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Leadership & Staff

headshot at docksDenise Janssen, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director

Denise assumed leadership of The Resource Center on January 1, 2014. She also serves as Assistant Professor of Christian Education as a member of the full-time faculty of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Her first book, Fostering Faith: Teaching and Learning in the Christian Church, co-authored with Sallie Verner and Diane Janssen Hemmen, will be released by Judson Press in August 2014.

Denise has served in pastoral ministry for 25 years and, while she is ordained in the American Baptist Churches, USA, she has also served in United Methodist churches, currently as Minister of Discipleship with Greenwood and Laurel Park UMC. Previously she served in the Northern Illinois Conference of the UMC and was appointed to First UMC of Franklin Park, designated as a turn-around church. In her last year there, while teaching full-time here in Virginia, she commuted from Illinois at her Bishop’s request because the congregation was at a critical point in its transformation and needed her for “just a little longer.” She also served as pastor of American Baptist congregations in Illinois and Indiana. For a number of years, her ministry was bi-vocational, providing valuable experience is this emerging style of ministry.

Denise earned the Ph.D. in Christian Education and Congregational Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in May, 2012. Prior to beginning her doctoral work she had a successful twenty-year career in professional fundraising with universities and seminaries, a Girl Scout Council, and an affordable-housing development organization in the Chicago area. She grew up on a farm located, she says, “seven miles outside a small town about an hour from anywhere you’ve ever heard of in South Dakota.”

Denise is committed to the historic values of The Resource Center, as well as discovering new ways of resourcing congregations for their greater health and vitality.

 

Judith FaGalde Bennett, M.Div., Ph.D., Program Coordinator

Judy is a United Methodist minister, ordained in the New York Conference but now a retired Elder in the Virginia Conference.  She cherishes her nearly twenty years of multicultural experience as pastor in and around New York City. Her undergraduate degree from Mt. St. Mary College (Newburgh, New York) is in Elementary Education and English. Her M.Div. is from Drew University School of Theology (Madison, New Jersey) and her Ph. D. in Sociology of Religion is from the Graduate School at Drew.

After 18 years as executive director of The Resource Center, Judy is staying on one more year as program coordinator, carrying our some of the programs she created and loves. Judy’s background also includes journalism, and years of experience in various forms of dance. She is adjunct faculty in Christian Education at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. In the summer of 2015, she plans to officially retire and relocate to be near family and friends in Connecticut.

 

 

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