Meet the Staff
Rev. Kathryn Aikins, Pastor
Born in Bristol, Pennsylvania, Katie moved to Reykjavík, Iceland at the age of four where her parents were missionaries. She spent the better part of her childhood in Iceland, and continues to maintain ties there. She has returned often in her adult life, including for theological studies and as a leader of art and music programs for Icelandic youth.
Katie completed a B.A. in Theology at Colorado Christian University and a Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. Upon graduating from seminary, Katie stayed in Atlanta for several years and served as co-pastor at Mercy Community Church, a congregation of mostly poor and homeless members. At Mercy, she led worship, Bible studies, and addiction recovery meetings. Katie also served as Associate Pastor at Druid Hills United Methodist Church where she focused on creating opportunities for spiritual nurture, social justice, and community building among young adults. She was ordained at Mercy Community Church in 2009 and received standing as a minister in the United Church of Christ in 2011.
Katie strives to be faithful to the call of Jesus Christ and advocates for the church to live out its call to be a sanctuary for all people, especially those most excluded in our society. While living in Atlanta, Katie visited regularly on death row in Jackson, Georgia and continues to work for the abolition of the death penalty as one form of the powers of death and dehumanization in our midst.
Katie also has a love for music, especially gospel and hip hop, and enjoys playing drums, baking, and spending time in God’s creation.
Katie’s office hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, by appointment.
Pax Ressler, Minister of Music
Pax is a Philadelphia-based performer, composer and theatre artist who grew up in the Mennonite Church. A love of hymns and singing in church inspired Pax to pursue a career in music. They studied music education and theatre at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. In addition to directing music at TAB, Pax works as a performer, composer, designer, and music director for Philadelphia theatre companies. They started writing music at the age of 10 and have written commissioned instrumental and choral works for ensembles in Philadelphia and beyond. Pax is queer and genderqueer; they are committed to queer and transgender justice, as well as operating in solidarity with other marginalized communities. They see music as a powerful spiritual practice to sing our desire for and commitment to social justice and to build strong community connections.
Chelle Bruhn, Office Manager
Chelle (Michelle for long) has lived on both coasts and a few points in between, but quite happily decided on Philadelphia several years ago. Putting her master’s degree in International Relations to good use, she’s worked in church administration for over five years and is very pleased to use her experience in service of the Tab community. She likes to read (everything), write (fiction), and will gladly give you her opinion on folk music, sour beers, and the correct pronunciation of GIF if you’re interested.
Lisa Jacobs, Nursery Caregiver
Lisa Jacobs was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, but has called West Philly home for the past seven years. She has a background in Public Health and Social Work and has been involved in the Interfaith Center’s Walking the Walk and Zones of Peace Initiatives since 2011. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, Lisa lived in Washington, DC where she was a member of the DC Childcare Collective, a volunteer collective that provides free childcare as a form of political solidarity. She is delighted to be spending her Sunday mornings as Tabernacle’s childcare provider.
Weezie Lauher, Interim Office Manager
Weezie Lauher (they/them/their/s) is a proud New England native with deep ties to the UCC and to the Philadelphia area. While their undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College is in American History and Gender & Sexuality Studies, Weezie’s professional experience has spanned the issues of housing and homelessness, teacher preparation and urban public education, LGBTQIA* legal advocacy, and fundraising for faith communities, varying from nonprofit development and capital campaigns to communications and social media management. Weezie is currently pursuing their Clinical Masters of Social Work through Simmons University with a focus on Trauma and Interpersonal Violence, and is also working toward becoming a full-spectrum doula. Their commitment to social justice stems, in part, from their own experiences as a fat, queer, gender nonbinary humxn, reproductive justice advocate, and a dismantler of the white cisheteropatriarchy. In their downtime, Weezie is an amateur bread-baker and avid crocheter who is often found at home in East Falls with their wife, likely pinned beneath at least one of their four pets.