Our StaffAt Lyndale, our members are our ministers. Meet the people helping them.
Rev. Ashley Harness
Rev. Ashley Harness is ordained in the United Church of Christ as is also a communications strategist with almost a decade of experience in non-profit media work. When she is not enjoying leading worship, standing for justice or listening deeply in pastoral care with us at Lyndale, she is serving as Director of Communications at the Center for Progressive Renewal to help progressive churches across the country grow. She also consults through Auburn Theological Seminary’s digital organizing and media teams, providing confidential training and counsel to religious leaders seeking to use social and traditional media as a pulpit. You can follow her writing on the Huffington Post and on her personal blog as well. Ashley received her Masters of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in 2012 and her Bachelor of Arts at Brown University in 2005. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel
Director of the Center of Sustainable Justice
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and currently serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Justice. She is a theologian, pastor and movement-builder who specializes in coalition and collaborative partnerships across movements for justice. Previously, she served as the MountainTop Movement Building Consultant at Auburn Seminary, as Interim Executive Director for PFund Foundation, as Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, as Interim National Coordinator for the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns, as pastor of Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ and as Program Staff for the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence. You can follow her writing and wider work on her blog here. She is a graduate of Earlham College, Yale Divinity School and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
Karn is grateful and honored to be able to support the mission and vision of the Lyndale UCC community. She lives with her two son’s (12 &14) in South Minneapolis. Between them, you’ll find art makers and crafters, competitive soccer players, yogis, runners and general fitness buffs, super outdoorsy, watchers of the moon, frequent visitors of Lake Superior, travelers, game nighters, and people who are generally curious and open to new experiences. You can email her at email@example.com
A womanist scholar-activist and artistheologian, Pamela Y. Cook is currently a M.Div. student at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities who expects to graduate in May 2016. For 13 years, Pamela was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and participated in the Ministers In Training program under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. At present, she is a member in discernment at Decorah Congregational United Church of Christ of the North East Association of the Iowa Conference. Pamela has participated in youth ministry at United Church of Christ, Presbyterian (PCUSA), Lutheran (ELCA), and Baptist churches. Her current activism includes serving on the clergy team and as an artist supporting Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, as well as, a facilitator for AntiRacism Dialogue Circles (ASDIC). Pamela received a B.A. magna cum laude in political science from Spelman College and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law.
Director of Music
Mindy began as Lyndale’s Director of Music in the fall of 2008 and is pleased to be part of this vibrant, active, service-oriented (and musically-minded!) congregation. Outside of Lyndale, she is a freelance pianist and accompanist, working with a variety of schools, theaters and musical organizations. Mindy holds accompanist positions at the University of St. Thomas, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School and Augsburg College, and with One Voice Mixed Chorus. She has also worked with Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Jungle Theater, Guthrie Theater, the Ordway Center and Nautilus Music-Theater. Mindy is a native of Michigan, and recently moved from Minneapolis to Eagan with her two marvelous cats, Max and Sophie.
Allan has served as Lyndale’s volunteer Community Minister since January 2003. He believes that God calls us to love and welcome our neighbors, whoever they are and wherever they are on life’s journey. Lyndale’s community ministry is an active presence in our neighborhood, advocating for the needs of children and youth, helping to shelter and feed neighbors in need, reaching out with other people of faith in the community, and sharing common cause and dialogue with our Muslim neighbors and friends.
Rev. Don Portwood
The Rev. Don Portwood served as Pastor of Lyndale Church starting December 1, 1980 through May, 2015. He doesn’t believe there are many churches he could’ve pastored that long. About his time with us, Don writes, “Lyndale is a wonderful and crazy mix of people whom I was privileged to serve. And they kept me on my toes!” Don is also involved with a folk art form called InterPlay (interplay.org for more info), which stimulates my creativity and playfulness through improvisational movement, story telling, singing and rhythm. He considers InterPlay to be one of his spiritual practices, which is another area of interest. Don believes spiritual practices, ancient and new, can ground our faith so we have the spirit and energy to live the call to be a people and community “who embody and extend God’s welcome, healing, justice and love.”