The Bay Center is a 501c-3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to support our community through programs that inspire personal growth, wholeness, & well-being. Carol Burke founded The Bay Center for Spiritual Development in January of 2000, and previously, The Bay Center was housed on Noblett Lane in Kilmarnock, VA. Now, the Bay Center offers it’s Grief Support Groups, Pledge to End Racism Workshops, Helpers & Healers gatherings, and more, throughout our community, often partnering with other nonprofits, churches, organizations, and businesses.

Our programs are supported by the Robert B. Lantz Foundation, the Agape Fund, the River Counties Community Foundation, donations from program participants, and individuals wishing to support The Bay Center.

The current staff and Board of Directors is committed to honoring the spirit and history of the Bay Center while leading this beloved organization into the future. The vision and work continue thanks to all the dedicated volunteers and visitors who have contributed to the making of The Bay Center. Please join us and be part of our journey ~

John Dutton, President

John Dutton came to appreciate and support the Bay Center in 2019 by way of the Grief Support Group. He is the retired Vice President and Principal Officer of what is now Thrivent Financial Services in Appleton, Wisconsin. John’s leadership led to the organization being given the White House Award for Mobilizing Volunteers by President Reagan, and then to his becoming Vice President of The Points of Light Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he led the development of the nation’s Volunteer Center system. Before moving to Lancaster County five years ago, he lived in Mathews, Virginia, and was President of the Board of the Gloucester Mathews Free Clinic. John lives in Weems with two untrained and overbearing Scottish Terriers and is working on his second book, this one about mothers who are raising sons by themselves.

Janet Hemming, Vice-President

Janet Hemming came to the Northern Neck in 2002 after a 30 year career in industrial engineering and bank operations. She lived and worked in Texas, Ohio, and North Carolina and retired from Wachovia Bank as Senior Vice President of Business Systems. After moving to Virginia, Janet started a consulting business working with banks in New York and Chicago on mergers, acquisitions, project management and system integration. In 2007, she retired to become the primary caregiver for her husband. After his death in 2016, Janet joined a Grief Support group at the Bay Center and participated in many of the other Bay Center programs. Janet currently is a Board member and Trustee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Rappahannock and a Board member of The Haven Shelter and Services. She resides in Weems with her Border collie rescue.

Tom Coye, Treasurer

Tom Coye has been part of the Northern Neck since 1988 when he became pastor of the newly formed St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Kilmarnock. Though he has recently retired from full time church service, he continues to serve various community ministries, most notably Linking Hope and Help, Inc. His enduring theme of ministry is the importance of service to God and people. Tom’s range of hobbies include music of all kinds, hiking, cycling, and computers. He and his spouse, Linda, have one child, Tim, who lives in Seattle.

Whitney Lang

Whitney Lang, born and raised in Kilmarnock, joined the board in January 2019. As soon as she was invited to learn more about The Bay Center, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. Whitney graduated from Lancaster High School and Rappahannock Community College, and is a certified integrative nutrition health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Whitney has worked locally in customer service and marketing roles at the Northern Neck Family YMCA and Burkes Fine Jewelers, and has spent time doing freelance work as a virtual assistant for powerhouse women from Canada to Maine, Ibiza to Mauritius. Now, Whitney is very happily a part of Team Kipp, managing admin and marketing for Randall Kipp Architecture. Whitney and Arthur Lang married in 2010, and have a son, Jamie, born in 2013. The family lives in Kilmarnock, close to their families, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. For fun, Whitney goes metal detecting and hunting for fossils and arrowheads, and loves to read, go on road trips, and spend time with friends and family.

Claiborne Dingledine

Claiborne Dingledine is passionate about connecting with Nature. He runs a contracting company that specializes in low/no chlorine pools, edible landscaping, solar and rainwater systems. Claiborne holds a captains license from the USCG and is an avid sailor on the Chesapeake Bay and beyond. He has a background in Mens Work, having organized, participated and helped lead several in his home state of Virginia. A native Northern Necker, his roots run deep in this community, as does his enthusiasm for the connection-based projects supported by the Bay Center.

Cheri Bennett

Cheri came to the Northern Neck after living and raising a family in Northern Virginia, and retiring as the Health Promotion & Communications Manager of an international organization in 2014. After the sudden passing of her 23 year old son Jeremy, and her father in 2017, Cheri sought and found the much needed support of The Bay Center Grief Support Group, joined the Board in 2021, and is a Grief Group Support Facilitator. “I am honored to give back to a community that has and continues to help me through the most difficult season of my life.” She treasures spending time with her husband Jim, singing, cooking, praying and visiting people in need, and volunteering with many community & church activities. She also loves kayaking, treasure hunting to repurpose items into art, and having friends & family visit often to reconnect. She summed up her life in the Northern Neck now: “I was a come-here, but now I belong-here!”

Action Teams

The Bay Center now has three Action Teams, headed by a board member, and composed of skilled and experienced members in our community who are bringing their expertise in their given field to the table to come up with the ideas that will help create The Bay Center programming. Proposals from the Action Teams go by The Bay Center board, which votes on which programming to pursue. The Executive Director then implements the programming.

The Grief Support Action Team is chaired by Cheri Bennett and team members include Carmela Crawford (Licensed Professional Counselor and a Facilitator for The Bay Center Grief Support Group), Alan Rock (Rappahannock General Hospital Chaplain and President of Lancaster Ministerial Association), and Jim Johnson (Pastor of Kilmarnock Baptist Church and a Facilitator for The Bay Center Grief Support Group).

The Mental Wellness Action Team is chaired by Whitney Lang and team members include Mary Arthur (Bay Aging, Dementia Caregiver Group Facilitator), David Scarbrough (Religion and Theology Ph.D., RYT – Registered Yoga Teacher, Facilitator for The Bay Center’s Being Present/Meditation Workshop), Morgann Rose (Personal Trainer and Certified GYROTONIC® instructor, Former Principal Dancer with the Washington Ballet, and Facilitator for The Bay Center’s Movement Therapy Workshop), Gracie Wessinger (Director of Guidance Services at Christchurch School, Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach), and Andrea Latell (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor).

The Spirituality and Human Consciousness Action Team consists of team members the Reverand Dr. Susan Moseley (D.Ed.Min., UU Minister, Facilitator for The Bay Center Grief Support Series and Covid Grief Support Series), Ruth Micklem (Past President, UUFR Board of Stewards; Community Response Advocate; Pledge to End Racism Facilitator), Ana Lapera (Managing Partner, Seagull Quest; Executive Leadership Coach), and William Zybach (Author/Organizational consultant/Facilitator/Global Spiritual Practitioner). 

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