Meet Our Team


Ellen Barron, M.Div. / Spiritual and Wellness Center Director

Ellen Barron is a dedicated, high energy, enthusiastic spiritual leader who is committed to prayer and spiritual growth with a passion for learning and teaching Truth principles.  A strong communicator with excellent listening skills, she is dedicated to inclusivity and multi-generational ministry.


Ellen graduated June 2020 with a Master of Divinity and was ordained by Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute.  A native New Yorker, she lived in Florida for a number of years before relocating to Raleigh, NC to serve as minister at Unity Church of Raleigh.  In this capacity, Ellen has focused on solidifying a hybrid ministry for weekly services, workshops, and prayer and meditation. She has also assisted in upgrading technology and social media to help garner a stronger online viewership. 


Before coming to UCR, she served as Director of Youth Ministry at Unity of Fort Myers, creating and providing community outreach programs for foster and under-served families and youth.  A Licensed Unity Teacher since 2015, Ellen worked as a Chaplain at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, and taught adult SEE classes for credit at various churches in Florida and online via Zoom.  Rev. Ellen was a regular speaker and workshop presenter at several Unity churches in Florida and the Keys.


Stacey Paige, Yoga Instructor / Spiritual Coach

Stacey Paige is a Licensed Yoga Instructor and a Licensed Spiritual Coach. She helps people from all walks of life connect to their authentic selves and personal rhythms. Her passion is to help you understand and embody spiritual principles and practices, aligning you with your best life.
For more, see


Nancy Davison, Physical Therapist / Acupuncturist, PT/LAc

Nancy has over 20 years as an integrated medicine practitioner. Licensed in North Carolina as an Acupuncturist and Physical Therapist, she is committed to providing her clients with individualized treatments for a holistic approach to health and wellness. By addressing the emotional and spiritual components that affect physical health, she assists her clients in restoring balance, relaxation, and peace in their lives.

Since the early 1990s, Nancy has served in various leadership roles at Unity Church of Raleigh, making numerous contributions to the growth of this spiritual community, including the Board of Trustees, Ambassador Team, Prayer Ministry, Platform Team, and Meditation Team.


Sharri Gaines / Integrative Reflexologist, Reiki Practitioner, Certified Yoga Instructor, Spiritual Mentor

Sharri is certified in Integrative Reflexology, Usui Reiki and Reiki Tummo Energy Healing, and Hatha Yoga (Asheville Yoga Center). She has a private practice in Raleigh, NC (20 years) and facilitates workshops on Meditation, Intuitive Development, Hatha Yoga, Creating a Spiritual Practice and Introduction to the Spiritual Journey.

For 35 years, Sharri has been devoted to her spiritual, mental and physical unfolding and evolution. Paths and practices have included the teachings of metaphysics, esoteric Christianity, Buddhism, Native North American Medicine Wheel, Yoga Sutras, and most recently The Urantia Book. She was a long-time student of former Unity Church of Raleigh minister Rev. Beverly Bockover.  Sharri utilizes her diverse experience, ongoing development, deep listening and reflection and intuitive nature to help co-create healing and wholeness in the lives of others. 


Annie Nelson, Life Coach / Hypnotherapist

Annie Nelson is a Minister with the Alliance of Divine Love (ADL) Interfaith Ministry, where she is available for spiritual counseling and development.  She is also a Board-certified Master Hypnotherapist (MHt) and a Certified Life Coach with decades of experience in the behavioral sciences and management.  Annie brings her formal education, training, and natural gifts of compassion, and insights to her ministry, offering a body, mind, and spirit approach to working with people: serving in a co-creator role with clients who wish to address life challenges such as transition issues, anxiety, career choices, relationships, grieving/loss, divorce, etc., in order to create a more balanced lifestyle.

Annie Nelson

With exceptional listening skills, she helps people attain a better understanding of what drives their behavior and how "change" can be a positive experience in one’s life living forward.  Annie transmits incredible energy and wisdom from her rich experiences and learnings over the years.  She served 30+ years in a multitude of management and federal executive leadership positions, while simultaneously serving as a military officer in the Army National Guard.  As a retired executive and military officer, she continued to seek a more natural/spiritual path of service, which led to her ministry.  Annie is a member in good standing with the National Association of Transpersonal Hypnotherapist and The International Association of Counselors and Therapists. She and her associate can be found at: and


Joanne ("JP") Pizzino, MD, MPH, FACOEM

Joanne is a physician, board-certified in Preventive Medicine, and Integrative Medicine. She was also board-certified in Family Medicine for 24 years. With over five decades working in healthcare, she has accumulated extensive knowledge and resources to mentor individuals and organizations to integrate self-empowered healing techniques for optimum well-being.  After her own self-empowered healing epiphany in 1998, Joanne has practiced using high-tech and high-touch techniques, including Medical Acupuncture, Reiki, Interactive Guided Imagery, Functional Medicine, condition-specific nutrition, vibrational medicine, and botanical medicine. A special interest is enhancing the effectiveness of allopathic therapies with mind-body and spiritual techniques. Her avocations include a passion for exploring the world's cultures, and the land and seas that surround them.

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Larry Burk, MD, CEHP

Larry completed his medical school and residency training at the University of Pittsburgh. He trained in acupuncture and hypnosis and is a Certified Energy Health Practitioner (CEHP). Recently retired from Duke University Medical Center after a 40-year career as a holistic musculoskeletal radiologist, he was cofounder of Duke Integrative Medicine. He has been a guest trainer at The Monroe Institute and at the Art of Living Retreat Center, a founding member of American Board of Scientific Medical Intuition and former Board President of the Rhine Research Center. Currently, he has an online coaching practice at Healing Imager, LLC, specializing in EFT, hypnosis, dreamwork and the Enneagram. Larry's publications/presentations include: Let Magic Happen: Adventures in Healing with a Holistic Radiologist (2012) Dreams that Can Save Your Life: Early Warning Signs of Cancer and Other Diseases (2018.) TEDx talks: Cancer Warning Dreams that Save Your Life (2016) The Spiritual Alphabet Soup of Death and Dying (2022). The books, talks and EFT/dream coaching program are at

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Clara Davis, Life / Wellness Coach

Clara is certified in Life Coaching and is nearing completion of her studies as a Licensed Nutritionist. Her talents and skills include providing a calming presence, heart listening, organization, team-building, teaching, creating/facilitating seminars and workshops, public speaking, small business development, spiritual guidance/coaching/mentoring, and more.

Clara has been a member of the Unity family since 1979 and a member of UCR since the mid-80s. These teachings have served as a lifeline, particularly in learning that she can really be the change that she wishes to see, and learning how she might be of service to the world.  She currently serves on the Board of Trustees and Prayer Ministry Team, along with leading Sunday Morning Meditations.  Prior Unity experiences included serving as Prayer Chaplain, Usher, Choir Member, and Greeter. 

Dianne D. Evans, M.A.

Come Learn Energy Healing and Reiki . . . to Heal Yourself and Others


Dianne is a certified direct lineage Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master/Teacher who also uses shamanic and other natural healing techniques in her intuitive Energy and Reiki Healing sessions.  She officially began her energy healing work in 1987 and became certified as a Reiki Master/Teacher in 2001. Dianne is also certified in Past-Life Regression Hypnotherapy by the Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Center, Virginia Beach, VA. She is a published author and holds a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is also an ordained non-denominational Minister and spiritual 


counselor. In tandem with her Energy/Reiki work, she interacts holistically with each of her clients. She has been and is a gifted speaker/teacher/trainer on both the East and West Coasts providing programs for healing body, mind, and spirit, as well as other metaphysical workshops. Dianne has worked extensively with persons experiencing serious mental illness, as well as seniors and aging through her programs for the American Heart and Stroke Associations.  Dianne is a former Vice President of the UCR Board of Trustees, and is a member of the Prayer Team. She also enjoyed being the Oneness Blessings Giver for UCR congregants and guests prior to COVID and plans to resume this offering again in the near future.


Wende Essrow

Wende Essrow is a local author who has published a coffee table poetry and photography book, At First Light, that received a national book award. She has also written and illustrated several children’s books. Wende has a background in literature and has been writing poetry and stories as long as she can remember. She looks forward to sharing the joy and powerful healing process that writing has offered her over the years. Wende has a degree in teaching Secondary English and Special Needs -- birth through kindergarten. She taught preschoolers with special needs for 30 years. From Buffalo, NY, Wende moved to the Triangle area five years ago to be closer to her grandchildren.

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Carolyn Bard and Deanne Mott, Tai Chi Instructors

Carolyn fell in love with Tai Chi more than 11 years ago when she realized that it was meditation in motion and, despite being older, her health improved dramatically. Excited to share this internal art, Carolyn taught Tai Chi in the style of Moy Lin Shin through a large international organization, including at the Unity Church of Raleigh for about 3 years. She also enriched her practice and knowledge of the internal arts under the guidance of a longtime instructor of the same lineage. Carolyn is a retired psychotherapist and enjoys sitting meditation and spiritual study.  


Carolyn and De have been team teaching Tai Chi in Raleigh since co-founding Connection Tai Chi in 2021. You can read more about their backgrounds and teaching philosophy at

De (Deanne) has been studying and practicing Tai Chi as a student and as an assistant instructor for many years. Her advancement in this art under the close guidance of a direct student of Moy Lin Shin has brought her numerous benefits to the mind, body and spirit, along with a desire to share these with others. De’s goal is to help people gain the health, vitality, and calmness of mind that she feels when practicing Tai Chi. To enhance her knowledge of the internal arts, she also studies the complementary ancient Chinese internal arts of Liu He Ba Fa and Yi Quan. De and Carolyn have been team teaching Tai Chi in Raleigh since co-founding Connection Tai Chi in 2021. You can read more about their backgrounds and teaching philosophy at

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Carolyn Bard

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De Mott