Michael Anthony Howard, Interim Minister
Michael Anthony Howard accepted the call to become the Interim Minister at Brookside Community Church in December of 2016. He was joined with his wife Zion and daughter Joey. Michael is a passionate and intellectually engaged pastor, teacher and community organizer with over 12 years of experience, committed to building local communities of peace and justice. He has taught and served all around the world, including Peru, Brazil, India, Ethiopia and the US. Michael has an Master of Public Administration from Morehead State University and a Master of Divinity from Drew Theological School.
Amy Southerland, Choir Director
An active church musician in several churches for the past 30 years, she is well versed in church music and organ playing. Originally from Alabama, she attended Birmingham-Southern College where she met her husband, David. She is the Middle School Music Director and David is the Upper School Music Director at Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone where they have been nominated seven times for the Rising Star Award for Outstanding Music Direction, winning twice. As a team, they have also worked in regional and community theaters garnering them two NJ Perry Awards for Outstanding Music Direction, and they have collaborated with many Broadway personalities.
Lauren Johnson, Children’s Choir Director is a junior Music Education and Sacred Music double major at Westminster Choir College. She is from the St. John the Baptist/Holy Angels parish in her hometown of Newark, DE. While at school, Lauren sings in both scholarly and extra curricular groups, such as Westminster’s Schola Cantorum and the college’s mixed a cappella group, The Deaftones. She serves as one of the three Executive Board members for the a cappella group. Lauren is a part of the school’s Baccalaureate Honors Program and works as a tutor of Music Theory, English, and Psychology. She also enjoys spending her time serving the community with her fellow sisters of Sigma Alpha Iota, the women’s professional music fraternity. Outside of college life, Lauren loves to spend time with her family and friends. Some of her favorite things to do are to play tennis, ski, read novels, and go to musical performances. She is excited to be making music with Brookside Community Church!
Bell Choir Director Jan Schurter grew up in Ohio and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Indiana University. After graduation she worked as a public school music instructor in Cincinnati, Chicago and Houston as well as teaching piano privately and serving various groups as accompanist. She also sang with the Cincinnati and Houston Opera Company Choruses.
In addition to her bell choir duties, Jan is currently Director and Accompanist of the Brookside Belles Women’s Chorus. Brookside Church has been fortunate in having Jan as Bell Choir Director since 1992. Referring to the Bell Choir, Jan comments, “Handbell ringing is unique. The technique is easily learned and the resulting sound is immediately exhilarating and rewarding. Even I prefer ringing to conducting. In addition, handbells add a special dimension to the worship service. I’m committed to providing interesting, manageable arrangements. (And there is no homework or practice at home!)”