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Our Staff

36 Madison Ave.
Madison, NJ 07940
Location and Information

Robert J. Williams,General Secretary

Michelle Merkel-Brunskill, Executive Assistant

L. Dale Patterson, Archivist-Records Administrator

Mark Shenise, Associate Archivist

Frances Lyons-Bristol, Reference Archivist

Christopher Anderson, Methodist Librarian

Cassie Brand, Methodist Library Associate

Charles Yrigoyen, Jr. , General Secretary Emeritus


Robert J. Williams

Robert J.Williams

General Secretary

Ph.D., Drew University, 1983
M.Div., Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1973
B.A., M.S., University of Pennsylvania, 1970

Robert J. Williams, beginning in 2006, is the General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History . He is a clergy member of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. He also serves as editor of Methodist History.

Prior to his present appointment, Williams served local churches in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. He has taught at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and has taught United Methodist studies at Princeton Theological Seminary.

In addition to various leadership posts in his Annual Conference, he has served on the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, the World Methodist Council, the Board of Trustees at the Pennington (NJ) School and served as a member of the General Commission on Archives and History.

Williams is married to the former Renee Murphy with whom he has two daughters, Shauna and Erin.


Michelle Merkel-Brunskill

Michelle Merkel-Brunskill

Executive Assistant


B.A., Aurora University, 1996


Michelle has been with GCAH since 2000. She provides administrative support for the Commission's General Secretary. Michelle is the public's contact at the Archives to answer questions about general information, subscribing to Methodist History, Historic and Heritage Landmark applications, purchasing GCAH publications, and updating the GCAH directory.

L. Dale Patterson

L. Dale Patterson

Archivist-Records Administrator


Certified Archivist, 1989
Ph. D., Drew University, 1984
M.C.S., Regent College, 1978
B.S., University of Denver, 1975

Dale has worked on the Commission Staff since 1994. Prior to that time he was Associate Archivist and Co-Director of the Oral History Center at the University of Louisville. Dale is involved in his local church and in adjunct teaching at Drew University. Contact him if you have questions about sending records to the Archives Center, curious about workshops, or if you wonder what types of records your office or church should be keeping


Mark SheniseMark Shenise

Associate Archivist


D. Litt. Candidate, Drew University
M.T.S., Drew Theological School, 1985
B.A., Olivet Nazarene University, 1981

Mark is the Associate Archivist. His major responsibilities are processing agencies and personal papers, handling reference requests, working on museum displays, overseeing basic conservation needs, working with computers and databases, and preserving/cataloging the artifacts collection. Mark first worked for the archives in 1983 as a Student Assistant. After graduating from Drew Theological Seminary in 1985 and serving as an Associate Pastor in High Mountain Church of the Nazarene, Mark came back to work full-time for the archives in the Fall of 1986. He is a member of the Mendham United Methodist Church.  Mark is also a member of the Greater New Jersey Commission on Archives and History.


Frances Lyons-BristolFrances Lyons-Bristol

Reference Archivist

973- 408-3196

Certified Archivist 1996
Higher Diploma in Archival Studies UCD 1993
BA University College Dublin 1990

Frances joined the staff of the Commission as Reference Archivist in March 2008.  She previously managed the Archives and Special Properties Collection at American International Group, Inc. in New York City. Prior to working at AIG she was the archivist for The McGraw-Hill Companies.  Frances moved to the United States from Ireland in 1994.


Christopher J. Anderson

Christopher J. Anderson

Methodist Librarian Drew University


M.L.I.S., Syracuse University, 2009
Ph.D., Drew University, 2006
M.Div., Asbury Theological Seminary, 1997
B.S., Houghton College, 1991



Chris began his appointment as Methodist Librarian in January 2007. He is a clergy member of the Penn-Jersey District of the Wesleyan Church. He also serves as co-editor of the International Journal of Religion and Sport.

Prior to his post at Drew University, Chris worked in local churches in New York and Michigan. He also taught courses in history and religion at a variety of colleges and seminaries including Barclay College, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He also worked at the General Commission on Archives and History as a student assistant from 2003-2004.

Chris and Deb (formerly Osborne) live in Madison and have two sons, Brett and Trenton



Cassie Brand 

Methodist Library Associate,Drew University


B.A., Goucher College, 2009
M.L.S., Indiana University, 2011
Ph.D., Drew University, expected graduation 2016


Cassie joined the staff as a full time employee in October 2013 after having worked with them in her previous position as a student assistant. She is currently working on her PhD in History and Culture with a focus on Book History. Previously, she has worked at the Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, Lilly Library at Indiana University, and Goucher College Library.



Charles Yrigoyen, Jr.

General Secretary, Emeritus

D.D., Albright College, 1987
Ph.D., Temple University, 1973
Th.M., Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1964
B.D., Lancaster Theological Seminary, 1962
B.S. in Economics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1959

Chuck was the GCAH General Secretary from 1982-2005. He is an ordained clergy member of the Eastern Pennsylvanian Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. He lives in retirement, with his wife Jean, in Lancaster, Pennsylvannia.