Dr. Stephen W. Gentle, Senior Pastor
The Reverend Dr. Stephen Gentle is Senior Pastor of National City Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington, D.C. In his 10th year as Senior Pastor, Dr. Gentle leads a unique multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, open and affirming congregation that is located five blocks from the White House. With the National City Christian Church Foundation, Dr. Gentle leads a board of trustees from across the United States that has stewardship over the multi-million dollar facility and property held in trust for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada.
Before coming to National City, Dr. Gentle was the Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Orlando for 14 years and preacher of the Central Florida Drive-in Worship Service. Dr. Gentle has taught seminary courses as associate professor of Pastoral Ministry, Florida Center for Theological Studies. He has served the wider church as member of the Administrative Committee and the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada, Time and Place Committee for the General Assembly, and the Christian Church Foundation Board. As a youth, he was the first moderator of the General Youth Council and later the Youth Ministry Intern for the Division of Homeland Ministries, Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Gentle has degrees from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Married to the Reverend Miriam O. Gentle, a gifted theologian and Pastor of Congregational Care at The Village Church at Greenspring, Dr. Gentle and she have three adult children: Wesley, Ana-Elisa, and Phillip.
Rev. Steven C. Baines, Senior Strategist for Outreach, Development and Spiritual Formation
Rev. Steven C. Baines is Senior Strategist for Outreach, Development and Spiritual Formation at National City Christian Church Foundation. Since early childhood, he has always felt a strong sense of calling for Christian ministry, preaching his first sermon at the age of 18. Not only has Rev. Baines demonstrated his gifts for service leading local congregations, he has also established himself as a national spokesperson and strategist on issues of faith and politics, religious liberty and church-state separation, and a fearless advocate for civil rights and LGBTQ equality. He is a popular speaker and has offered commentary on CNN, CSPAN, The Advocate, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Atlanta Constitution, Religion News Service and numerous other local talk radio and news outlets.
Baines is a 20-year member of National City where he has served as Bible Study Instructor, Deacon, Vice Chair and Chair of the Board of Elders, and Vice Moderator and Moderator of the Congregation for six years. Additionally, he has served on numerous leadership and ministry Task Forces during his tenure with the church.
Before beginning as Senior Strategist, Rev. Baines served as Director of Religious Outreach at Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Director of Interfaith Outreach at Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; Director of Interfaith Outreach at People For the American Way; and Executive Director of both Equal Partners in Faith and AFFIRM Youth. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., he served local Baptist congregations in North and South Carolina.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Rev. Baines did his undergraduate studies at Furman University in Greenville, SC and his theological study at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with Rick Mohn, his husband of 10 years. Together they are the proud parents to adoptive cats, Smokey and Bandit.
Dr. Beverly Goines, Assistant Pastor
Dr. Goines was called to National City Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as a Lilly Endowment Resident Pastor in 2003 and began serving as Assistant Pastor in 2006. She provides Pastoral Care and Counseling to the congregation, serves as the staff liaison to the Young Adult Ministry, and provides worship leadership.
Dr. Goines is a native of the Washington metropolitan area. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After completing this degree, she returned to the DC region to work in the public and private sector as a technical writer, program manager, and project manager. Dr. Goines has also worked in the financial services industry, holding four insurance licenses.
Accepting her call to ministry, she matriculated at Howard University, receiving a Master of Divinity, and was ordained to the gospel ministry in 2001. Dr. Goines has a Ph.D. in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America.
Dr. C J Rodriguez, Pastor for Hispanic Ministries/Iglesia Cristiana Nacional (Discípulos de Cristo).
Chaim (CJ) Rodriguez is a professional educator, ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and social justice advocate. Originally from the island of Puerto Rico, he graduated with his Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree in the area of Hispanic/Latinx Ministry at Barry University in Miami, Fl. CJ currently serves as the Pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Nacional (Discipulos de Cristo), a worshiping community at National City Christian Church and the Minister for Young Adult activism for the Disciples Center for Public Witness, both located in Washington, DC. He lives by the motto of Bro. Cornel West, Justice is what love looks like in public.
Chaim (CJ) Rodriguez es un educador profesional, ministro ordenado en la Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo), y activista a favor de la justicia social. Oriundo de la Isla del Encanto, Puerto Rico, se graduó de Wesley Theological Seminary con el grado de Maestría en Divinidad y actualmente cursa estudios doctorales en el área de Ministerios Latinxs en Barry University en Miami, Fl. CJ sirve como pastor de la Iglesia Cristiana Nacional (Discípulos de Cristo) y Ministro de activismo de adultos jóvenes para el Disciples Center for Public Witness, ambos ministerios localizados en Washington, DC. El vive bajo el lema del Hno. Cornel West, La justicia es cómo se expresa el amor en público.
Dr. J. Michael McMahon, Artistic Director, Music at Midday
The Reverend Dr. J. Michael McMahon has served as Artistic Director of Music at Midday since November 2013, a role in which he also served during his tenure as Minister of Music. In September 2018, Mike became Executive Director of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, with offices located at NCCC.
An ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mike is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Washington Theological Union, a Master of Arts degree in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Catholic University of America.
Before coming to National City, Mike had served as a professional director of music ministries for more than thirty years. From 2001 to 2013 he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), an organization of seven thousand Roman Catholic musicians, clergy, and other pastoral leaders. He is the author of a book on Christian initiation and has contributed numerous articles on worship and church music to a variety of journals. Mike also has extensive experience as a speaker and clinician for regional church gatherings and national music organizations.
A native of Pittsburgh, Mike has long been a resident of the Washington area and currently lives in Silver Spring with his husband Ray Valido.
Valeria A. Foster, Gospel Choir Director
Since its inception in 2002, the Gospel Choir has been directed by Valeria Foster. A graduate of Morgan State University, she has a masters degree in Christian Leadership from The John Leland Center for Theological Studies.
A composer, arranger, and associate editor of the African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA Publications), Valeria has served as state chair of Music in Worship for the Maryland/DC Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association; director of the University of Maryland (College Park) Gospel Choir (15 years) where she produced their first two recordings; lecturer for the Smithsonian Institution (master class in early gospel music for its “Wade in the Water” series) and the World Council of Church’s Ecumenical Institute (Switzerland); and clinician for several churches and faith-based organizations in the U.S. and Krakow, Poland. Annually, she conducts vocal workshops at the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, Inc. (Thomas A. Dorsey, Founder).
Kenneth D. Lowenberg, Organist
Ken was called to National City Christian Church in autumn, 2014, following a long history of association with this church, including subbing for various Organist-Directors over a period of over 40 years.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Ken attended Northwestern University (B.Mus.Ed.), the University of Southern California (M.Mus. in Composition), and the College of Church Musicians at Washington Cathedral (FCCM), and has earned his AAGO (Associate) and FAGO (Fellow) certifications from the American Guild of Organists. He is Minister of Music Emeritus at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, having retired in August 2006, after 38 years of service. There he headed a large music program, including the Chevy Chase Handbell Ringers (which played at the White House, Washington Cathedral, on NPR and local TV) and the concert series, Chevy Chase Concerts (including the annual Washington Bach Marathon, featuring 5 hours of Bach’s organ music played by 10 organists on a Sunday near Bach’s birthday of March 21).
Ken has created numerous published choral, organ, and handbell works, some of which have earned him ASCAP awards. He has held local, regional, and national offices in the American Guild of Organists and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, including having served as Chair of Worship Services for the AGO 2010 National Convention in Washington, DC and having been chair of an annual PAM Music and Worship Conference at Montreat, NC. He has performed organ recitals and led church music workshops in many venues in the Eastern and Central United States. His hobbies include travel, composing, cooking, swimming, gardening, and working out.
Dr. Peter Morgan, Historian in Residence
Peter M. Morgan was born in New York City in 1939. He was reared by his mother and grandmother in Princeton, West Virginia where the family was active in First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Peter MorganPeter prepared for ministry at Bethany College, the College of the Bible (now Lexington Theological Seminary) and in service as interim minister at Belmont Christian Church, Roanoke, Virginia.
Peter Morgan has continued a strong academic interest. Among his named lectureships are the inaugural Kirkpatrick Lecture of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society and the Peter Ainslie Lecture given at National City in October 2004.
He has taught worship as guest faculty at Lexington Theological Seminary. His publications, audio and videotapes now number more than fifty titles. Among his six books are Disciples Eldership/A Quest for Identity and Ministry, and Story Weaving. Disciples Eldership has been the leading resource in its field for 23 years. It was updated and republished in 2003. Story Weaving/Using Stories to Transform Your Congregation has sold out three printings. He was awarded the Doctor of Humanities degree by Bethany College.
He began his ministry as pastor of Marion (Iowa) Christian Church and served there from 1965 through 1975. That ministry was climaxed by the creation of Linnhaven, a multi-million dollar residential and service agency for mentally retarded adults. Morgan has been honored as Linnhaven’s founder.
In 1975 he was called to the program staff of the Division of Homeland Ministries where he created the evangelism program, “The Order of Andrew.” He later turned his creative attention to worship and the spiritual formation of leaders. He became best known for his retreats and seminars with elders. According to one accolade, “Peter Morgan has done more for the spiritual formation of elders than anyone since Alexander Campbell.” He represented Homeland Ministries in the creation of Chalice Hymnal to which he brought the resources of Disciples heritage and advocacy of the hymnal as the “people’s prayer book.”
In December of 1995, Dr. Morgan was called to be president of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society. His leadership at the Society was a partnership venture with his wife Lynne who first served as volunteer and for five years was Director of Operations. The Historical Society has seen significant progress under their leadership. The most advanced library and archival technology has been implemented. The Society has become better known through the publication of the newsletter “We’re History,” through the video “History Alive!”, through it s new internet site and through Dr. Morgan’s public speaking. The Thomas W. Phillips Memorial has been refurbished, including a redesigned museum, the dedication of the Eva Jean Wrather study, and the dedication of the Fiers Lecture Hall which contains the Society’s exhibit of missionary artifacts. The biennial Stalcup Seminar has been established for local historians as well as the Ketcherside Scholars program for Ph.D. students. Five books have been published by the Society including the first encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. During Dr. Morgan’s tenure the Society’s endowment grew from just over one million dollars to 3.3 millions dollars.
Dr. and Mrs. Morgan began retirement by moving to Washington and National City in October 2004 where they serve as historian and archivist of the church.
Wes Strotman and Tom Kelley, Facilities Chairpersons