Planning Team

Rev. Tanya Best, MDiv., is the Pastor of Mission Support at Mount Calvary United Church of Christ in Durham, NC. She was ordained by The Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. She retired from Durham County Dept. of Social Services. She is passionate about helping the most vulnerable and is the founder of Mount Calvary UCC Food Pantry. She enjoys spending time with her family and adorable grandchildren.

Rose Cornelious

Rev. Rose Marsh Cornelious, D.Min., has been in ministry for 25 years, and 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 5 continents. She and her husband have four children and reside in Apex, NC.

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. She is passionate about vibrant worship, intergenerational ministry, and faith formation at every age.

Rev. Elizabeth Kearney retired after 12 in parish ministry and 25 years as Assistant to the bishop of the NC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She spent her last two decades working with candidates for ministry and in sexual misconduct prevention and response. She is happily settling into her home near Asheville and spending more time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

Rhody Mastin is one of the newest members of the Homegrown Planning Team. She currently serves as the children’s minister at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church. A former birth and postpartum doula, she is currently a doctoral student in homiletics at Duke Divinity School. Rhody received her BA from the University of Virginia, her MFA from Seattle Pacific University, and her MDiv from Duke Divinity School.

A long-time small nonprofit development consultant, Marya McNeish helps the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South manage Programs and Publications. 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 volunteering as a Master Gardener, hiking in the woods and digging in her garden.

Rachel Sauls is the current Special Assistant to the Executive Director 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 began her MDiv at Yale Divinity School in fall 2021. Rachel is interested in feminist and womanist theologies, health narratives, and LGBTQIA+ affirming religious practices. 

Yazmin Spearman is the current co-coordinator of the Women’s Center at Duke Divinity School. She is an MDiv student with a certificate in Faith-Based Organizing and Advocacy. She works at Duke University School of Nursing for their new racial equity initiative, Breaking Research Barriers. Yazmin is passionate about preaching that tackles the complex, both/and-ness of human life, as well as working alongside people healing from religious trauma/abuse. 

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. Mostly her work has offered solace and support to others on the journey.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.

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.

Deborah A. Williams, also known as Minister Deb, uses her poetic gifts to journey with audiences through Spiritual Formation by addressing common pains, questions of life, taboo topics, and the ambiguities of faith and God. Through her performances, writings, and ministry, Minister Deb prayerfully accepts James H. Cone’s challenge to black civil rights leaders “to liberate Christianity.” One of her most celebrated accomplishments is the 2019 release of her first book, Peace Treaty with Myself: A Book of Poetic Meditations.