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Our Staff

36 Madison Ave.
Madison, NJ 07940
973-408-3189
email: gcah@gcah.org
Location and Information

Ashley Boggan Dreff, General Secretary

Michelle Merkel-Brunskill, Executive Assistant

Jay Rollins, Director of Communications

Mark Shenise, Associate Archivist

Frances Lyons, Reference Archivist

TBA, Head of Special Collections & University Archives and Methodist Librarian

Candace Reilly, Interim Manager of Methodist Library & Special Collections

Charles Yrigoyen, Jr., General Secretary Emeritus

Robert J. Williams, General Secretary, retired

Alfred T. Day III, General Secretary, retired

 

Ashley Boggan Dreff, PhD

General Secretary

adreff@gcah.org

973-408-3191

Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff is the General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History. In this role, she ensures that the UMC understands its past in order to envision a more equitable future for all Methodists. Dreff earned her PhD from Drew Theological School’s Graduate Division of Religion, specializing in both Methodist/Wesleyan Studies and Women’s/Gender Studies. She earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, specializing in American Religious History. She has previously worked as staff at the General Commission on Archives and History (2012-2014) and the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church (2014-2016). She was the Director of United Methodist Studies and Assistant Professor Christian History at Hood Theological Seminary (Salisbury, NC), an AME Zion Seminary, from 2017-2019 and was the Director of Women’s and Gender Studies and Assistant Professor of Religion at High Point University (High Point, NC) from 2019-2020. Dreff is a lay member of the Arkansas Annual Conference and the daughter of two ordained United Methodist ministers. Her Methodist lineage dates beyond this, back to the early 19th century when her great-great-great grandfathers were Methodist circuit-riders. She is the author of Nevertheless: American Methodists and Women's Rights (2020) and Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality (2018).

 

Michelle Merkel-BrunskillMichelle Merkel-Brunskill

Executive Assistant

mmerkel@gcah.org

973-408-3189

Graduate studies (English Literature), Drew University
BA (Literature), 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. Additionally, she is an assistant editor for Methodist History and performs human resources, payroll, and bookkeeping services for the GCAH.

 

Jay Rollins

Director of Communications

jrollins@gcah.org

Jay Rollins has more than fifteen years of experience in various capacities in communications, development, public relations, and marketing roles, with extensive work in more than 20 developing countries.

With the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), he was responsible for the brand and messaging of an organization with a staff of almost 500 in more than 80 countries. He was responsible for training staff in basic communications functions, brand promise/awareness, social media and crisis communication. He ensured that these concepts were translated into the country-appropriate language and cultural context. He has been called a pioneer in social media for non-profit organizations and quoted in several books including Elizabeth Drescher’s Click 2 Save.

Additionally, he has extensively traveled and reported around the world. From the border of Syria to the emerging nation of South Sudan, he has served as producer, photographer, reporter, videographer, grip, and editor.

 

Mark SheniseMark Shenise

Associate Archivist

mshenise@gcah.org

973-408-3194

DLitt Candidate, Drew University
MTS, Drew Theological School, 1985
BA, 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

Reference Archivist

flyons@gcah.org

973- 408-3196

Certified Archivist since 1996
Higher Diploma in Archival Studies UCD
BA (History) University College Dublin

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.

 

TBA
Head of Special Collections & University Archives and Methodist Librarian, Drew University

973-408-3910

 

Candace Reilly

Interim Manager of Methodist Library & Special Collections

creilly1@drew.edu

973-408-3590

BA (History of Art), Drew University
MA (Medieval Studies), University of York
PhD, ABD (History of Art), University of York

Candace Reilly is the primary contact for the Methodist Library at Drew University. The collections include more than 50,000 printed materials related to United Methodism and related denominations. Her responsibilities are handling reference requests and managing the Wilson Reading Room.

 

Charles Yrigoyen, Jr.
General Secretary, Emeritus

DD, Albright College, 1987
PhD, Temple University, 1973
ThM, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1964
BD, Lancaster Theological Seminary, 1962
BS 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.

 

Robert J. WilliamsRobert J. Williams

General Secretary, Retired

PhD, Drew University, 1983
MDiv, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1973
BA, MS, University of Pennsylvania, 1970

Bob was the General Secretary from 2006 through June of 2014. He is an elder in the Greater New Jersey Conference and lives with his wife, Renee, in Ocean City, New Jersey.

 

Alfred T. Day III

General Secretary, Retired

Graduate studies, Drew University and Temple University
MDiv Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, 1975
BS, Houghton College, Houghton NY, 1972

Fred was General Secretary from 2014-2020. He is a clergy member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference and lives with his wife, Linda, in Cape May Point, New Jersey.