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Church Staff


The Rev. Beverly Dempsey is the Interim/Transitional Pastor of Highlands United Presbyterian Church. She came to Highlands following the unexpected passing of The Rev. Dr. David Lee, Highland’s 24-year pastor who died of cancer in January 2021. ­

Rev. Bev has a passion for glorifying God through a life of worship, justice, service, and gratitude. She believes that each one of us is equally essential to God’s creation and that each of us is called to ways of being that continually expand the boundaries of hope for all people. During her first few weeks at HUPC, she says she was stunned to learn that the congregation contributes 22% of its tithes and offerings to mission!


Rev. Bev enjoys just about anything that takes her outside – especially what she called “summer sports” before moving to Florida with her husband Joe, their youngest son and daughter (Owen and Caitlin), and their two annoying mini-dachshunds. Beverly’s three adult stepchildren, Brian, Carolyn and Tom (Nicole), will plan to travel south to enjoy the sun, links, and ocean as often as their professional lives allow.

Prior to joining Highlands, Beverly was Senior Pastor and Head of Staff of Avenue Church NYC. (She continues to Chair the Board of Trustees of the Urban Outreach Center NYC.) She has also served as interim pastor for Western Presbyterian Church (Washington, DC), transitional pastor for First Presbyterian Church (Ramsey, NJ) and West Side Presbyterian Church (Ridgewood, NJ).


Beverly earned her BA in Economics from Goucher College (1985) and her MBA from the University of Minnesota (2001) before being called to ministry. She earned her Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC (2004) and is completing the final phase of her Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. 

Rev. Dempsey is so pleased to have been invited to serve this faithful congregation of Christians during their transitional period and looks forward to a fulfilling experience here.

Thomas Lyons,
Minister of Worship & Music 


We are excited to welcome our Director of Worship and Music, Thomas Lyons. Thomas was born and raised in New Jersey and has always had a passion for music and religion. He has an interesting background that includes tuning pipe organs to working for professional hockey team. After obtaining his BA in Vocal Performance, Thomas went to seminary and received his MA in Church Music. Thomas has a passion for what he does and is excited to share his ministry gifts with the Highlands community. He wants the worship and music experience on Sundays to make you want to come back to church on Monday! Thomas welcomes you to take some time during Fellowship to have a conversation, or to set an appointment to discuss your musical hopes, dreams, and observations.

Anneliese Robbins,
Church Administrator


Anneliese has served as our Church Administrator since 2015.

Anneliese and her husband, Alan, have two adult children. They have been members at Highlands for over 20 years.

Anneliese enjoys spending time with her family!

Anna Serrano, 
Director- Highlands Precious Gifts Preschool

Before becoming our Director, Ms. Anna spent several years as both a teacher and the Assistant Director at HPGP.  She is a wife and the mother of two beautiful children. Anna loves teaching children of all ages and continues to share this joy as our music teacher.  She feels God has placed her where He wants her to be in both her career and home life.  

Church Leaders

Highlands is lead by Elders that make up the Session. These individuals are "chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with ministers of word and sacrament, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships.” - Book of Order (G-2.0301)

Class of 2023

David Bauerlein
Christian Nurture - Moderator
Nancy Hart
Preschool Advisory - Moderator
Alan Robbins
Worship - Moderator
Tom Sweeney
Building & Grounds - Moderator

Class of 2024

Candy Cole
Audrey Regnier
Christian Nurture
Chad Sambito
Resources & Mgmt - Moderator
Donna Wilson

Class of 2025

Mike Sutherland
Sandy Pruitt
​Member Care  
Clara Whitaker
 Member Meals
Jenna Whitney
Preschool Advisory
Our church committees are always looking for people to join us in serving the church and community. 
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