Rector — Reverend Valerie L. Balling: Rev. Valerie grew up in Piscataway and is a proud graduate of Piscataway High School. During her childhood, Valerie and her family were members of St. Paul’s in Bound Brook. She attended Michigan State University, where she earned her B.A. in English and was an active participant in the Episcopal Ministry at MSU. Following college, Valerie intended to become a High School English teacher, however God had different plans and directed her to volunteer for two years in Kentucky with the Christian Appalachian Project. While serving in KY, she attended Trinity Episcopal Church in Danville. After volunteering, she came back to New Jersey and found work as the Administrative Assistant to the President of PRICE Systems, L.L.C., a small software company in Mt. Laurel. During the next four years, she discerned her call to ordained ministry while attending St. Peter’s in Medford, New Jersey. In 2002, she attended The General Theological Seminary in New York City, where she earned a Master’s of Divinity in 2005. She was called to be Vicar of St. Stephen’s in Mullica Hill, where she has served for the past six years. In 2011, she earned a Master’s of Science in Church Management from Villanova University.
Priest Associate — Rev. William O. Breedlove, II, TSSF: The son of a Baptist minister who followed in his father’s path and after college and seminary, was ordained in the American Baptist Church. His years at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago started him down a different spiritual path from that in which he had been raised and shortly after his ordination in the Baptist Church he left that tradition and became an Episcopalian. After receiving a M.S. in library science, he spent time at The Free Library of Philadelphia working mostly in adult literacy and outreach services. He has also served as the director of two public libraries in New Jersey. In the late 1980s, he again began to explore ordination. After Anglican Studies and training as a spiritual director at General Theological Seminary, he was ordained a deacon and priest. He has served as the vicar of Trinity “Old Swedes” in Swedesboro, NJ and in a number of interim positions. He is a life professed member of the Third Order, Society of St. Francis and has served as the Formation Director for the Province of the Americas. He is an active spiritual director.
Deacon — Rev. Cathy Brunson, Dcn.: Deacon Catherine Brunson worked for AT&T for twenty-seven years in Human Resources, successfully serving in increasingly responsible management positions in multiple facets of compensation. Catherine returned to her home parish of St. Alban’s Church, New Brunswick, NJ in 1994, where she became a very active member of the congregation. While enrolled in the Education For Ministry (EFM) program, she discerned God’s call to her to become a Deacon. After three years training, which included academic studies, an internship at another church as well as Clinical Pastoral Education in a hospital setting, Catherine was ordained to the Diaconate in September 2002 and served at St. Alban’s for four years, served at Trinity Church, Princeton for two years and is currently serving at St. Barnabas Church, Monmouth Junction as a Deacon.
Catherine’s diaconal ministry after ordination has evolved in the area of domestic violence in the city of New Brunswick. She became a member of the Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition where she has worked to raise awareness of this issue by speaking in various city schools, participating in marches and assisting in the organization of a Sunday service dedicated to Domestic Violence Awareness/Prevention in all churches in New Brunswick. Catherine’s work in this area continues as a member of the Domestic Violence Response Team where she counsels victims at the New Brunswick police headquarters. She has served on this team since its inception five years ago.
On the Diocesan level, Catherine has served on the Recovery Ministries committee since its inception and was appointed in 2009 to chair the committee by Bishop Councell. On the national level, Catherine was elected to the board of Recovery Ministries, Inc. and served as the publication’s chair for one year and then was elected to the executive council where she currently serves as treasurer. She served on the Commission on Anti-Racism and was a member of the Deacons’ Council. She also served Province II, composed of the eight Episcopal Dioceses of New York and New Jersey, as a member of the Finger Lakes Conference Board, Geneva, NY.
Deacon — Rev. Chizoba Nwankwo, Dcn.: Deacon Chizoba (“Chizzy”) was ordained to the diaconate in May of 2015. She supports various outreach ministries at St. Barnabas and serves as a member of the diocesan Committee on the Diaconate.
Chizoba grew up in Lagos (Nigeria), has worked as a researcher for over 10 years and currently works in Oncology as an Outcomes Research scientist. She has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Rutgers University and holds a Doctorate in Public Health from the Rutgers University School of Public Health.
Postulant—Gerry Welch, R.N.C.: Gerry is a student in the Diocese of New Jersey’s School for Deacons and a Certified Disaster Chaplain. A member of St. Barnabas for more than 10 years, she has served in a variety of ministries both at St. Barnabas and in the Diocese. She led our Youth Group for a number of years, and been the Youth Convener for the Diocese. A former vestry member, Gerry has also chaperoned mission trips and led the church’s collection of coats and personal care supplies to donate to those who need them. A Registered Nurse, Certified, Gerry serves as nurse at a number of Diocesan events, and works at St. Peter’s Hospital’s Women’s Clinic. She lives in Edison with her husband Steve and their two daughters.
Minister of Music — Dennis Dell:
A native of Michigan, Dennis was brought up in St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Capac, MI. He attended St. Clair Community College and Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, as an organ major, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree.
Just prior to coming to St. Barnabas, Dennis served as organist for the past 17 1/2 years at Christ United Methodist Church, Piscataway, NJ. While there, he was asked to join their bell choir, and gained some valuable experiences with that group.
Prior to CUMC, he served several denominations including: Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, UCC, and as a summer substitute, the Christian Science service. He also served several Episcopal churches: St. Peter’s, Perth Amboy; Trinity, Red Bank; Holy Trinity, South River, and Christ Episcopal, South Amboy, as organist/director. At First Baptist Church in Somerville, NJ, he served as organist/director, and directed the hand bell choir as well. Additional hand bell directing experience was gained at Bishop Janes Methodist Church, Basking Ridge, NJ, where he was also their organist/director.
Dennis is a member of the Metropolitan Chapter, American Guild of Organists, has served on the board of directors, served as Newsletter editor, and served several years as Examinations Chairman. As a point of interest, he took both the Service Playing and Colleague Exams (CAGO) in 2012.
In his spare time, he enjoys trying to grow orchids as a member of the Deep Cut Orchid Society.
Treasurer — Bill Armstrong:
The Vestry: An elective body in an Episcopal parish composed of the rector and a group of elected parishioners administering the temporal affairs of the parish. The vestry member names and contact numbers are printed in the weekly bulletins. Feel free to contact any of them with questions or feedback.