Rev. Karen Knodt, Minister:
After graduating from Hiram College (biology and religion), Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and the World Council of Churches/University of Geneva, I served as campus minister at SIU (Disciples, UCC, Presbyterian, Brethren), 1985 – 1997, at what is now Gaia House. For part of that time I taught scripture in the Religious Studies department. I also participated in national and international student movements, and was privileged to participate in study and work travel to Europe, West Africa, the Middle East, and Central America. Other than serving as a chaplain at the Marion VA hospital for a year, from 1997 until 2019 I’ve trained and served as an intentional interim pastor in UCC, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. I enjoyed working with lay leaders and members to help listen for God’s voice leading their church to a next phase of ministry with a settled pastor. I got to explore new areas and meet so many good people.
In August of 2019 I was surprised to be called to serve as First Christian’s pastor. Together with the Spirit’s leading, we’re committed to the vision of being a congregation of compassion, learning, fun, welcome, and compelling worship, and an agent of change in Carbondale – making this world more like Jesus showed us it could be – offering extravagant welcome, human wholeness, and justice.
Choir Director/Pianist Derek M. Hamblin holds a BA in vocal performance and completed his graduate studies at SIU-C in music theater/opera performance. He teaches voice/piano in the SIU School of Music’s Community Outreach Program, is adjunct voice faculty at John A Logan College, and owner and director of Dance4Grandma Theatricals. Most recently he served as Music Director/Conductor for Anything Goes in the McLeod Summer Playhouse. For more information about Derek visit Dance4Grandma Theatricals.
Organist Mona Miller has been playing the organ since age 14 and has been organist at Carbondale FCC since 1969. A graduate of William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri, Mona played the organ for radio station KWOC in Poplar Bluffs. Her husband Les is a retired Illinois Environmental Health inspector. They have two sons: Mark, the principal at Benton High School and Tim, a retired Marine colonel.