Rev. Russell Willoughby
Pastor Russell Willoughby, our Senior Minister, has been leading Church of the Valley since the Summer of 2006. Pastor Russ is a 1985 graduate of Howard Payne University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. His Master of Divinity degree was taken at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in 1988. Later, he earned a Master of Arts in Religion with a Specialty in Philosophy of Religion and Theology from The Claremont Graduate University in 1994. Pastor Russell is currently completing a Doctor of Ministry dissertation at San Francisco Theological Seminary on appropriating Appreciative Inquiry for use in local churches.
Pastor Russell is a native of Monett, Missouri where he lived until age 14. His family moved to Cuero, Texas a week before he started high school. During his senior year at Cuero High, he began dating Sarah Means. They married while in college, four years later. Their son, Christian, was born in 1997.
The Willoughbys have served churches in Texas, California, and Missouri. During seminary in Louisville, Pastor Russell also worked at a homeless shelter on Skid Row. He later became a shelter director while Sarah finished her graduate degree in social work. Originally ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, Pastor Russell switched to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) following seminary. For the past 20 years, the Willoughbys have been happy participants in this wonderful, open-minded, and progressive denomination.
Rev. Michael Kosik
Director of Children’s Ministry
Our Associate Minister, Rev. Michael Kosik, in addition to his many other duties, also serves as our Children’s Minister. He has been a member of Church of the Valley and The Little Brown Church for over 20 years and has been working with our children for over 10 of those years. Michael is an accomplished writer of children’s plays and songs and has been a part of the entertainment industry, as an actor, for many years. Michael holds a Master of Divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology, and is now pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree.
Rev. VeAnn Clark
Director of Youth Ministry
Our Assistant Minister, VeAnn Clark, also serves as our Youth Minister. VeAnn has worked with teens for the past 15 years. She has been a member of Church of the Valley (COV) since 1999 when she began volunteering regularly with the church’s outreach ministry team at juvenile hall. In 2001, she volunteered with COV’s Youth Ministry Department as leader of the Jr. High Sunday School. In 2003, VeAnn was hired as Youth Director. In this position of ministry, VeAnn serves as pastor to Jr High Youth, Sr High Youth, Young Adults and their families.
VeAnn holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Central Florida. In 2009, VeAnn graduated with a Certificate of Ministry Studies, a two-year program through the Disciples Seminary Foundation and Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California. Currently, VeAnn is pursuing her Master of Divinity with emphasis in Interfaith Chaplaincy at Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, CA.