|Rev. Monroe – preacher, author, convener, mentor – holds a Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, a Jurist Doctorate from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Northwestern University. A recent transplant to Houston, Texas, Rev. Monroe previously spent time in law and ministry in the Chicago area where she began her legal career at Cassiday, Schade & Gloor specializing in Medical Malpractice and later founded Monroe Law & Associates, a residential and commercial real estate boutique firm. Yet it was an internship with the ACLU while still in law school that birthed the complexities of faith and justice in her spirit that have found fertile soil in the United Church of Christ. Rev. Monroe has served as Justice/Witness Minister and Youth Pastor at Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland, Il and as Associate Conference Minister for the Fox Valley Association of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ. Rev. Monroe has developed and presented for women’s retreats and conferences and is the co-author of Exodus Women Volume One, Securing the Sacred: Usable Truths, Secret Pledges, and Clarion Calls in the Story of Shiphrah and Puah, the Midwives and The Young Prophets curriculum and has written several articles on pluralism with an eye toward the formation of youth in the five world religions. Rev. Vanessa is married to Kevin Monroe and is the proud mother of Paige, Kaleb, and Maya.|
|Phil is a retired public school teacher who worked 31 years in public education both here in Texas and in New York state. He moved to the Houston area in 1985 from New York. He was born and raised in Central New York. He is a father and grandfather. His hobbies are working on his collection of classic automobiles. He has been a member of Bethel Church UCC since 2015. He has been on the consistory of the church since 2017. He is currently the president of the consistory.|
|Lillian Walker is the mother of two. She works in the Texas Medical Center where she is active in many volunteer services. She loves family and traveling.|
|Kathryn Smith was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. Her formal music education began at an early age when she was accepted into the Charleston County School of the Arts as a piano major. Her studies there led her to audition for the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, an exclusive residential program. Upon graduating from Governor’s School, Kathryn proceeded to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Moore’s School of Music at the University of Houston and has lived in Houston ever since. Through her experiences, she developed a passion for teaching piano and has maintained a thriving studio for over a decade. She is proud to play weekly as the service musician at Bethel, United Church of Christ, and performs frequently, both as a freelance pianist, and as a keyboardist in local Houston bands. In addition to musical pursuits, Kathryn is very active in the Houston fitness community. Her hobbies include biking, running, and practicing yoga, and she enjoys teaching barre, cycling, rebounding, and aerial arts at DEFINE body and mind.|
|Lloyd Matthews was born in Abilene, Texas. He graduated from high school and college in Albuquerque, New Mexico, settling in Houston in 1981. He was an elementary school technologist in HISD in Houston’s fifth ward for 20 years. He enjoys songwriting and water exercise. Lloyd and his wife Diane, have two dogs, Daisy and Junebug. Lloyd joined Bethel in 2011.|
Diane Matthews was born in Michigan, graduating from high school in Battle Creek and college in Kalamazoo. She moved to Houston in 1983 and taught middle school technology for the Houston Independent School District for 27 years before joining the Bethel staff. Diane and her husband Lloyd enjoy water exercise and traveling, and have two dogs, Daisy and Junebug. Diane joined Bethel in 2011.