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The Rev. Dr. Phil Hobson arrived at Salem United Church of Christ in Verona, Wisconsin in June of 2023.

Pastor Phil (pronouns: he/they) grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His hometown was the “Secret City” of the Manhattan Project back in World War II. Steeped from an early age in the history of Oak Ridge, where they enriched the uranium for the nuclear weapon deployed in Hiroshima, Japan, Phil sought out answers for who the other side of the conflict was.  

He followed that question to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, graduating with a B.A. in Japanese Studies in 1992. Following college, he worked with his home church pastor and discerned a call to ministry. Phil graduated with his Masters of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1997. He returned to CTS nearly two decades later to study preaching, and there he earned a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree in 2019.   

Pastor Phil has served churches in Westchester, IL; Dallas, TX; Charlotte, MI; and Mt. Sinai, NY before coming to Verona. He has helped lead a capital campaign for over 10 times annual giving, prepared a church to become Open and Affirming, and developed video and digital ministry programs during the pandemic.

Pastor Phil loves helping people discover that Jesus shows us how God loves each and every person just as they are, and equipping people to discover and follow their own callings. Deep dives into scripture, compassionate listening, and building community are pieces of local church ministry Pastor Phil enjoys. 

Outside of ministry, Phil likes games, movies with his family, and reading. A good cup of coffee and attempting to learn musical instruments are two of his joys. He and his family live in Madison with two cats and a dog. 

Staff: About
Staff: Staff & Leadership

Office Administrator

Cara Bahr

Cara Bahr is our Office Administrator


Sarah Pundt

Director of Christian Education
Director of Youth Ministry

Sarah has been Salem’s Director of Christian Education since October 2016, and also serves as the Interim Director of Youth Ministry since March of 2021. 

She primarily oversees our Christian Education program for all ages including our nursery childcare center, Sunday school, Safe Church Program, Vacation Bible School, evening Adult programs, intergenerational activities, and special seasonal activities. She enjoys providing opportunities for every member of the Salem community to explore and deepen their faith, serve as teachers and mentors to others, and grow in fellowship with each other in the process.  Everyone is at a different place in their faith journey and at Salem, we offer a loving and supportive environment to ask questions and challenge ourselves to live active and fulfilling lives as Christians.

Sarah and her husband are natives of Rochester, NY and moved to Verona in 2003 with their two children.  She has been a lifelong church member- in the Presbyterian (PCUSA), Congregational, and UCC traditions.  The Pundts became members of Salem shortly after moving to Verona.  Sarah earned a B.A. in Music with a minor in Psychology from Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) and is currently enrolled in the Lay Academy through the UCC WI Conference.  Her volunteer roles at Salem include serving on Youth Ministry Team and the Pastoral Relations committees. When she is not at church, she enjoys spending time with her family, participating in outdoor recreation activities, and scrapbooking.  

She looks forward to engaging as many of you as possible in our educational programs and welcome all questions and ideas. Please contact her at or 608-692-3239.

Staff: About

Dawn Lingard


Dawn Lingard has been a musician nearly all of her life, sharing her musical gifts in her Salem Sunday School class at around age 10, then becoming one of the 2 organists while in High School.  After focusing on her music studies at Oral Roberts University with Joyce Bridgman in Tulsa, OK, she then moved to Kansas City, MO.  There she found a church home that embraced her eclectic musical background & helped enhance her worship style.  Since coming back home to Salem in 2005, Dawn took over the Organist responsibilities.  Here, she was able to introduce her varied background in piano performance & accompaniment.  She loves working with musicians of all ages & abilities, helping them embrace their talent & share it with others.

Currently, Dawn is our organist and pianist, supporting the Chancel Choir.

She thoroughly enjoys sharing her gifts of music not just with Salem but with her community at large.  She has been the Lands’ End Christmas Choir accompanist for 25 years & helps out with local school concerts, Solo & Ensemble events, and musicals … to name just a few. 

Staff: About
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