University Christian Church Staff
Rev. Dr. Chuck Kutz-Marks
Chuck is the Senior Minister of University Christian Church, having come here from Michigan. He has been in ministry for 37 years, having been ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1979. Originally from central Florida, Chuck has called UCC home for 10 years – though his heart is really wherever his 4 grandkids are! As the Senior Minister, Chuck is responsible for leading our worship (including most of the preaching) pastoral care, administration, and more. Chuck holds a BS in Psychology from Vanderbilt University, an MDiv from Chicago Theological Seminary with emphasis and Pastoral Psychology, and a DMin in from Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit with a focus on Spirituality. When not at UCC, Chuck is spending time with his family, gardening, cycling, or stargazing through his telescope.
Rev. Mary Lu Johnston
Originally from Dallas, Mary Lu currently serves as the Minister of Worship and Outreach. Having served in ministry for over 30 years, 15 of which have come at UCC, Mary Lu now creates worship, directs our chancel choir and bell choir, directs seasonal music/drama/dance programs for children, youth, and adults, and works with ministries related to outreach and service. She holds a BA in Religion and Music and an MDiv with an emphasis in Christian Education and Sacred Music, both from TCU (Go Frogs!), and is ordained through the Disciples of Christ. Mary Lu is currently interested in developing creative worship and providing better education surrounding justice issues. When not preparing worship at UCC, Mary Lu is often working for her educational mission trip experience (Reach Beyond Mission), spending time with her spouse and her two wonderful, smart, and thoughtful daughters.
Rev. Topher Endress
Hailing from the great state of Indiana, Topher is the Minister of Education at UCC. Though he is less than a year into his work at University Christian, he has done ministry in various contexts for the past decade. As the Director of Ed., Topher is responsible for both the internal (Sunday School classes, youth and children’s ministries) and external education (community conversations, bringing in local and national speakers, open events). His current passion connects disabilities and faith, including information creation and dissemination as well as training and networking with other local ministers. Topher holds a BS from Purdue University (Boiler Up!) and an MDiv with an focus on Disability Theology from Vanderbilt University. If you need to find Topher outside of UCC, look for him running on Town Lake, spending time enjoying being a newlywed, or on the nearest tennis court (unless it’s college basketball season – then he’s glued to whatever screen he can find).
Amy came to University Church in 2014 to serve as our office manager. Originally from Austin, Amy is truly a jack of all trades for the church. From creating our weekly bulletins and organizing everyone’s schedules to internal/external communication and social media, Amy keeps the church running. She has a 9 year old son and therefore doesn’t have any time, but she still manages to crochet and meet with her book club (she has a goal of finishing 100 books this year). Amy received her BA in Business Administration from California Coast University, and has a special passion for inclusion and rights for the Deaf community.
Melanie earned her B. Mus from the University of Utah and M.M. from Brigham Young University, in organ performance. She is currently a music doctoral student at UT, and recently joined the staff at UCC by way of Bountiful First Baptist Church (Utah) and Grace Lutheran Church (Round Rock). Melanie is one of only a handful of people approved to perform on the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she participates in recitals showcasing one of the largest organs in the world. Melanie’s passion for organ playing lies in the north German style of JS Bach but she can also be heard energizing the crowd at Longhorn baseball games. Though she is still trying to figure out how to find free time as a doctoral student, Melanie has been known to run a few races, sew quilts, read one novel per day, have entire conversations in Nacho Libre quotes, dabble in cookie decorating, and ride horseback with her 86 year-old grandpa in small town 4th of July parades.
Rev. Amelia Fulbright
Campus Minister, Labyrinth Progressive College Ministry
Amelia has led the Labyrinth campus ministry since 2013, having received her BA in Religion from Wake Forest and her MDiv in Greek and New Testament from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2007. Her pre-campus ministry work includes stints as a youth minister, associate pastor, mental health counselor, and domestic violence crisis care counselor. Students looking to connect with Labyrinth can email Amelia directly or find more information here. UCC is proud to be among the supporting congregations of this ministry.
Kara Hartzell, LCSW
Director, One Life at a Time
The mission of One Life at a Time is to assist homeless young adults to better their lives, achieve independence, and ultimately get off the streets permanently. Kara works closely with a small number of clients providing intensive case management services, therapy and life coaching. If you are interested in learning more about the One Life program, please contact Kara at 737-203-7259 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. UCC is honored to support the One Life at a Time mission and the work they do in our community.