Pastor Betsy Happel
Betsy left a career in human resources management in 2001 to look for a larger purpose for her life. She found herself called to passionate faith and pastoral ministry, and enrolled at Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves. After completing her Master of Divinity degree in 2004, she was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and served Red Top Christian Church in Hallsville, Missouri for five years.
Betsy began serving as the Pastor of Kirkwood UCC in June, 2009. Her vision is to foster an environment where people of all ages can thrive safely and spiritually: that is, where they can feel the presence of God so fully they are moved to be all God created them to be. Betsy inspires her congregation to think critically and live compassionately, and pursues social and racial justice issues, challenging her congregation to do the same. She begins every worship service by inviting congregants to make the time and space “whatever they need it to be” during that hour. In keeping with KUCC’s welcoming spirit, Betsy officiates at weddings of traditional and same-sex couples and offers pastoral care to many friends of our church in addition to its members.
Betsy enjoys reading and spending time with her husband, Rick, who is a CPA. They have no children, but lavish their love on the newest addition to their family: a rescue Lab-mix named Sox.
Click here to listen to Betsy’s Sermons.
Click here to listen to the sermons of our Guest Preachers.
Director of Music Ministry Scott Kinworthy
Scott Kinworthy, our newest staff member, spent nineteen years as a high school choir director prior to accepting the Director of Music Ministry position at Kirkwood UCC. He uses his expertise in choral technique during weekly rehearsals to help the choir prepare the best possible performance of the music for Sunday and holiday worship. Scott has a Master’s of Music in Education from the University of Missouri- St. Louis and a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music Education from Missouri State University. He understands the role music plays in enhancing the worship experience and selects a wide variety of music to complement the theme of each week’s scripture and sermon. In addition to directing the choir, Scott also works with small ensembles or individual members of the congregation who are interested in performing special music during worship. Scott would love to hear from you if you would like to try singing with the choir or playing an instrument for one of our services. To reach Scott’s email, click here—or simply come to a rehearsal at KUCC on Thursday evenings at 7 pm to get started.
Accompanist Ron Bryant
Ron has been playing the piano in church since he was twelve years old. For KUCC, Ron plays both piano and organ, and, as we search for a new music director, he takes the lead to prepare each week’s music. Members appreciate his beautiful solos and the bits of melody he improvises at just the right moments to enhance our worship.
Ron is also a very active member of the St. Louis musical community. With a career spanning 35 years, he is heard regularly in clubs and concert venues throughout the St. Louis area and in concert with some of the finest vocalists in the area, Ron has appeared in concert on stage at Powell Symphony hall with members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, the Sheldon Concert Hall and the Fabulous Fox Theater.
His career highlights including working as an audition pianist for DreamWorks Studios on the motion picture Dream Girls and serving on the Piano Faculty of Webster University for 11 years. Ron also serves as the Musical Director for Cabaret St Louis and also is the Musical Director for “Throwback Edition” starring Daniel LeClaire and Adam Ray from nine-time Tony Award-winning The Book of Mormon. Ron has a B.M. and an M.M. in Jazz Piano from Webster University.
Administrative Assistant Donna Bay
I am thrilled to work at Kirkwood UCC as your Administrative Assistant for the past 5 years. Let me tell you a little bit about who I am. Before coming to KUCC, I spent three years serving as the administrative assistant at St. John’s Evangelical UCC in Mehlville and St. Paul’s UCC in Oakville. I have been married to my husband and best friend, Dan, for 28 years. We have one son, Joey, who recently was married in December 2017. I am blessed to have my parents nearby and enjoy spending time with them. In January 2017 we adopted our adorable fluffy puppy Margi to our home who brings us smiles and joy everyday. I love the outdoors; walking is something I enjoy doing, and it gives me time to reflect and thank God for the many blessings he has given me. I am waiting to greet you in the KUCC office from 9 am-3:30 pm Monday through Friday or to speak to you when you call the church at 314-822-2240. Let me know how I can be of service.
Nursery Attendant Jennifer Brockhouse
Jennifer Brockhouse, Nursery Attendant, grew up in KUCC. She now has returned to provide care for babies and toddlers during worship and children of all ages during adult education classes. Jennifer has worked as a lab assistant and as an accounting assistant at Washington University School of Medicine. She loves children and provides a steady presence for little ones so that their parents can worship or attend class without worries.