Getting to Know You

Introducing our newest members...

Fernando (Fred) Arzola, Jr. and Jill Johnson

New member Fernando (Fred) Arzola, Jr. and his wife, Jill Johnson live in Nyack where they both work for Nyack College. Fred is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Corey Ferrari and Janet Salinas

Corey and Janet live in Spring Valley and have been coming to our church since last Easter upon the invitation of Ray Guarnuccio. They felt welcomed by the close-knit, small-family atmosphere in which members can get to know each other.

Heather Hain

Heather transferred her membership from the United Christian Church [affiliated with the UCC and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)] in Levittown, Penn. She came to our church last fall because we are an Open and Affirming UCC, and discovered a small, family-like congregation that is culturally diverse and welcoming. Heather and her spouse, Pete Lauritzen, moved from Pennsylvania to Pomona last August. Pete is an architect. Heather directs scientific research teams at a small company that does contract pharmaceutical research.

Louis Vazquez

Louis lives in Spring Valley but makes trips to Puerto Rico, where he has family. He first came to our church last October with Stephanie Vieira, his sweetheart. He enjoys the music of United Sounds of Praise, Sunday School, and fellowship hour following worship, especially the goodies provid-ed. Louis is athletic and enjoys baseball, basketball, football, ice hockey, and tennis. Raised Roman Cath-olic, he served as an altar boy, an experience that was very meaningful to him. Currently he is looking for a job.

Ruth & Don Guerrero

Both Ruth and Don were born in the Philippines and lived in New Jersey before moving to Hillcrest in 1979.  They have three grown children: Aimee, George and Julie.  They began attending United Church in early 2010, seeking a family-oriented and diverse church and finding United Church to be warm, friendly and embracing.

Joyce Norma Duncan

Joyce first came to our church three years ago at the invitation of Mary Sloley. She liked the smallness and friendliness of the congregation and the fact that she already had friends attending our church. Living close by the church, Joyce walks when she can. Joyce was born in Jamaica and came to the United States ten years ago following her mother's death, who was living in Spring Valley. She has one son, Michael Phipps, living in Florida. She enjoys crocheting and watching old movies. Her favorite scripture passage is Psalm 23.

Andrea Amador

Andrea lives in Chestnut Ridge with her husband Angel. They have two children, Paul, age 18, and Cara, age 13. Andrea was born in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, has lived in Rockland County since 1997 and was a member of the Ft. Washington Collegiate Church. After moving to Rockland, she began attending our church and found the same type of warm and welcoming atmosphere that she had experienced at Ft. Washington.

Karen Breny

Karen transferred her membership from the New Milford Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. She was born in Jersey City, N.J., grew up in Bergenfield, and currently lives in New Milford. She knew Rev. Rob Williams when he was an associate pastor at Marble Collegiate Church and attended our church a couple of years ago when Pat Neary told her that Rob was at United Church. She felt “at home” from the very first visit. She finds our church to be a place of love, respect, and acceptance. To her there is a likemindedness—a sense of community and a celebration of diversity.

Miguel “Hector” DeJesus

Miguel “Hector” DeJesus. Miguel is originally from the Dominican Republic. He moved to Puerto Rico in 2002 and then to New York in 2005. He has three sisters and one brother. They all live in the Dominican Republic except for one sister, who lives in the Bronx with her children. He has a daughter, Miguelina, age 8, and a son, Daniel, age 7.

Janet Wade

Enticed by the small-town community, Janet moved to Nanuet 13 years ago. She is employed by the City of New York Probation Department as a supervising probation officer. About two years ago, she attended our church at the invitation of Rev. Annie Bovian. She likes the fact that the church is involved in the community and wants to give back to the community and be a part of a caring church family. This year she helped out with our Olde Fashioned Christmas.

Janet enjoys movies, theater, and music. In the past she volunteered working with a youth choir.

Lydia Rose Murphy-Stephans

Lydia Rose Murphy-Stephans joined our church on July 19 this summer. She lives with her partner, Gillian, and their two children, Jesse and Bella, in Nyack. Lydia grew up on the North Shore of Chicago in Northbrook, Ill. and lived in New York City for 20 years before moving with her family to Rockland four years ago. She is a TV executive producer and manager. Lydia and Gillian came to our church two years ago.

Gillian Murphy-Stephans

We welcomed into our congregation Gillian Murphy-Stephans on December 21. Gillian has lived in Nyack since 2004. She and her partner, Lydia Murphy-Stephans, and their two children, Jesse and Bella, moved from Park Slope, Brooklyn. They appreciate Nyack’s proximity to Manhattan, its diversity and its fairly large gay and lesbian community.

Helen Ercoliani

Helen Ercoliani became a member in April. She grew up in Brooklyn and lived in Jew Jersey before moving to Suffern in 2000. She is widowed with three grown children: David, Laura, and Peter. She works part time as a museum associate for Historic Hudson Valley. As museum associate she sells tickets and provides information to visitors at Philipsburg Manor and at Sunnyside. Two years ago, Pat Hornak invited Helen to Old Fashioned Christmas.

Clark and David Cameron-Gonzalez

Clark and David Cameron-Gonzalez joined our church this past spring. They recently moved from an apartment in the Bronx into their own house in Brewster where they enjoy gardening. David works as a social worker in Garrison. Clark is the assistant manager at Smith & Hawken in Scarsdale. Clark grew up on a farm in northeastern Pennsylvania. He enjoys playing the piano, floral design and reading. David is a native of Puerto Rico.

Cynthia Burrows

Cynthia Burrows has attended United Church for several years with her daughter Demetria Stewart and her family. She is proud of her two grandchildren, Vicky, who began college this fall, and Alex, who is a freshman in high school. When she decided to join our church, she wanted to do so on the same Sunday that Alex was confirmed, May 18, and did.

Warren and Barbara Brecht

Warren and Barbara Brecht have lived in Nyack for 18 years. Warren has four adult children by his first marriage and six grandchildren. He is a retired business executive. Barbara is an ordained UCC minister and is a chaplain at Compassionate Care Hospice in Bergen County, N.J. She is an acquaintance of our former associate pastor, Diane Lacey-Winley, and first came to our church to hear Diane preach. Barbara has twice been our guest preacher.

Patricia (Pat) Neary

Patricia (Pat) Neary lives in Westwood, N.J. She is a longtime friend of Rev. Rob Williams and a former member of Marble Collegiate Church. She was searching for a church closer to home when she visited UCSV last year. She enjoyed her visit and loved the diversity of the congregation and the outreach to everyone. The plus was already knowing Rev. Williams. Pat has a grown daughter, Patches, who has attended UCSV with her own daughter.

Annie M. Bovian

Annie M. Bovian was born in Harlem and now lives in White Plains. She is a former member of the Broadway United Church of Christ in Manhattan. She has one grown daughter, Junice Wells. Annie is an ordained minister within the UCC and is currently the executive director of the Women’s Advocate Ministry, Inc., which works with women in prisons and jails. When Rev.

Roberta Arden

Roberta Arden lives in New York City and commutes by train to Spring Valley on Sunday mornings. She is a former member of Marble Collegiate, where she came to know Rev. Williams when he was an associate pastor there. She works as a caseworker supervisor for foster children, enjoys reading, writing, poetry, journaling, and is good at most things creative. She is currently taking courses at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, N.J.

Elizabeth Alexander Campbell and Virgil Everett Roberson

Elizabeth Alexander Campbell and Virgil Everett Roberson had formerly been members of the Bronxville Reformed Church in Bronxville, N.Y. Elizabeth is originally from Lexington, Ky., and Virgil, from Hillsboro, Mass. The two met in New York City and now live in Chestnut Ridge with their two adopted sons, Will Campbell-Roberson, age 11, and Jake Campbell-Roberson, age 7. Elizabeth keeps busy as wife and mother.

Paula Conticelli-Ragusa and Joe Ragusa

Paula Conticelli-Ragusa and Joe Ragusalive in Stony Point and will celebrate their fifth anniversary June 14. Each has grown children by a previous marriage: Robert and Paul Conticelli and Jill and Nick Ragusa. Paula sadly lost son Matthew to an motorcycle accident in 2002. Paula works for Bullet Security in Nanuet and enjoys cooking. Joe is a postal police officer in Manhattan and likes to play golf.

Cintia Rocha Gondin

Cintia Rocha Gondin is no stranger to our church. She sings in the Chancel Choir and has participated in the Agape Dancers. We have watched her two daughters grow up, Vanessa Soares, who now has two sons of her own, and Stephanie Vieira. Cintia was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has lived in Spring Valley for about 15 years. She arrived in the U.S. as a young widow and had left little Vanessa behind in Brazil.

Vanessa Soares

Vanessa Soares was born in Brazil. When she was 9 years old, she came to the United Sates and began attending United Church with her mother, Cintia Gondin. Vanessa lives in Spring Valley and has two sons: Rafael, age 7, and Sean, age 5. For a little over a year, she has managed a deli in Pearl River. Like her mother, she loves to sing and sings in our Gospel Choir, now named the United Sounds of Praise.

Blossom Bish

Blossom Bish began attending United Church ten years ago and continued to come because she felt “at home” in our church. She often is seen in church with her grandson Christopher. “Everyone is so sincere and loving,” Blossom says. She lives in Holland Village in Nanuet with her daughter Marie and Marie’s family and is a hairdresser.

Marie Bish Evans

Marie Bish Evans is a busy gal, holding a job, attending college, and being a mother. She is married to Miguel Evans, and they have a son, Christopher, 13 months old. Like her mother, Blossom Bish, Marie enjoys doing community service. United Church is special to her because of its warm atmosphere and diverse membership. She counts “One Glad Morning” as her favorite hymn.

Annette Cortes

Annette Cortes recently moved from Nyack to West New York with her sister Stephanie. She was born in Queens to a Cuban father and a Columbian mother. The family moved to Rockland County when Annette was ten years old. Annette was drawn to our church after seeing a UCC "God Is Still Speaking" TV ad.

Nora Heflin Williams

Nora Heflin Williams lives in Ridgewood, N.J. with her husband, our pastor, the Rev. Rob Williams and has her own profession as a psychiatrist. She and Rob have three sons: Felder and John, who are out on their own, and Ben, who is a freshman at Purchase. She likes the warmth of our congregation and its diversity and considers Psalm 131 to be her favorite scripture and “Here I Am, Lord!” as her favorite hymn. Nora grew up in Memphis, Tenn.

Peter Andersen

Peter Andersen has been attending worship since moving from West Haverstraw to the new Sycamore Crest Apartments on Summit Ave. in Spring Valley about seven years ago. At the time he was cleaning the church for us and continued to do so until his retirement in May 2006. Peter first came to Rockland County when he was placed at Letchworth Village as a child.