Our Staff

The Rev. R. Kent Cormack serves as the senior pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ.  A native of 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.

Email:  kent@firstcongolax.org

Organist and Choir Director Nancy Allen


Nancy began in August 2001. She is on the music faculty at Viterbo University, and has extensive experience with choral conducting. Nancy has a Bachelor of Music from Viterbo College and Master of Music from University of Northern Iowa.



Bell Choir Director Suellen Retzlaff

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.

Email: sretzlaff@charter.net

Office Manager Kristi Wolf


Kristi has been with the church since November 2000. She brings extensive experience and training to this position, Kristi and her husband Frank are the parents of Jesse and Alex.

Email: kristi@firstcongolax.org

Financial Secretary Tracye Adams


Tracye Adams began in September 2016 as the Financial Secretary.  She feels very fortunate to be working at a church with such a welcome and supportive congregation.  You may have seen her downstairs at Congregational Preschool.  She has worked downstairs for the past several years as their administrative assistant and payroll/bookkeeping clerk. Tracye and her husband Todd are the parents of three children.

Email:  financialsec@firstcongolax.org


Minister of Faith Formation and Congregational Life Laura Wright

Dr. Laura Wright joined us as Minister of Faith Formation and Congregational Life in June of 2020. She previously served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Luther College and an Interim Minister in Decorah, Iowa. She and her husband, Michael, love owning way too many books.

Email: laura@firstcongolax.org

Live by faith, embody love, proclaim hope, and seek justice.