Biographies of our Leaders
Rev. Dr. Teresa Dulyea- Parker
Teresa was raised up in First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Muskegon, MI. She was ordained by the congregation and the Christian Church Michigan Region, 12/19/1982. In over 37 years of ordained ministry she has served congregations in Indiana, Oregon, Michigan and Ohio. The last nine years as Regional Minister in Illinois and Wisconsin.
She earned her undergraduate degree in Economics from Western Michigan University, and her Master of Divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. She also has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, with an emphasis on “Spirituality in Community.” She currently serves as Chair of the Governance Committee of the General Board for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S and Canada. She is also ex-officio Trustee for the Disciples Divinity House of University of Chicago.
Teresa is chief “story-teller” for our region. She has a passion for congregational life. She believes “it is in the church as a graceful community that lifelong transformation occurs. We become caring communities: exhibiting hospitality, encouraging quests, reflecting on scripture, discerning gifts, struggling with trust, healing souls, and providing opportunities for service. Through these experiences we grow more deeply in our connection to God and to one another, so that we are prepared to confront the some-times brutal realities that plague our world. We are here to represent a different way of being in the world, and in this way fulfill God’s healing/salvific purposes.” Teresa lives in Bloomington, Illinois, is married to the Rev. Canon Albert J. Keeney and they have four adult sons Jeff and Travis Dulyea-Parker and Andrew (Christi) and Ryan (Allison) Keeney. Teresa and Al met in Paris on a Shalem pilgrimage in 2015 and were married in 2016. Teresa enjoys science, nature, walking, swimming, and travel.
Rev. Melissa Ebken
Melissa was called into ministry, much to her surprise, after becoming a biologist and serving for ten years in the IL Army National Guard as a utility helicopter mechanic, the first woman to do so.
Having lived in the Midwest, Melissa has a deep appreciation for farmers and the lessons of the Gospel dramatized by the sowing, tending, and harvesting year after year. “God’s glory and God’s story are all around us if we take the time to see. Lessons of life and death, struggle and celebration, heartbreak and harvest – life always wins.”
Melissa’s passion in ministry is to live and worship alongside the people who live and work in rural communities. She has served the Illiopolis Christian Church (DOC) since July 2, 2001. January 1, 2012 Melissa began serving both Illiopolis and Niantic Christian Churches (DOC) and continues in ministry there today.
Melissa is at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to walk with those who struggle and suffer. She is a trained coach and has consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, Melissa embraces the Gospel with joy and laughter as she seeks to help those around her grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, Melissa works to invite others into a space where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by a God who also may not fit a stereotype.
Rev. Heather Godsey
Heather is a CC(DOC) minister currently serving as the interim pastor at Centennial Christian Church in Bloomington, IL. Previous to that, she spent 15 years working as an ecumenical campus minister, learning to be creative in the midst of collegiate chaos.
She likes bad Hallmark Christmas movies, even worse romance novels, and being the weirdo who takes her dog, Charlie the Shih-Tzu, everywhere.
Rev. Dr. Beth Rupe
Beth has served congregations in Kentucky while attending Lexington Theological Seminary and in Illinois. Prior to going to seminary, Beth was an Outpatient Therapist at a community mental health center. She received a BS with honors in Psychology from Western Illinois University (1988) and a MS in Clinical/ Community Mental Health Psychology from Western Illinois University (1990). Beth received her MDiv from Lexington Theological Seminary (2002) and her DMin from Lexington Theological Seminary (2014).
Beth is a member of the CCIW Staff serving with the Disciples Women’s Ministries and is the McLean Livingston Regional Elder. Additionally, she is a member of the CCIW Ethic’s Investigation Team and CCIW Pro-Reconciliation Anti-Racism Committee/ Team. She served as the Worship Coordinator for the 2010 International Disciples Women’s Ministries (IDWM) Quadrennial that was held in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has written Advent, Easter, and Week of the Laity Resources for the Office of Christian Education of the Department of Homeland Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Special Offering Resources for the Reconciliation Office of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and has published book reviews in The Lexington Theological Seminary Quarterly. Writing for Just Women the publication of the International Disciples Women’s Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Beth published a bible study in 2016, provides quarterly study guides for the publication, and authored the column Prayer Stations which lifts up women of the church and their diverse prayer practices.
Beth is married to Mark. They have two children, Sarah (Aaron) and Benjamin, and two granddaughters Chloe and Emilia. She enjoys reading and learning new things. She, Mark and their two-year-old labradoodle live in Bloomington.