Our Staff

 

The Rev. Jeffery A. Brinks — Senior Pastor

I am interested in empowering you to live your faith in genuine and real ways in everyday life. As Christians, I think we have remarkable news to share with our world.

 

I was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan. I graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a degree in Philosophy, English Literature and Psychology. I began as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ in July of 1985. I previously served Hope UCC in Wind Gap and UCC Greenawalds in Allentown, PA.

 

I am a naturally curious person; I like to learn about new things. I love to ask questions: questions about what is going on in the world and questions about what is going on in people's lives. I love to wonder about how God is blessing us today and to wonder about what new ways we can be the church together.

 

I am fortunate to be married to an incredible woman who is also my best friend. Lisa teaches the gifted fourth grade class at Hiram Dodd Elementary School in Allentown. I have two daughters, Megan, who is married to Brad Wert and lives in Mechanicsburg, PA. Katie is married to Matt McNelis and lives in Phoenixville, PA. My step-son Tyler lives at home with us. Jamie, my step-daughter, is studying communications at Bloomsburg. Completing the family is Lucy, our nine year old Chocolate Lab. Thanks for stopping by. I hope we get the chance to chat in person. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

     
 

Susan L. Frickert — Director of Music

Together the church and music have been the very core of my being since I was born! My mother sang to me as a baby and then with me as a toddler. Piano lessons started at five years of age, organ lessons at twelve. I sang and accompanied in all the choirs in my church, public school and college, starting in fourth grade. I played for Sunday School opening worships, Vacation Bible Schools, substituted for our church organist for Midweek Lenten services and weddings. So I guess it was only natural that I would feel God's irresistible call to be a church organist when I was only fourteen years old. My passion for church music ministry has continued to the present day!

 

This year I'm celebrating fifty years in music ministry, having served Lutheran and UCC congregations throughout Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks counties. I especially love working with people of all ages to help them discover their own God-given musical talents and to develop them for God's glory. Here at St. John's I direct five singing choirs that range in age from four years old to octogenarians, a male quartet, and a summer ecumenical masterworks choir, St. John's Sacred Voices, which I founded in 2002.

 

Throughout my life I've also accompanied extensively in the community: Broadway musicals in schools and colleges, classical recitals, and pop gigs. As a result, I am as comfortable playing a big Bach prelude as I am rocking a praise song! This exciting variety of musical styles is reflected both in our worship services and in our congregational events. I keep my musical skills sharpened by serving as rehearsal accompanist for Lehigh University's Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Sametz, and its Women's Ensemble, "Dolce", under the direction of Sun Min Lee; a position I've held since 2008. If you believe, as I do, that "a Christian should be an Alleluia from head to foot" (St. Augustine), check out St. John's singing choirs - you will absolutely love them!

     
 

BrendaLee Howell, RN — Parish Nurse

When I went into nursing 37 years ago, I knew it was where God wanted me to be. It was and still is exactly where I want to be. I have had the privilege to serve God in many different areas of nursing.

 

I have been serving at St. John's UCC as the Parish Health Nurse since 2005. It is a privilege to be a part of this faith community. I care for members of this church and the community as I do my family. It is an honor to be a part of so many families' lives through education, health programs, health guidance and advocacy and compassionately caring when someone is at the "end of life".

 

I am married to my high school sweetheart and best friend, Richard. We are blessed with two boys, Brandon and Joshua. We are also looking forward to next year when Mary, Brandon's fiancée, will become our daughter. Bernie Bear and Esperanza, our two rescue dogs and our grand dog, Buddy, round out our family.

     
 

Marjorie Baltz — Youth Ministry Coordinator

Marge has been a member of St. John's for 28 years. In addition to her ministry responsibilities at St. John's, she has had the opportunity to be on PNEC planning teams for National Youth Events, Regional Youth Events and most recently organized a conference mission trip for youth. She has completed the Lay Ministry in the 21st Century program as well.

 

Marge lives in Palmer Township where she operates a licencsed Family Day Care Home. She graduated from college with a degree in Elementary Education. She has 3 sons and 1 grandson.

     
 

L.Rick Hilborn — Hanbell Director

Mr. L. Rick Hilborn graduated from West Chester University in 1984 with a degree in Music Education. He also holds two masters degrees from the same institution, one in percussion performance, and the other one in music theory.

 

Rick's "daytime job" for the past 31 years has been teaching instrumental music to children in the Lehigh Valley. He was the director of bands at Dieruff High School (1984-1988) and Whitehall High School (1988-2009), where many of his ensembles (namely the Whitehall HS Percussion Ensemble) earned state-wide and national attention for their performance excellence. Rick currently serves as the 4th and 5th grade band director at Zephyr Elementary School. Additionally, he is the 6th Grade Band director and the assistant director of the 7th/8th Grade Band at Whitehall-Coplay Middle School. Currently, he teaches instrumental music to over 250 students in these grades. Rick is also actively involved with the Nazareth High School Marching Band, where he has served as a staff member and director of the Nazareth HS Percussion Ensemble since 2009.

 

Rick is active in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association as well. He has previously served as guest conductor for many PMEA band festivals, and is a past PMEA District 10 President. He is currently serving as the instrumental audition chairperson in District 10.

 

Here at St. John's, Rick's responsibilities include directing the St. John's Ringers – a choir that has now been in existence here for over 50 years! The St. John's Ringers not only ring in worship here Sunday mornings, but they also ring for special occasions such as Christmas Eve and Easter. They have participated in many bell festivals in the area. Rick has composed many handbell pieces for his choir, and most notably In 2013, he composed "Celebratory Fanfare" for the St. John's Ringers in celebration of the group's 50th anniversary. This piece was featured at a recent handbell festival in the spring of 2015. The St. John's Ringers rehearse (and have a good time doing it as well!) on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30 pm. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.