Rev. Helen Hempfling, Pastor
Pastor Helen Hempfling has served First Christian Christian Church since 1996. An ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Helen received 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 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.
Ashlyn Reynolds, Director of Youth Ministries
Ashlyn Reynolds grew up in Bedford, attending Bedford First Christian Church. There she participated in leadership opportunities within the church as well as working with youth and children as sponsor, leader, teacher, mentor, and friend. Ashlyn graduated with a BFA in photography from Indiana University in 2017. Following graduation she participated in the National Benevolent Association’s XPLOR program. During her residency she interned for Prison Performing Arts, an organization that provides theater programs for incarcerated youth and adults. The internship experience affirmed her passion for learning and education in the arts. She is currently pursuing a masters in art education at Indiana University, and hopes to encourage creativity in middle and high schoolers.
Sarah Lynne Gershon, Director of Faith Formation and Family Ministries
Sarah Lynne Gershon is a Master of Divinity student at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) with a church background that spans evangelical as well as mainline protestant traditions. Through her studies at CTS, she discovered that she resonates deeply with Disciples theology, culture, history, polity and practice. Sarah joined the FCC staff in January 2020, and will begin her CTS field work with us for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Jan Harrington, Director of Music
Jan Harrington 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 at IU, he conducted the Indiana University Singers,as well as various orchestral concerts, operas and oratorios. For 10 years he was conductor of the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. He also 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.
Jihye Choi, Assistant Director of Music, Organist and Handbell Choir Director
Jihye Choi is an organist originally from South Korea who is pursuing a Doctor of Music in Organ at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Jihye received her Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from the University of Cincinnati (College-Conservatory of Music), where she studied with Dr. Michael Unger. She won First-prize at the Strader Organ Competition in 2015 and 2017, which awarded her a full-tuition scholarship to obtain her master’s degree.
Ms. Choi received a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music from the Seoul Theological University, where she was a recipient of a four-year scholarship as a top student of the church music department and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2010.
Jihye has won many awards in organ competitions. Prizes include First Prize in Duo in the YoungSan Organ competition in South Korea (2014); she won the Jessie Lyle Marsh Award at the Sydney Organ Competition (2016) in Australia. She also placed Second prize in the Arthur Poister Organ Scholarship Competition (2016), which allowed her to perform a winner’s recital at Hendricks Chapel in Syracuse, New York. She also has performed as an active concert organist in South Korea, the United States, Australia, and Germany.
Ellie Pruneau, Jazz Vespers Director
Linda Abe, Wedding Ministry and Jazz Vespers Ministry
Jennifer Fettchenhauer, Executive Administrator
Eve Schultes-Ridge, Administrative Assistant
Haley Norris, College Ministry Intern
Lily Hoover and Gabby Johnson, Childcare Ministry
John Adams, Sunday Caretaker and Night Security