The Board of Elders

Valley United Presbyterian Church

  Send Email  •  (607)565-5683

Class of 2026

Dale Barber

Jim Dougherty

Sally Hickey

Board of Deacons 

Class of 2024

Carolyn Kopatz

Class of 2026

Mary Ellen Barber

Andrea Campbell

Colleen Kinney 

Marilynne Zeafla


Sharan Knoell

  Send Email  •  (607)565-5683

I'm happy you found your way here!  

I'm a native of the Philadelphia area, and I consider myself a "cradle" Presbyterian.  I grew up in church, and when I got too old to participate in the programs for kids, I began to help lead those programs.  One of my favorite things in my early church life was those catchy Vacation Bible School songs - some of which I still remember!

After graduating from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia with the strange combination of a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts and German, I managed a small nonprofit in the city. During those years, I earned a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University and felt a true calling to work for a cause instead of a profit.  Through some God-placed individuals, I realized a calling to the ministry in 2010.  Some of the best years of my life were spent at Princeton Theological Seminary where I earned my Masters of Divinity in 2014.

I was called to Valley United Presbyterian Church later that year to be the first pastor of this newly-formed church.  Through all the bumps in the road to bring these three congregations together in our little Valley, I found a home, a calling, and a love of the Lord that surpasses anything I've known before.

When not in church, I enjoy horror movies, Broadway musicals, hiking, canoeing / kayaking, and hanging out with my Jack Russell Terrier / Beagle mix, Shiloh.  

I can be reached at 607-565-5683 or

Music Director

Ruth Houser

Ruth Houser has enjoyed substituting as church pianist throughout the past summer. She is delighted at the opportunity to continue to serve as music director alongside Derek Young. She has been teaching music in school and home settings since 1985, when she received two bachelor’s degrees in sacred music and music education from Clarks Summit University. She currently teaches 16 piano students each week. She also finds great joy in using her gifts to lead and participate in corporate worship of her Lord Jesus Christ. She is especially excited to work with the choir. There is something very wonderful about believers lifting up their voices and instruments as one in praise of our strong and loving God. She is very blessed to facilitate that at Valley United Presbyterian Church.