“God breaks into our world of the ordinary reminding us we are essentially meant to experience the extra-ordinary…”
Don’t let the warm smile, compassionate blue eyes and gentle spirit fool you. Larry Kleiman is a serious practical joker. Just ask any St. Peter’s youth who has gone “snipe hunting” with him.
Larry was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Greenfield, Indiana, birthplace of the famous poet James Whitcomb Riley who said, “Greenfield is the best home outside of heaven.”
Perhaps this inspired Larry, because after graduating from New Palestine High School in Indiana, he set out to explore his interest in philosophy, poetry and spirituality at Valparaiso University, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He then expanded his knowledge at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, earning a Master of Divinity degree.
Prior to joining St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Larry served as Director of Admissions at Christian Theological Seminary, and Pastor of Northeast United Church of Christ, Indianapolis.
In 1972 he married Rose Halderson. Their son, Seth was born in 1976. Seth and daughter-in-law Amanda welcomed Larry and Rose's first grandchild – Anna – in 2008.
Larry describes the spirit of St. Peter’s as “rooted in a community seeking goodness and justice in the lives of the congregation and the ministries through which we serve others.”
During his years at St. Peter’s, he has watched the congregation and spirit grow in ways he never imagined. “The ever-changing transformation of both individual and community spirit is a joy to share.”
A joy right up there with practical joking? The next time you see Larry, ask him what is a snipe hunt anyway.
"Our spirit is the spirit of many, not the idea of just one."
Maybe not all 13-year-olds who are asked to serve on the new-pastor search committee become pastors themselves. But Lori Bievenour did.
Born Lori Godich in suburban Milwaukee, WI, Lori has been affiliated with the United Church of Christ for her entire life. Lori’s uncle was a UCC minister in Illinois for decades, and her mother became a UCC pastor and chaplain after 30+ years of teaching.
Besides serving on church committees, singing in the choir, and playing with the bell choir as a young girl, Lori shared the poem “Drop a Pebble in the Water” with her congregation on Stewardship Sunday and claims to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Around this time, her interim pastor, Ineke Mitchell, quietly planted the seed that young Lori might consider ministry. Years later, Ineke preached at Lori’s ordination service.
Lori graduated from Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, WI and Butler University in Indianapolis, IN with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and English with a Creative Writing concentration. Lori then continued her studies at Boston University School of Theology, graduating with a Master of Divinity in 2003.
Lori first became involved with St. Peter’s United Church of Christ as a youth minister during the spring and summer of 2000. Lori’s special rapport with youth continues today with her twice-a-year service trips to Washington United Church of Christ in Cincinnati , OH with about 20-30 St. Peter’s middle- and high-school students and adults.
In July 2003 Lori was hired full-time as Associate Pastor after her graduation from Boston University. She married Torrey Bievenour at St. Peter’s in 2005, having met Torrey through mutual friends while he was living in NY and she was in MA. Though it is a story for another day, Torrey has been a member of St. Peter’s since he was in the fourth grade, and both Lori & Torrey enjoy their intense connection to this congregation.
Lori’s favorite description of Jesus is that of a trickster, and her commitment to justice keeps her energized for parish ministry.
Last but not least, Lori collects Silly Putty and hosts an annual Miss America party. (Is that where she learned to smile so big?)
Cheryl grew up in Dover, Delaware and lived for many years in beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. Cheryl sang in the church choir, the Alumni Chorale, and a fun trio (The CBS Trio) after her day’s work at Bell of Pennsylvania. In 1989 Cheryl married Ben Keckler, a UCC minister.
Cheryl has directed children’s choirs and handbell choirs in various UCC churches. After moving to Indianapolis in 2000, Cheryl began a piano studio and now additionally directs handbell choirs here at St. Peter’s and at Prince of Peace UCC.
Cheryl enjoys history, and volunteers as a docent at the President Benjamin Harrison House. Together Cheryl and Ben enjoy flower gardening and playing games. Her favorites: 2-handed pinochle and Sequence.
A special joy to the Kecklers are their families and especially the four grandchildren, Keira, Audra, Kari and Bryce.
Lori is the Preschool Director at St. Peter’s. She graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Elementary Education. Lori has been married to Jeff for 15 years, and they have two wonderful boys, Zach age 12 and Jackson age 10. Both of their boys attended St. Peter’s Preschool. Lori has worked at St. Peter’s Preschool in many capacities. She began as a board member, MTO assistant, MTO teacher, Three’s teacher and Pre-K teacher. Lori loves the preschool age and loves St. Peter’s Preschool. It is a wonderful place!
Theresa is St. Peter’s Administrative Assistant. She is in the office from 8:30am – 5pm working on the weekly bulletins, the monthly newsletter and other design needs. Prior to moving to Indiana in 2004, she attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn. While she didn’t obtain a degree at that time, one of her goals is to receive her bachelor degree.
Sandy serves as our church and preschool accountant. Sandy and her husband Chris have lived in Carmel for ten years. hey have two sons, Carter (17) and Sam (9) and a daughter, Grace (4) who attends St. Peter’s Preschool. andy is a born and raised Hoosier. She has over twenty years of accounting experience, ten of which have been in the non-profit sector. In her free time Sandy enjoys photography, being outdoors and being a spectator at her sons’ many sporting and orchestra activities.
Daniel Dempsey is working on his Master of Divinity degree at Christian Theological Seminary, and is in-care with a UCC Association in the Ohio Conference. He is currently the seminary student intern at St. Peter's UCC. This year of work with a local congregation enables the student to explore varying aspects of congregational life as preparation is made for ordained ministry. The student, the seminary, and the congregation covenant together to provide a rich experience of opportunities for leadership and spiritual growth. Daniel participates in Sunday worship and has taken on specific projects in the life of St. Peter’s.
Michelle Cotherman and family has been the Facility Maintenance Crew since 2004. She has three children: Brandt, Taylor and Natalie. Her husband, Jesse, is a native of Indiana, and Michelle is a native of Jamaica. Her duties include keeping the inside of the church clean. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being at home with her family or watching her children’s sporting events.