PASTOR LINDA MCCRAE, a native of Indianapolis, brings to her faith community - and to the city of Indianapolis, the perspectives gained during six years as a missionary in Mexico and Guatemala. Spanish, her second language, is an asset to her congregational ministry and the city at large. An Indianapolis Public Schools student, Linda continued her education at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Union Theological Seminary in New York, and the Latin American Biblical Seminary in Costa Rica.
Known for decidedly challenging and provocative preaching, Linda's sermons reflect both her humility about and confidence in God's grace for all. She deftly weaves ancient scripture with current events, poetry, music and storytelling to bring alive a fresh, new understanding of God's Good News in a hurting world.
When Pastor Linda McCrae didn't show up for the church's quarterly board meeting, one concerned member inquired "Where's the Pastor?" The response? "Oh, she's in jail." Pastor Linda, called to Central Christian Church in 2002, doesn't spend much time in jail, but her pursuit for justice (in this case for under-paid janitorial workers) on that occasion led to extreme measures. Her efforts were part of a larger movement that eventually gained better pay and conditions for workers. Linda McCrae and a large group of other church leaders, were acquitted of trespassing charges for their participating in an office building "sit-in”. Linda has the full support of Central Christian Church for her deep commitment to justice and their appreciation for her strong leadership. Linda believes "It is a joy to be part of this inquisitive, diverse, justice-seeking community of faith."
LUIS GIERBOLINI, Associate Pastor, is a native Nuyorican (Puerto Rican from New York) and has lived in Indianapolis with his family for the past 12 years. Prior to full time ministry Pastor Luis was a professional chef and a graduated for Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island (Go Wildcats!).
Pastor Luis has a passion for urban ministry, social justice, and anti-racism/reconciliation issues, which served him well when he served 6 years as chaplain for the Indiana Department of Corrections at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility.
As a Chaplain, Pastor Luis provided spiritual and pastoral care to hundreds of youth and staff and coordinated their volunteer training. While serving two congregations in the Indianapolis area as an associate and interim pastor he honed his skills in education and leadership development. Not only does Luis connect easily and meaningfully with children and parents, but he has the skills and experience to organize curricula and programming for all ages. His dedication to and enthusiasm for biblical teaching and ongoing Christian academic pursuit are overflowing and genuine.
Since his ordination in 2011, he has also continued to provide leadership to the broader denomination, and currently serves on the Administrative Committee of Disciples of Christ General Board. His addition brings a second bilingual (English- and Spanish-speaking) minister to our staff.
DANIELLE HARTMAN, Minister of Music, holds a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Butler University, has attended the University of Iowa, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from DePauw University. Ms. Hartman is a teacher and performer in the Indianapolis area, and is active in the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians and the National Association for Teachers of Singing. She has taught private voice lessons to high school students and amateur adult singers for seventeen years and has performed opera roles at the college and professional level with the Indianapolis Opera Chorus, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has covered roles for the Indianapolis Opera Ensemble. Ms. Hartman has served as a church music director at Lebanon First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Indiana and as Director of Music and Cumberland Arts at Cumberland First Baptist Church. Currently, Ms. Hartman teaches voice students at the Butler Community Arts School through Butler University, and she has been Program Chair of Cumberland Arts Goes to Market since its creation in 2009. Danielle began serving Central Christian Church in March of 2014.
KEITH MIKESELL, Church Organist, is an electrical engineer by training, but when not creating beautiful music spends his time managing several properties in the Irvington area. He is active in both the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS), where he has been both officer and performer. When he is not playing at Central, he can be found accompanying music students in local private studios.