Ecumenical Leaders

  • Nannette Banks

    Reverend Nannette E. Banks has engaged in ministry and learning across a myriad of contexts around the world including Turkey, Jerusalem, Cairo, London and Barranquilla. She participated with the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute and the World Council of Churches 10th assembly in Seoul and Busan South Korea around the theme "God of Life, lead us to Justice and Peace. She is an ordained minister within the United Church of Christ and is a member of Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland, Illinois.

    Additionally, she was a panelist for the Childfree: Conversations about Choice, Circumstance and Ambivalence forum in conjunction with the Jane Adams Hull House. As a poet, Nannette has worked extensively with the Neighborhood Writing Alliance as a group facilitator in Canada, New York, Minnesota and Chicago. Her voice has been heard in print, on the radio, on stages and behind pulpits throughout Chicago and the Midwest. Currently, Nannette is the Director of Alumni/ae and Church Relations at McCormick Theological Seminary. In addition to a Master of Divinity degree, she holds degrees as a Master in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Aurora University

  • Laura Fregin

    Laura Fregin is Associate Minister of First Congregational Church in Los Angelos. Previously Laura was Senior Minister of National Avenue. Both of these congregations are progressive faith communities with hearts for social justice that are housed in a traditional framework. 

    She has been an outspoken advocate for the inclusion of all people in the church of Jesus Christ and her deep-rooted belief that we have all been made in God’s image has encouraged her to work in helping communities of faith join together in celebrating our divine image.

    For the past few years, Laura has worked with pastoral interns and residents in ministry settings and loves working with young pastors as a fellow traveler in pursuit of this particular path in the faith journey.

    In her spare time, she is the mother of five, grandmother of nine and the wife of G. Frederick Fregin, a retired Equine Cardiologist, who is now a renowned pastor’s spouse.

  • Bob Hill

    Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Texas, Bob Hill served from 1987 -2015 as Senior Minister of the Community Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri, with the distinction of being called to the position as the youngest senior minister in the congregation’s 125-year history. Currently he is working with the Kaufman Foundation in KC.

    Before being called to Community, Bob served as Special Projects Director and Co-Director of Project Return, Inc., a non-profit agency working with ex-prisoners and their families in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to his undergraduate and graduate studies, Bob was a Conscientious Objector during the war in Vietnam and served for two years as a Youth and Family Worker at All Peoples Christian Center in south central Los Angeles. He was ordained at All Peoples Christian Church, in Los Angeles, California, on August 2, 1981.

    Bob holds three degrees: a B.A. degree from Texas Christian University (1977), an M.Div. degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School (1980), and a D.D. degree from Christian Theological Seminary (2000). Bob is married to Priscilla Reckling, and they live in the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri.

  • Sarah Griffith Lund

    Sarah is passionate about loving God, her family, and being part of faith communities. Her personal mission is to partner with others to share God's healing and hope.  She is an ordained minister with standing in the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has served as pastor to churches in Brooklyn, NY, Minneapolis, MN, and New Smyrna Beach, FL.  During her first several years of ministry, Sarah was part of the Bethany Fellow program.  She then served as Regional Minister for the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ where she worked with congregations on vitality and  renewal. After serving Christian Theological Seminary as Vice President for Advancement, in March of 2018, Sarah began  serving as the first woman senior pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Indianapolis, IN. Sarah is also on staff part-time for the United Church of Christ serving as the Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice and she is the Open and Affirming Consultant for the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ. 

    Sarah's formal education includes degrees from Trinity University (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), Rutgers University (MSW), and McCormick Theological Seminary (DMin).

    Sarah is the author of the widely regarded book "Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family and Church" (Chalice Press, 2014) and blogs at Sarah is married to Jonathan Lund, who is a medical massage therapist at Carmel Wellness and they are the proud parents of their elementary age son Carter. Fia, a boxer/poodle mix, is also a beloved member of their family. 

  • Scott Hardin-Nieri

    Scott Hardin-Nieri is an alumnus of the Bethany Fellowship and new to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. Before Asheville, he and his family served as Global Ministry Volunteers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ in a vulnerable cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. 

    Scott is an ordained pastor with the Christian Church (DOC) He is now serving as Associate Minister for Green Chalice. He has joined the Green Chalice team to coordinate the partnership work with Blessed Tomorrow and is also theDirector for the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina. Scott has served as a pastor with Heart of the Rockies Christian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as DOC and Presbyterian congregations in Texas. Scott attended Texas A&M University (Whoop!) and holds a Master of Divinity and a Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. 

    Scott enjoys accompanying people during transformative experiences, whether in worship, spiritual direction, sharing stories, work trips, live music concerts, camps or retreats. He continues to be reminded of his name as “beloved child of God” most clearly in the forests, oceans and deserts and seeks to invite faith communities into conversations regarding creation. He is most alive when playing outside with his partner, Becca, and their two children, Olivia and Nicholas. He is excited to accompany ecumenical colleagues through the joys and pains of ministry life through the Bethany Fellowship Ecumenical. 

  • John Myers

    Reverend Dr. John T. Myers is currently serving as the Minister of Church Affairs for the Eastern Virginia Association of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ assuming the position full time as of January 1st of 2014. His most recent position was as pastor of Corinth Chapel United Church of Christ in Suffolk, Virginia where he served with distinction since 2007. He is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and currently resides in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife of 30 years, Angela. As Minister for Church Affairs, his responsibilities include being the “pastor to pastors” of the forty-four churches of the Eastern Virginia Association in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. His most recent educational accomplishment is the completion of the Doctor of Ministry Degree in Preaching from Chicago Theological Seminary. His call is to make disciples of men, women and children by preaching and teaching the Word of God. His life’s mission is to empower Christian believers to exercise their spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to be instruments of service to God going into all the world performing ministries of outreach, reconciliation and healing as God has ordained.   

  • Don Schutt

    Don Schutt, Founding Director of Bethany Fellows, was born and raised in Southern California. Happily married to Karen Fuller. Proud father of three adult sons. After military service in the US Army, Don received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Pt Loma University and Christian Theological Seminary.

    Ordained with the Christian Church (DOC), Don has served congregations in California and Indiana. Schutt is a private practice counselor and an addicted golfer. Currently he works as staff chaplain with Indiana University Health,and is an active member of Carmel Christian Church and the Indiana Region of the Christian Church (DOC).

  • Kim Gage Ryan

    Kim Gage Ryan serves as Director of Bethany Fellows—a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ministry supporting young clergy in their first five years of ministry. Building on 25 years of congregational experience in Indiana and Missouri, she also consults with congregations to help expand their ministries to reach their goals and visions—specifically in the areas of Christian Education, Evangelism, Welcome and Hospitality and Spiritual Gifts Empowerment.

    She is an active member at Olivet Christian Church in Columbia, MO.

    Born and raised in Amarillo, TX, Kim graduated from Texas Tech University in 1980 and Brite Divinity School in 1984. She has two sons—Gage and Keller and one sweet grandson—Oliver.

  • Melanie Harrell Delaney

    Melanie Harrell Delaney now serves as Co-Director/Pastor of Bethany Fellows after 10 years as the Lead Pastor of Good Shepherd Christian Church in Macedonia, Ohio. Melanie is a Bethany Fellows alum, and is grateful to be able to serve the Bethany Fellows which sustained and enriched not only her ministry, but the entire congregation as they grew.

    Melanie holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Divinity Degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN (where she is also a proud alum of the Disciples Divinity House.) She was ordained into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 2009.

    Melanie is married to Rev. Tyler Delaney (a chaplain for the Cleveland Clinic.) They have three young children, Olivia, Owen and Clayton, who keep them grounded and joyful.