The Many Faces of Urban Christian Ministries

           Rev. Denise O. Walden Glenn

Rev. Denise O. Walden Glenn

                                               Executive Servant Leader/CEO

Rev. Denise O. Walden Glenn, is a woman of faith, wife, mother, mentor, servant/community leader, member of the clergy and organizer who serves as the Executive Servant Leader/CEO of Urban Christian Ministries, located in the city of Buffalo, New York on the East Side. She also serves  at First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church also located in Buffalo, New York on the East Side under the Leadership of Elder/Pastor Jason J. Drayton. 

Rev. Denise, wife to Christopher M. Glenn and mom to five sons, four daughters and a host of spiritual children, found herself making Buffalo her home in June of 2009.  Shortly after settling her family here in Buffalo she found herself deeply involved in ministry work.  She founded a mentoring ministry for young ladies called the Bold Blessed Beauties where she would pour into young ladies ages 14-25 to learn to see themselves as God sees them knowing they are valuable and beautiful in Christ. This program was an extension of her personal ministry Journey Enterprise. 

Rev. Denise through her mentoring Journey understood the importance of widening the circle and having people around you that will speak life and truth. This understanding not only shaped her and her ministry but as a mom of sons led Rev Denise to partner with Urban Christian Ministries Brothers with a Purpose Ministry. After seeking God she knew that she would need a village of Righteous men around her to deeply invest in her sons as God had moved in her to invest in so many young ladies. This by far is not where her ministry journey began but was simply a new Chapter.  

In 2012 Rev. Denise had a life changing experience as she got invited to join a small group of parents and caregivers as part of a parent caregiver leadership training hosted by Parent Network of WNY.  It was this experience that set Rev. Denise on the course of tying her faith to community leadership and being the change. In 2014 she became Parent Networks Parent of the year, in addition to becoming certified as a Senior Community Health Worker, Education advocate in three school districts and Health Advocate. In 2016 she became an Open Buffalo Emerging leader and decided it was time to truly put her faith into action and help people of faith, especially leadership, understand we have to do the work of creating the living conditions we and all people deserve, ensuring we are centering those closest to the pain in the solution. 

For Rev. Denise Faith, Racial Equity and Justice walk hand and hand. All that being said, Rev Denise’s  most important accomplishment has been her dedication to living a life  saying yes to God. She is determined to be serving and loving the beloved community well. She has held several community leadership positions and roles, has sat on many boards/committees and won several awards. If you ask her it is all because of God and all glory belongs to him! 

Rev. Denise has been blessed to not just volunteer for over a decade but work doing what she loves and that is serving people and being the change. The word of God has taught her “Faith without works is dead ” so she does not sit around waiting on someone else to do what needs to be done. She works with those who are also crazy enough to give God their yes, provoking & equipping them to live on purpose for purpose so that everyone understands their part in getting it done. After all,  if you were to ask her close friend and Predecessor Rev. Will Coplin he would say “Excuses only mean the job didn’t get done!” So following his remarkable example, love and commitment and that of many other incredible and anointed UCM leaders Rev. Denise is doing her part in getting the job done!! 

                        Rev. William Coplin

Rev. William Coplin

                                                                       Assistant Director

William Coplin came to Urban Christian Ministries (UCM) in 1981. His first assignment was to run UCM’s second hand store called the Budget Shop. After running the shop for a number of years, our building was sold, and the store closed. Shortly after the closing of the Budget Shop, William was appointed to run the teen ministry “Teenage Alternative” (T.A.). Through T.A. the teen ministry flourished greatly. God opened many doors and we were able to minister in both grade schools and high schools. Through workshops and assemblies, William taught self esteem, self worth, and provided them with the necessary tools to resist the temptation of drugs and alcohol, with the assistance of the “Nancy Regan Just Say No” drug awareness program. TA spent many years in the classrooms, establishing solid relationships with principals, teachers, and students. He also took young men on many weekend camping trips.

In 1987, William was ordained through the Church of God in Christ. In 1990, Urban Christian Ministries appointed William Coplin, Executive Director of the organization. In 1995, God opened the door for UCM to start two of our most powerful ministries: BLOCK CLUB BASKETBALL (youth violence prevention and empowering young people) and MISSION TRIPS TO JUAREZ MEXICO (preparing young people for missions work in other countries.) Rev. Will has served on many boards and has received many awards. One of Rev. Will’s favorite sayings is:

                                                    God doesn’t call us because of what we can do;

                                                                   He calls us because of what

                                                                              HE CAN DO!

BWAP Mentors:
Eddie Lewis    Stephon Boston    Aaron Robinson   Michael Aina    Anthony Herrera

                    Yestaidae Ruttlen

Yestaidae Ruttlen

                                                          Executive Support

Yestaide E Ruttlen is an Emerson High School graduate and native to the East Side of Buffalo.  She chose to continue her education at Niagara Culinary Community College. She is a member of First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church also located on the East Side of Buffalo, where she is under the leadership of Pastor Jason Drayton. She serves as the Executive Support to Rev. Denise O. Walden Glenn at Urban Christian Ministries.  Her time at UCM has helped shape her faith walk by showing her mission work is bigger than what we do in other places of the world but also rite here at home. This caused an eagerness in her to serve and build the community that has contributed to the amazing young woman that she is.


Yestaidae has always had a desire to love and serve people and it is strongly connected to her faith in God. She will tell you that her walk with God is not an easy one, but one that is so very worth it. Two scriptures she holds near and dear to her heart are (Psalms 30:1-5) & (Proverbs 3:5,6)


Yestaidae grew up in the church alongside her mother, sister, grandmother and aunt. She shares: “I grew up around strong women of faith and they served as models for me!” She started her journey in faith community leadership at a young age as she was taken under the wing of Rev. Denise who not only adopted her into her family but her ministry Journey Enterprise.  Her time with Journey Enterprise Ministry taught her life is your journey and you should be living on purpose, for purpose. This relationship opened many doors for her such as UCM, The Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo and Jericho Road Community Health.  


Yestaide not only volunteered with these organizations, she became a certified Community Health Worker, trainer and facilitator. This opened her eyes to systemic disparities and how she could play a vital role in changing them in her life and the lives of others by educating and equipping others, provoking them to purpose and change. She has been actively doing that work every day! 


Yestaidae is humbled and grateful for all of her experience. She is most excited to be able to do the work she loves grounded in her faith, knowing it is an opportunity for her to not just deepen who she is as a woman of faith but allow God to move through her to support others in doing the same. She gets to use all of her knowledge in skills to be part of what will build, grow and bring the much needed change to her community. She understands that sometimes faith work is allowing God to do the work within so you are equipped to be his hands and feet.


                          Kathy Jefferys

Kathy Jefferys

                                                               Board Treasurer

It has been an honor to serve the LORD at Urban Christian Ministries for the majority of my adult life. I started as a volunteer in the afterschool tutoring program in the old Ellicott Mall housing project. While my children were young I volunteered my time with the ministry in a variety of areas helping with federal fund distributions (remember the blocks of cheddar cheese) and working in the Thrift Store at 1241 Main Street. In 1989, I was hired as the secretary.

When the ministry moved to our current location on Jefferson Avenue, I was promoted to the prestigious position of Office Manager and served in this capacity until 2012 when I “retired” from full time paid staff.

                     Nicole Shearer

Nicole Shearer

                                                           Office Administrator

Hello my name is Nikki. I am 34 years old and I am the Office Administrator at UCM. So many people think that office jobs are just handling mountains of paperwork and answering phones. While those are the essential job functions, it is deeper than that, especially in a non profit setting.   UCM is here to assist, to love, and to be compassionate just as Jesus would.  So many times I receive phone calls inquiring about food or clothing, and in the midst of answering questions, often times the individual will open up about their struggles. It is my favorite part of this job. While I enjoy data entry and spreadsheets because I’m a computer nerd, at my core, I appreciate that God has equipped me in different ways to make a difference whether it is being a listening ear, fulfilling the need ourselves, or providing a referral.

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