our staff

  • the rev. tom ulrich

    interim pastor

    Tom Ulrich and his wife Cathy recently moved to Albuquerque in March after spending six years in the frigid conditions of Akron, Ohio, where Tom served as the pastor of New Covenant Community Church, and Cathy was the General Presbyter and Stated Clerk of Eastminster Presbytery.  

    Tom earned an undergraduate degree from Louisiana Tech in mathematics and physical education, as well as a master’s degree in mathematics, before attending Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, for his Masters of Divinity degree.   

    Tom spent most of his ministry in Arkansas, where he served with his wife as co-pastor of Central Presbyterian Church, Fort Smith, AR, for 20 years.  Prior to that, he served as chaplain at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, AR, where he also taught courses in the New Testament.  

    Tom currently serves on the board of Solar Under the Sun, an ecumenical mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that not only trains volunteers to install small solar arrays in areas of the developing world where access to electricity is unavailable, unaffordable, or unreliable, but also seeks to

    address the profound consequences of energy poverty on essential aspects of life — clean water, education, and economic equity.  He has also led or participated in mission trips in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, and Haiti.

  • Karen Cox

    Administrator/Financial Secretary

    Karen Cox was born in Albuquerque and has lived in New Mexico all but two years of her life. She has Bachelor's degrees in History and Government from New Mexico State. After working for the Social Security Administration, she decided to indulge her creative side and owned a wedding business but she found her passion went she went to work for a bookstore. When she decided she was tired of being poor, she went to UNM and took accounting classes. Her work lead to her own small business and working for an architectural firm and an engineering business. She loves God, her husband, Rich Reif, her six cats, reading, the Placitas Library, classical music and good food and wine.

    As the Administrator, Karen is responsible for production of LPPC’s weekly, monthly and annual documents, management of the church office and coordination of church events in partnership with the many volunteers active at LPPC.

    Karen can be reached by phone at 867-5718 or by email: administrator@lasplacitaschurch.org

  • Elliot Smith

    Choir Director

    Elliot Smith just banded with Las Placitas Presbyterian Church as our Music Director in 2015. Bringing his wife, Maria, and son, Desmond with him from California, he and his little family moved to Albuquerque a bit over a year ago. They remain enchanted with the resonant spirit of the people here, the pure beauty of the nature that surrounds us, and the evident, outspoken support for the Arts.  

    Elliot received his Bachelors in Music from the University of Redlands, where he focused on music composition, theory, and vocal performance. At one time, he was simultaneously a member of the Chapel Singers, Madrigals, the University Choir, Those Guys!, an all a cappella ensemble, Riverside Little Opera, and Canto Bello, the group in which he eventually propositionally serenaded his wife. He steadfastly was the Music Director for University United Methodist Church in Redlands, California for eleven years.

    Elliot invites anyone to join LPPC’s choir and shall aim for the experience Anne Lamott felt as she shared in Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith: “Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone's very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.” 

    Here in Albuquerque, he recently directed musically for Musical Theatre Southwest’s productions of The Addams Family musical and Once Upon a Mattress, in which he successfully rewrote most of the score from instrumental to be purely a cappella. He recently secured a position as a pianist for the National Dance Institute of New Mexico and he also enjoys working with the Alley Kats Tap Company as their bluegrass and indie-style band-leading Music Director.

    Elliot can be reached at the church office, 867-5718 or by email at:


  • Mindy Sampson


    Mindy Sampson joined LPPC as our accompanist in 2009. Holding both Bachelor and Master degrees in Piano from the University of New Mexico, Mindy has been a professional accompanist for many churches and several choruses in the greater Albuquerque area. In addition to her church work, she has performed with dozens of theater productions, including with Albuquerque Civic Light Opera/Musical Theater Southwest, Albuquerque Little Theatre, Adobe Theater, New Mexico Young Actors, The Cell, Duke City Repertory Theatre, and many local high schools, serving as rehearsal accompanist, pit keyboards, and music director. Mindy's most recent classical accomplishment was a concert of Mozart, Bruch, and Schumann trios with Willy Sucre and Lori Lovato in the Placitas Artists Series. Having toured with operatic baritone Carlos Serrano and played countless concerts, recitals, and appearances at local, national, and international hotels, restaurants, convention centers, and celebrity parties (for Wayne Newton, Renaldo Bellini, Sid Caesar, and Bill Daily, among others), Mindy has been a popular solo pianist (as "Mindy Mae") since 1977.

    In addition to her musical contributions, she knits and crochets for the C&J Prayer Shawl group at LPPC and enjoys her son, Alex, a professional acrobat and an accomplished musician and artist. Mindy shares her punny sense of humour with her sister, Ellanie, who also knits and crochets for LPPC.

  • TBD

    Youth Ministry Coordinator

  • Nicole Madiera and Arielei Kinzer

    Kids' Day Out Preschool (KDO)

    Program Directors

    They can be reached by phone at 505-867-3371 and by email at mdodirectors@gmail.com

  • Sara Moore

    Website Manager

    Sara is always in need of individuals with an interest in the internet and websites who would like to volunteer at LPPC. Please feel free to contact her with any website questions through the church office at 867-5718 or by email: webmanager@lasplacitaschurch.org.