Staff

Rev. Rachel Cornwell

Lead Pastor

Rev. Rachel Cornwell is celebrating her 11th year as the Lead Pastor of Silver Spring UMC. She is excited by the great things happening at Silver Spring UMC, especially our diversity, our inclusiveness, and our mission to feed all God’s people–body, mind and spirit.

Rev. Rachel is a graduate of Hendrix College in Arkansas and has her Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta. She served as a young adult missionary with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in Okinawa, Japan and Washington DC.  She currently serves on the Greater Washington District Committee on Ordained Ministry.  Rev. Rachel, her husband Marcus Meeks, daughters Nora and Evelyn and son Graham enjoy living in the Woodside Park neighborhood and you might “run” into her on the Sligo Creek Trail where she is training for two upcoming races.

Rev. Michele Johns

Minister for Congregational Care and Reconciling Ministries

Rev. Michele Johns is grateful and excited to in ministry with the beautiful people of Silver Spring UMC.  She serves both as a hospice chaplain and at SSUMC as the Minister for Congregational Care and Reconciling Ministries.  Rev. Michele is passionate about sharing God’s love with all, particularly those who have felt abandoned by others and by God.

Rev. Michele is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama and earned her Masters of Arts from Claremont School of Theology in California and her Masters of Social work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Illinois.  She served as a young adult missionary with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in Montevideo, Uruguay and in Los Angeles, California.  Rev. Michele, her wife Aimee, and family enjoy living and serving in the Woodside community.

Jennifer Kidwell

Director of Discipleship and Youth

Jen Kidwell is thrilled to be in ministry with the Silver Spring UMC community. She believes that Christ’s light in the world is revealed in wonderful ways when people connect their passions to the ministries of the church. She is excited to work with the young people of SSUMC, to support them in their own ministry leadership, and in their exploration of the relationships between God, themselves, and the world.

Jen graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and has a J.D. from Emory Law School and a Masters of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. She has previously volunteered in ministry while working as a Child Advocacy attorney for Maryland Legal Aid. Jen and her spouse Jonathan are new parents and love re-discovering the world through their daughter’s eyes.

Marie Matthews

Director of Christian Education

Marie has been the Director of Christian Education since May 2001 where she coordinates, guides and strengthens the Christian education programs. She has twenty years of experience in Christian education and youth ministry. In addition to her work at the church, Marie also serves as the Co-President of the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the Christian Educators Fellowships of the United Methodist Church, a member association for persons in the United Methodist Church who have responsibility for Christian education and youth ministry. Marie has been a certified lay speaker and she taught the first Youth Lay Speaking Class for the Washington West District. She has also served as a member of the Curriculum Development team for Cokesbury at the United Methodist Publishing House.

Marie is passionate about the spiritual growth and Christian development of children and youth, stating that “children and youth are my priority.” Marie’s responsibilities also include her help in leading worship, serving in diverse roles as liturgist, scripture reader, assisting with baptisms and communion, and children’s sermons every Sunday. She also loves visiting the sick and shut-in. And if that weren’t enough, she is also a mentor, Girl Scout Leader and Vice-President of the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association).

Mary Ann Willow

Director of Music

Mary Ann Willow serves as Director of Music/Organist, director of the Chancel and Festival Choirs, oversees all church music groups, and plans the church’s special concerts, many of which are collaborations with other choirs, instrumentalists and guest conductors.

Mary Ann served us first as Director of Music/Organist at Marvin Memorial UMC since 1984, then as Director of Music/Organist for the Cooperative Parishes (Woodside UMC and Marvin Memorial UMC). Prior to that, she served various Washington DC area and Minneapolis churches and music ensembles. She is passionate about church music and working with our choirs, soloists and instrumentalists, as well as performing with chamber ensembles as pianist and harpsichordist.

A native Minnesotan, Mary Ann holds degrees from the University of Minnesota and Georgetown University. She is a member of the American Guild of Organists (currently holding the position of Dean of the Potomac Chapter), the American Choral Directors Association and the Organ Historical Society. While active as a professional musician since the age of 15, she also pursued a successful career in finance. Mary Ann adores any opportunity to be with her two sons and daughter-in-law who live in Wisconsin and New York.

Rev. Evelyn Rivera

Evelyn Rivera is a certified candidate for ordained ministry in the Greater Washington District within the Baltimore-Washington Conference. She is currently serving as the Associate Pastor for Hughes-El Buen Samaritano. In January 2016, Evelyn was appointed as the Associate Pastor for Missions and Outreach at Silver Spring UMC, where she coordinates ministry and outreach of the congregation with specific focus on the Four Corners campus. She also serves on the committee of Hispanic/Latino ministries at the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Her passions for ministry are building relationships and encouraging growth as disciples, providing pastoral care, advocating for the marginalized and facilitating support groups for women. Evelyn is known for her compassionate, loving, joyful, and charismatic spirit.  She loves to cook, dance, and spend quality time with her family and friends.

Aaron Siirila

Director of Operations

Aaron Siirila, C.C.A., manages the finances, facilities, and general administration of the Silver Spring United Methodist Church and works closely with the ministry staff and Administrative Board. He is a member of The Church Network (formerly National Association of Church Business Administrators) and is a Certified Church Administrator.

Prior to serving at the church, Aaron worked in international affairs research, programming and the production of educational publications. Aaron has a masters degree in International Affairs and a bachelors degree in Physics.

Laurie Swain

Church Administrator

Laurie Swain has over 30 years of work experience that includes marketing and public relations, community event planning and management, social service work, fund raising, grant management and higher education. Most recently, she was the marketing specialist and special events coordinator for 10 years at Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa, Virginia on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. She also served five years as the Church Administrator for Christ UMC in Wheeling, WV. While at Christ Church, Laurie earned the national PAUMCS (Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries) certification.

Laurie also has served as a job coach and taught workplace readiness skills to disadvantaged populations.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Development from Wheeling Jesuit University.