Rev. Laura McLeod – Pastor
Divinity Degree – Andover Newton Theological School, 1989
I am delighted to be serving Brookfield Congregational Church since November 2016. I have been an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ since graduating from Andover Newton Theological School in 1989. I have had the privilege of serving churches in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. I have been a member of the American Pastoral Counseling Association and worked as a counselor as well as a church pastor. I was drawn to Brookfield UCC because of its mission focus and desire to remain vital. Since coming to BCC I have become a certified facilitator and trainer in ‘Sacred Conversations to End Racism’ from the National UCC. I continue to work with Rev. Dr. Velda Love in this effort and have led racial justice training with several area churches including BCC.
I am originally from the Chicago area and a diehard Chicago Cub fan. I live in Elkhorn with my husband Scott who serves the First Congregational UCC in Port Washington. We have two children – Ruth, who is working on the PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience, and Henry, who is at UWM. Aside from work, I enjoy theatre, dance and crafting.
Marilyn Cummins – Pastoral Assistant for Congregational Life
Graduate R.N. – Hazleton State General Hospital, Pennsylvania State University
B.S. Health Arts – College of St. Francis – Joliet, Illinois
25-year career of critical care nursing; with specialty in cardiac and neurosurgery. I have enjoyed a 12-year, part time position at BCC. I have been an active member since 1988. I love my position on staff and have come to grow in my faith and love of the community of this church.
As Pastoral Assistant for Congregational Life, I wear two hats. The first is the parish nurse role. Visiting our “at home’ members and making sure they are safe and cared for in their environments. I try to foster relationships of church members, by supporting their health care decisions and helping them navigate through the various health care systems. I offer a BP ministry once a month. I assist Rev. Laura with pastoral care and support her in all ways in the work of the church. I provide educational opportunities about health through forums and a weekly newsletter article. I also write an “Amazing Graze” blog with nutrition information and healthy recipes.
The second hat is the Fellowship piece. I am the staff liaison for the Congregational Life team; assisting with all activities involving food, from various receptions to Sunday fellowship.
I developed and support the “Hearts to Hands” ministry ~ meeting twice a month and spearheading hand work projects from prayer shawls to embroidered pillow cases. I serve on the ‘Liturgical Arts” team, helping to fashion meaningful and interesting worship enhancing experiences. I support and promote the UW Christian ministries Lunch Bunch program.
In my personal life, I enjoy golfing, cooking, reading, gardening, walking, dancing, and learning new things. I joined the handbell choir and really enjoy it. I especially like spending time with family, dear friends, and my son Frank, and his wife Sarah. I recently became a ‘Nanalyn’ to Evelyn Grace Cummins.
Bonnie Ilhardt – Pastoral Assistant for Membership and Stewardship
B.S. Biology – UW-River Falls, B.S. Biology, Master of Forestry/Hydrology – University of Minnesota
After a lengthy career with the U.S. Forest Service, I thoroughly enjoy my part-time position at BCC. I was an active member before joining the staff in 2013, and feel blessed to be part of a faith community where I can serve others and grow my own faith at the same time. After many years of commuting using public transportation, I am thrilled to bike to work in the non-winter months! As Pastoral Assistant for Membership Development, I work with the Senior Pastor, BCC staff, and specifically the Congregational Life and Stewardship Ministry Teams on activities that build, support, and grow our church community. Some examples are our weekly chair yoga and our monthly lunch bunch. I maintain a current roster of members and their contact information and work with the Administrative Assistant to publish periodic Directory updates. I also work with the staff and Leadership Team on providing input and keeping information on our BCC Web-Site current and relevant. I’m interested in most things outdoors including biking, gardening, and hiking. I also enjoy cooking, reading, spending time with family and friends and especially my son and daughter-in-law and new grandson, James Richard, who live in Chicago.
Mary K Pofahl – Bookkeeper
Born in Seattle, WA but grew up in beautiful San Diego CA. Graduated from Chapman University ( Orange, CA)
Moved to Wisconsin in 1966 when my Wisconsinite Marine husband returned from Vietnam. We raised 1 son and 2 daughters. I was a stay home mom. Started doing some part time and substitute teaching when they were older. My field was Family and Consumer Education.
I started my second career in 1993 at Enterprise Credit Union. Retired in 2010 as V-President of Member Services.
My favorite career change is becoming bookkeeper at BCC.
We are enjoying our 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Gary McWithey – Director of Music – Organ
Gary McWithey joined the staff of BCC as organist/pianist in October, 1990. Over the years, Gary has served with several pastors and music directors. At times, he has directed the Chancel Choir. Presently, Gary provides the organ accompaniment for the hymns, occasionally plays with the choir & praise band and provides music for service preludes, offertories and postludes on most Sundays of the year, as well as other special services. He is currently working with the leadership team and congregation on the purchase of a new organ for the sanctuary. In addition to playing for BCC, Gary enjoys attending many organ concerts in the Milwaukee & Chicago area throughout the year. BCC opens its doors to small performance groups who might be looking for a venue. For information on facilities and availability, please contact: Gary McWithey, Organist ([email protected]).
Jackie Oakes – Director of Music – Choir/Handbells
I’ve been here at BCC for more than 10 years now as Music Director of Choirs. In addition to conducting the Handbells and Chancel Choir I also coordinate all special music, soloists, instrumentalists and summer worship music. We also have a Praise Band of which I’m the pianist and lead vocalist.
My classical music background comes from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in both cello and piano. I also am principal cellist of the Menomonee Falls Symphony and teach privately on piano, cello and voice.
In my spare time I enjoy riding my horse, Norman, golfing, biking, and now my husband and taking care of our 1900 Victorian home in Waukesha.
Brian Packham, composer and multi-instrumentalist, studied piano and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Brian enjoys playing music in a wide variety of styles and genres, and is grateful to be a part of BCC’s music ministry.
Becca Hughes – Pastoral Assistant for Christian Education
I have been working at BCC for over 7 years. I graduated from University of LaCrosse with an Education Major. I taught for 10 years in Milwaukee Public Schools and then stayed home with my children for 12 years. During those 12 years at home, I watched numerous kids at my home, ran a Becca’s summer camp, volunteered at my children’s schools, substitute taught in Elmbrook and worked at BCC. Now I work in Elmbrook as a kindergarten assistant teacher. I love being around kids.
When I am not working I love to read. In the summer I usually read 1 hour before even getting out of bed. My family and I enjoy camping. We have camped at almost every state park in WI. I have some favorites and will share if you ask! My kids keep me busy. Toby is 11 and will be in middle school this year. Corey is going to be a Junior at East. Riley just graduated (class of 2017) and will be heading to UW-Madison to study Civil Engineering. I enjoy shopping with my girls and watching them play softball. Toby and I enjoy Frisbee golf. I am busy watching him play baseball this summer. I am also very involved with Girl Scouts. I am “Crafty” at our week long camp in the summer and plan crafts for over 100 girls. It is a special week (and exhausting) where ALL my children come with and we just have a great time!
I love planning the church’s Children’s programs. Curriculum planning comes naturally to me. I love challenging myself and making each year better than the last.
Andrea McCall – Administrative Assistant
Bachelor Economics – Kassel University, Germany
I started working as an Administrative Assistant for BCC in 2011. As part of my job I function as a support for all of our wonderful staff and our Ministry Teams, as well as interacting with our members on a regular basis. I treasure particular projects that trigger my creative spirit, such as designing logos and posters or anything else visual that might enhance a written message. Before working at BCC, I worked as an Administrative Assistant for an ultrasound company in Bavaria, near Munich. My husband and I relocated back to the United States 1999. After arriving in Wisconsin in 2001, I started marketing my watercolor artwork of freshwater fish, internationally through a website, and locally through Trout Unlimited. Among the things I enjoy most are drawing and painting, watercolors in particular. Visiting art galleries, as well as flea markets and antique shops are also high on my list. I also love going to concerts and theater events, traveling, taking our dog for walks, biking, playing the piano, taking the boat out to a lake and fish, and spending time with my family.