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2024 Chaplains of the Week

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Week 1: The Rev. Marilyn Baugh Kendrix 

The Rev. Marilyn Baugh Kendrix earned her undergraduate degree at Spelman College and an MDiv at Yale Divinity School. She has also earned an MBA in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Marilyn previously served as Bridge Conference Minister of the Southern New England Conference and Conference Minister of Rhode Island and is a co-author of The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream (Significance Press, 2014). She enjoys guest preaching throughout New England about systemic racism. The Rev. Kendrix is part of a flute trio that performs occasionally and enjoys live basketball games as well as reading. She has been married to her best friend Alan for 54 years and they have 3 grown children, two wonderful sons-in-law and 6 grandchildren, two of whom are in college.

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Week 2: The Rev. Elizabeth Parker Horton

The Rev. Elizabeth Parker Horton earned her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and the Masters of Divinity from Wake Forest University Divinity School. She also has an MA in School Counseling from Appalachian State University. The Rev. Horton currently serves First Reformed United Church of Christ in Lexington NC. Previously she served First UCC in Winston Salem, NC for 10 years. Prior to church ministry, she worked as an elementary school counselor. Elizabeth particularly enjoys helping at her church’s Saturday Lunch Ministry, Church Community Garden, and Clothing Ministry. Her hobbies include yard work and hiking. Married to Dan, she has an adult daughter, Megan and two teenage boys, Patrick and Parker. They have 2 dogs and 3 cats. The Rev. Horton and her family are excited to be at Chautauqua this summer.

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Week 3: The Rev. Melody Ruffin Ward

The Rev. Melody Ruffin Ward earned her undergraduate degree at Spelman College and the Masters of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School. She also holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She currently serves IBH Addiction Recovery Center as Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Care. Prior to this ministry, the Rev. Ward worked for two decades as a modern dance artist teaching in college and university dance programs. She was recently awarded the Sister Ignatia award for work done with persons struggling with substance abuse. Sister Ignatia began a hospitalization program for men suffering with alcoholism. The Rev. Ward enjoys volunteering with senior adult Bible study groups as well as her hobbies, reading, cooking, and swimming. Her family consists of two daughters who live on the west and east coasts. One is a working actor and the other a teacher. The Rev. Ward’s spouse is an opera singer and a professor of voice. She says, “We are a vibrant family and love entertaining and traveling.”

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Week 4: The Rev. Dr. Benjamin R. Doolittle

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin R. Doolittle earned an undergraduate degree, an MDiv degree, and an MD degree from Yale. He currently serves both Yale University and Pilgrim Congregational Church. He received the Parker Palmer Courage to Teach award from the ACGME,  which is national recognition for his role as a residency program director. Ben’s favorite volunteer activity of all time was serving as a soccer coach for my kids in the town rec league. He also enjoys tennis and guitar. The Doolittles have been married for 25 years and live in central Connecticut. They have two college aged daughters, and a rescue pitbull who has now claimed the home to himself. They are both primary care physicians.

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Week 5: Pastor James Janecek

Pastor James Janecek has an M.A. in Religious Studies and M.Div. from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and a D.Min. in Pastoral Counseling from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Upon graduating from high school, he joined the Army, serving in the medical services eight years, which included living in Denmark and Iceland as well as being deployed to the former country of Yugoslavia. After ordination, he served as associate pastor and senior pastor of Hispanic churches in the Corpus Christi area, during which time he married his best friend, Lilly Flores. James has served as an Air Force chaplain in Spain and Germany as well as the Middle East and Central America. He retired from the Air Force in 2017 and soon thereafter became pastor of Fairfield Glade Community Church in Tennessee. Lilly and James have two sons and four grandchildren. The couple spends most of their free time enjoying the outdoors.

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Week 6: The Rev. Dr. Olivia Hayes-Robinson

Olivia Hayes-Robinson has been engaged in ordained ministry for 45 years. She earned an undergraduate degree from Boston University, School of Nursing and the Masters of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. She is currently a PhD student at Wesleyan Theological University. The Rev. Hayes-Robinson was formerly Senior Pastor at Kensington Congregational Church and is currently providing Pulpit Supply and Interim work for the  Connecticut Conference. Her favorite volunteer activity is working as a docent at Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. Olivia’s hobbies include singing, dancing, theater, playing music, swimming, and painting. She has three children, eight grandchildren, and has been married for 28 years.

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Week 7: The Rev. Kim Vidal

The Rev. Kim Vidal (she, her) earned an undergraduate degree cum laude from St. Paul University (Ottawa, Ontario) and the Masters of Divinity degree from Queen’s University in Kingston and served as valedictorian of her class. She currently serves Bells Corners United Church (Ottawa, Ontario). She is the author of Moon Under Her Feet: Women of the Apocalypse (Pilgrim Press, 2001). Kim supports and participates in outreach programs such as the Multi-Faith Housing Initiative and the Refugee Sponsorship, Mission and Service Fund. She is an avid facilitator of The Seekers Learning Group and the Weekly Lectionary Study Group. Her family is an eclectic blend of Korean, Filipino and Canadian cultures and traditions that value love, compassion, justice, faith, hospitality and friendship. Rev. Kim was born in the Philippines from a large family whose faith grounding comes from the Methodist tradition. She immigrated to Ottawa in 1994. Her spouse, Ken, is a 2nd generation Korean-Canadian born in Ottawa and is a Software Developer working in a sector of the Federal Government. Rev. Kim and Ken are blessed with two adult sons who were born in Ottawa: Justin, 24 years old and a graduate of Software Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa, and Jacob, 21 years old, currently completing his 3rd year in Software Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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Week 8: Pastor Scott Oberle

Pastor Scott Oberle earned an undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and his Masters of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. He has also studied at the Advanced Clergy Clinics at the Lombard Center of Peace. He currently serves First Congregational UCC Downers Grove. Pastor Oberle is a recipient of the Miami University Presidential Award for Community Service and Leadership. He is the author of a soon to be published book on Christian Nationalism entitled The Gospel According to America: One that Jesus Would Not Recognize. Scott enjoys volunteering at the Community Kitchen, an HIV AIDS ministry in South Africa, Dupage PADS, and prison ministry. His hobbies include running, basketball, reading, coaching, gardening. With his wife Robin, he shares many adventures with our three beautiful daughters Jillian, Samantha and Elise. His family is extremely active in our schools and wider community. They can often be found hiking around a local forest preserve, camping out or playing with our lab mix dog Roxy. An outgoing and public figure in his community, the best of Pastor Oberle’s world is a night home around the fire with his wife and kids. 


Week 9: The Rev. Richard Lewin

Richard Lewin graduated from Andover-Newton Theological School, with an M.Div. in 1970. He was ordained in the United Church of Christ while serving his first church in Farmington, New Hampshire. He then served two churches in Washington State and a church in Wisconsin, before being called to St. James United Church of Christ, Dearborn, Michigan, where he served as minister for 29 years. Richard and his wife, Mary Slater, have been deeply involved in cultural and economic preservation and development in Albion, Michigan. The Lewins have one son and one daughter; two grand-sons, two grand-daughters, as well as two step-daughters. Richard is now retired and makes presentations on Albion and the Purple Gang.

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