Meet Our Church Staff

Rev. Erin Dickey, Senior Pastor

 

She/Her/Hers

 

Began serving RACC in November of 2016

 

Erin is a proud graduate of Texas Christian University (2011 + 2015) with a BA in Religion, BSSW in Social Work, and a Masters in Social Work as well as a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School. Erin was ordained by the Great River Region in May of 2015. Erin previously served as as the Youth Minister at First Christian Church in Gainesville, TX and Director of Recovery Ministries at First Christian Church in Wichita Falls, TX. Erin is a 4th generation Disciple of Christ and has a passion for children, youth, camp, and outreach ministries. 

 

What is your favorite thing about RACC?

I was drawn to RACC for two main reasons - RACC’s emphasis on children (specifically through it’s involvement in our regional church camp and the Riverside Children’s Art’s Center) and RACC’s Open & Affirming status. What has KEPT me at RACC is the spirit of welcome, compassion, and desire for justice that is evident in all of RACC’s ministries. I love that RACC welcomes all people exactly as God has created them and affirms their identity as a beloved child of God.

 

What are three things that are important to know about you?

1. I. LOVE. DOGS. We have three dogs: Sport (Golden Retriever), Barney (Cocker Spaniel), and Maggie (Australian Shepherd). I love them so incredibly much and could talk about them for hours. I also love other people’s dogs and want to play with every dog I meet. Did I mention that I love dogs?

2. I love to bake, however, my baking projects tend to look more like ‘Nailed It!’ than ‘The Great British Bake Off.’ 

3. I met my husband, Justin, counseling church camp at Disciples Crossing in Athens, TX. We bonded over dogs and church camp cinnamon rolls. One of my favorite things about ministry is getting to share in it with him and I am grateful that RACC allows us to share in ministry together.

Justin Dickey,

Director OF Youth Ministries

 

                                         He/Him/His

                                         Began serving RACC in July of 2018

 

                                         I grew up in the Disciples of Christ                                                    denomination and couldn’t image being                                            a part of any other group that is so                                                   accepting, loving, and faithful                                                          individuals. I serve because growing up                                            the church served me, especially in the                                              DOC Camping Ministry. That Ministry                                                means so much to me and I love                                                      sharing my love of camp with others. 

 

                                         What is your favorite thing about RACC? 

 My favorite thing about RACC is the diverse group of people who come up to take communion every Sunday. As the Pastor's husband I usually sit in the front and often get a great view of everyone who comes up to take communion. I love seeing diverse age groups, economic backgrounds, personal walks of faith, and our LGBTQ+ brothers, sisters, and siblings often not given a seat at the table. At RACC, ALL means ALL and that’s reflected in our commitment to inclusion, diversity, and love. 

 

What are three things that are important to know about you?

1. I’m an avid runner. With marathons, 50k’s, 50 milers, and 100 milers under my belt.

2. I love tacos. Taco Tuesday at El Jefe in Murray Hill is the place to be. 3. I’m also a Behavior Therapist working with children with Autism and I am in my graduate program to progress in that field. 

Janet Novick, Director of Children’s Ministries 

 

She/ Her/ Hers

 

Began Serving at RACC September 2019

 

Janet was born and raised here in Jacksonville and has three children of her own. She teaches outside the church in an inclusive classroom with a homeschool cooperative in Avondale. Janet encourages children in their knowledge and walk with Jesus through planned lessons and fun hands on learning activities. 

What is your favorite about RACC? 

RACC is comprised of real people who hold no discrimination to any individual that wanders through its doors seeking a place to worship our Holy Father. No soul is turned away based on their past, color, sexual orientation, age, gender or any other factor. All are welcomed to worship and learn about Our Savior. 

What are three things that are important to know about you?

1.    I am a homeschooling mom and it’s amazing. I get to go on field trips, learn and grow with my daughter and it has been such a blessing. 

2.    I LOVE books and crafts…way too much! 

3.    I met my husband through a co worker and I proposed to him. We have been married for over 20 years and I am still delighted he said YES! 

Jas Abramowitz, Office Manager

 

                                       He/Him/His  

                                       Began serving RACC in April of 2019

 

                                       Jas spent 13 years in the corporate sector                                        his last position, a Vice President of                                                Business Strategy for a logistics firm.                                                After the company dissolved his division                                          in mid 2018, Jas went on a sabbatical                                          with the intent of letting his non-compete                                          ride out.  However, when God puts a                                            crossroads in front of you, it is wise to consider the choices.  After much discussion, budgeting and praying, Jas and his wife Dolly decided it was time for Jas to pursue his passions of acting and writing.   He published a book and has appeared in many productions and short films.   However, Jas still wanted to put his business experience to good use and saw the opportunity with RACC to use his business skills, while maintaining a flexible schedule to continue feeding his creating spirit.  Plus he loves having something to do each day.  It keeps him sane.

 

What is your favorite thing about RACC?

 

I knew very little about RACC when I applied, but was drawn to the Church because of their open and affirming status and the many women in leadership positions, which was very different from my prior work-life.  I have not been disappointed- the people here- from the leadership to the congregation have been wonderful and have made working here an absolute joy.

 

What are three things that are important to know about you? 

  1. I am an actor but I am not fake.  What you see is what you get.   

  2. I often get told I look younger than my natural age.   Anyone who knows me well, will tell you that I am actually 75 years old on the inside.

  3. I love dogs and I love to cook and eat.  I do not, however, like to cook or eat dogs.

Deborah Bryant, Accompanist

                                    She/her/hers

                                    Began serving RACC in 2017  

 

                                    Deborah came to Riverside with her twins to                                     join her parents who are also very active in                                     the church. Deborah’s father is a retired                                           pastor and her mother also plays the piano                                     and organ so you can see where she gets                                       her love of music! Deborah has been active                                     in the church and music her entire life!

What is your favorite thing about RACC?

I love that our church is an open and affirming church and welcomes all who walk through the doors no matter what!  We are all Children of God and there are some wonderful people that are very involved in our church and have so many different talents that help us in so many different areas of our daily church activities!

I also enjoy working with so many talented choir members who play piano and sing.  It really helps when you want to take a day off to have other talented piano players to fill in for you which includes my mom who taught me how to play piano from a very young age! 

What are three things that are important to know about you?

1. I am a mother of 21-year-old twins I am very proud of both of them!

2. I have a passion for Contemporary Music but still love the traditional hymns too. 

3. Other things I enjoy besides music are cooking and baking especially for the holidays. When I have the time, I really enjoy being crafty and making things such as wreaths, ornaments, cross stitching and scrapbooking. I also enjoy decorating my home for the holidays, and spending time with family as well as traveling.

Aimee Ortiz Low, Arts Director

for Riverside Children's Arts Center

 

She/Her/Hers

Began serving RACC in August of 2018

 

Working for Riverside Children's Arts Center

appealed to me because of my love for the

arts.  I have always been interested in

everything art, from performing on stage to

cooking, and I was very excited to be able

to share my experience with children.  

 

What is your favorite thing about RACC? I love how accepting and loving RACC is, that it is open and affirming, and I love the strong female leaders. It makes me proud to say I work here. 

 

What are three things that are important to know about you?

1. I love to cook for other people, but when I'm by myself I will eat cereal for breakfast lunch and dinner. 

2. I keep a journal of weird or funny thoughts that I have throughout the day. 

3. I love cats. 

Joyce Miller, 

Director of Preschool & Nursery Ministries

My name is Joyce Miller. I am currently the Director of the Preschool Department at Riverside Avenue Christian Church.
I've been at RACC
for seven years.

I love teaching and working with preschool children. I believe they are the future church and precious gifts from God.

Casey Berney, Choir Director 

 

He/Him/His 

 

Began serving Fall of 2015

 

A degree in Merchandising from the University of

Tennessee (a Volunteer in a hostile football swamp)

belies Casey’s musical roots. Son of a choir director,

he attended his alma mater on a vocal scholarship.

He was Special Music Director at Fairview Free Will

Baptist Church, founding director of the First Coast Chorus and ensemble One AcChord. Besides his choir duties he is also the music director for the men’s ensemble Vocal Theory Project.

 

I was invited to attend RACC by a friend I consider family. Her enthusiasm for this church and its congregation was a pleasant departure from other experiences I had while trying to find a new place to call my “home”. I was present on the Sunday that the church voted to become Open and Affirming. I was in tears by the time the vote was taken and ratified. I officially joined two weeks later. 

 

What is your favorite about RACC? 

 

My ability to be who I am and share my love of music is why I am at RACC.

 

What are three things that are important to know about you?

 

 

I love to dance. Somebody drop the beat and I will be there!

 

Key West is my relaxation, Sedona my sanctuary, Patsy’s Meadow my soul, Provincetown my free to be, my fur kids my balm and Michael my heart. 

 

I will never say “no” to Mexican food or barbecue.

Melanie Bryant, Nursery Attendant 

 

She/ Her/ Hers

 

Began serving RACC in 2017

 

Melanie is a graduate of FSCJ with her A.A., and is currently a student at Keiser University pursuing a degree in Radiologic Technology. Melanie has been a member of RACC for several years now and became affiliated with the nursery while she was in high school and helping out almost every Sunday. 

 

What is your favorite thing about RACC?

I was drawn to RACC because my family was here. I had a few friends in the youth group and always came on Wednesdays and Sundays because of the youth activities. What has kept me at RACC is all of the wonderful kids that we have had in the nursery and enjoying the time that they spend in the nursery with Joyce and I. 

 

What are three things that are important to know about you?

  1. I like to help people, which is why I am going into the medical field. I am almost done with my A.S. In Radiologic Technology. However, my dream job is to be an Ultrasound Tech. 

  2. I love cats. I foster kittens for the humane society when I can make it work around school and my work schedule.

  3. I am getting married in March 2020 and my fiancé and I are very excited!

Karen Adams, Wedding Coordinator

 

She/Her/Hers

 

Began serving RACC in 2018

 

Karen is a lifelong member of RACC. As part of the congregation Karen has attended small and large weddings over the years. In 2019 Karen planned her own wedding. She is personal familiar with the excitement, joy and stress of wedding planning. 

 

What is your favorite thing about RACC?

Riverside is a open and affirming congregation that welcomes all people as a beloved children of God. From my childhood to adulthood, I have see the congregation grow into the open and affirming congregation it is today. I have also see Riverside put our mission into action. As a loving, serving and witnessing congregation, Riverside participants in Youth mission trips, the Children's Art Center, iCare, marching in the Riverside Pride Parade, presenting a Live Nativity during Luminara. These are only a few examples of how Riverside is living its mission.

*Please note that Karen works on an "as needed basis." To learn more about our wedding ministry and how to get in touch with her, please visit our Weddings Section*

 

The MISSION of Riverside Avenue Christian Church is to be and to share the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, WITNESSING, LOVING, & SERVING from our doorsteps "to the ends of the Earth." (Acts 1:8)