Kent Cormack

Senior Pastor

Pastor R. Kent Cormack hails from Abilene, Kansas. Kent grew up as a child of the church, beginning his theological studies at the hand of his grandmother in the Beginner department of the Sunday School.  He has served in various leadership capacities of the UCC for over 30 years, in roles that have included organist, choirmaster, interim pastor, called pastor, and acting conference minister.

Kent holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ and church music from the University of Kansas, where he also pursued studies in the School of Religion. He earned his Master of Divinity at Yale Divinity School where his special areas of study included liturgy, Christianity and the arts, and ethics.

Kent met his husband, William T. (Bill) Pugh, in church choir (just like Bill’s parents).  Bill is an organ builder and specialist in the restoration of Deagan tower chime systems, which he cares for throughout the United States. In their spare time they enjoy gardening—aquatic and terrestrial, travel, and, of course, music.



Laura Wright

Minister of Faith Formation and Congregational Life

Laura is the newest addition to the team at First Congregational. She became the Minister of Faith Formation and Congregational Life in June of 2020 in the midst of a pandemic. She came to La Crosse to marry her ever patient husband, Michael, and his two children. She served previously as the Designated Pastor at a UCC church in northeast Iowa, managed a political campaign, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Religion at Luther College after finishing her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins in Northwest Semitic Languages and Literature. Laura and her family recently adopted a devoted (and mildly co-dependent) dog, named Leah, who never leaves their sides.



Nancy Allen

Choir Director and Organist

Nancy Allen is our Choir Director and Organist. She skillfully leads our Sanctuary choir, and it is clear why Viterbo University hired her to be a Professor of Music and the Music Director for theater productions for a decade. When she’s not directing an award-winning collegiate show choir or helping us worship with beauty on Sundays, she’s on the golf course, traveling the globe, or playing cards!



Suellen Retzlaff

Bell Choir Director

Suellen has expertly directed our Bell Choir since 2015. Her expertise was nurtured in continuing education for directors and ringers and participation for years in Anthornis, an event for advanced ringers. She also plays the flute and piano. In addition to directing our Bell Choir, she has been a gift to our church, serving on committees from Service and Worship to Music and Finance. After retiring from teaching in the La Crosse Public Schools, she spends her free time winning awards for her photography, ringing with the Great River Ringers, loving on her grandkids, and playing music in the productions of local community theater.



Kristi Wolf

Office Administrator

Kristi is the church’s Office Administrator. Without exaggeration, we can safely say she keeps our church running. She has served First Congregational since 2000. As a result, her oral history and institutional knowledge are unparalleled within the church. She does her administrative tasks with unfailing kindness and patience. Kristi and her husband, Frank, are the proud parents of Jesse, Kyra, Alex, Evan and a furry friend, Baleau.



Tracye Adams

Financial Secretary

Tracye Adams has been a gift to our staff since she joined the staff at First Congregational in September 2016 as our Financial Secretary.  She feels very fortunate to be working at a church with such a welcome and supportive congregation, and we are fortunate to have her. Tracye and her husband, Todd, are the parents of three children and recent empty nesters.