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2021 Chaplains of the Week

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Week 1:
Greg Carey

Greg Carey is Professor of New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 1999. Greg previously taught at Rhodes College and Winthrop University. He holds a BA from Rhodes College, an MDiv from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Vanderbilt University (1996). Greg teaches courses on the New Testament and on biblical and contextual interpretation, along with a doctoral seminar devoted to research methodologies. His elective courses include: Luke and Acts, the Parables of Jesus, and Romans.

Greg’s research interests include the book of Revelation and ancient apocalyptic literature, the Gospel of Luke, and public biblical interpretation. He is the author or co-editor of nine books, including Using Our Outside Voice: Public Biblical Interpretation; Stories Jesus Told: How to Read a Parable; and Apocalyptic Literature in the New Testament. He is currently writing a book on biblical eschatology.

A past president of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Society of Biblical Literature, Greg serves on the editorial boards of Horizons in Biblical Theology, and the Review of Biblical Literature. He has appeared on the BBC, PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel, and he frequently contributes to the Christian Century and Church Anew. He fields media interviews regarding biblical studies and the interface of contemporary Christianity and politics.

An Alabama native, Greg is an active layperson in the United Church of Christ, where he has served in national and international ecumenical settings. He and his wife Jennifer Craighead Carey have four children, three of whom graduate from college in May 2021.

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Week 2: Rev. Dr. Dirkje Legerstee

Rev. Dr. Dirkje F. Legerstee, now retired ( re-engaged with life), has served many local churches in The Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ (SNEUCC) since 1985. She earned her Doctorate at Andover Newton Theological School (Andover Seminary at Yale) in the field of Faith, Health and Spirituality.  She was a field Education Supervisor, Minister in the classroom, and adjunct professor, co-teaching with Dr. Brita Gill-Austern for several years. Dr. Legerstee has facilitated workshops and retreats for church groups throughout New England, including the NHUCC Clergy Convocation and as a keynote leader at the UCC Star Island gathering.  She is an InterPlay Leader, a body centered practice of playful forms rooted in fun, and applied for multiple purposes such as community building.  She is a graduate of The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, leading  experiences combining contemplative practice with reflective art. She has served as ritualist and environmentalist for Spiritual Directors International’s Boston Gathering, using art, music, and dance to create sacred space for John Philip Newell. 

For the past decade Dirkje has developed a family history project entitled Angels in Human Skin, an art and storytelling project telling the story of her family’s survival as Nazi War Victims through WWII, shared with churches, temples, libraries, and schools.  Her gallery and commentary is available for viewing at Open Spirit. She is a fellow at the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at KSC and lives in Westford spending lots of time on Cape Cod with her husband of many years Stephen T. Mague, who works with the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.

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Week 3: 
The Rev. Meredith L. Onion

After 20 years of working in business, Meredith heard the call to ministry. She received her Masters of Divinity in 2013 from Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Pastoral Studies and was ordained in the United Church of Christ.  She is currently the Associate Minister of Pastoral Care with the First Congregational Church of Western Springs. Meredith’s ministry focuses on pastoral care and small group leadership, including being the staff liaison for two women’s book studies, a Moms of Teens support group, their Mission and Outreach board, and Diaconate. She served as the lead staff liaison to the churches Strategic Visioning process in 2017. She has co-facilitated a Caregiver Support Group and Grief Support Group.  Involvement in the community is important to Meredith – she serves as the President of the Board of Directors of NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) – Metro Suburban; Community Memorial Foundation (CMF) Regional Health & Human Services Implementation Council; and the CMF 25th Anniversary Committee. She formerly served on the Board of BEDS Plus, an agency striving to prevent homelessness, and served on the Advisory Board of Loyola University of Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies. Meredith and her husband Dave are proud parents of three adult children and a new grand-puppy.

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Week 4: 

The Rev. Dan Schifeling

The Rev. Dan Schifeling is passionate about many things: three wonderful grandchildren; his wife, Barbara, and their children and family; supporting the Buffalo Peacemakers, a gang-intervention program in Buffalo, NY and working on issues of racial justice; gardening; politics; and riding his bike.


Dan is the Pastor Emeritus of Church of the Nativity UCC in Buffalo, where he served for 34 years as Co-Pastor. During his time at Nativity the first-ring suburban congregation joined VOICE-Buffalo, a Faith In Action affiliate, to have a greater impact on issues like combatting too many rats, eliminating drug houses, and curbing urban sprawl. Nativity also helped to resettle 13 immigrant families, developed extensive small-group and youth programs, added a Praise Service, and did three building renovation and expansions. 


Dan grew up loving nature and creating terrariums. He later studied a pre-med curriculum at Washington University in St. Louis before rather suddenly deciding to enroll in the Chicago Theological Seminary. There his science background led him to study process theology and later, the writings and ideas of Carl Jung.

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Week 5: The Rev. Julius Jackson Jr.

Born in Centreville, Mississippi, Rev. Julius David Jackson, Jr. (J.D.) spent the first year of life in Monroe, Louisiana until his family relocated to Rochester, NY.  He obtained his Master’s of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School (CRCDS).  He has served as the Senior Pastor of the East Aurora Christian Church and of Salem United Church of Christ, Rochester, NY, prior to accepting the invitation to serve as acting Senior Pastor of Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian Church (August 1, 2017).


In 1999, J.D. founded the Rev. J.D. Jackson, Sr. Memorial Foundation, Inc. to honor his late Father. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded scholarships to local CRCDS Students.  The Rochester Urban League have awarded JD for his Community Service and he was inducted into the Rush Henrietta Alumni Hall of Fame.


He is a graduate of the United Way sponsored African American Leadership Development Program and has participated in a variety of service activities include serving as a judge for the New Bethel C.M.E. Church and Friends of Frederick Douglass oratorical contests. He is a former member of the Monroe County Democratic Committee and has experience with local, state and national campaigns.  Additionally, he has served on boards with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Greater Rochester Commission, the School of the Arts (SOTA) and AIDs Community Health Center.


One of Rev. Jackson’s most recent achievements was participating in the (2019) ribbon cutting of the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza.  Additionally, Rev. Jackson realized the fulfillment of another dream with the (2020) County approved Legislation to officially rename the airport, the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport. Both of these initiatives were pursued as a direct result of Jackson’s involvement with the efforts for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. and his Civil Rights Icon Andrew Young’s admonishment to “turn the dirt” when you return home.


In addition to serving as acting Pastor at Trinity church, he also serves as a Chaplain at St. John’s home, also in Rochester, NY.  Rev. Jackson is the father of two sons, Julius David III (Trey) and James Anderson Samuel (JAS).

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Week 6: 
The Rev. Dr. Audrey Price

The Rev. Dr. Audrey C. Price is the Executive Minister for Strategic Operations of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ comprising 615 churches, more than 1600 authorized ministers and nearly 120,000 members.  Dr. Price is responsible for operational oversight of the SNE Conference and has supervisory oversight of the implementation of Conference activities, assuring that the vision of the Conference is furthered by such implementation. She achieved a Ph.D. at The Catholic University of America in Systematic Theology with a concentration in Liberation Theology, a Master of Philosophy degree at the Catholic University of America, a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Alabama, Huntsville. She serves as adjunct faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Dr. Price is married and has four children.


Week 7: 
The Rev. Dr. Rebecca A. McElfresh

Rebecca McElfresh serves as the Minister of Pastoral Care and Spiritual Growth at The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Sahuarita, Arizona, where the congregation is deeply immersed in justice ministries supporting those experiencing food insecurity and those who are migrating across the US / Mexico border.   She is also an experienced educator who served students in the public schools of Ohio and Massachusetts in roles that encompassed pre-kindergarten through graduate studies. During doctoral study, she explored the experiences of artists who created their work with social change as the end in mind. Rebecca calls Lakewood, Ohio her hometown.  Currently, she lives in Green Valley, Arizona with her husband, Jim Armstrong. In the summer months, Rebecca and Jim return to the midwest to be near their children and grandchildren in Indiana and Ohio.


Week 8: 
The Rev. Quinn G. Caldwell

Rev. Quinn G. Caldwell is a United Church of Christ pastor and author.  He is co-editor of The Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ.  He is also a contributor to The Christian Century, the UCC’s Stillspeaking Daily Devotional, and Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary.  His most recent book is All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Having served congregations in Boston and Central New York, his current call is as a stay-at-home dad on the small homestead in rural Central New York he shares with his husband, their two sons, and an alarming number of heritage-breed animals.

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Week 9: 
The Rev. Julie Peeples

Julie Peeples was born and raised in Charleston, SC, one of six children. She is a graduate of Furman University and Andover Newton Theological School, and was ordained in 1988.

Julie has been the Senior Minister of Congregational UCC since 1991; her previous experience includes serving as an assistant minister, and as a Chaplain at the International Headquarters for Habitat for Humanity in Americus, GA with her husband, the Rev. Paul Davis. She has been a strong advocate for equality and justice issues, particularly for LGBTQ and immigrant rights, and has been an active leader in the Moral Monday Movement and the NC Sanctuary Coalition.

Julie is a recipient of various local and state awards, and was honored by the United Church of Christ with the Antoinette Brown Award. She and her husband, Rev. Paul Davis have two daughters, one son-in-law, one beautiful grandson, and one crazy puppy.

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