Douglass Blvd Christian Church

an open and affirming community of faith

n open and affirming community where faith is questioned and formed, as relationships are made and upheld. 

Derek Penwell
Senior Minister

Derek Penwell

Derek Penwell

Derek joined DBCC as its interim minister in January of 2008. We liked him so much, we just made him stay. Derek got his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Lexington Theological Seminary. He defended his dissertation in December 2010 (A Manifestation of All Life: Intersections of Virtue Ethics, Philosophy of Emotion, and Philosophy of Literature),  and received his Ph.D. in Humanities from the University of Louisville. Until recently, he taught Humanities and Religious Studies at the University of Louisville and Theology at Bellarmine University. The Association of Humanities Academics at UofL awarded Derek with the first-ever "Outstanding Alumnus Award." He's sort of got a lot going on up there. 

Derek's recent book, The Mainliner's Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World, is available at Chalice Press, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Cokesbury, and wherever fine books are sold. 

Follow Derek on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, read his essays at his blog, or on [D]mergent, or at the Huffington Post, or email him. You can find his sermons on iTunes


Jennifer Vandiver
Operations Manager

Jennifer Vandiver

Jennifer Vandiver

Jennifer has been serving Douglass Blvd. Christian Church for over a decade. If you need to know anything going on at DBCC, she's your gal. As well as the programing and general office work, Jennifer is also the teacher of the Children's Sunday School Class. 

Jennifer is the rock of the office staff. We are all incredibly blessed to have such a caring, passionate and dedicated individual keeping things running. Without her, this place would be a mess.

She's an avid peruser of Facebook and Pinterest, but where she spends the majority of her free time is with her husband, her daughters, and her grandchildren.


Joanna Ackerman
Financial Secretary

Joanna playing with her grand-daughter, Agnes. 

Joanna playing with her grand-daughter, Agnes. 

Joanna has been at DBCC for quite a while now and we wouldn't know what to do without her. Joanna keeps the books here at Douglass, as well as keeps us in stitches. She is always good for a bizarre story or hilarious antic. This all pales in comparison, however, to her skills as a baker of sweet, delicious, coma-inducing desserts. 

Seriously. Her cakes will make you swoon. They remind us just how much God loves us.

While Joanna is a mother to all of us, she is absolutely first and formost the greatest Nan in the world to her granddaughter, with whom she is nearly inseparable. 


Neil Vandiver
Maintenance

Neil Vandiver

Neil Vandiver

Neil is our maintenance man, and keeper of the grounds. If ever there is a thing to be repaired, refinished, recolored, or refurbished, Neil is Johnny-on-the-spot. There's no task too small or too large that he hasn't run across in his long and successful career. 

A hard worker no doubt, Neil loves spending free time out on the lake with his wife and grandkids. 


Ben Powell
Director of Music

Ben cues the choir from behind a piano.

Ben cues the choir from behind a piano.

Ben has been our music director since January 2013. He oversees everything musical here at Douglass, including our small-but-mighty Chancel Choir. He has degrees both in music education and conducting from the University of Louisville.

When he’s not directing choirs, teaching middle school music, or playing piano, you can find Ben singing songs about his 90-pound French mastiff, playing video games, or hanging out with his wife, Amy (who sings in our choir).


Clare Rutz
Youth Director

Clare poses with a goat.

Clare poses with a goat.

Clare Rutz has been everywhere – But seriously … like, everywhere. From Hong Kong, to Thiés, to D. C., Clare has trekked far and wide, leaving behind various vestigial organs in her wake (a long story for a short bio).

Originally from Upstate New York (which we don’t hold against her), she graduated from Syracuse University (which we do hold against her) with a degree in International Relations and Policy Studies. Clare loves hanging out with young people, playing poker, Asia (not the band), camping, and good whiskey. But, the very best thing about Clare is that she is always fearlessly trying new things.

Always. 

Oh, and she may write a book someday, but you know, get off her back about it.

 


Alan Martin
Organist

Alan pictured right, with his partner Brian on the left.

Alan pictured right, with his partner Brian on the left.

Alan Martin, a native North Carolinian, is a graduate of Wake Forest University where he majored in music and Latin. He received the Master of Church Music degree from Southern Baptist Seminary School of Music and did further graduate studies in musicology at University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. Before coming to Douglass he served as organist at Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church and Louisville's First Church of Christ, Scientist. In 2013 he retired from Sears Holdings Corporation after 36 years in Human Resources and Training. Outside of being our organist, he is also accompanist for the Louisville Gay Men's Chorus. His free-time interests include history of film and film scores, ancient Roman cookery, researching family history, and supporting Animal Rights. He has had articles published in The American Organist and Angels on Earth magazines.

A prankster at heart, Alan is always good for a laugh, a funny photo, or a birthday poem.


Geoff Wallace
Web & Social Media Manager

Geoff selfies in the Adirondacks.

Geoff selfies in the Adirondacks.

Geoff has been hanging around here for nigh on a decade, so we decided he might as well do stuff while he loafs. Starting in 2009 as a tenor in our choir, he eventually stumbled his way up to youth director, followed by web and social media manager. He took a short sabbatical-of-sorts a few years back, but just couldn't stay away, retaking the helm of our web and social media ship in 2014.

Geoff is historian by degree, web designer by trade, chorister by choice, and generally rambunctious by nature. He likes to tweet, read, hike, and travel. He wouldn't mind a decent pale ale either, if you're offering.