The United Covenant Union 

The General Council 

Ms. Joan Garrity 

Member of The General Council 


Joan Garrity grew up in a Jewish family in the Pikesville community of northwest Baltimore. For her entire adult life, Ms. Garrity has been working to advance the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and our neighbors who live with HIV.  Joan spent twelve years as the Counseling, Education and Training Director of  Planned Parenthood of Maryland. She has spent nearly 33 years working as a consultant to train social service providers in how to best deliver their basic needs. Joan also has become a renowned sex educator and sits on the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University. Joan sits on the board of Older Women Embracing Life Inc., a mutual aid society of older women living with HIV in Baltimore. Joan lives with her family in Baltimore County and is a leader in her local Unitarian Universalist congregation. 

Mr. Nivek Johnson 

Member of The General Council 


Nivek Johnson is a middle school technology education teacher in the Montgomery County Public Schools. Mr. Johnson also serves as a nonpartisan elected member of the school board of Kent County, Maryland. Born and raised in Chestertown, Nivek has been an active lay leader at Janes United Methodist Church since his early teens, has served on the board of the Samaritan Group, The Agape Ministries, and the Charles Sumner Hall Post #45.  Nivek made his way through college by working as a youth pastor within the Episcopal Church and as a camp counselor. Nivek hails from a family of teachers that has been involved in civil rights work in Kent County for years. 

Mr. Len Shindel

General Council Chairperson 


Len Shindel is a retired steelworker, and a long-time member of the United Steelworkers of America. He was a shop steward and union officer, and was pivotal in crafting various collective bargaining agreements with Bethlehem Steel Corporation, at their Sparrows Point mill. Len grew up in a Jewish family and attributes his passion for workers rights as originating with his Jewish values. In his later life, Len has become a labor historian and journalist, uncovering union history and engaging retired laborers in the telling of their stories. What's more, Len has taken to writing poetry that touches on the intersection of faith, art, and politics. Len has retired to Deep Creek, Maryland with his wife Maxine. 

The General Council is the body tasked with the fiduciary custody of The United Covenant Union, akin to a board of directors. Our General Council is made up by General Members, people who are members of partner congregations who work diligently to raise money, establish partnerships, and recruit new clergy members and partner congregations for The United Covenant Union.