Our Ministerial Staff


 Rev. Virzola Law

 Senior Minister

 

Rev. Virzola Jo-Nan Law is the proud mother of Jasmin Williams who has given her the most precious gift of a granddaughter, Ava Jo-Nan Law Williams.  Rev. Law is a fourth generation member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where she was baptized in her home church, University Christian Church in Houston, TX.  Her parents, Elder Thomas and Virginia Law, have been her biggest supporters and cheerleaders since she accepted her call to ministry at the age of 15.

Rev. Law currently serves as Senior Pastor of the historic Lindenwood Christian Church in Memphis, Tennessee.  She is the first elected female and African American to serve in this capacity at Lindenwood. Prior to being called to Lindenwood, Rev. Law served in various pastoral positions at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in a span of twelve years. She joined the staff in 2003 as the pastor to Youth, Young Adults, and Singles. In 2007 she was promoted to serve as Pastor of Spiritual Life where her areas encompassed Pastoral Care, Prayer Ministry, Evangelism, Outreach, Discipleship and Women. As the church evolved she worked on the leadership team to launch a new campus.  The goal of the campus was to decrease absenteeism as the city was growing eastward and increase discipleship so members would have a campus closer to where they were living. She served the East Campus for two years as Small Group Pastor, then as Campus Pastor for two years. During her tenure the church exceeded their goal as God added yearly to the church. 

Before moving to Memphis she was Senior Pastor at Woodland Christian Church in Houston, Texas.  Prior to full time ministry she received a Masters of Divinity Degree from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas.  She also worked on her masters degree while attending Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. During her seminary years Rev. Law served as Associate Pastor at First Christian Church in Carrollton, Texas. 

She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She enjoys a good book, traveling, lakes, oceans, and spending time with her friends and families.

 

Dr. Jill Westbrook

Interim Associate Minister

 

 

Reverend Doctor Jill W. Westbrook came to Lindenwood Christian Church in January, 2017 as an Interim Associate Minister. Dr. Westbrook’s area of service will be in our welcoming ministries. She will help to equip a team of leaders and volunteers in our frontline ministries which include but are not limited to parking lot, greeters, website, evangelism, callers, new member assimilation, and pastors class.

Dr. Westbrook is not only a 3rd generation Disciple of Christ, she is also a cradle-roll baby from Kingsway Christian Church (a church plant from Lindenwood Christian Church way back in 1956). Her parents were members of Lindenwood and were part of the group who went out east (way, way out east!) to form Kingsway.

Dr. Westbrook is a native Memphian. She currently lives in Collierville, TN with her husband Bobby and two teacup poodles, Phoebe and Gigi. She has one son, William ‘Taylor’ Bates, who has applied for medical school. Dr. Westbrook looks forward to the day she will receive free medical care!

Dr. Westbrook is an avid reader, loves to flower garden and do needlework. She and Bobby have traveled the world, and have chosen cruising as their favorite means of travel.

As both she and her son are graduates of The University of Mississippi, they are adamant that Ole Miss has the best football experience in the south!

Dr. Westbrook was ordained in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in May of 2006. She received a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Memphis Theological Seminary in 2006, a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) in 2014 from Memphis Theological Seminary, and is a Certified Spiritual Director from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.

Having served as Associate Minister at Kingsway Christian Church while finishing seminary, she was soon called to be Pastor at First Christian Church, West Memphis, AR where she served 5-1/2 years.

Currently, she teaches a 3-hour class in Ethics at Memphis Theological Seminary and works 22 hours per week in the office of Formation for Ministry at the seminary. Dr. Westbrook serves the Christian Church in Tennessee as Chairperson of the Commission on Ministry, and serves on the Executive Board and General Board of the Region. She dedicates one day a week to see those who are seeking Spiritual Direction

Jill’s passion for God and love for people will be evident when you meet her. She has a gentle spirit and loves a good laugh. She is thrilled to be at Lindenwood!

 

Rev. Sandra Summers

Associate Minister, Next Generation

 

Rev. Sandra Summers joined the Lindenwood team in August 2017. Having most recently come from “up north” she is excited to not be shoveling snow several months of the year! Pastor Sandra grew up in northern Illinois, the daughter of a minister. While she felt the call to ministry early on, she set out on a winding journey that would lead back to this vocational call many years later.

Pastor Sandra attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning her Bachelors of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders, while minoring in Theatre. Pastor Sandra graduated Summa Cum Laude. During her time as an undergraduate, Pastor Sandra grew fond of student development and engagement opportunities within higher education. She pursued this passion at Clemson University in South Carolina, where she earned her Masters of Counselor Education, with an emphasis in Student Affairs. Pastor Sandra received the R.C. Edwards Outstanding Graduate Student award during her time at Clemson.

With (what she thought) all the education under her belt, Pastor Sandra set off to the Boston area to continue working in higher education. Pastor Sandra was quick to discover God had other plans.

Pastor Sandra enrolled at Andover Newton Theological School, earning her Masters of Divinity in 2016, and was awarded the Society of Professors of Christian Education Scholastic Award.

At the beginning of seminary, Pastor Sandra took a job at Memorial Congregational Church in Sudbury, Massachusetts. She had every intention of returning to higher education in a chaplain capacity upon graduation from seminary. God, again, had other plans. While serving in the local church, Pastor Sandra truly lived in to her call to intentionally develop disciples through engaging and meaningful experiences on Sunday mornings and beyond. While in seminary Pastor Sandra was often in conversations about fixing the brokenness of adults and the Church. Pastor Sandra’s driving question in ministry is, “What does getting it right from the beginning look like?”  To that end, Pastor Sandra feels a deep call to faith formation across the lifespan.

Pastor Sandra was ordained within the United Church of Christ tradition in 2016 as the Pastor of Youth and Families at Memorial Congregational Church.

Pastor Sandra made a promise to a family member (also an ordained clergy) that she wouldn’t marry anyone she met in seminary. Pastor Sandra broke that promise, and married Rev. Sam Teitel the day after they both graduated from seminary. Rev. Sam currently serves as the Pastor of The Church of the River in Memphis. The couple enjoy exploring new food cuisines, and can often be found playing board games from their dozens of options.

Pastor Sandra is excited about all the ways God is living and moving at Lindenwood!

 

Rev. Harold Goodwin

Associate Minister Emeritus

 

 

Rev. Joe Bryan

Associate Minister Emeritus

 

Joseph L. Bryan, retired Associate Minister of Lindenwood Christian Church, was called to the ministerial staff of Lindenwood in 1980.  He had previously served in a similar position of twenty years at University Place Christian Church in Champaign, Illinois.  Prior to serving in Champaign, he was Director of Christian Education at First Christian Church, Hannibal, Missouri.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1929, Joe grew up in Country Club Christian Church, a multiple staff church of some 3,000 members.  Though his calling to ministry began at an early age, and though he was strongly influenced in the faith by Senior Ministers who were pulpit preachers, he decided his chosen ministerial path lay in the role as a professional Associate Minister, a career most suited to his skills and talents.

Joe graduated from Texas Christian University in 1951 and did graduate work at Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, Kentucky, receiving his degree in 1954.  During this time, he was pastoring a small open-country church, Salem Christian Church, in Madison County, Kentucky.

Ordained to Christian Ministry in his home church in 1952, he was married two weeks later to his wife Betty (deceased).  They were married for 59 years and they had two daughters and one son who reside in Wisconsin and Texas.

During Joe’s 15 years at Lindenwood, his ministry areas were pastoral work which involved calling in members’ homes, visiting the sick and homebound, instituting such things as the Meliorist Fellowship for retired adults, the Men’s Prayer Breakfast, various retreat settings for youth and adults, one-day Bible studies, and mid-week Bible studies.  He also initiated the Ash Wednesday service at Lindenwood, the family Christmas Eve Service, and added emphasis on Pentecost.

Worship with warmth and dignity, effective reading of scripture, and meaningful prayers were also a hallmark of his ministry, along with preaching, counseling, officiating weddings and conducting funeral and memorial services.  Some have expressed he was a teacher in all situations, a mentor, and in all things an affirming, kind, pastoral presence.

Upon retirement in 1994, the church graciously conferred on him the title of Associate Minister Emeritus, and presented him with an Honorary Minister pin.  Rev. Bryan remains active in the life of Lindenwood in various ways…the Stillpoint at the beginning of the Sanctuary service and occasional morning prayers.

 Music Ministry 

 

  Chris NemecMinister of Music, Organist, Director of Children and Youth Music

Chris Nemec is Organist-Minister of Music at Lindenwood, where he has served since April 1, 1983, initially as a part-time Music Associate, and working his way up to his current position. In February 2014 he was officially commissioned as a Commissioned Minister in Music and Worship through the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. Since his commissioning, Chris is able to spend more time in a pastoral roll in the music ministries, as well as the congregation of Lindenwood.

In his role as Organist-Minister of Music since August 2014, Chris conducts the Lindenwood Chancel Choir which sings at the 11am Sanctuary service, conducts the Jr. King’s Choir (grades 1 & 2), The King’s Choir (grades 3-4), Laudate! (grades 6-12), and a World Drumming Class (grades 3-5.) Children’s and Youth choirs sing the 3rd Sunday of each month, singing for the entire service.

Chris came to Lindenwood on a lark on a Saturday afternoon in 1982, after his opera rehearsal had been abruptly canceled. So with time on his hands, and his voice warmed up, he decided to audition for the musicalOklahoma, which was being produced by Lindenwood Concerts. During the course of the show’s rehearsals and performances, Chris was asked to join the staff as a 20-year old college junior, and the journey began!

Through his tenure he has been a recipient of many honors and prizes, including passing both the Service Playing Certificate and Colleague exam administered through the American Guild of Organists; selected as one of five nationally recognized Exceptional Children’s Choir Leaders, sponsored by Choristers Guild; and was a Conducting Fellow through Chorus America, culminating in an intensive week of conducting Master Classes and coaching, in New York City at the Mannes School of Music.

Chris’ greatest honor is his eight times performing at Carnegie Hall, seven of those times as a professional staff singer for the Carnegie Hall Choral Institute and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, singing great sacred classics such as Brahms’ German Requiem, the Stabat Mater of Poulenc, Rossini, Verdi and Szymanowski (sung in Polish), Fauré’s Requiem, Mendelsohn’s Elijah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, two of Zemlinsky’s Psalms, and more. Chris has sung under the baton of Robert Shaw, James Conlon, Sir Neville Marriner, Andre Previn, Robert Spano, Charles Dutoit, Joseph Flummerfelt, and other esteemed conductors.

Chris is in demand as a pianist, organist, conductor, accompanist, vocal coach, clinician, and choral/orchestral arranger.  He works part time for a publisher, Choristers Guild in Dallas, as co-director of their Institute, which is a three-summer program to certify conductors of children’s choir, which is currently held in Charlotte, NC.

When Chris is not composing, arranging or performing, he enjoys traveling (especially international and cruises), the arts, yoga, fine food, museums and adventure – zip line, parasailing, white-water rafting, and one day soon, sky diving!  Chris lives downtown on the river, and enjoys the 41 dogs in his building…but without the vet bills or late-night dog-walking!

 

 Stan HeadPercussionist

A native Memphian, Stan Head received a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Master’s of Music Education from Arkansas State University. Stan founded Lindenwood Studio of Percussion in 1981 and repositioned the school as Mid-South Percussion Productions in 2003. He has been dedicated to the development and nurturing of young musicians for 30+ years and has earned the reputation as one of this country's finest percussion instructors. His students are often recognized as outstanding performers and have received some of the highest music scholarships.  One such student, Chris Deviney, is now a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Stan has been a percussion instructor at Southwest Tennessee Community College since 1984. He teaches private lessons to percussion majors and minors and performs Music Appreciation lectures highlighting musical history.

In addition to his teaching, Stan is active as a performer, clinician, adjudicator and timpanist of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in Jackson, TN.

Stan has performed with special guest artists such as Michael Martin Murphy and Carl Perkins, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Rich Little, Charlie Daniels Band, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Ray Charles just to name a few.

Ministry Director

 

  Phil VaughnDirector of Ministries and Operations

With a Bachelors degree in Education and a Masters degree in Physical Education, Phil has spent a number of years coaching and teaching at Crichton College. Phil started working at Lindenwood in 1987 as the Recreation Director and was instrumental in developing the Life Center programs including: sports programs, summer camps, Freedom Fridays, Schools Day Out, as well as our accredited after school care program and child care center.

Phil has been appointed as a Life Elder at Lindenwood, has served on numerous boards and committees and is working towards becoming a Commissioned Minister. His newest job assignments have reassigned him to serve the church as the Director of Ministries and Operations.  This involves facilitating all programs, visioning, and ministering in all areas of church ministry and outreach.  

Phil's personal live includes his marriage of 27 years to his wife Shelly, his 3 children, and 7 grandkids.  He has a love for music and plays both the guitar and keyboard.  He is an avid outdoorsman and loves running and biking - completing over 50 marathons and half marathons as well as numerous 100+ mile charity bike rides.  He also enjoys gardening and raising his small flock of chickens.

Phil is excited about his new position at Lindenwood and looks forward to serving God wherever God leads.

Support Staff

 

 Cindy FranklinFinancial Administrator

Cindy started at Lindenwood in 1991 as church secretary and then as the Senior Minister ‘s Assistant.  Today she is the Financial Manager of Lindenwood.  Over the years she has had the opportunity to know so many different members and work with them in many different ways.  She has shared in their happy occasions and grieved with them in their times of sorrow.  She has come to love and cherish many members over the years, “they are like family” and mean so much to her.   Cindy enjoys spending time with her husband Tracy, reading and working in her yard.

 

 Carol SmithMinistry Assistant

Carol joined the Lindenwood team in 2000. She has worked in the church office under many different ministry titles over the years: receptionist, church secretary, associate minister’s assistant and now as admin assistant. Connecting and sharing with the members is one of the highlights of working at Lindenwood.

Carol is married to Eddie Smith and they have two daughters and four grandchildren. Her passion is spending time with the grandchildren but she also enjoys, reading, crocheting, and being outdoors.

 

 

 Alan WellsMedia Ops and Maintenance