Meet the Staff!

Julian DeShazier

Senior Pastor

Pastor Julian has been our pastor since November 2010. He was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, and is a graduate of Morehouse College (major: Sociology/Child Development) and the University of Chicago Divinity School (M.Div).

As a national speaker and community advocate, Julian DeShazier (dee-shah-zee-ay) has appeared on BBC, FOX, NPR and Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Oprah & Friends” radio program. He is also an Emmy Award-winning musician who goes by the name “J.Kwest” (jay-quest), and was featured in the video “Strange Fruit” – a commemoration of the Billie Holiday song and a meditation on racial violence.

Pastor Julian also serves as Director of Experiential Education and affiliate faculty at McCormick Theological Seminary. He served from 2016-2023 as the inaugural chair of the Community Advisory Council for University of Chicago Medicine, and is a current board member of the Southside Healthy Community Organization, working to expand healthcare equity across Chicago. He is a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow (since 2020); was named by Crain’s Chicago Business as a “40 Under 40” leader; and his articles appear regularly in The Christian Century. In 2021, Julian was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Board of Preachers. His latest musical project is called Lovkwest, available on all streaming platforms.

He and his wife Mallorie have two fierce daughters, Dania and Genevieve. He loves the White Sox, perhaps too much…reach out to him anytime.

Email Pastor Julian.

Danielle Fields-Horton

Church Administrator

Danielle was baptized, confirmed, and raised in University Church, and is our full-time administrator. She has worked for over 30 years in customer service and healthcare, and has long been the wedding and special events coordinator at University Church, including helping to coordinate the church’s monthly re-sale shop.

Email Danielle.

Charles T. Hayes

Minister of Music

Charles Thomas Hayes is committed to sharing his gift of music as an active part of worship to spread God’s love and to inspire others. He holds music degrees from Cornell College of Iowa, the University of Iowa and has done additional graduate work at Roosevelt University and The Catholic University of America. A Chicago native and a product of Chicago Public Schools, he has served on the staff of the Chicago Children’s Choir, as Director of Music at Chatham Fields Church, and currently serves as a music consultant and guest musician.

Charles’ teaching career spanned four decades both at the high school and college level, including music education in Chicago Public Schools; Proviso East High School; Oak Park and River Forest High School; Luther High School South; Morgan and Coppin State Universities in Baltimore; Roosevelt University’s College of Performing Arts; College of Lake County; Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Simmons College of Kentucky. He has served as Chorus Master and accompanist at South Shore Opera Company of Chicago, was Music Director for Greater Chicagoland Opera Guild, and on the conducting staff of Classic Act Choral Ensemble. Charles is the Artistic Founding Director of Chatham Choral Ensemble, artists-in-residence at University Church.

Email Charles.


Vince Cole

Housing and Property Manager

As a real estate professional for more than 25 years, Vince Cole is known for integrity, diplomacy and sincerity. He attributes his success to his patient demeanor, dedicated work ethic and grounding in the church. Vince was ordained as a deacon at Covenant UCC in South Holland, and after 15 years of service was asked to assist with a new church start and transfer to Advocate UCC as the first ordained deacon of the church.

Vince grew up in South Shore, attended Kenwood High School and Bradley University, and settled in South Shore. As Director of Community Housing, Vince oversees property operations at University Church, and manages Covenantal Community Housing Coop (CCHC) and Woodlawn Development Associates (WDA) buildings, furthering UChurch’s affordable and community housing ministry efforts.

Email Vince.


Tiant Holloway

Youth Minister

Tiant is part-time Youth Pastor. He was born in Chicago and raised by his maternal grandmother who instilled in him the Christian values that he has carried with him all his life. He attended both Philadelphia Church of God in Christ and Centennial Missionary Baptist Church.

Tiant is a graduate of Morehouse College and The University of Chicago Divinity School. His full-time job is a special education teacher within the Noble Network Charter School system in Chicago.
He has served as the 32nd President of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. In his spare time he is a graphic designer and website builder. Tiant and his dog, Milo Jahari, live in Bronzeville. Tiant is the oldest of 4 siblings.

Email Tiant.

Sarah Lyn Jones

Minister of Place

Rev. Sarah assists the congregation, leadership, and staff in making University Church a place that lives out its mission through its physical property and community partnerships.  She is interested in obscuring the boundaries between secular and sacred, congregation and community, liturgy and work.

Sarah has been a member of University Church since she moved to Chicago in 2011 to pursue her Master of Divinity (at McCormick Theological Seminary) and her Master of Social Service Administration (at the University of Chicago).  She was ordained in 2023 and also serves as Director of Community Engagement at Partners for Sacred Places, where she helps congregations across the United States live into the vital roles they play in their neighborhoods and in society at large.

If you were to win at Sarah trivia, you would need to know that her favorite musical artists are Beyoncé and Sufjan Stevens, she will read anything by N.K. Jemison and Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, and that her summer home is the limestone revetment at Promontory Point.

Email Sarah.

Allen Reynolds

Minister for Spiritual Formation

As Minister for Spiritual Formation, Allen assists with implementing principles and practices in the congregation that encourage spiritual growth and deeper awareness, sensitivity, and love for God, other people, and creation.

Allen interned at University Church in 2011 while he was in college and is currently a member-in-discernment with the United Church of Christ. He has been involved in ministry work in churches, nonprofits, and academic settings since he was a teenager, serving and teaching children, teens and adults. He is a full- time producer of curriculum and content for Black churches across the nation and around the world.

Allen earned his BA in Media Production from Howard University, his M.Div. from Yale University, and is pursuing his MBA at the University of Chicago. He is also a 2024 Black Interfaith Fellow with Interfaith America.

He and his wife Brittany have three young daughters. He loves sports, superhero movies, cakes, cookies, and to talk about theology.

Email Allen.