Church Staff

 

Senior Pastor Peter Shober grew up in both the Minneapolis and Seattle areas. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Minnesota and went to seminary at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. After graduating from seminary he served a parish in Chewelah, Washington for 6 years. He was called to serve as Pastor at University Congregational Church in 1991. He is married to Barbara Cowan and they have three children. Peter enjoys golfing, hiking, backpacking and fishing. Peter was named the 2006 Peacemaker of the Year by the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center and the Missoula Peace Quilters.

petershober@uccmsla.org

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Amy Carter (Associate Pastor and Family Ministries) is a life long member of the United Church of Christ. She grew up in Tokyo, Japan a child of missionaries of the United Church of Christ. A graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio, Amy spent one year as a mission intern working in the Philippines. She graduated from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California and served the United Congregational Church in Butte, Montana for 8 years. She was called as Associate Pastor of University Congregational Church in 2001. She is married to Huw Griffiths and they have 1 child – Evan. Amy enjoys playing with the flute ensemble, hiking, kayaking, gardening and hanging out with her family.

Amy took a three-month sabbatical, June 26 - September 24, 2006. During that time she traveled to Columbia, South America as part of a delegation from Witness for Peace, spent time with her family, and deepened her spiritual life.

AmyCarter@uccmsla.org

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Janice Springer (Minister for Spiritual Formation)  began her ministry with University Congregational Church in 2006. She lives in an off-grid log cabin in Frenchtown for one-third of the year. The rest of the time she lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with her partner Sue Weier, also a UCC pastor.

Janice has three grown children: Christie and Katy live in the Missoula area and David is in St. Louis. Janice and Sue have 4 grandchildren.

She is a life-long member of the United Church of Christ and a graduate of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. For 24 years she served churches in Missouri, Iowa and Michigan. Then she began a ministry of writing, teaching and retreat work around three of her passions: worship, deep prayer, and faith communities.

When she is in residence with us, Janice joins Peter and Amy in preaching and pastoral work, and also leads several retreats each summer. When she is in Iowa, she works with us in various ways electronically and continues her writing and retreat ministry with churches in the Midwest.

Janice loves family, church, and dark chocolate. She plays a flute, reads French, walks with her dog, and is happily addicted to books.

revjanicespringer@juno.com

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Tom King (Minister for Spiritual Formation) is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he earned a Masters of Divinity from North Park Seminary in Chicago in 1976 and a certificate in Spiritual Direction from North Park in 2008.

Tom served as a pastor with Community Covenant Church in Missoula from 1976-1993. He went on in ministry as a chaplain with Partners Hospice from 1993 to 2009. He now works three days a week as a chaplain with St. Patrick Hospital.

Tom shares life with his wife Carol, one son, three grandsons, three horses, and one dog.

revtomking@gmail.com

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Sonya Greef (Church Administrator)

grew up in Hamilton, Montana and even though she graduated from MSU she always remained loyal to the Griz.  

When she isn't at work, Sonya can be found chasing her children, watching soccer, knitting, or reading.  Her latest endeavor is to yarn bomb a tree. 

sonya.greef@uccmsla.org

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Kels Phelps (Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries) grew up in Butte, MT. He graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2010, where he studied philosophy and religion. He grew up in the Lutheran Church and worked as a camp counselor for four summers. He began serving as Director of Youth Ministries at University Congregational Church in 2010.

Kels enjoys backpacking, flyfishing, playing guitar, mountain biking, good conversation, and being married to Jess.

kphelps@uccmsla.org

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Alice Williams (organist) has been organist for UCC since September 1981.  She studied organ with John Ellis at the University of Montana.  Alice is also the accompanist for the Missoula Community Chorus.   She and her husband Clem spend a lot of time at their cabin enjoying the outdoors.  Besides working with the many musical groups in the church, she plays the folk harp at various times during the church year.


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Jeff Stickney (organist) is a native Montanan from Miles City. He graduated from the University of Montana in 1981 with a BA degree majoring in music, and completed a MM degree at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in organ performance in 1983. Jeff has been a Registered Piano Technician in the Piano Technicians Guild since 1984, and has been in Missoula since 1990 tuning and servicing pianos. He is also active as a freelance musician in the Missoula area playing the trumpet, organ and piano. Jeff and his family have been a part of University Congregational Church since their return to Missoula in May of 1990.


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Stephen Adoff (Director of Handbell Choir) is a native of New York City. He attended the nationally recognized High School of Music and Art. Later studies at Manhattan School of Music culminated in a Master of Music degree in piano performance. In addition, he completed post-graduate work in piano and theory at Florida State University. Stephen, his wife Gina, and their two children have lived in Missoula since 1974. He is active here in the Northwest as a pianist, a published composer of piano music, teacher and clinician. He has recorded two collections of piano music that are currently available in Montana: Piano Duet Favorites (with Lucien Hut) and Ragtime Classics. Stephen has been director of the Jubilation Handbell Ringers since 1998. When he's not involved in some musical activity, Stephen, and his wife Gina, love to travel. Favorite places; Martha's Vineyard, Mass. and the Oregon coast. He also loves to tinker with his grandmother's classic Jewish recipes. Latest reincarnation: 'Italian' potato latkes (add to the recipe, one small zucchini, a pinch of oregano and a splash of chianti...oy gevalt!!)


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Ron Wilcott (Music Coordinator and Chancel Choir Director) has served UCC as Coordinator of Music and Chancel Choir Director since August, 2000. He also directs the UCC Strings. Outside the church, Ron serves as the conductor of the Missoula Community Chorus and teaches choral and instrumental music at Loyola High School. Ron has led choral programs at Sentinel High School in Missoula, the University of South Carolina Aiken, Dixie College (St. George UT), and East Bakersfield High School (Bakersfield CA). He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral music from Michigan State University and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Southern California.

Since graduating from high school Ron has continuously worked in music as a teacher, conductor and performer. Comfortable with all styles of music, he has worked with choirs of all ability levels in classical and popular idioms, coached instrumental groups from string quartets to pep bands, conducted major works for chorus and orchestra, performed as baritone soloist, and played guitar, bass guitar and cello. Ron has been active in professional organizations for choral music and music education by adjudicating, holding state offices, presenting interest sessions, participating in panel discussions and conducting performances at state conferences. Additionally, he has served on the board for the Missoula International Choral Festival since 2000. ,Ron believes music is an integral part of church life, and, as an emotional expression of liturgy, and word, brings both participants and listeners closer to God.

Ron, his wife, Debbie, and sons Lee and Glenn, have lived in Missoula since 1999. They enjoy skiing, kayaking and other outdoor activities in additional to the rich musical life of our area.

rwilcott@q.com

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Sarah Hallgrimson (Director of Children's Music) is a native Montanan and is currently working on a degree in Music at the University of Montana, and plans to graduate in May 2011. She has worked the past five summers at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp as a camp hand, counselor, arts and crafts coordinator, waterfront coordinator, high ropes facilitator and wilderness coordinator. A violin performance major, Sarah is looking forward to learning, playing and praising through music with the children at UCC.

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Zoe Moore (Faith Development Support Staff) grew up in Spokane, Washington. She recently graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham with a degree in Sociology. She grew up in a Lutheran congregation and spent four summers working on
Flathead lake as a camp-hand, counselor, garden coordinator, and arts & crafts coordinator. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, crafting, yoga, and spending time with friends and family. She is looking forward to getting to know and work with the congregation and youth at UCC!

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Bonnie Buckingham (Justice & Witness Support Staff) has been a member of UCC for almost 20 years. She worked as the Faith Development Coordinator for 3 years, and has many fond memories of enthusiastic Christmas Pageant performances. Bonnie has served on the Cabinet, including one year as Moderator during our visioning campaign, and has been actively involved with Worship & Spiritual Life. Bonnie enjoys UCC's social justice involvement and leadership in the community, and is excited to help create stronger connections with our ministry partners. Bonnie has served on the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center Coordinating Council and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Poverello Center. While earning her MSW (Social Work) degree, Bonnie researched and produced a visual history of the United Church of Christ and its social activism throughout history.

Bonnie worked for over 12 years at the Missoula Food Bank.  While there, she helped to create the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition, where she is now the Executive Director.  Her work involves creating a sustainable future through local food and farming initiatives.  In addition to her passion for social justice, Bonnie greatly enjoys getting outside to enjoy 'the Great Cathedral', most recently while traversing the Bob Marshall with other UCC trekkers.

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