Director of Music
Gil & Crystal Shif
Directors of Digital Ministry
Our Church Council.
The Leadership of our church, the Congregation Council, is a strong team of volunteers elected by the congregation to carry out the business of the church and support its ministry. The Council is charged with all financial, administrative, business, personnel, and structural guidance. Please feel free to contact our Council Members with your questions and ideas about how we “build a church.”
Carl Stevens, President
I’m Carl. I have lived in Palm Springs for three years. I grew up in Orange County and lived the last seven years before moving to Palm Springs & Key West, Florida. I am a happily retired trial attorney. However my passion, wherever I live, is Service. I attended Hope Palm Springs, now River of Hope, at its first official service on Easter 2018 after meeting Pastor Tim. I have been honored to have been able to serve on the Launch Team for most of the time since then.
I love to hike in the beautiful mountains surrounding our valley. I love to walk in the quiet of the pre-dawn city. I love to visit my six-year old Granddaughter in Orange County. My hope is to expand our in-person and online presence in this community and to honor our Lord in doing so. ALL ARE WELCOME HERE!
Hennigan Kearns, Vice President
Hi all! My name is Hennigan Kearns and I am a transplant via New York City. I have resided in Palm Springs for three years and have been involved with River of Hope for three years. As a child, I was raised Catholic and some years ago, I converted to Protestantism. When approached about being involved on the church council for River of Hope, I had to think about it for a couple of days before deciding to serve as this service is not to be taken lightly and entails a great deal of responsibility. I will commit myself to River of Hope and utilize my life and work experiences to serve God, my church, and my community to the best of my ability on the River of Hope faith community’s Church Council.
Hi, I'm RickyB! As a native Kansan, I moved to the desert in the Fall of 2019 and soon began attending Hope Palm Springs, now River of Hope. Loving the passion of our developing congregation, I joined the Launch Team in 2020. In addition to taking notes during meetings, I am leading the Worship team.
Formerly, I was the Choir Director/Accompanist at Our Savior's Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Topeka. In addition to my musical responsibilities, I also served on their Worship Committee, planning services and themes for the liturgical seasons.
My husband, Jason, and I recently moved here from the Toledo, Ohio area where we were members of St. Lucas Lutheran Church. I was a member there for over twenty-five years and served on church council for many years and as council president for nine years. I’ve also been a church elder, weekly offering recorder, and chair of a committee to create the church vision statement, guiding principles, purpose statement and the affirmation of welcome. I look forward to serving as a member of church council here at River of Hope.
Hi, I'm John!
Shelley Alexa Somerville
I am a preacher, teacher and minister to disadvantaged communities, in particular unhoused families and children, and those who suffer prejudice, abuse and violence for simply being who they are. As a Christian Minister, ordained in 1987, I’ve preached and taught at Protestant and Catholic Churches, offering mystical perspectives on scripture. As a Nonprofit Management Consultant, I have shaped the global strategies of humanitarian organizations, such as Save the Children. As a transgender woman, I was the first-ever trans Member of the Board of the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus, where I led its evolution to the more inclusive Gender & Sexuality Caucus. While I have lived and worked in more than forty countries, I now live and work happily in Palm Springs, where I partner with River of Hope and others to improve lives.
I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I was brought up in the Catholic church but became a Lutheran in my mid-20’s. I raised my six children in the church. I love being an active part of River of Hope. ROH is made up of caring, loving, supportive, accepting people. I am living my best life in this church community.
At church, I enjoy coordinating our fellowship events and keeping us well fed. Feel free to contact me at 760-272-7545.
Hi, my name is Erik Zellers. At 21ish, I escaped from the Missouri Synod Lutheran church with the help of a mysterious and handsome ballroom dance instructor and my trusty Mustang Mach I. In what seemed like no time at all, I was loving church, clapping on 2&4, swaying, singing in the gospel choir at the Metropolitan Church of Christ, San Francisco, now confident God loves me.
It was there I met my beloved, Matthew, carpooling to a church retreat. At the end of 2000, we moved to Palm Springs, and shortly later, I was forced onto disability by side effects of HIV. I've exchanged the drama of the office for the drama of caring for a parrot, three cats, a dog, and Matt. Matt and I have been with Hope Palm Springs, now River of Hope, from almost the very beginning. The director of the Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus introduced me to Tim, for which I am very grateful. Tim says we can shape the church, so I'm aiming for a hypercube, to blend my love of God with science. I'm currently working on our presence in the Pride Parade and Celebration.