Rev. Helen Hempfling, Pastor
The Rev. Helen Hempfling has served First Christian Christian Church in various capacities since 1996. An ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Helen received her BA in Political Science from Hiram College and her Master of Divinity Degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has served congregations in Tennessee, Indiana, and the state of Washington. Some of the highlights of her life include: speaking to the 1983 Assembly of the World Council of Churches (where she had a life changing conversation with Archbishop Desmund Tutu), sharing a meal with Millard Fuller (founder of Habitat for Humanity), being in the home of Will Campbell (author of “Brother to a Dragonfly”), and giving a shoulder rub to Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame). Highlights aside, she finds greater joy in the simpler things of life: playing a board game with her husband Bruce every night, watching her sons Sam and Jonathan play rugby, relishing her mother-daughter phone conversations with Allison, and spending time at the beach and in the mountains with her extended family. She is humbled by the gift of being able to share bread and wine at a table that welcomes all, and is honored by the privilege of being invited to be present with others during the many and varied circumstances of life.
Mark Knowles, Director of Outreach and Service Ministries
Mark has worked in a number of places and roles supporting people in various aspects of their lives. Although this has ranged in location (from rural El Salvador to urban Milwaukee), age groups (from early childhood to older adults), and tasks (from inspecting latrines to leading training sessions), he most enjoys listening to people talk about their passions/calls and finding tangible ways to encourage them in those pursuits. Mark and his wife, Danielle, moved to Bloomington in 2011 and became involved at First Christian shortly thereafter. In terms of personal interests, he hates onions almost as fervently as he enjoys watching Ohio State and Liverpool FC football.
Dr. Jan Harrington, Director of Music
Jan Harrington, Director of Music at First Christian Church, comes to us after 15 years of service as Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Martinsville. Jan is Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he conducted and taught for 33 years until his retirement in 2007. During his entire tenure there, he conducted the Indiana University Singers, a select virtuoso choir of 32 singers, as well as various orchestral concerts, operas and oratorios. For 10 years he was conductor of the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, a group devoted to the performance of avant-garde vocal music, with whom he performed over 120 new pieces from the avant-garde as well as classic 20th century works, including many world premieres. He served as Chair of the Choral Department from 1998 to his retirement, taught graduate conducting, and continues to act as mentor to the graduate choral conducting students as well as conduct professionally. During the 2010-2011 academic year, he served as Visiting Professor of Conducting and Interim Director of Choral Ensembles at DePauw University and gave graduate choral seminars at Temple University. Maestro Harrington continues as the Artistic Director of the professional chamber chorus Apollo’s Voice, which he founded at the request of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1998. Also an active conductor of opera and orchestral performances, his operatic performances have spanned the repertoire from Monteverdi’s Orfeo to John Adams’ Nixon in China, and his orchestral and choral performances have been consistently noted for their inventive programming, communicative excitement, and technical brilliance. His conducting students hold choral and orchestral positions throughout the United States and in 12 foreign countries.
Nicole Simental, Assistant Director of Music
Nicole Simental is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Music in Organ Performance at Indiana university. She received her Masters from the Sacred Music program at the University of Notre Dame and her undergraduate degree in Organ Performance from from Wheaton College. She has studied with David Schrader, David Boe, Web Wiggins, Edward Zimmerman, Delbert Disselhorst, Craig Cramer and currently studies with Christopher Young. At the age of twelve, she was appointed organist of St. Gabriel in Chicago. Upon moving to Oberlin, she accompanied the Concert Choir, and subsequently the Women’s Chorale of Wheaton College. At Notre Dame, she was a graduate assistant for the Liturgical Choir and the Women’s Choir and was the organist at Christ the King Lutheran Church. Before coming to First Christian Church, she was the organ scholar at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis.
Connie Myers, Director of Faith Formation & Family Ministries
A southern Indiana native, Connie Myers spent time with her family in Evansville, Indianapolis, and Vincennes before finding her heart’s home in Bloomington. A former English major with a lingering passion for poetry, Connie is drawn to the beauty and simplicity at the heart of the biblical story. That attraction eventually led her to coordinate the Children Worship & Wonder program at FCC. With her husband, Kip, and daughter, Kate, Connie lives near Ellettsville. Her hobbies include reading, playing word games, putzing in her deck garden, and traveling with her family.
Andrea Fletcher, Director of Youth Ministries
Andrea “Andi” Fletcher was born and raised in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Andrea grew up as a 4th generation member of the First Congregation Church of North Adams (UCC), the same church where her mother, grandfather, and great-grandparents were members. She got her first taste of Youth Ministry through attending and working at Camp Ashmere (a Christian summer camp), and joining the youth group of a nearby Baptist church. Andrea attended College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, where she studied human ecology and early childhood education. While in Bar Harbor, Andrea took up cooking, becoming a professional Pastry Chef, and meeting her husband, Jeff, who is a chef. The couple relocated from Maine to Bloomington in the fall of 2008. They now live in Ellettsville with their son, Ethan, and their dog Daisy. Andrea enjoys cooking, reading, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox and the Indianapolis Colts. She is currently working toward a B.A. in Youth Ministry Leadership from Eastern University.
Administrator: Jennifer Fettchenhauer
Administrative Assistant: Eve Schultes-Ridge
Sunday Caretaker and Night Security: John Adams
Youth Intern: Gena Breeden
Music Intern: Carter Adams
Treasurers: John & Carole Ambler
Financial Secretaries: Melissa Jackson, Patti Parkes, & Mary Swarthout
Childcare Ministry: Lily Hoover
Wedding Ministry: Linda Abe