People. Passion. Purpose.
Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ is blessed to have a ministry staff, support staff, and numerous volunteers who all help us fulfill our mission. Meet our team of passionate, purposeful staff members, as well as our missionaries serving abroad.
Rev. Dr. John H. Danner
John Danner began his tenure as Senior Pastor in January of 2010. Prior to coming to Sanibel he served churches in the northeast, most recently in Westport, CT. Ordained in 1980, John has degrees from Bradford College, the University of Maine, Bangor Theological Seminary and Boston University. He has trained as a pastoral psychotherapist and is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and is also a graduate of the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation. John is married to Linda Bradbury-Danner and between them they have three children and four grandchildren. John practices yoga, enjoys good novels, plays and films, meditates on a regular basis, rides with the Sanibel Bicycle Club and is a member of Rotary.
Rev. Deborah Kunkel
Associate Pastor Deb Kunkel hails from Massachusetts and comes to us via way of Wisconsin. Pastor Deb received her M.Div. from Bangor Theological Seminary, and then served churches in Wisconsin for 9 years before coming here to Sanibel. She is a second career minister, having been a real estate paralegal/title examiner prior to attending seminary. She and her husband Greg have been married for 22 years. Her ministry here includes working with children, youth and young adults, as well as visitation of the homebound.
Linda Convertine RN, BSN
Originally from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I met my husband, who is from Massapequa, New York, when we both moved to Cincinnati during our high school years. We have been married for 44 years. I always start my day with the reading the Bible and prayer. I try to exercise daily, which I both love and hate. I like to bike and hike, sew, watch movies, meet with friends, and travel to see my kids. I have worked as a nurse for Lee Memorial Health System at Health Park Medical Center for the last 16 years on a medical/surgical/telemetry unit. The last 6 years I was the Nurse Manager of the unit. I am experienced with a wide variety of medical and surgical diagnoses as well as cardiac disease. I believe the future of healthcare is in focusing on wellness and trying to keep people out of the hospitals. To that end, I have been studying the many aspects of wellness and how to help inspire people to pinpoint and achieve their wellness goals.
Dr. Elwood Smith
Born and raised in Cleveland, Elwood attended the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, where he became the 2nd person in the US to earn a Doctor of Music degree in opera conducting. He studied at Tanglewood and, on a Fulbright grant, at the Berlin Academy of Music. He spent 30 years on the music faculty at Northern Illinois University as director of opera workshop, conductor for musical theater productions, and director of choral activities. He was also musical director for over 50 professional musical theater productions throughout the midwest. After coming to Florida, Elwood was conductor for 11 seasons of Gloria Musicae, a professional chamber choir based in Sarasota. During a 12- year association with the Southwest Florida Symphony, Elwood served at various times as choral conductor, pre-concert lecturer, and writer of program notes.
Norm Libby is a native of Cleveland, OH, having lived and worked in Akron, OH for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company as a commercial artist for 22 years. He was then self-employed for 14 years. He studied at Akron University, with Dr. Richard Shirey. He has served for over 40 years as organist with a variety of churches both as substitute organist and principal organist. He has also served as Dean and Sub-Dean of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, where he is currently serving as Member at Large. His most recent organist positions in Florida have been at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Charlotte, and First Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Lehigh Acres where he served as organist and choir director. Norm is married to his wife Sharon, and they have five children and eight grandchildren.
Sandra began working for the church in 2009. She is from Knoxville, Tennessee and is a country girl through and through. Sandra's pride and joy are her four AMAZING kids (Jordan, Jarred, Blayne & Karina), and she is also fur-mom to the sweetest 16 yr. old cat in the world, Sanibell Shell, and
4 yr. old German Shepherd Zeus Orion, for whom she has a serious case of puppy love
Assistant Office Manager
Jordan is a Florida native and is currently pursuing her art degree while working here at the church. She is also a licensed real estate agent and LOVES the beach!
Sunday School Director
Kathy, a native of Charleston, West Virginia, is a resident of Fort Myers. She moved from Pennsylvania, where she was employed as Executive Director of the Berks County Area Agency on Aging. She has approximately 20 years of social services experience. Kathy has a masters in Gerontological Studies from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and a theological certification from Immaculata University. She previously lived in Tampa, Florida and served as the Director of Lake Carroll Baptist Christian Learning Center; a preschool with an afterschool program. In her faith journey she has served as Superintendent of church school, Director of Community Vacation Bible School, a Youth Leader for American Baptist Church's national Youth Leadership Core (YLC) program and a Sunday school teacher, facilitator and trainer. In addition, Kathy was President of her community Cub Pack Council. Kathy is currently employed with F.I.S.H. of SANCAP as Program Director. Volunteer activities include Roots Heritage Food Hub Advisory Council, Heights Foundation/Center and the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer's Resource Center Advisory Council. One of Kathy's favorite quotes is Gandhi's "Be the change you wish to see in the world".
Ana, originally from Cuba, is a Cape Coral resident. Her education, love for Jesus and her passion for teaching little ones make her a great addition to our Preschool staff. Ana has a BA in music (vocal) from Florida Gulf Coast University. She is actively involved in her church in Cape Coral. Ana also performs as a soloist for area concerts, church services and other events, and gives voice lessons.
Lora Lea Plummer
Lora Lea, a native Floridian amd mother of three grown kids (C.J., Katie Lea and Taylor), is the teacher in our three-year-olds class. She brings her experience with children, and talents as an artist, to the school. Lora Lea has a degree in graphic design and is involved in the Artist of the Month program here at the church. Lora Lea's delightful smile and wonderful way with children make her a great asset to Sanibel Christian Preschool.
After School Program & Substitute Teacher
Nancy, is originally from New York but moved to our sunny state 10 years ago. She holds a BA in elementary education/English and an MA in elementary education/early literacy. She has worked extensively with children in many different capacities, most notably teaching first/second-grade for 17 years, preschool, and high school English, and as a teacher/care worker for at-risk and special-needs youth. Nancy resides in Ft. Myers with her two wonderful teenage sons (and two crazy cats!). Her favorite quote is, "Do not train youth to learn by harshness, but lead them to it by what amuses their minds. Then you may discover the peculiar bent of the genius of each." ~ Plato.
Rev. Dr. Randall Niehoff
In June, 2007 Ran retired after 41 years as a Pastor and Teacher. He had been Sr. Minister of SCUCC for 16 years. Philosophical/theological training and sabbatical studies encouraged his enthusiasm for Jewish/Christian origins, warm ecumenical dialogue and cooperation, and participation in the convergence of science and religion. Residents of Sanibel, Ran and his wife, Marilyn, spend long summers in rural northwest Connecticut which is nearer to their three children and four grandchildren.
The Sound Guy
For twenty eight years Bob has called Sanibel home. For twenty five years there has been no Bob without Betsy. The two raised their daughter Dominique, who fledged to New York for college and career prospects. Bob writes, shoots, and edits commercials and Morning Blend segments for local television station Fox 4.
MISSIONARIES ASSOCIATED WITH SCUCC:
Mark Knowles and Daniel Murry-Knowles
Serving in Lesotho
Debby & Larry Colvin
Serving in Ghana