Rev. april gutierrez, pastor
Rev. April has a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Evangelism from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. April has worked for more than a decade in higher education with a focus on social justice education and ministry. She has been married to her partner Evan for 14 years and has two children, Silvio and Miriam. As an avid reader and writer, April has earned national acclaim as a columnist writing on faith and spirituality. April and Evan enjoy exploring national parks throughout our beautiful country and taking in live jazz, folk, and latin music.
Rev. Paul Ortiz, Minister of Discipleship
As the son of immigrant parents, Paul is passionate about the gospel's call to break down boarders and build up inclusive community in the way of Jesus. He loves to create art and go on bike rides in Chicago with his spouse Kora and daughter Magdalene. Paul is a commissioned Elder with the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church, and serves at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as well as at Berry UMC.
Ryan senger, Accompanist
Ryan is a Chicago-based American classical pianist seeking to bring deserving, yet under-performed masterworks to public attention. He has appeared publicly in Chicago numerous times as soloist and collaborator. In October 2015, he gave the performance of Bach’s relatively unknown Suite in G minor, BVW 822, in Chicago radio station WFMT’s Bach Keyboard Festival. He also had the honor of performing Prokofiev’s 5th Piano Sonata in the Prokofiev 125 sonata marathon. A dedicated teacher, Senger is proud of his studio, which contains students from ages 6 to 88 years old. Senger holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from DePaul University and is currently studying under George Vatchnadze in DePaul’s Master’s program. His past teachers include Dr. Daniel Lyons, and Jeanne Plotts.
Jessie Cummins, Tween Ministry Coordinator
Hi, Berry! Here are 5 things to know about me:
1. I go to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. This position is my field education for my 3rd year of my Master’s of Divinity program. If you want to talk theology or are curious about what it means to become a pastor, I’m in the middle of it all now and would love to talk!
2. Coffee First. Oh boy, have I realized the power of coffee during my time in graduate school. I love to revel in a good cuppa o’ joe when I start my day. I’d love to have a cup with you and get to know your story.
3. Any chance I get to pick up a baby or chill with a kiddo, or pet a dog or cat, I do it. I used to be so nervous around other people’s family, but I miss my family’s fuzzy creatures and my cousins. So if you need a babysitter or a pet sitter--and if I am available--I would love to do it! They remind me to be content with life, for the most part.
4. I am a huge nerd. I will enthusiastically insert myself into any conversation involving literature (former English major), comic books (anything from Dark Horse), or Science Fiction, and Fantasy. (I just finished Buffy! And yes, my picture up there is from Hobbiton.)
5. Mother Nature is my jam. Some of my first experiences of God were camping with my family and participating in United Methodist Camps in the Oregon-Idaho conference. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is the motto I try to live my life by. I hail from the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) and if I’m in a funky mood- camping or hiking can typically put me right with the world.
Sarai Olmos, child care
Hello, I'm Sarai. I am from Berry's beloved neighborhood of Lincoln Square, and am studying Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love coming to Berry; it gives me joy walking in on Sunday mornings seeing the children who go to the nursery to play while their parents attend worship!