About NYSCOC

Who We Are

New York State Council of Churches is comprised of eight partner Denominations which are detailed on our Member Denominations page. Each denomination sends representation to our Executive Committee and provides financial support. Other denominations which are members of the National Council of Churches may also have representation to the Council.


Our Staff

The Reverend Peter Cook

Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches
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The Reverend Peter Cook serves as Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches which represents 7,000 congregations across the state of New York. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Reverend Cook received his BA from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and an MA in Liturgical Theology and an MDiv. from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. Prior to serving the Council, he served as Senior Minister at First Congregational Church in Burlington, Vermont and The Plymouth Church in Framingham, Massachusetts and Pastor of St. John's United Church of Christ in Waukegan, Illinois. Throughout his ministry, Peter has been a strong advocate for the development of affordable housing, leading to the Council’s Who is My Neighbor Community Development Initiative to help faith institutions use their property to better serve their community.

Karen Lapierre

Office Manager
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Karen Lapierre has been working as the Office Manager for New York State Council of Churches since December 2010. As a life-long Lutheran, her faith journey has included many experiences and opportunities from the local congregation to the national church and she is grateful that the ELCA and the Upstate NY Synod are supporters and partners in ministry with NYSCOC.


Ginger Rento

Book Keeping
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Ginger Rento has been doing the bookkeeping for New York State Council of Churches since 2017 and has over 25 years of experience.  Ginger’s client base includes several non-profits and ecumenical agencies.


Danielle Di Meglio

Social Justice and Research Intern
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We are delighted to have Danielle Di Meglio join the New York State Council of Churches' staff as our  2021-2022 Social Justice and Research Intern. Danielle was born and raised in Lawrence, New Jersey. She is currently a junior at Fordham University, on the pre-law track studying to receive a double major in journalism and political science with a minor in Italian. Also an editor for the Fordham Undergraduate Law Review, Danielle hopes to bring her aspirations of learning the law to the Council. Danielle will help to staff our social justice commission and she will research and write about areas involving criminal justice reform, healthcare, and budget and infrastructure at the Federal and state level and other issues areas as assigned. She will also assist with our annual ecumenical advocacy day.

Executive Committee

The Rev. Dustin Wright

The Rev. Dustin Wright

President of the NYSCOC Executive Committee
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The Rev. Dustin Wright serves as President of the NYSCOC Executive Committee and as a pastor in the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Dustin serves his community through a variety of local ecumenical, interfaith, and nonprofit organizations in the Schenectady area, including as Chair of Schenectady Community Ministry's Interfaith Task Force, and as Chair of the Schenectady Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club. He is an avid hiker, runner, frisbee player and general outdoor enthusiast, with his best friend and dog, Willard Excelsior Bear.


The Rev. E. Alan Dailey

The Rev. E. Alan Dailey

Vice-President of the NYSCOC Executive Committee
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The Rev. E. Alan Dailey serves as Vice-President of the NYSCOC Executive Committee and represents the New York Conference United Church of Christ on this committee. Alan currently serves as an Intentional Interim Pastor, most recently at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Greece, NY. His interests include diversity and racial justice work and workshop facilitation. He also serves on the Board and as Treasurer of the Greater Rochester Council of Churches Faith in Action Network, and as the Ecumenical/Interfaith Coordinator for the Genesee Valley Association of the UCC. In these roles Alan has been instrumental in their anti-racism and diversity initiatives. He is an alumnus of Michigan State University and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He lives in Rochester, with his wife Sue. They have five adult children and nine grandchildren.

Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell

Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell

Secretary
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The Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell serves as Secretary of the NYSCOC Executive Committee and is pastor of First United Methodist Church of Oneonta.  She has served on the Executive Committee of the New York State Council of Churches since 2014 and represents the Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church.


Frederick Jackson

Frederick Jackson

Treasurer
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Frederick Jackson serves as Treasurer of the NYSCOC Executive Committee. He is a member of the Finance Committee and the Social Justice Commission. Fred serves his local Episcopal church making use of his financial experience and has experience in Lay Church Management and Legislative advocacy. The “Who is my Neighbor?” program of the NYSCOC is of special interest to him in both the Capital Region and Manhattan.


Regina Baird Haag

Regina Baird Haag

Recorded minister
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Regina Baird Haag is a recorded minister among New York Yearly Meeting Quakers, serving as Executive Director at Elsie K. Powell House retreat and conference center. She represents NYYM on our Executive Committee and co-chairs the Social Justice Commission.


The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool

The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool

Bishop Assistant for the Episcopal Diocese of New York
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The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool has served as Bishop Assistant for the Episcopal Diocese of New York since 2016. In 40 years of ordained ministry, Bishop Glasspool has always had a passion for ecumenical and interfaith work. Officially she represents the Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche, the Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin, and the entire Diocese of New York which covers Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan, Orange, and Rockland Counties, as the Diocese engages with the New York State Council of Churches.


Rev. Dr. Gideon Jebamani

Rev. Dr. Gideon Jebamani

Episcopal priest
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The Rev. Dr. Gideon Jebamani is an Episcopal priest serving as an at-large member of the NYSCOC Executive Committee. He is a Protestant Chaplain serving at Green Haven Correctional Facility. His role as an executive committee member includes his work in prison ministry, a vital aspect of the work of NYSCOC, coordinating and perpetuating ecumenical relationships locally and globally especially with India, and advocating for everyone’s human dignity and human rights beyond boundaries, especially the marginalized Dalit untouchable across the Globe.


Robert Kazmayer

Robert Kazmayer

Representative to the NYSCOC Executive Committee
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Robert Kazmayer, "Sunfire," is one of two representatives to the NYSCOC Executive Committee from the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and serves as chair of the Commission on Faith Formation. When he first joined a local Quaker meeting, he became a member of their Ministry and Counsel committee and discovered that the committee's function was to help everyone in the meeting to minister, both to each other and to the world. He has since served his home meeting and New York Yearly Meeting in many capacities. He was part of the Parliament of the World's Religions, one of hundreds of presenters, offering a session on the Quaker practice of "Worship Sharing," where participants contemplate important questions together. Sunfire regards his Quaker spiritual journey as a great adventure and is glad to include his role with NYSCOC as part of that adventure.


Rev. Jim Ketcham

Rev. Jim Ketcham

Representative of the American Baptist Churches of New York
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The Rev. Jim Ketcham is a retired American Baptist pastor, representing the American Baptist Churches of New York State on the Executive Committee.  He serves on the Social Justice and Development committees. Jim and his wife live in Troy, NY.


Rev. Wolfgang Laudert

Rev. Wolfgang Laudert

Pastor at Christ Lutheran Church
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The Rev. Wolfgang Laudert serves as an at large member of the New York State Council of Churches Executive Committee on the Ecumenical Committee. He is pastor at Christ Lutheran Church, Staten Island.  He also serves as Dean of the Staten Island Conference of the Metro New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  He also chairs the ecumenical committee of the Staten Island Council of Churches.


Rev. Violet L. D. Lee, Ph.D

Rev. Violet L. D. Lee, Ph.D

Executive Program Minister of Christ Church, United Methodist, of New York City
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The Rev. Violet L. D. Lee, Ph.D. is the Executive Program Minister of Christ Church, United Methodist, of New York City. She is an ordained American Baptist Church pastor and represents the ABC of Metropolitan New York on the NYSCOC Executive Committee. Dr. Lee holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a Master of Social Work degree from Howard University in Washington, DC and a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.  While Dr. Lee has done extensive research in counseling, having completed coursework toward the Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work at New York University, she received a Ph.D. from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education. Having served in both the public and private sectors, she enjoys the opportunities to blend ministry and social work in the service of others.  


Minister Chibueze Okorie

Minister Chibueze Okorie

Lay Pastor in the NYC Presbytery
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Minister Chibueze Okorie is an ordained, Commissioned Lay Pastor in the NYC Presbytery and represents them on our Executive Committee. He joined the Church of Gethsemane in 1991 in response to its Outreach Ministry and volunteered with them for several years.  He experienced a call to Church leadership and attended the New York Theological Seminary and also completed two Clinical Pastoral Education Programs there. He was hired as the Minister of Evangelism and Director of Project Connect, the Church’s prison and re-entry program. He has received many citations and awards for his work in the field of Criminal Justice.  Chibueze is also a resource to clergy and lay, throughout the NYC Presbytery who seek his help for people who are incarcerated and their families. He is also a member of the Committee on Preparation for Lay Ministry and a Presbytery delegate for the United Nations Committee for Social Development.

Rev. Eric Olsen

Rev. Eric Olsen

Pastor for the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity and the First United Methodist Church
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The Rev. Eric Olsen was ordained by the ELCA in 1988, Eric is a 20-year veteran of prison ministry and former State Chaplain to the Division of Military and Naval Affairs. He currently serves as a pastor for the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity and the First United Methodist Church, both based in Saranac Lake N.Y.


Rev. John Paarlberg

Rev. John Paarlberg

Member of the Social Justice Commission of the NY State Council of Churches
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The Rev. John Paarlberg is a retired pastor in the Reformed Church in America (RCA), having most recently served as the senior minister of the First Church in Albany.  Prior to that he was the RCA Minister for Social Witness and Worship.  He is a member of the Social Justice Commission of the NY State Council of Churches.


Margot Phillips

Margot Phillips

Member of Journey United Church of Christ in Albany New York
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Margot Phillips has been active in denominational and ecumenical settings for many years. In the past she has served on the Board of the New York Conference, United Church of Christ, Capital Region theological center and others. She is a member of Journey United Church of Christ in Albany New York.


Rev Deacon Dorothy Pierce

Rev Deacon Dorothy Pierce

Representative for the NYSCOC
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The Reverend Deacon Dorothy Pierce serves as Deacon at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Johnson City, New York. Deacon Dorothy was ordained in 2009 in the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, which she represents for the NYSCOC. She is a retired Social Worker and Elementary School Teacher, and presently works for the Broome County Council of Churches as Assistant Chaplain at the Broome County Correctional Facility in Binghamton, New York.

Rev. Grover T. Reddie

Rev. Grover T. Reddie

Episcopal priest
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The Rev. Grover T. Reddie is an Episcopal priest, an at-large member of our Executive Committee, and a Protestant Chaplain with the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision at Coxsackie Correctional Facility.


Rev. Tanya Spencer

Rev. Tanya Spencer

American Baptist Pastor from Buffalo New York
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The Rev. Tanya Spencer is an American Baptist Pastor from Buffalo New York and serves as the representative of the American Baptist Churches of Rochester/Genesee on the Executive Committee of the NYS Council of Churches. She has a passion for Christ and helping people.


Rev. Dr. Tim TenClay

Rev. Dr. Tim TenClay

Representative of the Regional Synod of New York
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The Rev. Dr. Tim TenClay represents the Regional Synod of New York, Reformed Church in America on our Executive Committee. He is the pastor of the Community Reformed Church (RCA), Manhasset (Long Island).  He has pastored congregations in Michigan, New York, and Italy and is a certified Labyrinth Facilitator.


Gary Van Kennen

Gary Van Kennen

Member of the NYSCOC Executive Committee
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Gary Van Kennen serves as an at large member of the NYSCOC Executive Committee and is a member of Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ in Massena, New York. He is active in a number of local and international organizations, including New York State Kairos Prison Ministry and the Poor People's Campaign.  Gary also serves with several groups that work on religious freedom and human rights issues.


Alex Tindal Wiesendanger

Alex Tindal Wiesendanger

The author of Seeds of Justice
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Alex Tindal Wiesendanger is a long-time organizer, advocate and trainer and the author of Seeds of Justice: Organizing Your Church to Transform the World (Orbis Press, 2020). He received a Master’s degree in Social Justice and Community Development from Loyola University, Chicago. His experience includes service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, living in a Catholic Worker community, serving as Director of Organizing for the Community Renewal Society, the National Organizing Director for Jobs to Move America, Campaign Manager for the Responsible Budget Coalition, the National Lead Organizer for the American Federation of Musicians and Associate Director of Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing. He currently serves as the Campaign Coordinator for SEIU 32BJ. He lives with his family in New York City and is an active member of St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.


Rev. Dr. William Wilkinson

Rev. Dr. William Wilkinson

Presbyterian Church pastor representing the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley
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The Rev. Dr. William Wilkinson is a Presbyterian Church pastor representing the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley on the NYSCOC Executive Committee. He is Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Medina, NY. William’s passion for ecumenical ministry envisioned by the perspectives of the social gospel and liberation theology has led him to involvement with Presbyterian Peace Fellowship as well as the Greater Rochester Community of Churches/Faith in Action Network, the Rochester Area Communities Transforming Society, and the United Christian Leadership Ministries of Western New York.