Rev. Peggy Clarke began her ministry at Community Church of New York the summer of 2019. She came to us after serving as solo minister at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings on Hudson for eight years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Peace Studies and a Masters in Historical Theology from Boston College. Her doctoral work was in American Religious History. Rev. Clarke has served on the board of the UUA’s climate justice initiative Commit2Respond, the UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory and as chair of the UU Food Justice Ministry. She was one of the denomination's Observer Delegates at the 2015 United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, represented our denomination at Standing Rock and most recently at the Mexican American border, calling attention to the crisis of separated families. In 2021, she served as UU Delegate at the United Nation’s Climate Summit in Glasgow.
Rev. Jude Geiger
Minister of Community Engagement
Overthe past thirty years, Rev. Jude has served in numerous leadership roles in our faith at the local, regional and continental level. Previously, he served as the Senior Minister for the UU Fellowship in Huntington, NY, and the First UU Congregation in Brooklyn, NY as Minister of Religious Education. With over 20 years employed in UU congregations in Metro NY, he has served in numerous congregational roles. He has a Masters in Urban Planning from NYU Wagner, and a Masters in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University. Prior to the ministry, Rev. Jude worked in community organizing and public advocacy on issues related to affordable housing, and health insurance outreach. He currently serves on the board of the Liberal Religious Educators’ Association with the portfolio of Professional Support, is also a Good Officer for the UU Ministers’ Association, and a founding member of the UU State Advocacy Network of NY. He lives with his husband, Brian Brewer, who works in Cancer Research, and their dog and cat, in Montclair, NJ.
Brother Zachary Stevens-Walter grew up in a dusty desert town called El Cerro, New Mexico. He moved to New York City in 2007 to attend The New School, where he studied Art and Religion by day and explored the independent music scene by night. A musician by disposition, by the time Brother Zachary received his call to ministry and enrolled at Union Theological Seminary, he had performed with dozens of groups in dozens of venues, worked as a session musician and producer, and had founded two music labels. While at Union Seminary, he became a husband and father, and excelled in Chapel ministry at James Chapel, where he found his call to pastoral care. He pursued this passion first through a CPE program at NYU-Langone Hospital, and in congregational ministry at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Brooklyn. In pursuit of a worldly expression for his spiritual vocation, Brother Zachary received a welcome by the Progressive Catholic Church, at Saint Joseph Mission Church in New Jersey.
When Covid-19 came to New York City, Brother Zachary fled with his spouse and children back to New Mexico. Brother Zachary immersed himself in his own cultural heritage, and discovered a passion for the banjo and Catholic history. He founded his third music label, Heartseed Media. In late 2020, Brother Zachary and his family returned to New York City, and he was ordained a Deacon and Friar in the Order of Franciscan Servants at Saint Joseph Mission Church. Brother Zachary currently lives in Midwood, Brooklyn, with his spouse Rebecca and their two children, Wren and Story. He continues to make music, watch birds, study his own heritage, and devote his internal life to the pursuit of prayer without ceasing.
Dr. Janice Marie Johnson was commissioned as Community’s Lay Minister (CLM) in February 2020 (https://www.uua.org/central-east/programs/cll). She has been a congregational leader in many capacities since the early 1990s. She developed the Community Care Team in 2018. As coordinator of this team of dedicated volunteers, she centers “care” in all she offers and expects from the community.
Professionally, she serves as Co-Director of Ministries and Faith Development at the Unitarian Universalist Association supporting, sustaining, and advancing multicultural, anti-oppressive, justice-centered, and innovative Unitarian Universalist lay and professional leadership and ministry for all ages.
Committed to making multiculturalism “real,” she is an internationalist, Jamaican, and New Yorker! Janice — mother, grandmother, aunt, sibling -- notes that her mantra, "Masakhane," symbolizes her unstoppable commitment to her beloved Community Church. This is a rich and resonant word from the Nguni family of languages of South Africa, of which Zulu and Xhosa are two. Loosely translated into English, “Masakhane” means, "Let us build together.”
Gerald A. Brown has been the Director of Music for Community Church since 1990. He was Music Director for the Elementary Education Programs at the New York City Opera for thirty-six years. In addition, he served as Organist and Choir Director for the Metropolitan Synagogue in New York City for twenty-five years. He was assistant conductor at the Central City Colorado Opera Festival for five seasons. With the New York Philharmonic he served as a rehearsal pianist under Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Rafael Kubelik, Erich Leinsdorf and Zubin Mehta. He holds a Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance from the University of Michigan where he was a student of Marilyn Mason. Upon graduating from the teacher training program at the Mathews School of the Alexander Technique he was certified as a teacher by the American Society of the Alexander Technique. He currently is on the faculty of the Land of Enchantment Opera Institute as a coach and Alexander Teacher.
Born in Harlem, Darnell White is a graduate of LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and The Julliard School. A noted staple in New York City’s music scene, Darnell has developed a pristine reputation as a performer, composer, and musical director. He’s collaborated with noted artists and graced the stages of New York’s major venues including Birdland, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Smokey Joe’s cafe. Both as a vocalist & instrumentalist, Darnell is well versed in many genres as he believes music should always be approached first from a place of pure expression. It is indeed the desire to share his expressions through the gift of music that have left no style or genre outside his reach including jazz, opera, contemporary gospel, classical, and musical theatre. Darnell is a welcome addition to our talented music team.
Esther Rosado has served UU congregations in Massachusetts, most recently as Director of Religious Education in Medford, MA. She is an active Unitarian Universalist leader working on the local, district and continental levels.
Director of Religious Education for Children and Youth
Jil Novenski began teaching at Community Church in 2007. She graduated high school at the Northwest School for the Arts, Humanities and Environment in Seattle, Washington, majored in child psychology at the Evergreen State College, and holds a degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her professional history includes teaching adults with developmental disabilities, editorial support in educational publishing, nonprofit fundraising and special event management. Fulfilling her passion for putting faith into action, Jil has worked with Victim Services as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, and was a founding member of the Advisory Board for Family Court Reforms in New York City. In her role as Director of Religious Education for Children & Youth, Jil continues to innovate in the space where arts, education and activism meet.
Kamila Jacob (she/her) is the Religious Education Assistant. Kamila is a lifelong New Yorker and Unitarian Universalist. She has coordinated outreach and events for the UUA UN Office and led religious education programming at All Souls NYC. Her experience also includes work as a political field organizer and virtual events tech consultant. She earned a BA in Sociology at Muhlenberg College and a Masters in Human Rights and Democratization from the European Inter-University Centre. Kamila brings her passion for social justice, curriculum building, and putting her faith in action. She is excited to be back at her home congregation!