​​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, she has been working to advance the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and, from the onset of the epidemic, our neighbors who live with HIV.  Joan spent many years with Planned Parenthood of Maryland; she served at different times as their Director of Counseling and Director of Education and Training.  She spent nearly 33 years working as a consultant to the State of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University to train medical and social service providers how best to provide care and counsel to their clients. Joan is a renowned sexuality educator, working nationally and internationally.  She was one of the founders of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University. Joan has had long involvement with 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 an active member of 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.