Rev. Dr. Jack Skiles, Minister

The Rev. Dr. Jack E. Skiles was called to our ministerial staff in July of 2006.  Dr. Skiles is a native Hoosier and a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Experimental Psychology.  He received his Master’s of Divinity from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Kansas and his Doctor of Ministry from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Dr. Skiles was ordained while serving the merged ABC/UCC Grosse Pointe, Michigan United Church in 1979.  He has also served at First Baptist Church of Indianapolis and for sixteen years at the South Church in the greater Chicago northwest suburbs of Mt. Prospect.

Dr. Skiles is married to the Rev. Lynn James, who is ordained in both the ABC and the UCC as well as being a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) with a private practice in Bloomington.  Their daughter, Kali, is a senior at Elmhurst College in the western suburbs of Chicago, and their son, Aaron, is a recent IU Indianapolis Law School graduate.  Aaron is married to Anne, who is an OB/GYN nurse on the north side of Indianapolis near their Broad Ripple home.

Dr. Skiles is extremely interested in the progressive church movement, homelessness and poverty concerns, human rights, and the leadership that people of faith must establish in the local and larger communities as the result of their beliefs.

Lisa Stanger, Office Manager

Lisa Stanger has been with us since August of 2005.

Lisa comes from a background of office administration and health care.  Lisa is a native of Bloomington.  She graduated from Bloomington High School North and attended Indiana University.  Lisa has two sons, Sean and Jason. Lisa enjoys reading, bowling, dancing, and traveling.

Dawna Petersen, Spiritual Director

Dawna Petersen was called into covenant with First United Church to provide a ministry of spiritual direction in February 2013.  Passionate about spaces for wonder, joy, peace, creativity,  and stillness to incubate and emerge, Dawna seeks to recognize, provide, share, and celebrate those spaces for all generations.  Her certification in spiritual direction is from the Benedict Inn Spiritual Direction Internship in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has further training in spiritual formation from the Upper Room Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation and is a Veriditas certified labyrinth facilitator.  She earned a bachelor’s degree and pursued graduate studies in Psychology at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Dawna grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where she met her husband, Doug.  They have lived in Bloomington since 1978 and together owned and operated White Mountain Ice Creamery for twenty-three years.  They have three sons, three grandchildren, two granddogs, and one grandkitty and make the rounds to visit them in Des Moines, Chicago, and Indianapolis as often as they can.

Dawna finds joy in expressive arts, and in travel and hiking as spiritual practice; she is particularly interested in issues surrounding caregiving, dementia, and violence against women.

April Hennessey, Family Life/Media Coordinator

April Hennessey joined the staff in February of 2015 after being a member of the congregation for several years. She moved to Bloomington in 2007 for graduate school and fell in love with the community. Having grown up in a military family whose adventures meant frequent relocation, settling down has been a welcome change. In addition to her Master’s degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, April is also a licensed educator who has taught at both college and high school levels. She is passionate about community outreach and movements that affect marginalized populations, particularly: people of color, women and the GLBTQ community.

Mother to one four year old, April spends much of her free-time running behind bicycles and learning about the differences between Autobots and Decepticons. She is also an occasional wordsmith, compulsive reader and a professional daydreamer who loves to contemplate new ways of bringing divergent groups of people into conversation with one another.

Derek Roe, Child/Youth Education Coordinator

E-mail Derek

Derek Roe, M.Div. is now our Children’s and Youth Education Coordinator. Previously, he served as one of our Children’s Learning Time Teachers for a year before taking on this new role in March 2016. A Kentucky native, Derek did his undergraduate work in psychology before entering ministry, and is currently working toward ordination in the United Church of Christ. Derek is certified in Infant/Child/Adult CPR and First Aid. He lives in Bloomington with his spouse, Jeannine, and their very silly deaf dog.

Vini Frizzo, Music Director

Vini Frizzo is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in choral conducting and composition at Indiana University. He holds a BA in Keyboard Studies and French from Murray State University and a MM degree in composition at Louisiana State University. Prior to his arrival to Bloomington, he was a faculty member of the Theory and Composition Department at Sam Houston State University. His lovely wife, Ashley Frizzo, teaches music at Clear Creek Elementary Schools and enjoys singing with the First United Church Choir.

Mr. Frizzo believes that music is a way to bring people together and welcomes all who have the desire to sing. He is interested in creating an open environment that encourages a productive, an educational, and a fun social gathering. First United Choir fosters a sense of fellowship, as well as providing the worship service with beautiful music.