Meet Our Staff
Rev. Elizabeth Durant is a queer pastor mama, poet-preacher and rabble-rouser who loves Mama God, tall trees, Buffy, Jesus, the night sky, science fiction and swimming. She recently served as Assistant Minister at First Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Portland for several years, and is delighted to serve as Sabbatical Pastor at Bridgeport this summer. Rev. Liz is passionate about racial justice and healing our relationships with indigenous communities. She is active on the Central Pacific Conference Justice & Witness Ministry Team. Rev. Liz and her wife Sadie have two young children and live in Parkrose in East Portland.
Our pastor, Rev. Tara Wilkins, is on sabbatical leave from June 9 until September 25th (returning to worship on October 6, World Communion Sunday). We are fortunate to have Rev. Elizabeth Durant guide and nurture our Congregation while our pastor is away.
Rev. Tara Wilkins has served as pastor of Bridgeport United Church of Christ since August of 2012. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Community of Welcoming Congregations in Oregon and SW Washington. Rev. Tara has earned a solid reputation in the Pacific Northwest as an inspiring speaker, workshop leader and preacher and is often a guest lecturer at colleges and universities.
She is a fierce advocate and justice warrior, proclaiming an inclusive Gospel that honors the many paths to God. Pastor, leader, activist, writer, contemplative, and mother are just some of her roles, but her favorite job is being Gram to her 9 grandchildren.
2012 Inductee into the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest Queer Heroes
2013 Celebrating Diversity Award: Whose Life Embodies the Biblical Vision of A Just & Inclusive Community. Meridian United Church of Christ
2014 Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ's Justice & Witness Award: For Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of Justice & Witness
Jamie Welch is originally from Texas where he completed his Bachelor of Music Education at East Texas Baptist University, and his Master of Music Performance degree in Conducting at Stephen F. Austin State University. While a student, he was selected to be the student conductor of the University Band, was an accompanist within the music department, and was recipient of the Joy Quinn Memorial Prize in Piano.
Jamie has served as Director of Music for several churches over the years, and also been a vocal soloist. He is very honored to have been selected to lead the talented choir at Bridgeport. Since joining the staff, he has led the choir in a performance at The Grotto and has many great ideas in plan for the choir and music ministry.
Stephanie Cooke is a teaching and performing artist based in Portland, Oregon. She teaches a full piano studio with students of all genres, levels and abilities. She is also adjunct faculty at Portland Community College and is actively engaged in music recordings and projects.
Stephanie received her Masters in Piano Performance from Portland State University in 2012 and received her Bachelors from Central Washington University.
Stephanie is a licensed Andover Educator in Body Mapping, a form of somatic education that promotes facility and prevents injury in practice and performance by giving musicians anatomically correct information about the body.
In addition to teaching in both group and individual settings, Stephanie leads the jazz pop group SARCA. The group will release their debut album early 2019, which will feature her compositions and improvisation.
Stephanie is also actively involved with The Connection Experiment, a concert series that bridges gaps between musical genres and emphasizes authenticity and vulnerability as a performing artist.
Sheyla Monroy-Calvillo is a senior at Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland and plans to go to college next year. Sheyla watches the young children during church meetings so that parents can be free to participate in the services.