Meet Our Staff
The Reverend Bonnie Simerly
Pastor Bonnie Simerly recently retired and returned to New Orleans. We miss her greatly. We will be searching for an interim pastor to lead us while we conduct a search for a new pastor for United Church of Wayland.
Pastor Bonnie Simerly, who grew up on the eastern side of Michigan, came to us from Louisiana, where she was pastor at Grace Disciples of Christ Church in Covington Louisiana since 2012. Prior to pastoring at Grace, Bonnie Simerly was a social worker and healthcare administrator, work she considered a type of ministry. She had a private practice in psychotherapy for many of those years. In 2007 Bonnie Simerly followed her call to ministry and entered Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky. She graduated in 2010 and returned to Louisiana.
Pastor Bonnie Simerly is an advocate for making the church a place where all feel welcomed and accepted. Her passion is to share the love of God and Christ with those who have questioned or been hurt by the church. She is often heard to say that ‘we must be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus Christ in this world’ or ‘God Loves You, no exceptions’. Bonnie believes strongly that the church should be a functioning part of the community, a place that is willing to address the struggles of all the members of the community, a place that spreads the Good News, not a place that fosters judgmentalism and exclusion. Her sermons invite people to stretch themselves and she encourages congregational participation during them as well. Her messages invite people to think on their own and explore. Bonnie is very open to discussing differences in opinion to her message and encourages feedback.
Office Manager Chris Petry
Chris is the friendly and cheerful face you will encounter in our church office. She takes care of the general office duties such as answering the phone, preparing the Sunday bulletin and the monthly Parish Post newsletter.
Music Director & Pianist Ellen Mesbergen
Ellen fills our sanctuary with the joyful sounds of her piano playing every week. She also works closely with Pastor Bonnie to select the appropriate music for worship and accompanies our church choir.