Meet the Alpha New England Team
Chairmen of the Board
Alpha New England
401 Edgewater Place, Suite 580
Wakefield, MA 01880
Willard and his wife Sally come to the New England area from the big skies and open spaces of northern Wyoming. Sally was born and raised in Cody, which is one of the gateway towns to Yellowstone National Park; Willard was raised in Sheridan, in the eastern part of the state near the Big Horn Mountains. Upon graduating from Dartmouth College and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, Willard served in Vietnam. He spent some time in Washington, D.C., where he met Sally. After they were married, Willard brought his bride back to Sheridan where they lived, worked, worshipped and raised their family of two daughters near the foothills of Willard's beloved Big Horn Mountains.
Willard's first career was as Sheridan's Ford, Lincoln-Mercury dealer--a family owned business which he shepherded in partnership with his father, and then on his own, for 30 years before selling the dealership in 1998. With an empty nest and an exciting new freedom to contemplate, Willard and Sally decided to spend the winter of 2000 - 2001 in Marblehead, MA, to avail themselves of the culture of Boston--Sally's affinity for music and the arts having been a defining factor in her life in Sheridan for many years. The decision proved to be a good one. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, the museums, and the many suburban music offerings were just a few of the delights they found, and their relative proximity to New York City allowed them to attend the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera as well. The many and varied handball games available to Willard throughout metro Boston, and the excellent teaching and warm communities provided first by Christ Church, Hamilton, MA, and then Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, Danvers, MA, simply made their experience all the better.
The result of Willard and Sally's experiences during this transitional year was that the summer of 2001 was a critical decision making time for them. After much thought and prayer, they decided to sell their home in Wyoming, and relocate to Boston's North Shore.Upon their return to Boston in November of 2001, the de facto Alpha New England Board of Directors approached Willard to become the first Director of Alpha New England. The timing was perfect for both Willard and Alpha. The Lord had clearly moved the Cooks to the Boston area, and into the circle of Alpha New England.
Willard finds working with Alpha to be an invigorating endeavor. He appreciates the people, the course, and the blessings of the Lord on a daily basis. He wants to be of service in any way he can to those running Alpha, or those curious about it.
Lisa Oelerich is a Grace Chapel mission’s partner; she has served on staff at Alpha New England as the Regional Director for Greater Boston and Cape Cod for the past 10 years. She enjoys building and equipping teams to ignite new outreach initiatives and provides information, training and support to those wishing to launch the Alpha Course. Lisa has been involved with the ministry of Alpha for the past 16 years. She was first introduced to Alpha when she attended the course as a guest in 2001. Having had a long series of negative experiences with “religious people”.
She is passionate about creating safe places for people to explore questions about life and faith. She feels especially called to reach those who seem disenfranchised by religion, overlooked or on the fringes of society. She has spoken locally, nationally and globally about her experiences. Lisa and her husband David live in the beautiful state of New Hampshire.
401 Edgewater Place, Suite 580
Wakefield, MA 01880
Trent Sheppard is a teacher, writer, and Alpha New England’s chaplain for college students. He lives in East Boston with his wife, Bronwyn, and their three children. Alongside his work with students, Trent helps to lead a neighborhood house church that seeks the wellbeing of their community. He is the author of Jesus Journey and God On Campus. You can find him online at TrentSheppard.com.
Chaplain, Alpha New England
Diahne Goodwin serves as the Alpha New England Catholic Coordinator.
Diahne has served in parish ministry for 20 years, in areas of faith formation, pastoral care and leadership in evangelization and mission work. She holds a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education, with a focus on adult formation and evangelization, and a Post Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation, both from Boston College. She has been certified as a Pastoral Associate with the Archdiocese of Boston since 2012.
Diahne has most recently served as Pastoral Associate and Director of Discipleship & Evangelization for the Apple Valley Catholic Community in Acton & Stow, MA. She has been and continues to be passionate about equipping parishes and individuals to encounter Jesus and joyfully share the fruits of that with others – to live out the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ to “go and make disciples…” Diahne and her husband, Tom, live in Westford, MA,
Catholic Context, Alpha New England