Linda Fuchs is the Education director for the Lake Union Conference. Fuchs began her classroom teaching experience in 1976, at the Pontiac Junior Academy, grades 3rd - 6th after completing her B.S. degree in Elementary Education at Atlantic Union College, South Lancaster, Mass., and went on to complete her M.A. degree in Educational Leadership at Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich., in 1979. She has also taught in two one-room schools at Farmington Adventist Elementary in Farmington Hills, Mich., and Camden Adventist School in Camden, Maine, and enjoyed the home school experience teaching her son 3rd grade.
Fuchs taught for seven years at Adelphian Junior Academy, Holly, Mich., and eight years at Ruth Murdoch Elementary school, Berrien Springs, Mich. From 1999-2015 she was a supervising instructor and contract instructor for the Department of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum at Andrews University. She comes to the Lake Union having served as Superintendent for the Michigan Conference from July 2003 to October 2015.
Randy Griffin, D.D.S., began full-time employment as director of the Lake Union Adventist Community Health Initiative on January 15, 2015.
Griffin was a pastor's kid whose parents served as missionaries in Brazil and Uruguay before returning to the States to pastorates in Texas and Arkansas. Griffin earned a bachelor of arts in biology at Southwestern Adventist University in 1990 and, in 1994, earned the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Indiana University School of Dentistry.
He practiced dentistry from 1994–2012, and opened a private practice in 1996, in which he managed all aspects of the business. In addition to servicing fee-for-service patients, Griffin also provided dental services for lower income/needy patients for a reduced rate or charged no fees. Since 2011, Griffin also has volunteered as a consulting dentist at Hope Clinic in Cicero, a clinic for low-income individuals, and has been instrumental in the coordination of dental volunteers and supplies.
From January 2013 through November 2014, Griffin served as nighttime program director for the Forever Faithful International Pathfinder Camporee, held August 12–17, 2014, in Oshkosh, Wis. Approximately 47,000 Pathfinders attended the event.
Since 2003, Randy also has participated in various overseas mission trips, including destinations such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal, St. Lucia, Kenya, Mexico, Tanzania, Ecuador and Fiji. He donated his dental services and supplies on many of these trips, and also participated in evangelism initiatives. Griffin co-presented a nightly evangelistic series in Pradesh, India, in 2006.
Griffin and his wife Kathy (Brewer) have been married 25 years. Kathy is an English teacher and director of development and recruiting at Indiana Academy in Cicero. The Griffins have two sons: Mitchell and Gabe. A third son, Nick, died in a car accident on Dec. 21, 2018.
In 2015, Ruth Horton was invited to serve as associate director of education of the Lake Union Conference. From the early age of 17 to today, Horton has nurtured a life-long career in education. Her drive for learning drew her away from the scenic island of Dominica, where she was born and grew up, to hone the skills and transformative practices she would need as a teacher and educational leader.
As an educator in both public and parochial schools, at the elementary through university levels, Horton has embraced the truth that “knowledge of God is the foundation of all right education” Counsels to Teachers, p. 422. As such, Horton has served in the East Caribbean Conference, beginning in 1977, and subsequently in the Michigan, Illinois, Lake Region conferences, then back to Illinois, as teacher and administrator. She has also served as a public school teacher and administrator both in Michigan and Illinois.
In 2007, Horton accepted the call to serve as Educational Superintendent of the Lake Region Conference, and in 2011, she returned to the Illinois Conference to serve as Educational Superintendent.
A speaker/presenter, Horton frequently speaks at churches and conducts workshops, including in education, personal ministries and women’s ministries. She also presents at conferences and conventions.
Horton holds a B.A. and M.A. from Andrews University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University. She is married to Michael Horton, ministerial director of the Lake Region Conference and pastor of the Emmanuel Church in Chicago Heights, Illinois. They have three sons: Michael, Elijah and Isaiah.
Horton enjoys her family, gardening, reading, learning and consulting. She relishes the work of education and desires to follow God’s leading in her work and for her life.
Carmelo Mercado was born and raised in the Catholic faith in New York City to parents who originally were from Puerto Rico. In 1965, his mother discovered and was baptized into the Adventist faith, and then led her family to begin to study the Bible as well. Three years later, Mercado made his decision to be baptized into the Adventist faith.
In 1971, he came to Andrews University to begin his pre-med studies. In 1974, he decided to take a year off from his studies and go to Bolivia as a student missionary to pastor a small church in the Beni province. There he felt the call of God to become a minister instead of a physician. He graduated from Andrews in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and that same fall enrolled in the Master of Divinity program, from which he graduated in 1979.
Mercado began pastoring in the Indiana Conference, in Hammond, Indiana. In 1980, he received from It Is Written a request for Bible information from a family who lived in East Chicago, Indiana. He gave the family Bible studies and baptized the mother, father and their daughter, Rosanne, in the Adventist faith. In 1986, he married Rosanne, who currently works as an occupational therapist at St. Joseph hospital in South Bend, Indiana.
Mercado had the opportunity to serve his entire pastoral ministry in Indiana, serving in cities like Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, Richmond, Connersville, New Castle, Indianapolis, Brownsburg, Martinsville and Fort Wayne. He also served as Hispanic coordinator for the Indiana Conference for five years, and also served as NET '98 Hispanic coordinator in 1998.
Mercado has served in his current role as general vice president for 11 years. He is also Multicultural Ministries director for the Lake Union and secretary for the Adventist-laymen's Services & Industries (ASI) Lake Union chapter.
Since March 2021, Debbie Michel has served as the director of Communication. She joined the Lake Union in Jan. 2016 as associate director of Communication and managing editor of the Lake Union Herald.
She received her master of science degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, New York, New York, and her bachelor of science degree in TV & Radio; Journalism concentration from Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York.
Michel began her professional career in 1990, as a media buyer, then became an associate literary agent in 1992, and then in 1995, she became a news associate for Dateline NBC and Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, New York, New York. In 1996 she became the associate producer/producer for Dateline NBC, where she also produced news segments and documentaries for clients such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Good Housekeeping magazine; produced MSNBC Headliners and Legends documentaries, booked high-profile news makers for exclusive interviews, field produced breaking news stories and shot digital video.
In 2008, Michel joined the faculty of Andrews University as associate professor of Communication where she taught Journalism and Communication courses, assisted with the development of a new curriculum, served as advisor to journalism students and developed Envision, a student-created and produced magazine, of which Michel was the Editor-in-Chief.
She and her husband, Jean-Ires, have one daughter, Christiana.
Nicholas Miller joined our Lake Union team in 2016 serving as our Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director and legal counsel while continuing to serve as associate professor of Church History at the Adventist Theological Seminary on the campus of Andrews University.
Miller received his Bachelor’s degree in 1989 from Pacific Union College, Angwin, Calif., where he was the Student Association president; National Merit Scholar and Taft Law Scholar. Prior to attending PUC, he studied at Newbold College, Bracknell, England, where he was editor of the student paper, The Prism. He was in the top 10 percent of his class at Columbia University School of law, New York, New York, where he received his JD in 1992, was a Stone Scholar and served on the Board of Editors, Columbia Law Review. He also served as president of the local chapter of the Christian Legal Society. Miller went on to get his Masters degree and PhD in 2010 from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, in Religious and legal history from the Reformation to present, with a focus on Western Europe and North America church/state developments.
Miller served on the Council on Religious Freedom, Rockville, Maryland, from 1997 to 2000 as Executive Director and Attorney. He appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Mitchell v. Helms; and authored and contributed to a number of other Supreme Court briefs in addition to a broad spectrum of work in the area of religious freedom.
In addition to a number of scholarly publications, Miller has written two books: The Religious Roots of the First Amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the Separation of Church and State, Oxford University Press, 20 12, and General Editor and contributor to Homosexuality, Marriage, and the Church: Biblical, Counseling, and Religious Liberty Issues, Andrews University Press, 2012.
Sean Parker was born in upstate New York and raised in Vermont. He attended Adventist schools from third grade through college. Parker received a B.S. in Computer Science from Atlantic Union College in 1992. Recently, he completed an M.S. in Computer Science from Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts.
Parker worked for 12 years for his alma mater, Atlantic Union College, and held various positions including programmer, network administrator and director of information technology. In Fall 2004, he joined the Lake Union Conference Information Systems (LUCIS) development team and was the associate director until named director on October 7, 2010.
Parker has been married to Eva (Bleuer) Parker for 18 years. They have one daughter and two sons.
In Sept. 2021, Elden Ramirez was voted as the Lake Union's executive secretary. Ramirez came from the North American Division where he was Undersecretary since October 2020. He was responsible for the Secretariat functions that include general calls; interpreting, developing and revising church policies.
Previously, in 2017, he was elected president of the Montana Conference and before that position worked at the division as director of the NAD’s Office of Volunteer Ministries, from 2013 to 2017. While serving at the division, Ramirez provided direction and oversight to the Office of Volunteer Ministries in NAD Secretariat. In this role, he was responsible for guiding student missions, which serves as the resource and processing center to all NAD Adventist colleges and universities. He was instrumental in connecting volunteers throughout North America to mission opportunities across the NAD and around the world.
Prior to joining the NAD, Ramirez served as youth director and assistant to the president for the Central California Conference (2005 to 2013), providing leadership in strategic planning, finance, board management, personnel, fundraising, and program delivery. He also served the Iowa-Missouri Conference as a pastor, church planter, and departmental director. During this time (1996 to 2004), Ramirez led several ministries at the conference, including Health Temperance, National Service Organization, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Camp Ministries (as executive director), and Family Life.
He speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and has experience in graphic design, media content creation, and radio and television production. Ramirez is married to Jenny, a registered nurse who has been his right hand in ministry, and together they are the parents of two daughters, Elennie, a junior in college, and Jasmine, a senior in high school.
Glynn C.W. Scott has served in the Lake Union Conference since 2000 as associate treasurer and then as treasurer from 2003 to the present time. Prior to serving in the Lake Union, Scott was secretary/treasurer for the Bermuda Conference from 1997 to 1998 and treasurer for 1999. Prior to the Bermuda Conference, Scott served as an auditor for Coopers & Lybrand, Price Waterhouse and financial analysis for Fidelity Investments (Boston).
Scott holds a B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration from Atlantic Union College. He is married to Donna-Mae (Young) Scott, and they have two boys, Glenn Jr. and Clifton.
Ron Whitehead has served in four North American Division (NAD) Union Headquarters as a local pastor, conference youth director and church ministries director. He also served the NAD as associate youth director and led five International Pathfinder Camporees. Whitehead currently serves Kingdom-building efforts in the following ways: Assistant to the President of Andrews University for Spiritual Life, Executive Director for the Center for Youth Evangelism, Assistant Professor for Youth Ministry, Lake Union Conference Youth Ministries Coordinator.
He is married to Betty Lou (Becker) and together they have three adult children: Stacy, Heidi and Ryan.
Whitehead's hobbies include, but are not limited to, antique and classic cars, tournament ski boats, Christian drama like Passion plays, large events and business/ministry "investments."
His favorite Bible text is John 14:1-3 because it reminds him not to "sweat the small stuff" because we are all just passing through, and that soon he will be together with those he loves.