Program TeamChrist | Community | Culture
Director of Sacred Music
Bryan Johnson, Executive Director of Sacred Music, researches, plans, consults, implements, and monitors the ministry of music for the church, supervises the performance of the music staff and contract musicians, and ensures the development of their musical skills and talents by providing coaching, training, and workshop opportunities. He directs the rehearsals and performance of all choirs, ensembles and praise teams, and supports the movement ministry partners.
Bryan joined the Music Department of Trinity United Church of Christ in 1996, and was initially assigned as Director of the Little Warriors for Christ Choir. Over the years, he has been the director of the Imani Ya Watume Choir, the Praise Team, and since 2011, the Sanctuary Choir.
Bryan received a Bachelor of Arts from Chicago State University, and a Masters of Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. He has been married to his wonderful wife, Deacon Joi Buchanan-Johnson for 23 years. His family has roots in Jamaica, Barbados, and Brazil.
Dr. Julia M. Speller
Director of Christian Education
Dr. Julia Speller serves as Director of Christian Education and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Chicago State University, a Masters of Religious Education from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Christianity from the University of Chicago Divinity School. She is also Associate Professor of American Religious History and Culture at Chicago Theological Seminary.
Minister Jasmin Taylor
Minister Jasmin Elana Taylor, BS, M.Div., has been a member of Trinity UCC since November, 1999, serving in various ministries throughout the church. She is a member of the Minister in Training Program and is a graduate of Northwestern University. Min. Jasmin received her M.Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary in May of 2010. She is currently In-Care of the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the UCC seeking ordination. Her goal is to spread the message of God through social media and to help people find a sense of hope, purpose, and meaning. Married to Michael Taylor, Min. Jasmin is the mother of one daughter, Bria.
Sonya M. Harper
Public Communications Manager
Sonya Marie Harper has been a community activist on the South Side since she was 16 years old. Her passions include promoting community, economic development and civic engagement in an effort to create more peaceful and prosperous neighborhoods.
Sonya runs a public relations and community organizing consulting firm, Sharper PR Communications. She is the Executive Director for Grow Greater Englewood and for nearly 3 years served as Director of Outreach at Growing Home, Inc. Prior to that she spent 10 years working in television news as a producer, writer and reporter for NBC, FOX and CBS affiliates throughout the Midwest. Sonya began her journalism career as a legislative reporter covering state capitol news and issues in Jefferson City, Missouri. Sonya returned home to Chicago, specifically West Englewood, to help non-profits and community organizations there with their communications and public relations needs. As a community organizer, she has also worked for local and national political and issue based campaigns.
An advocate for food access and education, Sonya co-founded the Wood Street Meet & Greet Community Garden and spearheaded the Grow Greater Englewood Coalition, a non-profit organization which advocates for and advances development projects, economic and educational opportunities related to food, urban agriculture and healthy living. Committed to youth leadership development and under the direction of Imagine Englewood If, she created Growing Citizen Leaders, a community organizing training program for teens in Greater Englewood.
Sonya is a member of the leadership team for Resident Association of Greater Englewood, serves on the Appointed Local School Council at Lindblom Math & Science Academy, a co-founder of the Englewood Votes! Coalition, and leads efforts to organize the yearly neighborhood clean-up, Greater Englewood Unity Day.