Meet the Clergy and Staff

Nathan Willard in robe by altar

Rev. Nathan Willard

Pastor Nathan Willard

Dear Ankeny UCC lovers and visitors-

Welcome to Ankeny UCC! We hope to provide you a way to explore your faith, care for others, and serve in the community. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re invited to (metaphorically) walk with us on our journey together. In our sermons, you will find messages about Jesus’s love for the people on the margins in society, challenge to those of us who could live our faith in the world, and comfort for those of us in pain. And occasional invitations to in-service dance parties.

In our exploration of theology and spiritual life, we always try to live by Oliver Cromwell’s exhortation to think it possible we might be wrong as we seek to understand Bible stories in their own context and history and understand how they might apply to our lives.

As for me, I was born and raised in Iowa City before moving east for college at Yale, a time working for a variety of software and telemedicine companies and Harvard Divinity School. If you want to join me in my interests, I invite you to come work with A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS), a local faith-based community organizing group currently working on issues of mental health access in Ankeny. Or to talk about Homebrewing, wrestling, the Chicago Cubs, or snooker. And if you have interests in the history of science or book history, I invite you to come and talk with my wife, Dr. Elizabeth Yale, a lecturer in the University of Iowa department of history. She continues a long family association with Iowa City, the birthplace of her mother and husband.

Whether you are interested in joining our church, in being married (I am privileged to perform weddings on an equal basis), or for spiritual or theological exploration, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at pastor (at) .


Sarah Pamperin face with hat

Sarah Pamperin

Coordinator for Christian Education Sarah Pamperin

I am originally from Ripon, Wisconsin. I majored in Elementary Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then moved to Querétaro, Mexico for two years to teach at a private middle school. I then moved back to Wisconsin to Green Bay to teach fifth grade bilingual education (half English, half Spanish) to Latino youth, which is also where I met my partner, Andy. After three years there and receiving my Master’s, I discovered that my favorite professor from UW-Madison was a professor in Elementary Social Studies at Iowa State University. Feeling disturbed by the many injustices I saw in our school and schools across the country, I decided to follow my professor to Iowa to pursue my doctorate in teacher preparation and bilingual education with an Education for Social Justice certificate. Right around the time we moved to Ankeny, we welcomed our wonderful baby, Benjamin, into the world. I am thankful to Ankeny UCC and all of the parents for giving me the opportunity and entrusting me with your children as it is my greatest passion and something I miss dearly. In my free time (when it comes along), I love to “Netflix and chill” and visit with friends and family across the globe.

Choir Director Laura Beckwith
Do you have interest in singing a variety of styles of choral music? Join our choir, led by Laura Beckwith!

Organist Nancy Pingel
Nancy is in her second stint as Organist here at Ankeny UCC, and keeps our voices backed and strengthened most Sundays.