Rev. Paul G. Janssen
Born in South Dakota, Pastor Janssen was raised in the parsonage of a country church with his five siblings. He graduated in a class of 38 students of Titonka High School, Iowa and followed his brothers and sisters attending Central College of Pella, Iowa. After four years in an intensely Dutch environment, Paul felt it time to broaden his horizons, and he enrolled at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Between Central College and New Brunswick, Paul fell in love with the Annette Giles; they were married on January 1, 1983. After four years in seminary he served an internship at Brighton Reformed Church in Rochester, New York, then – he was called to serve Third Reformed Church in Hackensack, New Jersey. While there, Paul and Annette adopted their first child, Samuel. In 1991 Paul accepted a call to Pascack Reformed Church in Park Ridge, New Jersey, where he served for 22 years. Emma entered the Janssen family in 1994. Paul began his service at United Reformed Church in Somerville in April, 2014. Once in Somerville, Paul and Annette “up-adopted” their dog Tucker.
An avid but decidedly amateur musician, Paul enjoys singing in the choir, playing several instruments, (guitar, keyboard, penny whistle and others) and occasionally writing hymns and choral pieces for the choir. He has been active in ecumenical circles at the local, national, and international levels. He presently serves as president of the Delaware-Raritan Classis, which oversees more than 30 RCA churches with 3,200 members.
Paul is a “pastoral progressive” voice in the Reformed Church in America – not a strident, polarizing presence, but at the same time an open promoter of the cause of racial justice, ally for LGBTQ community, and advocate for the poor. The core of his pastoral sensitivities stems from the point of view of Jesus: “looking at the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) His progressive inclinations arise from the prophetic text: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” (Isaiah 58:6)
F. Paul Dickey
Director of Music
F. Paul Dickey has been directing singing and handbell choirs here at United Reformed Church since the winter of 1999. He also serves as organist for all the church’s worship services. Before coming to United, Mr. Dickey had served in similar positions in Presbyterian churches in New Jersey and Georgia, his longest tenure being for eighteen years at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, where he developed an extensive music ministry and concert series. Mr. Dickey holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He has served on the staff of the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia, and is well known as a handbell clinician and festival conductor.
Lori A. Herpen
Lori joined our staff in 2014. She is a graduate of Somerville High School and holds degree in Environmental Science from Raritan Valley Community College/Rutgers University. Lori has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 20 years serving in various administrative and development roles, having worked for the AmeriCorps Program (domestic peace corps) as a Corps Supervisor, the Sierra Club as a Chapter Coordinator and SAFE in Hunterdon as a Major Gifts Manager. In addition, she has served on several fundraising boards and has facilitated workshops on organizational effectiveness and volunteer recruitment and retention. While she oversees the day to day operations of the church office, Lori is our liaison to the 25+ mission-based organizations that use United’s facilities. She also carries out the church marketing efforts and is the Editor of InTouch, our monthly newsletter. Highly committed to helping people, Lori is one of the first people you will meet should you stop in our office.
Carlos was born in El Salvador and has been a faithful, dedicated member of our staff for 16 years. In addition to tending to the daily upkeep and maintenance of our building and grounds, he is also responsible for the care of vestments and sacred vessels and prepares the altar and sanctuary for our services.