Staff

Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister

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Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, an authorized minister with the United Church of Christ, grew up in a small town in northwest Iowa and is a graduate of The University of Iowa and Eden Theological Seminary. She is a part of the UCC’s “Next Generation Leadership Initiative,” an educational program that encourages transformational leadership in younger UCC clergy and is currently working on earning her MBA through Drake University.

Jessica came to us most recently after serving nine years as Pastor of Congregational United Church of Christ in Newton, Iowa. Prior to that, she served for four years as Minister for Children, Youth, and Families of Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Jessica particularly enjoys preaching, teaching, singing, and engaging in ecumenical and interfaith ventures. She is dedicated to confronting and dismantling racism and white supremacy and sees this work as intimately connected with the struggle for justice in other areas such as poverty, climate change, and LGBTQ+ matters, to name a few. It is her desire and intention to work with First United Church to discern how our faith calls, challenges, and inspires us to confront these intertwined injustices as we join with partners (ecumenical, interfaith, and secular) to more fully realize God’s realm of justice, love, and peace here and now.

Jessica is the spouse of Martin and mama of Jabali. She enjoys reading, jogging, and family dance parties and walks.

Lisa Stanger, Office Manager

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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.

Samuel Grace, Music Director

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Samuel Grace is an Associate Instructor and DM student in Choral Conducting at IU. He lived most recently in Minneapolis where he conducts a semi-professional ensemble, MPLS (imPulse). Past sacred music positions include Director of Worship and Music at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Minneapolis) and Calvin Presbyterian Church (Long Lake, MN). 

Samuel believes strongly in the inclusive community inspired by sacred music and warmly welcomes new and old musicians of all abilities an opportunity to be involved! 

Samuel lives in Bloomington with his wife (Megan) and dog (CJ). In his free time, he enjoys riding his bike, visiting friends, and playing trivia games. Samuel holds degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and The University of Minnesota.

Hansol Kim, Volunteer Organist

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Hansol Kim, a native of Busan, South Korea, received her Performer Diploma in Organ at Indiana University (2018), where she studied organ performance with Dr. Janette Fishell. She is currently working at Indiana University Children Choir as a pianist. Ms. Kim is a laureate of several performance competitions. Most recently, she was awarded co-second prize at the Sursa American Organ Competition in 2017. She also won first place at the Fox Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists Scholarship Competition in 2016. In addition to appearances as a church musician, she is first and foremost a Christian. Her mission is to bring God’s love to people through her music. She is trying to live as a Christian with spirituality, intellect and sensitivity in Jesus Christ.

Dedric Dennist Jr., Web Content & Media Coordinator

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Dedric Dennist, was born and raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin. He moved to Bloomington for college where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Informatics with a cognate in Telecommunications from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University. Dedric graduated in May of 2018. He continued his education which he pursued and attained his Masters in Strategic Management through the Kelley School of Business in May of 2020.