Staff

Our staff for The Copeland Institute includes a diverse collection of imaginative folks who understand a bunch of stuff important to healthy living, from aging to the environment, mindful eating to the creative, visual and performing arts. We have consultants who can fix anything, paint anything, or design anything. We work collaboratively with academics, pastors, theologians, artists, and chefs. We employ our neighbors and our children and their friends, to make your experience at The Copeland Institute life changing.

Core values of the team at The Copeland Institute include practices that foster the following: compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, hope, humility, faith, community, courage, just-peace, patience, serenity and joy.

VerleeEllis1-150x150FOUNDERS: The Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee A. Copeland and Dr. Ellis Copeland

Author, Pastor, and Founder of The Copeland Institute, The Rev. Dr. Verlee A. Copeland currently serves as Senior Minister of First Parish United Church of Christ in York, Maine. Collaborating with Psychologist Dr. Ellis Copeland, she directs the work of The Copeland Institute: Healthy Habits for Life through weeklong retreats and workshops. The Rev. Dr. Copeland co-authored “Sex and the Spirit: The Romance of Heaven and Earth”, inviting us into the passionate life as embodied children of God without shame.

Dr. Copeland graduated with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. For two decades, she served congregations in Greeley, Colorado and Hinsdale, Illinois prior to her current work in Maine. Through worship, teaching and writing, she seeks to equip people of faith to think theologically about the world in which we live and to share God’s grace, mercy and peace with all God’s people.

As a recent Trustee at The Chicago Theological Seminary, she advised doctoral graduate students in preaching, and supported theological leadership development for our time. Dr. Copeland has also taught graduate classes at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Counseling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as Mourning and Grief. Her work continues as a national consultant on embodied faith, transforming health and sexuality for life. Known for her keen insight as well as the warmth that she brings to local church ministry, she is a respected leader among clergy within the United Church of Christ.

Avocations for Verlee Copeland include wilderness adventures such as a women’s’ trek in the Arctic Circle, mountain climbing and kayaking. She supports global partnerships with Common Hope in Guatemala, Habitat for Humanity International, and a developing partnership through the Global Ministries of The United Church of Christ in Cuba.

Mindy West
Mindy has resided in the beautiful Rocky Mountains for over 25 years. She is excited to be a part of the Copeland Institute serving in hospitality and reservations. You may find her tending to the details of the Copeland properties to help make your stay comfortable, or relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the mountains. She is a hiker, white water rafter, gardener and quilter. Mindy truly enjoys serving in the community she lives in and pursuing healthy living habits.

Bob Brija
Meet Bob Brija of Lemont, Illinois. Nicknamed MacGyver, Bob serves as resident problem solver and creative genius. He fixes things, all sorts of things, and watches over La Casa and it’s residents with careful attention. Equally at home in the well-appointed workshop and the kitchen, Bob can be found inventing a hubcap, or serving up morning omelets du jour.

Mary Brija
Webmaster Mary Brija loves the mountains of Colorado and enjoys portraying it’s beauty through photography and website development. She continually improves her craft, communicating to those who live far away the delights that await those fortunate to retreat with family or friends at La Casa de la Luz.