Staff

Pastor

Rev. Holly R. Jackson

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The Reverend Holly R. Jackson (she/her) began her Pastorate at UCCSV in August 2016. Previously, she served for 11 years as the Minister of Christian Education at Hope UCC in Alexandria, VA. As someone who is passionate about children and families, Holly has also spent time as a Stay-at-Home Parent and a School Social Worker. Holly has a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, 2012, a Master of Social Work from Fordham University, 1997, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Relations from Michigan State University, 1995. Holly is also active in the wider United Church of Christ serving as the Assistant Moderator and then Moderator of the Potomac Association. In addition she was honored to be a Fellow in the Resilience in Leadership Program at Chicago Theological Seminary from 2018-2020. 

Holly will tell you that she is a beloved messy child of God on a mission to make people believe in love, goodness, grace, redemption, and the inherent worth of all beings. In ministry she seeks to follow Jesus as he wades into the sea of humanity preaching peace and hope to the least and lost. She deeply believes that God is still speaking and active in this world and works to help create a church that reflects that reality. She sees spiritual disciplines and justice work as two halves of the whole of what works to propel us on our spiritual path.  She believes that humor and joy make life worthwhile, that being still and silent before God is hard but necessary, and that speaking truth to power is a holy endeavor.

Holly is married to her college sweetheart and has two college age children. They live in the Gaithersburg area with several pets and a whole lot of love. When not focusing on church or family you will often find her singing, crafting, hiking, reading, watching baseball, or playing board games.




Director of Music and Arts

Dr. Jesse Leong

Possessing a repertoire of over forty-five operas and musicals ranging from Mozart and Puccini to Rodgers & Hammerstein and Sondheim, conductor and pianist Dr. Jesse Leong (he/they) is a musician of uncommon breadth and versatility. His conducting has been called “taut and assured” by Opera Today. He was named the 2019 Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellow by the Kurt Weill Foundation. In this capacity he served as Associate Conductor to Tony Award®-winning Artistic Director of MasterVoices (New York City) Ted Sperling on Lady in the Dark featuring another Tony winner, Victoria Clark. He has served as conductor, assistant conductor, and pianist at Cincinnati Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Queen City Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Leong became an in demand audio/video producer, and his work can now be seen at the University of Maryland College Park, Des Moines Metro Opera, College of Fellows of the American Theatre, Wear Yellow Proudly, Youth Music Monterey County, Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, and Bella Voce a cappella ensemble. Also an accomplished author, his two book-length texts are “La bohème: A Connotative and Grammatical Translation,” an Italian language and grammatical reference book and “The Butterfly Effect: Color Conscious Casting in the 21st Century,” his doctoral dissertation focusing on the history of blackface and yellowface in opera performance, the transition between colorblind and color conscious casting, and featuring interviews with six industry professionals. 

Dr. Leong is thrilled to be joining the UCCSV community! Before coming to UCCSV, he served as Accompanist at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston since 2020 and as Music Director at St. Francis Parish in Cincinnati, OH, 2013-2019. He recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Maryland where he served as the Music Director of the UMD Repertoire Orchestra. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting and a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. 




Office and Communications Manager

Shelly Moore

Shelly (She/her) has been a member of the United Church of Christ since 2014, and joined Seneca Valley
in 2015, after stepping away from the United Methodist Church. She is a graduate of Longwood
University (2000) with a BA in history and political science, and a concentration in pre-law. Shelly then
attended Old Dominion University, where she earned her teaching certificate in secondary history and
social studies education. She taught middle school then high school in both rural and urban settings in
southern Virginia. In 2009, she relocated from the Eastern Shore to enter Wesley Theological Seminary
in Washington, D.C., graduating in 2014 with a Master’s in Divinity. During her incubation at seminary, Shelly was a youth pastor and leader of Christian Education; followed by a two-year internship in
chaplaincy at a local retirement community and then at Mary Washington Hospital, earning 2.5 clinical
pastoral education units.

Shelly, with her diverse background in many fields of education, brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to the position of Office and Communications Manager at UCCSV. And since she is also a member of the church, Shelly has a vested interest in the flourishing of our faith community in Germantown. Being Office and Communications Manager means Shelly supports the Pastor and the Church in a multiplicity of ways: managing communications (in our weekly newsletter, The Spirit News, on our website, print media, email, and social media); managing the office (bills, payroll, database, ordering supplies); as well as entertaining visitors and friends at the Church Office. Thankfully, Shelly is a curious learner with a willingness to engage in new experiences.
 

Shelly is passionate about social justice (particularly racial and gender equity), inclusivity, hospitality,
and caring for the earth. Her many interests include cooking, learning, music, camping, stargazing,
traveling, socializing, watching Jeopardy, walking in nature, and being in the presence of water features.
Shelly is married to Dave, and they have their beloved dog, Louie.




Nursery Caregiver

Uriah Sossou

Uriah Sossou has worked with children ranging from Infants to early Teens. She is a certified Infant, Toddler, Two and Pre-K Teacher with over ten years of combined, in school and hands on experience in Early Childhood Education. Uriah has worked and observed in three different Early Childhood Education Centers with diverse curriculums and set-ups. She has attended services and volunteered at various churches within numerous denominations. Uriah has been the Nursery Caregiver at UCCSV since 2019.
 
Uriah leads the Nursery(Child Care) at UCCSV, along with others leading Sunday School. Although, Uriah is in the Early Childhood Education field her specialty lies with Toddlers(One Year to Two Years) and Pre-K Four(Four Years to Five Years). She has experience ranging from Lead Teaching, Babysitting, Group Leading, Event Planning and variety of Child Care Center positions. In addition to the in field experience, Uriah has a extensive list of trainings in Special Needs, Health, Growth, Curriculum Planning, Trauma and so much more. Uriah is always striving to create a safe environment where everyone(especially the little ones) can learn and grow through Art! Besides, Early Childhood Education, Uriah has a love for Art! Uriah’s in school experience and specialty with Art is in Photography, Colors and Crafts. Uriah's love for Early Childhood Education and Art have brought her to be open minded and able to merge different learning styles.
 
Lastly, Uriah is always ready to learn so if you have resources or experiences you would like to share please feel to reach out!