"I am coming to the Southwest Conference with excitement, ready to listen and learn how this conference and the national church can empower and equip you for more vital ministry in your communities and congregations. Together we will continue to be the most innovative conference in our beloved United Church of Christ, while we discover what new calling God has placed upon us in our life together."
Acting Associate Conference Minister: Rev. Dr. Barbara Doerrer-Peacock
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Rev. Dr. Barbara Doerrer-Peacock has been in the Southwest Conference since 1994. She and her husband Rich served as co-pastors at the Chino Valley Community Church and South Mountain Community Church. She served as intentional interim at Scottsdale Congregational UCC, and most recently at Desert Heritage Church. She also served associate pastor at Velda Rose United Methodist Church in Mesa. Between 1998 and 2008, she was one of the adjunct staff of the Southwest Conference serving in various capacities including stewardship, church renewal, and five years as camp director. She was ordained in the Wisconsin Conference in 1985. She and Rich have three grown children, one granddaughter, and a strong-willed terrier.
Assistant to the Conference Minister: Eli Johnson
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A graduate from the University of Arizona, Eli has grown up in the UCC, working with conference-wide events as well as active involvement with his local church in Tucson, AZ. Eli’s background has included work with local and federal political campaigns, as well as general community development within Pima county and greater Arizona. He joined the Conference staff as the Relational Communications & Administrative Assistant in March of 2016 and will be training over the next few months under Holly as she approaches her retirement this summer.
Relational Communications Coordinator: Wende Gonzales
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Telecommuting from Tucson, Wende has helped spiritual communities with their online presence since 2014, after 21 years as accountant/office manager for a mechanical contractor. She is active at Saguaro Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as a member of the postmodern worship team, the Sol Team, a band vocalist, elder, and church camp director.