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Lauren Merkley, Educational Support Personnel

Tell us about yourself. 
I was born and raised in New Jersey. I have always loved playing sports. I played softball for over 10 years and then went and played in College. I became a Christian my sophomore year of high school at a winter retreat. I currently attend Emergence in Totowa, NJ. I am the service coordinator for the 9am children’s ministry. I love reading. I love doing anything athletic. I love coffee and enjoying life. God is using every circumstance and chapter to grow us and make us more like Him each and every day.

How did God bring you to work at EC? 
I attended Nyack College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education with a concentration in social studies and math. I also earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education and completed my thesis on Autism Spectrum Disorders. All throughout college I continued attending Emergence. When Emergence was planted in Totowa I helped out in the children’s ministry. I then volunteered to help out at the VBS Emergence. I have helped out each year for VBS. I was the Director of VBS this year. Through Emergence and through VBS I met Naomi Braunius, a teacher at EC. We immediately clicked and it was great just talking to her about education and questions I had. Naomi was open to the questions and provided great wisdom about both classroom, and student needs as well as personal life questions. In the last year I would reach out to Naomi with education and special education questions. This last year her daughters were attending the 9am service at Emergence and we got to know each other better and better each week. She had approached me about a possible opening at EC and we both decided we would pray about it and see where God leads. God opened the door for a full-time position here at ECMS and thankfully I was given the position.

What sets EC apart?
Even though I have only been here a few short weeks, I have loved everything about EC. From the staff to the students, everyone is welcoming and willing to lend a helping hand. The students are so sweet, caring and love talking about the Bible. I love how EC allows the students to be kids but at the same time academically pushes them to learn, grow and succeed. The staff truly cares about the students as a whole, and not just as a student, but as a child of God. EC is a great environment and I am excited to see what God will continue to do here at EC and through the lives of everyone at EC.