The People of NCC

NCC is an open and inclusive community of faith, and we gladly extend our community beyond the walls of our church to connect with our neighbors and our world.

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NCC Community Leadership

These are people that hold special leadership positions within the church.

Reverend Rodrick Echols Pastor "Reverend (Rod)rick Echols is originally from Memphis, graduated from Brown University, and holds a Master of Divinity from Boston University. In his professional life, he has held development roles with several prominent institutions, including UC San Diego, Brown University, United Way, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His specialties include pastoral care, leadership development, communication, fundraising, and counseling. Reverend Rod has served in various capacities in a number of churches, including Youth Pastor, Interim Minister, and most recently Pastor of Congregational Development before joining us here at NCC! His faith is strong. He listens and communicates well. He is a quality preacher and brings a passion for social justice. He also seeks to provide space for young people to gather and connect. Rev. Rod is a young, spirited pastor who speaks from the heart."
Phil Garrison Church Moderator "I’ve lived in Laguna Beach and have been a member of NCC for 20 years. I worked as an engineer and manager in industry and the national labs for some 44 years in the areas of space exploration and energy research. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the NCC leadership team to take our church to where it needs to be to serve the spiritual needs of our congregation and the community in this brave new world."
Jeff Amos Chair, NCC Trustees
Kristen Purll Office Manager "As a kid, I used to come to Sunday School here at NCC, becase it was fun! I attended Pilgrim Pines Summer Camp as a teen, and now I have the privilige to work for NCC! I help run the day to day operations of the Church Office, our Renters, aid the minisitres, and help the pubic. I hope you will find Neighborhood Church is a warm and welcoming place, and I look forward to helping in any way I can. !"
Pam Wicks Music Ministry Director "Pam has been the Music Director at NCC for almost nine years. She has been a musician her entire life and is grateful every day for her parents who gave her this gift - and made her practice! She loves her job and the openness and inclusiveness of NCC which allows for such creativity and eclecticism. Pam also leads a weekly chanting circle in the sanctuary, and organizes community concerts at NCC... and much more! She is thrilled to serve this wonderful church and share her musical gifts with all!"
Mary LaRusso Christian Education Director
Sharon Garrison In-Reach Ministry Director "I’ve lived in Laguna Beach and have been a member of NCC for 20 years. I grew up in Florida, and lived in several other states before arriving in California. Most of my work experience was in elementary education. I’d like to encourage us to get to know not only our different views on religion, but to know our members as people who have much in common with each other. Let’s share ideas for enjoyable activities that can help make that happen. "
Susan Brown Out-Reach Ministry Director "Neighborhood Congregational Church’s Outreach Program is continuously seeking ways to provide support to our local community the broader community and the world. Of particular focus is the interfaith community, to whom we extend our warm welcome! I see us all as one beautiful tapestry, one which is better together. We stand for equal justice for all, and provide for those in need. The JOY Committee, one of many groups that make up NCC’s Outreach Ministry, is made up of a diverse group of people who are dedicated to service around the globe. This is just a little bit of why I love our Church. I was first attracted to NCC for its openness and creative spirit. My initial involvement with the church was the creation of our Art Committee. I served as a consultant Chair for the beautification of our Church and facility grounds with a group of visionary individuals. I believe I was born gifted as an artist. I have been involved professionally in the fine arts for over four decades. One life changing experience in my long art adventure was that I attended a residency art conservation program in Florence, Italy and served as a member of the millennial restoration project of the Alter wall mural of Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel. I have worked in Laguna in my own studio restoring paintings for 18 years. It is a meditation art experience for me. Creativity and repair is a passion. Through the NCC Outreach Ministry, and in partnership with fellow NCC Family Member, Terrell Anansi, I have been able to further serve the Laguna Beach artist community with our most recent initiative, Collective 340. We mentor or combine creative individuals to explore the light of artistic expression of spirit. NCC provides Collective 340 with a beautiful venue space, known in our community as Bridge Hall, and the management structure to support expansion of the artist, dancer, singer, musician and/or poet. Collective 340 aims to help a variety of artists expand personally and professionally by providing an opportunity to work within a safe and nurturing collective experience, creating together."
Sharon McNair Worship Ministry Director "I have been a member of the Laguna Beach UCC church since 1963. when we first moved to Laguna it was the place where we met all our friends and became part of the Laguna Community. My career as a Geriatric Care Manager for the past thirty years has helped me to know and understand my community. I have come to understand the need for seniors to develop their spiritual life to help them cope with the problems that come with aging. They need to feel they have a community of friends that will help and support them spiritually mentally, and emotionally to go through the process of aging. NCC can provide that support with the Church philosophy of acceptance for all and the supportive membership that this church provides. I feel a part of a family with my church friends and cannot imagine not being a part of this great group of people. In my role as Worship Coordinator I work with the Worship Committee to provide the best, most thought provoking, and spiritually enlightening servicse. There are many talented and dynamic members of our church, I would like to encourage these members to become more involved with the Worship Service to enhance our experience in the Church Service."
Reverend Thomas Kugler Member "Thomas is a retired university teacher, chaplain, and parish minister. He has an ongoing practice in counseling and spiritual direction, and teaches qi gong and meditation."

More NCC Community Members

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    Sally Barron
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    Chumahan Bowen
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    Leeann Espinoza
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    Prof. ann feyerherm
  • Edfleming12's picture
    Ed Fleming
  • George Heed's picture
    Mr. George Heed
  • Jen Hutchinson's picture
    Jen Hutchinson Moderator 2014
  • Lynn Kentfield's picture
    Lynn Kentfield Adult Spirituality Study Leader
  • Jan L'Esperance's picture
    Jan L'Esperance Church Member
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    giovana menke
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    Mark Mindell
  • Julie Phillips's picture
    Julie Phillips Coordinator, Open and Affirming Committee
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    Carrie Pohlhammer Vice Moderator, Council
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    Jim Rue
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    Mr. Michael Truncale photographer/developer
  • Reverend Jeff Utter's picture
    Reverend Jeff Utter Reverend
  • DesseraeVerna's picture
    Desserae Verna