Staff Team

Our staff team is a group of leaders who serve our community together as friends and equals, bringing their passion and experience from other areas to this work. Using their gifts and training, they support a community of co-ministers working together to embody Christ's transformative Kin-dom.

    Rebecca Hewitt-Newson, Pastor

    (Rebecca will be on sabbatical April 28th-July 6th, 2024.) 

    Rebecca grew up in Virginia, then studied at Elon University and Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Previously a board-certified chaplain, Rebecca worked in the Providence Health Care System in Los Angeles, supporting patients, families, and medical staff. She then served as Minister for Family Life at Millbrook Baptist Church in Raleigh prior to joining the Emmaus Way community in 2020.

    As a pastor at Emmaus Way, Rebecca brings passion for the ways that adults and children can learn and grow together through embracing common joys, igniting imagination, and working alongside each other to build just and loving community. Rebecca is also an advocate for public education, currently serving on the board of Pastors for North Carolina Children. Rebecca lives in Raleigh with her husband, Ryan, and two children, Atticus and Isaac. They love to play outside and enjoy listening to and making music together.

    Molly Brummett WUDEL,Pastor

    As co-pastor of Emmaus Way, Molly focuses her time on curating the weekly worship gathering, creating space for theological and spiritual formation, cultivating deeper community relationships, facilitating our artist residency, serving on Durham CAN's strategy team & clergy caucus, and visioning alongside staff and lead teams. In addition to pastoring at Emmaus Way, Molly lectures on dialogical preaching, and has been a teaching assistant within the Department of Homiletics at Duke Divinity. She also serves on Wake Forest University School of Divinity's Board and The Alliance of Baptist's Board.

    Molly is the recipient of Baptist Women in Ministry’s Addie Davis National Award for Excellence in Preaching (2013), and is published in The World is Waiting on You: Celebrating the 50th Ordination Anniversary of Addie Davis (2014) and Believe the Women: A Journey of Liberation with Alliance of Baptists' Women (2019). 

    Molly lives in Durham with her husband, James, and their daughter George. 

    Claire Shelnutt, Youth director

    Claire Shelnutt is a third year MDIV at Duke, studying Christian Education and the intersection of theology and the arts. She hails from Athens, Georgia, where she attended UGA and studied Art History. Since beginning at Duke Div, Claire has been a children’s teacher at Emmaus Way, then our ministerial intern, and now the Youth Director. Claire likes coffee, knitting, and hanging out with her two cats, Utah and C.S. Lewis. 

    Maggie Kennedy morey, Ministerial intern

    Maggie is a North Carolinian born and raised, only moving away for her time at Mercer University where she received a BA in English and Religion. Now, in the last year of her MDiv at Duke Divinity School, her interests are in the intersection of faith, food, and environmental justice, as well as where this intersection is shown in literature. 

    As a ministerial intern at Emmaus Way, she is excited to continue her work with children and help embody the word and table with story and snack, as well as participate in the wider story at Emmaus Way. Maggie and her husband Jonathan live in Durham with their calico cat Maple - who is always causing mischief while they cook, watch sci-fi, or who greets them at the door after a weekend of camping.  

    Lead team

    Lead Team is a governing body of lay leaders drawn from and representative of the co-ministers of Emmaus Way. Lead Team serves its fellow ministers by facilitating Emmaus Way's community and missional life, and overseeing the finances and logistics of our community. 

    2024 Lead Team Members

    Year Three: Dave Thiessen, Elan Hope

    Year Two: Phil Jakes (Lay Leader), Amanda Haas, Nidia Flores-Bayne

    Year One:  Zach Hutchinson, Martín Witchger, Dave Efird

      Artist in residence

      Chessa Rich is a singer, songwriter, teacher, and multi-instrumentalist based in Durham, NC. After a period of living and teaching in Spain, Chessa moved back to her North Carolina home in 2013 and quickly became a sought-after collaborator, adding keyboards, flute, and vocals to projects by NC artists including Dante High, Skylar Gudasz, and Hiss Golden Messenger. She grew up singing hymns in the choir at First Presbyterian Church in Burlington and experiences spiritual connection most often while making music with other people. She currently teaches music to young people and released her debut full-length record, Deeper Sleeper, in 2023.