Rev. Sue Joiner
I came to New Mexico in 2004 to direct a spiritual renewal program for Clergy and Congregations. I was thrilled to join First Congregational United Church of Christ in 2014 because my heart is in the church. I love the way we are a community for one another and the larger world. This congregation is full of vitality and we are doing great things in the community. Some things I love are: my amazing wife, Anne Marie Strangio (an elementary principal among other things), my kids Max and Maya, my running buddy Sophie (always ready to hit the trail), my (mostly) sweet cat Otis, the fabulous people who share this journey with me, good chocolate, great novels, delicious food, camping and hiking, exploring new places, sunrises and sunsets, the hawk that lives in our neighborhood, water, Japanese food, and seafood, exercise (really), the color purple, poetry, great conversations, preaching, zentangle, Story People, and the opportunity to discover something new each day.
I have been a member of First Congregational for 15 years. My husband Curt and I have three grown children. Ted and Margaret were confirmed in this church and are currently active in the congregation. Our oldest son Craig lives in Buffalo and is expecting our first grandchild. I worked for University Hospital and UNM for over 20 years, and am now working part-time for a small behavioral health program. My favorite activity is being an ESL tutor for refugee women. I am a third- generation Albuquerquean -- my father went to elementary school where Anne Marie Strangio is now the principal!
I joined First Church when I first moved to Albuquerque in the spring of 2006. I knew after my first visit that this would be my church home. The congregation was so very warm and friendly when I visited. I grew up in a UCC church and have worshiped with UCC congregations all of my life. I have served on Faith Development and Congregations Life ministry teams and I held the staff position at First Church as Worship Volunteer Coordinator for a number of years, retiring in 2013 due to my partners declining health. I have taught the High School Sunday School Class here for many years and am currently the Youth Group Advisor and I serve as the Vice Moderator for the congregation.
Chair of Faith Development
I am a widow of a wonderful husband, mother of two sons, one is a pediatrician and the other an accountant. I have one wonderful grandson. My parents were active in the Methodist Church and taught my brothers and myself that we are called to help others as Jesus did. I attended Texas Woman’s University and earned a degree in nursing. I have held many positions in nursing over my career. My focus for the past 30 years has been improving the care of elders in facilities. I was the director of nursing for two skilled nursing facilities and for 15 years director of long-term care for the State of Kansas. After retiring, I worked as a consultant to nursing facilities to help them develop resident directed care. After moving to Albuquerque from Kansas, my friend Mary introduced me to First Congregational. This congregation meets my needs for meaningful worship, continued study in order to further deepen my faith and opportunities for service to the community and the wider church.
Chair of Congregational Life
The events which led me to FCUCC are pretty unusual in that they are not rooted in any previous connections with churches or even in Christianity. I was born into a Jewish family, continue to identify as a Jew, and have had very little religious education or exposure. Due to a chance meeting on an airplane with our former pastor, Lee Albertson, I decided to attend a Sunday service and have been coming ever since for several years. Because of the extravagant welcome, radical inclusiveness, and diversity upon which our church is founded, it has grown to become part of my extended family and a second home. I was inspired to get involved in church life and eventually served on the Executive Committee as Vice Moderator and then Moderator. I now chair the Congregational Life committee and take great pride and gain much satisfaction in knowing that I am serving others, helping to further the life of our church, and continuing to make it a welcoming faith community for all.
Chair of building and grounds
I joined the church in 2003 through confirmation. I love that the church welcomes everyone to worship no matter where they are in their life journey. Buildings and Grounds is the first committee I joined. I also have served as Greeter Coordinator for 2 years. Since then I became a member of the Green Justice Committee and chair the Church Building Master Plan committee. I recently started working at Convergys. In my spare time I like to take care of my three dogs and cook. I also love the Home and Garden or DIY television shows.
social justice & outreach
Having been raised in a Congregational church in Colorado, I was excited to find a Congregational church in Albuquerque that fit my family. Both of my children were raised in this church. I am passionate about children and providing nurturing spaces with caring adults for them. I was the Director of this preschool for ten years and love the commitment of the preschool and church to welcome all families and teaching respect and appreciation for our community and our world.
Administrative Assistant/ Bookkeeper
As a relative newcomer here, I am overjoyed by the incredible welcome that I consistently receive from this brilliant congregation. After spending many years in retail book sales, my hope is that the gifts I bring can come close to matching the gratitude I feel to this community and the individuals in it. I am thrilled to learn more every day about the people, the history and the operations of my new home. Though generally reserved, I am delighted to share my thoughts on my sources of pleasure—family, food, travel, hiking, architecture and opera. I relish this opportunity to join you as we continue along our journey together.
Tim is our extraordinary custodian. When asked for words for his bio, he said, "When you have the Sandias, the Sunsets, the Southwest Cuisine, you have something."
Director of congregational preschool
A native New Mexican, Kris is passionate about early childhood education. Having entered her thirteenth year in early childhood education, ten have been at Congregational Preschool. Her hope is that all children are treated with respect and dignity, are encouraged to use their imaginations and know no limitations, and finally that all children have the opportunity to have a quality education and a lifelong joy of learning.