Rev. Katja Gruening, Pastor
Peace and Joy to you!
As a pastor, I care deeply about creating a welcoming church environment for those with big doubts and large questions, for those disillusioned by a previous church experience, for people who are differently abled, and for those who are seeking a safe and affirming space to explore and grow in their faith.
As a disciple of Christ, I believe we are called to be out in the world, putting the faith we nurture into action: social witness and community outreach.
As a preacher and teacher, I am passionate about bringing holy scripture to life for those who struggle relating to our ancient sacred texts. I believe in servant leadership, gentle shepherding, and bringing creativity into our spiritual lives.
I invite you to explore our church's vision for Christian community through our website, and by visiting with us, whether on a Sunday, or by checking out one of our many groups and activities.
I previously served as pastor to Sandusky Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Yale, in Michigan, a joint call. Prior to that, my ministry experience included hospital chaplaincy, music ministry, and leadership as ruling elder and deacon. I was educated at Princeton Theological Seminary and The College of Wooster. I am a lover of crafting, coffee, and classic music, best enjoyed together, and with friends.
Marcello Velame, Director of Music
Marcello Velame holds an undergraduate degree from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ where he was awarded the Alexander McCurdy Organ Scholarship. He also studied at Julliard School of Music. He has appeared as guest conductor at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada and he has sung under the direction of acclaimed conductors Robert Shaw, Kurt Masur, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
Marcello has conducted major choral and orchestral works, both in and outside the church. He has also prepared choral works such as Beethoven Mass in C for performances at Carnegie Hall and conducted the ALLEGRO chorus in performances in several venues in New Jersey. Marcello is also a music teacher at Shark River Elementary School.