You can contact any staff member by using the email links below or calling the church phone at 314-821-0911. Office hours are 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sunday. Voice mail is available after hours.

Summer office hours are 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am to noon on Sunday.

Rev. Barbara Gadon, Lead MinisterGADON, ROBERT; (Staff)61
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Rev. Gadon joined Eliot as our Lead Minister in August, 2013. She was raised in a small town near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and brings a Midwestern sensibility: a strong sense of populism, an appetite for substance, and an unpretentious warmth and friendliness.  Humor is important to her.  She says, “If you can’t laugh, you are in the wrong church.”  She is eager to explore with us the next great chapter in our life. 

Rev. Gadon earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota, with a focus on writing and feminist studies. She earned her Masters of Divinity at Meadville/Lombard Theological School in Chicago’s culturally diverse Hyde Park. 

She brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for Unitarian Universalist church life having served churches of all sizes over the past 17 years.  She learned about the power of large, vibrant UU churches as intern and student minister for two UU churches in Northern Virginia.  Under her leadership: a tiny fellowship in Ludington, Michigan, bought their first building and start their first formal religious education program.  A fellowship on the Eastern Shore of Maryland grew from 60 to 95 members in five years, and began their journey to building a beautiful, new sanctuary. As an Associate Minister for a large congregation in Wilmington, DE, her leadership helped the church build its programs in pastoral care, small group ministry and adult religious education, and to weather a difficult transition after the departure of its Senior Minister.  Most recently, she has served as Interim Senior Minister for the First Unitarian Church of Chicago, helping them to revitalize music and worship. 

In her ministry, she brings a deep love of worship and preaching as primary sources of energy for a congregation. She is interested in promoting deep conversation and shared purpose across differences of age, race and religious belief, both in the church and in the wider community. She is committed to her own spiritual practices of prayer, meditation and study, and enjoys introducing these to Unitarian Universalists.  The daughter of a long-time public school teacher, she is a passionate supporter of public schools.  She feels that churches need to join forces with partners in the community to make a difference. The church needs to learn how to minister to people in the 21st century, and invites Eliot Chapel members and friends to engage in this learning together. 

She is married to Robert Gadon, an instructor of Iyengar yoga, garden designer and web designer.  They enjoy playing Scrabble, exploring new restaurants and museums, and going to the movies.  She enjoys making collage, writing and reading; to keep fit, she practices Zumba, cardio kick-boxing and R & B line dancing.


Welcome from Rev. Barbara:


“If your heart is full of fear, you won’t seek truth; you’ll seek security. If a heart is full of love, it will have a limbering effect on the mind.” – William Sloane Coffin

Real love requires so much from us - patience, time, and energy. Reading a child the same story for the 45th time because she loves it. Real love requires forgiveness -  your friend makes a thoughtless remark and it hits you in just the wrong spot on just the wrong day and you just…can’t.  Then you draw a deep breath, tell them why it hurt and if you’re lucky, they say they’re sorry and you forgive them. And real love asks us to have courage. What made it possible for you to speak up about the hurt in the first place, if not courage? What makes it possible for you to watch a child – of any age - experience rejection, illness or injury, knowing fully that there’s so much you can’t protect them from? When I conduct weddings, I will usually say, “One day one of you will die before the other. Either we are so foolish that we pretend this won’t happen, or we are so brave that we love anyway. My prayer for you and for me and for everyone, is that we can be so brave.” To truly love, then, you need to cultivate courage.

A church is a community that will help you with that. If you are exploring Eliot Unitarian Chapel, and considering if we might become your spiritual home, I encourage you to think of us this way. Look at our programs, particularly worship and covenant groups. They are primary ways that newcomers become part of the community. But in everything we do, we hope to help people practice courageous love.

The mission of Eliot Unitarian Chapel states:  Bound by courageous love, growing in spirit and inspiring compassionate action. Our mission begins with courageous love! This year, we are going to explore what this means as a community. Certainly we are here for one another when we need help with courage in our personal lives.

We also must love courageously as a body. There’s a special term for this kind of community that loves courageously, that shares a mission with possible risks and even dangers:  it’s communitas. A communitas forms a unique bond. It changes friends into comrades. This community has been teaching me about this since the day I arrived three years ago. A communitas brings both joy and pain. It is what being a church is really about. I am excited and honored, once again, to take this path with you. 

Yours in faith and service,  



Rev. Jim Crawford, Minister of Pastoral CareRevJimCrawfordREVcompressed
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Rev. Crawford joined the staff in January 2016 and serves Eliot on a part time basis. He brings over 25 years of experience as a spiritual care provider. Presently, he works as a spiritual care coordinator for Heartland Hospice of St. Louis and has served in this capacity since 2005. He is also an adjunct faculty member of American Public University and teaches in their undergraduate Religion program. He is a graduate of Truman State University and Eden Theological Seminary. Jim is married to Cathy Sandy, and they reside in St. Charles, MO.

From 1992 – 2004, he served United Methodist Churches in Missouri as an ordained clergy person. Due to significant differences concerning theology, justice, and inclusion, he terminated his affiliation with the United Methodist Church in 2005. From 2004 – 2005, he completed a 12-month Clinical Pastoral Education Residency at Forest Park Hospital. During that same year, he received ordination from the Everlasting Light Church in St. Louis – an independent, African American congregation. He has also received ecclesiastical endorsement from the Bishop of the Missouri Episcopal Diocese as a lay provider of pastoral care.

Since 2012, Jim has been exploring Unitarian Universalism. He comments, "The seven principles of Unitarian Universalism are consistent with my own beliefs and values. I resonate very strongly with the UUA embrace of human diversity, commitment to justice, and non-creedal approach to religion and spirituality."  

Availability: Rev. Jim is available by appointment. He can be contacted via email at or via cell at 314-448-0634. All pastoral care inquiries will be responded to within 24 hours.



Scott Stewart, Director of Religious EducationSTEWART, Scott
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Scott Stewart has served as Eliot Chapel’s Director of Religious Education since 2009.  Prior to his work at Eliot, he became certified as a high school social studies teacher and student taught at Webster Groves High School.
Some of the major highlights of his job include:
  • Recruiting, developing and supporting volunteer leadership teams for the program, including both youth and adults
  • Coordinating the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education program
  • Coordinating and directing the youth program
  • Ongoing publicity about program events and activities
  • Youth leadership development and advocacy for senior high youth, including serving as the Co-Dean of the UU Youth Midwest Leadership School in Decorah, IA, as a Youth Conference (CON) consultant for the MidAmerica Region, and sponsoring youth at the UU General Assembly, and in 2019, attending the UU United Nations Spring Seminar in New York with two Eliot youth. 
  • Serving as a member of the Chapel staff team, supporting the ministry efforts of his colleagues, and representing Eliot Chapel in the wider UU community.

Scott and his wife Jennifer have been married for 17 years and live with Mr. Fitz, their cat of almost two years. He enjoys reading, traveling throughout the country, playing games with family and friends, hiking, viewing wildlife, and bird watching. Scott is also an avid supporter of the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues.  

Availability:  Scott is usually in the office on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. His day off is Wednesday. To make an appointment, please contact Scott at or 314-821-0911.


Christie Lee, Assistant Director of Religious EducationLee, Christie_staff
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Christie Lee joined the Eliot staff in the fall of 2008 and is delighted to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful children, youth, and families here at the Chapel.  Her job includes a wide array of responsibilities, some visible and some behind the scenes, but all of which are aimed at helping the program run smoothly and provide meaningful opportunities for fellowship, spiritual growth, and community for Eliot children, youth, and families. 

Some of her major duties include:

  • Developing lesson plans for preschool and elementary classes
  • Obtaining and setting up supplies for Sunday RE program
  • Supporting our volunteer elementary and preschool teachers
  • Updating and maintaining RE bulletin boards
  • Assisting with correspondence and publicity about program events
  • Coordinating and leading special events & activities
  • Leading orientations and workshops for volunteer teachers

Christie and her husband, Tony, have been married for 20 years and have two children in high school - Colleen, a sophomore at UM, and Tyler, a senior.  They have two dogs and three cats. Christie loves to volunteer, listen to music, and vacation at the beach.

Availability: Christie is available by appointment.  Please contact her at


Jan Chamberlin, Music DirectorJanC
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Jan joined the Eliot staff in 1997.  Her undergraduate studies were in choral music education at Webster. She then studied theology at Eden Seminary and received her Masters in Church Music from Webster University in 2008. As Music Director, she encourages Eliot volunteers to minister to each other by sharing their talents in worship. Jan collaborates with the ministers to find inspirational music, supportive of the sermons, while reflecting the diverse musical tastes of the congregation. She says, "Just as we gather to hear each other's stories, we also gather to hear each other's music."  Jan leads hymns on Sundays, as well as leading the Womens Chorale, the Children's Chalice Choir, and the Chalice Chimes hand bells. She schedules guest musicians, arranges for special musical events and serves on the board of the Friends of Music concert series. Jan is an active member of the UU Musician’s Network and earned her Certificate of Music Leadership from the UUA in 2016. In her free time, Jan likes to tend her garden and play with her grandson.  

Contact Jan about:

  • Joining a choir or instrumental group
  • Volunteering to help with the sound system/pod casting
  • Playing or singing special music in worship
  • Expressing musical and hymn preferences
  •  Music for weddings and memorials

Availability:  Jan is available by appointment.  To make an appointment, please contact her at


Dr. Leon Burke III, Choir DirectorBURKE, LEON; (Staff)111
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Leon joined the Eliot music staff in 1995.  He studied music composition at Oberlin and received his Doctorate in conducting from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. As the Choir Director, his focus is to bring us choral music that enhances our worship experience, He also assists in worship services as needed by leading hymns, singing, or playing organ or piano. He collaborates with ministers and staff, selects and rehearses music with the Eliot Choir and Chamber Singers. Leon is an active member of the UU Musician’s Network and served on the task force that created our teal hymnal, Singing the Journey. Leon is currently volunteering on the national level by serving as the General Assembly Music Coordinator for both New Orleans (2017) and Kansas City (2018).

 Leon also serves as Assistant Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, Music Director and conductor of the University City Symphony and the Belleville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He is a frequent guest conductor and vocal soloist nationally and internationally and is on the voice faculty at East Central College in Union, MO. He also works as an environmental consultant, enjoys playing bridge, and visiting his granddaughters, Maia and Violet, in Topeka, KS as often as he can. 

Contact Leon for:

  •  Information about Eliot’s choirs 

Availability:  Leon is available by appointment.  You can reach him by emailing


Camille Novak, Director of Finance and Operationscamille novak
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Camille is responsible for keeping Eliot running on a daily basis. She handles pledges, deposits, bills, bank statements, payroll, contracts, management of the administrative staff, and interaction with Eliot Chapel Nursery School. That’s just a short list of the many things Camille does to keep Eliot on track. 

Other major duties include:

  • Check requests
  • Questions about your pledge
  •  Financial management 

Camille brings a wealth of management skill and experience to Eliot Chapel — working
intensively with budgets, human resources, staff supervision, accounting and databases. She
has served in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds, including a busy law firm, The Christian
Appalachian Project which serves the needs of the people in Eastern Kentucky, St. Louis Arc
supporting adults with developmental disabilities, St. Louis Community College, and more.
Camille, her husband, Bob, and their cocker spaniels, Mary Pickford and Bogart, live on the
homestead of William H. Dorsett, the founder of Maryland Heights. Camille enjoys reading,
writing, music, black and white cinema/photography, and chair caning.

Availability:  Camille is in the office Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  To make an appointment, please contact her at or 314-821- 0911.


Christie Lee, Administrative AssistantLee, Christie_staff
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You can find Christie in the church office most weekdays. As Administrative Assistant, she answers phones, maintains the calendar, runs copies, orders supplies, distributes church mail and files the many papers and contracts that come her way. In addition, she acts as a liaison between renting groups and Eliot Chapel by writing contracts, managing payment and scheduling sextons.  

Contact Christie for:

  • General or miscellaneous questions
  • Room reservations for meetings or events
  • Rental of Eliot Chapel facilities
  • Wedding arrangements at Eliot Chapel

Availability:  Christie is in the office Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Her day off is Wednesday. To contact Christie, please email or call 314-821-0911.


SIMS, Myron_staffMyron Simms, Facilities Manager
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Myron joined the Eliot staff in 2009. He’s responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing the Eliot property and its systems. He manages building-related activities, ensuring that we are safe and operational. 

Contact Myron about building repairs and other facility issues.

Availability: Myron is in the office Monday through Friday, 11:00 am to 2:30 pm. Contact Myron by email at or by phone at 314-821-0911.


Debby copyDebby Lovell, Communications Specialist
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Debby joined Eliot’s staff in August 2017. She is a graphic designer with a background in publications. She’s been a freelancer for many years, developing business skills that help her stay organized. 

Contact Debby about:

  • Publicizing your event in one of Eliot’s communications venues: newsletter, email, website, or social media. 
  • Other publicity for your event: flyers, programs, signup sheets, etc.
  • Sign-ups for receiving Greenleaves, the Eliot Chapel newsletter, or This Week at Eliot, the weekly email blast.

Debby enjoys reading, listening to music, seeing and making art, travel, cooking, and being in nature. Debby and her husband of many years like to knit together. They have one daughter in college and a cat at home. Debby is a member at First Unitarian Church of Alton.

Availability: Debby is in the office Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. She’s available by arrangement on Monday. Contact Debby via email at or call 314-821-0911. 





NALESNIK, DavidDr. David Nalesnik, Pianist
David joined the Eliot music staff in the fall of 2012. He accompanies the Women’s Chorale and plays for worship services. He studied music composition and received his Doctorate from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. David accompanies String Orchestra and teaches the Summer Composition Intensive at Community Music School in Webster Groves. David likes to spend his summers hiking in Maine. 




GailHintzphoto2016Gail Hintz, Pianist
Gail Hintz holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Webster College, a master’s degree in vocal accompanying and coaching from the University of Illinois, and spent a year in Paris studying piano at the Ecole Normale de Musique. She worked as a vocal coach/accompanist in New York City for several years, coaching singers and serving as music director/pianist for various regional opera and musical theatre companies and tours. Gail moved back to St. Louis in 1989, and, along with her work as pianist at Eliot Chapel, currently coaches singers privately, accompanies rehearsals for the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus, plays for the Metropolitan Opera district/regional auditions in St. Louis, teaches musical theatre at Washington University, accompanies choruses at Parkway South High School and St. Joseph Academy, and enjoys free-lance work for Winter Opera Saint Louis, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and The Muny. Gail's son, Alex, is a junior business major at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and son, Eric, is a senior at Parkway West High School.