Planning Team


Tanya Best

Rev. Tanya Best, MDiv,  is Associate Pastor of Mt. Calvary United Church of Christ in Durham, NC. She was ordained by The Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ and serves as Pastor of Mission Support, Supportive Aide. She is also the founder of Mt. Calvary Food Pantry. She retired from Durham County Department of Social Services in 2015. She is a Durham native and enjoys spending time with her husband, son and her adorable grandchild Demeria.

Rose Cornelious

Rev. Rose Marsh Cornelious, D.Min., has been in ministry for almost 25 years, has served as a denominational official for the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Department of World Mission, preaching and training in over 100 churches. She has also ministered in over 25 countries, leading mission teams to five continents. She currently serves as Development Director for Dorcas Ministries, Cary, NC. Married for 36 years, she and her husband have four children and reside in Apex, NC.

An experienced preacher and trained spiritual director, Peace Lee loves sharing spiritual resources and practices. She uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore imbrication of the political and the religious. A Louisville Institute Doctoral Fellow, Lee’s awards include the John T. Galloway Award in Expository Preaching and the Asian American Ministry Award from Princeton. Lee is a Th.d candidate in Homiletics at Duke Divinity School.

Carla Gregg-Kearns

Rev. Carla Gregg-Kearns serves as the pastor of Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Cary. She is a native North Carolinian and spent time as a case worker in refugee resettlement and at a domestic violence shelter before getting her MDiv at Duke Divinity School.

Rev. Dian Griffin Jackson, MDiv, says that her strength and growth have come not only from her work at NCCU in Sociology and mastering the study of Divinity at Duke, but also from being in community with Mt. Zion UCC where she serves as Senior Pastor and her Eastern North Carolina Association of the Southern Conference UCC family. Her book, “The Phoenix – Rising from the Ashes”, comes from her own experience of abuse and clawing her way through the ashes.

Rev. Elizabeth Kearney is retired after twelve years in parish ministry and twenty-five years as Assistant to the bishop (three bishops) of the NC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She spent her last two decades primarily working with candidates for ministry and in sexual misconduct prevention and response. She is looking forward to settling into her house near Asheville and spending more time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

A long-time small nonprofit development consultant, Marya McNeish is also a massage therapist, and is ever curious how we can best work with these imperfect bodies of ours to find more ease and comfort. She is helping to build a local adaptive hiking program and spends her free time in the woods or digging in her garden.


Rev. Terry Yasuko Ogawa serves as Pastor of the Congregational Church of Pinehurst. She credits her passion for faith-based environmental work to early experiences with the UCC serving overseas with the World Boad. She also served as an Environmental Justice Resident with Justice and Witness Ministries on Capitol Hill. Terry holds an MDiv from Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union.

Rev. Lori Pistor
currently serves on the pastoral staff of West Raleigh Presbyterian Church. Lori was one of those “second career” students at Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia. A displaced Texan, she has lived in Durham since 1993, fully acclimating to many big trees but not NC barbeque.


Rachel Sauls is the current Anita McLeod Intern at the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. She graduated with her BA in English and Comparative Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2020, and will begin her MDiv at Yale Divinity School in fall 2021. Rachel is interested in feminist and womanist theologies, health narratives, and LGBTQIA+ affirming religious practices. 


Jeanette Stokes

Rev. Jeanette Stokes is an ordained Presbyterian minister and the Founder and Executive Director of the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. She is the author of three collections of essays and a book on writing. She finds that taking time each week to write, paint, walk, and mess around in the garden makes her happier.


Sharon Wheeler

Rev. Sharon Wheeler is Associate Pastor of Elon Community Church UCC in Elon, NC where she has served part time and presently full time. She completed the Pastoral Leadership Development Program through the Southern Conference of the UCC which is an alternative path to ordination. She retired at the end of 2014 from LabCorp of America where she was an Account Specialist in the DNA Identity Department. She has lived in NC all her life and most of it in the Burlington area.