Rev. Cathy C. Hoop
Grace and Peace to You!
My story? I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up…but my vocation found me. For 18 years I had the amazing job of working as the director of children’s ministries at a progressive, open and affirming PC(USA) church in Nashville, TN. I was blessed with strong mentors in my pastor colleagues, and consider those years to have been an apprenticeship for becoming a minister.
At age 50, having graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School, I sought my first call, which brought me to Tuscaloosa and University Presbyterian Church. By my second year, we were beginning to explore the possibility of building a relationship with Covenant Presbyterian, and on January 8, Grace Presbyterian was chartered, and a new faith community was born.
I am blessed to serve this wonderfully diverse–and growing–community.
In addition to serving as head of staff, I serve on the boards of West Alabama Aids Outreach, UPerk (campus ministry coffee house), and Druid City Pride. I am a volunteer chaplain for DCH, and a free-lance curriculum writer. For the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, I serve on the Commission for Preparation for Ministry, which allows me to be a part of the future church as we nurture candidates in the ordination process.
I am a wife to Lou Hoop, who sings in the Grace choir, and faithfully commutes between Nashville & Tuscaloosa, and the mother of three young adult sons. My house is made livelier by the presence of two English Bulldogs, Charlie & Lily, whom you can see frequently on Facebook.
Come and visit us at Grace; ALL are welcome here!
Email Rev. Cathy Hoop: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Music & Worship Arts and Christian Formation: Dr. Leslie Poss
“How sad for the soul that will not sing and dies with all its music trapped inside.” Fall 1989, while attending a choral conducting workshop at Samford University I heard this quote and it gave me the nudge needed to quit my full-time church music job in Greensboro, AL, move to Tuscaloosa to enroll at The Univ. of AL to begin and ultimately earn a Doctorate in Choral Conducting. Since 1993 I’ve lived in Tuscaloosa, AL and have directed music for a variety of church and local arts organizations including: First United Methodist Church, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Prentice Concert Chorale, and the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra. In January of 2017, I became Director of Music & Worship Arts and Christian Formation at Grace Presbyterian Church.
Music has always been a clearly defined part of my life; Christian Formation is a new stepping stone along my path of ministry. Incorporating the arts and engaging our human senses in worship and in Christian Formation is how I seek to live out my call at Grace Presbyterian Church. As a new congregation we are on the ground floor, crafting ministries for all ages. We are exploring new ways, techniques, times and places to offer small group discussion, Bible study, discipleship training, and peace and justice action events that help us grow in our understanding of God and God’s Good News for ALL People and that help us put into action living out the Good News to our local, regional, and international communities.
From Annie, A Little Night Music, Hairspray, and Fiddler on the Roof…for thirteen seasons Leslie has served as Theatre Tuscaloosa’s resident music director, where her efforts garnered her the 2013 Theatre Artist of the Year honors from the Tuscaloosa Arts Council.
Originally from Georgia, Leslie is the daughter of Chick and Elmira Poss; the fourth of five children. Family influences include: Tennessee Ernie Ford and The Gospel Jubilee, high school marching band, newspaper funnies, and a “spirit of contentment” with what she has. She is married to Sherry Kimbro and they have two canine fur babies: Sally and Butch.
Office Administrator: Angelica Sprunger
Originally from Birmingham, AL, Angelica became Grace Presbyterian’s Office Administrator January 2017. A lover of music, animals, and comic books, Angelica enjoys the diversity of her job with it’s many opportunities to assist community and church members.
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Manager: Jennifer Sheppard
Jennifer is beginning her fourth year as manager of University/Grace Presbyterian Church’s Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry. Her keen business, problem-solving, and people skills make her an excellent fit for this important ministry.
Sexton: Wendell Edwards
Wendell Edwards was born in Manhattan, New York, but was raised in Snow Hill, AL. After graduating high school, he attended Talladega College. After serving in the Navy as a cryptographic intercept technician, he worked for the Los Angeles County Coroner as a medical photographer and technician. Several years after moving back to Alabama, he accepted the call to ministry. He graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, then moved to study urban mission development and Islamic studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and William Cary University in Pasadena, CA before serving as an urban missions developer in central and northern Nigeria. Wendell served as a pastor in St Louis and Seattle, before finally retiring from full time ministry after serving at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Prattville, AL. Wendell owned a cleaning company in Seattle, WA, worked for Boeing as a maintenance training manager before moving to KY to serve as facilities manager at Southern Baptist Seminary, as facilities manager at Southern Baptist Seminary in Kentucky, and as Facilities Manager for Concordia University in Selma, AL. He became Sexton at Covenant Presbyterian in January, 2009, and has enjoyed serving the wonderful folks of Covenant/University/Grace ever since. Wendell and his lovely bride, Sandra, live in Northport. They have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren, spread from California to New York.