Joy Harrison Rust, Organist, has been a keyboardist almost her whole life. She grew up on a farm in northwestern Ohio, where she started playing the organ and piano for Sunday services as a 6th grader at her Methodist church. She was a piano and music education major at Capital University (ELCA) in Columbus, Ohio. She served as the accompanist for the Men’s Glee Club, which is where she met her husband. Her church music experience includes work at churches in 4 states with duties ranging from organist, pianist, children and adult choir director, handbell director as well as director of music.  Joy has been on staff as high school accompanist during Lutheran Music Week at Lutheridge (Asheville).  She was most recently served at Alamance Lutheran Church (2015-18) and Macedonia Lutheran Church (2005-2014). Joy retired in June 2018 after 40 successful years of K-12 music teaching in Ohio, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina. She taught 18 years in ABSS, in the Graham zone (elementary and middle schools) and most recently at Elon Elementary.  She has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, AIG license for gifted education, and National Board Certification in Early and Middle Childhood Music (ages 3-12). She has given presentations and served on numerous committees at the local, county and state level as an advocate for students in music as well as technology. In June 2018 Joy and a colleague along with 5 students from Elon Elementary presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in Chicago. Joy and her husband, Stephen (an ELCA pastor), reside in Burlington. Their 3 children (who live in Sweden, Birmingham and Burlington), spouses and six grandchildren (3 boys and 3 girls ranging in age from 0-7) make for a fun family gathering! Joy can be reached at joyrust15@gmail.com.

Jennifer Clifton and Priscilla Cotton, Nursery Attendants

Dr. Stephen A. Futrell, Chancel Choir Director, (DMA, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Conservatory of Music) is Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at Elon University in North Carolina, where he teaches conducting, directs the auditioned Elon Camerata, teaches contemporary commercial studio vocal style and technique, and is director of élan, a select a cappella, vocal jazz, commercial/studio ensemble. He currently serves as Artistic Director/Conductor for Voices – The Chapel Hill Chorus, conducting two ensembles: Voices, a 130-member chorus; and Cantari, a chamber choir of 30-36 members. The Mission of Voices is to foster, sustain, and share the art and joy of choral music and to enrich the Triangle community through excellent performances of music from diverse cultures and historical periods. With the Baton Rouge Symphony, as former Chorus Master and Staff Conductor, Dr. Futrell conducted annual Messiah concerts, Christmas Pops concerts, as well as their summer concert series. He made his European conducting debut in June 2002, appearing with the Sinfonia Dell’Arte di Arezzo at the Teatro Petraca, Arezzo, Italy. Then in 2006, he served as conductor for the National Youth Choir at Carnegie Hall, as a guest conductor at New York’s Lincoln Center, as well as appearing as Associate Conductor/Chorus Master for the Aegean Verdi Festival on the island of Lesvos, Greece. Among Futrell’s publications, his most significant are his modern performance editions of three Classical motets by Anna Amalia von Sachsen (1739-1807), published and available through Fred Bock Music Publishers. As a recording artist, and former music producer for DreamWorks Animation SKG International, with more than three decades of experience, Dr. Futrell has performed in live and studio settings as a vocalist, trumpeter, writer, arranger, and producer throughout the metropolitan areas of Kansas City, Chicago, Orlando, Nashville and the Gulf Coast region. Stephen has led church choirs in Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, and has been involved with even Catholic and Orthodox music programs! 

Lee Campbell, Sound Technician

Delinda Anderson, ​Custodian

Eden Brown, Bell Choirs Director, NCTM oversees (and directs) our handbell groups that range in age from kindergarten to adult. Raised in New Jersey, she received classical and jazz training from the late, Mr. Morris Nanton, a nationally renowned jazz artist and Julliard graduate. In 2007, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance at Elon University in North Carolina, under the tutelage of Dr. Victoria Fischer Faw. In 2009, she completed a Master of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy at Louisiana State University under the acclaimed classical and jazz artist, Dr. Willis Delony. While at LSU, Eden coordinated the LSU Music Academy, served as a graduate teaching assistant in Group Piano for music majors, and taught a studio of 18 private students ranging from age four through adult. At Elon University, Eden teaches applied piano to non-piano music majors and non-majors, as well as class piano and piano pedagogy. Eden is experienced in teaching students of all ages and ability levels, in private and group settings; however, she has a special affinity towards elementary school-aged children. Her professional affiliations include the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) with national certification, Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Eden is the current president of the Alamance County Piano Teachers Association, and is the Certification Chair for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. Eden also teaches a private studio of beginner and intermediate students based in Elon, NC since 2009, and she is committed to cultivating the arts in Alamance County. She lives in Elon with her husband, Taureen and daughter, Emani.

Mrs. Monica F. Nicholson, Office Manager, is a native of Long Island, New York. She is a graduate of Eastport High School where she served as the president of the Student Council and SADD, along with being the captain of the varsity volleyball team. Monica came to North Carolina in 2003 to attend Elon University. She periodically wrote for the Pendulum and the Rock Creek Record, along with serving as a member of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity. She was a presenter at the 2006 Student Undergraduate Research Forum and won first place in the Broadcast Education Associations National Undergraduate Research Competition in Spring of 2006. She graduated in May of 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree for both Broadcast and Journalism. Monica permanently moved to Elon in 2006 after getting engaged. She was married in May of 2007 to Josh Nicholson, graduate of Graham High School. Monica and Josh live with their children Gavin and Sheala, along with their two cats, Rory and Lucy, and their two dogs, Spade and Honcho. Monica can also be found working at Piedmont Ale House in Burlington during evenings and weekends, where she coordinated the well known community fundraisers, Pints 4 Paws (benefiting the Humane Society) and Hops for Hope (benefiting Allied Churches). You can contact Monica at the church at: eccucc@att.net.

Mrs. Lori Watson, Finance Director and CLC Ministries Coordinator, grew up in North Carolina and graduated from Western Alamance High School. She attended Guilford Technical Community College and runs her own real estate group, Star Real Estate Company. Lori currently lives in Burlington and has three daughters, Whitley (Chandler) who recently graduated from law school in Austin, Texas; Erika (Mason) who just returned from a year teaching in Thailand; and Katy who is an undergrad at UNC Wilmington. Lori can be reached by
​e-mail at: ecctreas@att.net.

Rev. Sharon Wheeler, Minister of Spiritual Growth and Christian Education, grew up in Burlington, North Carolina and graduated from Williams High School in 1974. She attended Appalachian State University for two and a half years and completed her B.A. degree in Elementary Education at Elon College in 1978. Sharon taught in the Pitt County school system during 1979-1980. Upon her return to Burlington in 1980, she was employed by Biomedical Reference Laboratories, now known as Laboratory Corporation of America where she served in various positions for over 30 years before retiring. In 2004, she became part of the first class of The Pastoral Leadership Development Program of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ, where she completed her studies and graduated in June, 2007. She is a life long member of First Christian United Church of Christ where she has served as Chair of the Board of Christian Education, Youth Ministries Coordinator, and Intern Pastor for Christian Education. Sharon was ordained on April 13, 2008 at Elon Community Church. She married Ted Wheeler in July 2011. She has three grown sons, Ron Ingalls, Scott Ingalls (who is married to Morgan), and Keith Ingalls, and two granddaughters, Grier and Olive. Ted also has a daughter, Gwendolyn Stewart Wheeler. Sharon can be reached at: wheeler.sharon04@gmail.com.

Elon Community Church UCC Staff Photos and Biographies

Rev. Randy Orwig, Senior Pastor, was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Randy earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from University of Toledo in 1982. He felt a call to ministry when he was 19 years old, so after graduation, pursued a Master of Divinity degree at Methodist Theological School in Ohio graduating in 1986. As a United Methodist pastor, Randy served 4 congregations: Trilby UMC in Toledo 1983 (student associate), Hyatts UMC from 1984-1986 (student pastor), First UMC Greenville, Ohio 1986-1988, and LaPointe UMC in Port Clinton, Ohio from 1988-1992. At that point Randy left the United Methodist and moved to Virginia Beach, VA as a United Church of Christ pastor to plant and establish a new church for the Southern Conference. During the next 16 years, Tidewater UCC was started, a building built, and a family was raised. Randy and Bev moved to St. Louis, MO to serve for a short time at Immanuel UCC. Randy and Bev have two children; Ryan and Lyndsay. Lyndsay is a graduate of University of Virginia and resides in Elon, NC. Ryan resides in Virginia Beach with his wife. They have one son, Brayden, and one daughter, Brielle. Bev is a school teacher and is currently working at Turrentine Middle School. Randy can be reached by e- mail at:  ​RevRandyECC@att.net.