Central Reform Congregation hires new executive director


Sonya J. Vann. Photo: Eden Theological Seminary website

Sonya J. Vann has been named executive director of Central Reform Congregation, the congregation announced in a news release this week.

Vann, who has a Master of Divinity degree, served as the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves. She is a trained minister, and serves on several boards of directors, including as the Vice Chair for St. Vincent Home for Children.

“I am thrilled to be joining CRC,” Vann said in the release. “The opportunity to serve in this important role is one that humbles and excites me. I feel a kindred spirit with CRC, their rabbinic team, staff and members as we seek to bring about justice and shalom in meaningful ways that create change.”

Vann will oversee the synagogue’s business operations and is expected to lead CRC as it returns to a normal flow of in-person services and events, and help the synagogue re-engage with its membership as it recovers from the pandemic. In a release issued to CRC congregants announcing the appointment, it stated that Vann also has “significant fundraising” experience.

“Your rabbis are thrilled to be able to welcome Sonya Vann as our new executive director,” said Rabbi Susan Talve. “CRC’s rapid growth has brought a host of challenges and opportunities to our membership, leadership team and staff. Sonya’s skill set, experience and spiritual soul are just what we need to remain true to our core values as we expand meaningful engagement within our community and beyond.”

CRC has been without a permanent executive director since last fall. John Stamm has been serving as interim executive director since January.

Rabbi Randy Fleisher said he was “thrilled” that Vann would be joining CRC, adding, “Sonya brings together expertise with budgets and engaging people-skills in a way that is seamless and highly effective.

“Our hiring process included a great cross section of our membership and lay leadership, who all agreed that Sonya is the right person with the right skill set at the right time. We are confident that Sonya will oversee a CRC whose character of spirituality, inclusivity, innovation and nurturing will carry forward into our next chapter.”

Vann will be formally introduced to CRC’s congregants on May 20th at a Shabbat service. Other virtual and in-person meet-and-greets with Vann will take place over the next few months.