OUR CHURCH LEADERSHIP
Meet our pastors and leadership team
Emily Swan and Ken Wilson serve as co-pastors of Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor. Our official leadership also includes the rest of our pastoral team (Cassie, Penny, Caroline and Diane) and our church board.
In practice, most of the leaders in our church community aren’t listed here—individuals leading worship, prayer, small groups, youth, logistics, outreach and more. We’re a church that invites everyone to participate and serve and lead where they can.
Ken was born and raised in Detroit, is the father of six, grandfather of another six, and is married to Rev. Julia Huttar Bailey. Ken received a B.S.N. from the University of Michigan; before entering the pastorate, he worked in community mental health.
Ken is the author of several books, including Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer (Thomas Nelson 2010); and most recently A Letter To My Congregation: An Evangelical Pastor’s Path to Embracing Those Who are Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Into the Company of Jesus (ReadTheSpirit, 2014).
Ken was the founding pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, served for seven years on the national board of Vineyard USA, and now serves on the Senior Leadership Team of Blue Ocean Faith Church Network. Ken enjoys walking, reading and writing—but arithmetic, not so much. Ken blogs at:
Emily grew up in Indianapolis and moved to Ann Arbor after college to work for Borders Group Inc. She received her B.A. in history from Butler University, and has worked toward her Master’s degree at Fuller Theological Seminary. Additionally, she spent three years studying Mandarin and Amdo Tibetan languages at Qinghai Minzu Dazue Nationalities University in Xining, China.
After spending some years working for two Fortune 500 companies in public relations, marketing, and finance, she served as a pastor for seven years for the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor.
Emily is a BioLogos grant recipient, writing small group material around the creation stories in Genesis that makes space for evolutionary theory and deepens the Christian understanding of our sacred text. Emily is married to Rachel Murr. They live in Ypsilanti and enjoy cooking and playing tennis.
Emily blogs at:
Cassie Brabbs, Worship Director Cassie lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, Phil, and their three young children. She studied music in college and enjoys singing and writing songs.
Penny Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator Penny owns and operates an automotive manufacturing company in the Detroit area, founded by her late father. She lives in Livonia. Penny led the Single Moms Ministry at the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor. She has three adult children, two granddaughters, two dogs, and three cats. Please do not drop anymore stray pets—or children—at her door.
Caroline Kittle, Youth Director and Administrative Assistant Caroline graduated from the University of Michigan and has a Masters in Women and Gender Studies from DePaul University. Caroline and her husband Matt have two children.
Diane Sonda, Sunday School Director Diane is an experienced elementary and middle school teacher with several years experience as a Children’s Ministry Director. Diane is married to Paul Sonda. They have six adult children and ten grandchildren. Diane has a degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
OUR CHURCH BOARD
Robyn Charles is a former engineer, volunteer at 826michigan (Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair), and the person you often see running the video camera on Sunday mornings. She is married to Al and they have two adult sons.
Steve Gray is the earnest midwesterner that most hipsters aspire to be: born and raised in Flint, MI; attended college in Indiana and law school in Illinois. For most of his career he has been a legal aid lawyer, until recently when he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Law School as a clinical professor and directs the Unemployment Insurance Clinic. Steve is married to Joy Lange and has been for 32 years. They have two “adult” children.
Abram Jacobs has a diverse background including business, education, and technology—currently working in IT Leadership for a local mortgage company. He is the father of a young son and is married to Megan Patrick.
Penny Johnson (see above bio)
Tim Kowaleski is the Executive Director–HR Field Operations for Consumers Energy. He is the father of 2 adult sons and one adult daughter. His partner of 16 years is Rich Beswick.
Satish Ramade is a Software Engineer, Licensed Realtor, Entrepreneur and Business Owner. He is married to Clarissa and has two daughters.
Lisa Ruby is an attorney with the Michigan Poverty Law Program specializing in Social Security, Health and Welfare Benefits. She is the mother of an adult son and is married to Lisa Carico.
Emily Swan (see above bio)
Sue Weil is the mother of two and has been married to Lee for 30 years. She has a business degree and works as a Business Analyst in IT at the University of Michigan. Sue’s favorite place to visit is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.
Ken Wilson (see above bio)