Alumni/ae News

Mariah Callison (MDiv ’14) recently began serving as a Staff Chaplain at the John Muir Medical Center in Concord, California.

Carol Cissel (MDiv ’13) will be joining UUFCC (the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Center County) in State College, PA as their settled minister. Carol will move to Pennsylvania in July and will begin ministering on August 1.

Gwynn Fuqua (MDiv ’14) was ordained in the Christian Church of Northern California – Nevada (Disciples of Christ) on November 14, 2015. Since January 1, 2016, she has been serving as Associate Pastor of First Christian Church of Alameda (Disciples of Christ).

Pepper Swanson (MDiv ’14) will be ordained on Saturday, March 19th at Eden United Church of Christ in Eden’s historic Pioneer Chapel.  Pepper has been called to be Eden’s Designated Term Associate Minister.

Brian Adkins (MDiv ’14) is the Pastor at Open Door UMC in Richmond, CA.

Tracy Barnowe (MDiv ’11, MA ’12) is the settled minister at First Congregational Church of San Rafael, UCC, and is a church growth consultant and teacher.

Since 2013, Jonathan Dodson (MDiv ’11) has been the Head of Spiritual Care and Hospice Chaplain at Alliance Community Hospital in Alliance, OH. He and his wife, Jeannette Brodersen (MDiv ’09), welcomed their first child, a daughter, in November of 2015.

Andrew Greenhaw (MDiv ’12) is the pastor at St. Paul’s UCC in New Orleans, a new and renewing church.

Vathanak Heang (MDiv ’14) is a pastor at Santa Clara UMC in Santa Clara, CA. He writes, “I love feeding people spiritually. The ministry is very exciting, especially working with people from different ethnic groups.” Recently, Vathanak started a Cambodian language ministry at Santa Clara UMC.

Diane Johnson (MDiv ’14) has been approved for ordination in the Bay Association of the Northern California Nevada Conference of the UCC. She is currently on the Bay Association Council and joined the NCNC Council after Annual Gathering. Diane is in continued discernment for a sponsoring organization to issue a letter of call in Public and Community Ministry and hopes to be ordained by the end of 2015. Diane continues to work with national not-for-profits and is excited about continuing to serve as a New Beginnings Assessor, working with congregations to define their future visions. This fall, Diane will begin working with the Center for Progressive Renewal, serving as a coach and consultant to congregations engaged in leadership and capacity building.

Emily Labrecque (MDiv ’14) recently started as the Interim Director of The Niebuhr Center for Faith and Action at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, IL.

Leslie Leasure (MDiv ’14) will be ordained on October 24th, 2015, at Plymouth UCC in Oakland. Leslie is the Program Manager for the Ignite Institute @ PSR (formerly the Center for Spiritual and Social Transformation), and curates Into the Wilderness (

John Alex Lowell (MDiv ’10) is currently involved in an Accessibility Ministry helping people and houses of worship improve spiritual, attitudinal and architectural accessibility to people with disabilities and disabling health conditions from age.

James Merriam (MDiv ’15) is a restaurant manager developing the “sacrament of brunch.” He is also doing extensive pulpit supply.

Joseph Nutini (CSSC ’15) has published his new book, Loving Beyond Reason: A Guide Through Spirit, Love, and Transformation. Through his writing, Joseph channels a message of hope and inspiration for everyone working to make the world a better place while improving their own lives.

Meighan Pritchard (MDiv ’10) was ordained in the Fall of 2014, and serves as the half-time pastor at Prospect UCC in Seattle. She has been serving for the past two years as the UCC Minister for Environmental Justice and is easing out of that role, but will continue to lead environmental justice workshops for the UCC all over the country­.

Bonnie Rambob (MDiv ’15) was ordained into ministry in the United Church of Christ at the Congregational Church of San Mateo on August 15, 2015. Bonnie begins her tenure as a professional minister serving the Congregational Church of San Mateo (CCSM) as Transitional Minister of Intergenerational Education. Bonnie has a passion for creating spaces where people of many generations seek and find meaning in their individual spiritual journeys as well as in the communal Christian faith journey. One of her favorite faith formation programs is a multi-faith program called Peace Village.

Linda Jaramillo (MDiv ’05) will be serving as sabbatical pastor for three months at Lake Oswego United Church of Christ beginning May 8. They are all excited that Pastor Jennie Ott and her family will be spending well-deserved time of rest and renewal! They look forward to the stories they’ll share upon her return in August.

Nyasha Junior (MDiv ’01) has been appointed as Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible in the Department of Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Her book An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation has just been published with Westminster John Knox.

Jonathan Leavy (MDiv ’01) is now Chaplain at Pathways Hospice in Oakland, CA and currently serving as Co-Chair of the Committee on Ministry Section B for the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Margaret Lirones (MA ’00) is the Senior Librarian at Corcoran State Prison (California).  She writes, “I find this a rewarding job that helps me fulfill the mandate of Matthew 25:36.  However, statewide there are chronic vacancies and high turnover in Librarian and Senior Librarian positions…I find that my faith and my PSR education are as important as my Library Science degree as reasons why I find this job worthwhile and fulfilling.”

Jennifer Mills-Knutsen (MDiv ’00) has been serving as the Senior Pastor of the American International Church in London since July 2015. The congregation is made up of expatriates from the U.S. and around the world, along with native Londoners, and it is affiliated with the United Reformed Church in the U.K.

Jeremy D. Yunt (MDiv ’00) recently published his fourth book, entitled Love, Gravity, and God: Religion for Those Who Reason (Barred Owl Books, 2015). The book is a layperson’s guide to Paul Tillich’s three-volume Systematic Theology. Highlighting Tillich’s central theological concepts, it challenges the basic tenets of Christian fundamentalism. It offers a reasoned and hopeful alternative to the distorted teachings of fundamentalism; teachings that have made “religion” a maligned word in our time.  Dr. Paul Lee, Paul Tillich’s teaching assistant in the 1950s and 1960s, wrote the introduction.

Eileen Altman (MDiv ’07) is the Associate Minister at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, supporting the faith formation and outreach/social justice ministries of the church. FCCPA is growing and thriving!

Lea Appleton (MDiv ’03) is the Associate Dean of Student and Community Life at Claremont School of Theology. She is enjoying working with students to create community “that is fun!”

Laura Barnes (MDiv ’01) is currently in transition after 15 years of youth/young adult and children’s ministries in UCC churches in the Bay Area. She is taking Interim Ministry Training this fall.

Francine Brookins (MDiv ’02) is currently serving as the pastor of Beth-El AME Church in Fontana, CA. She is the Secretary of the AME Church’s Judicial Council and its second vice president of Women in Ministry. Francine is currently running for Bishop of the AME Church.

Elizabeth Dilley (MDiv ’03) is serving the UCC in the national setting as the Minister for Ministers in Local Churches. In this role, she works with conferences and associations to strengthen covenants of mutual accountability. She makes her home in Cleveland with her spouse, Paul Richardson, their child and their two dogs.

Jeffrey Dirrim (MDiv ’06) is the Founding Pastor and Executive Director of Rebel and Divine UCC in Phoenix, AZ.

Heather Leslie Hammer (MDiv ’06) is currently in her third appointment in The United Methodist Church since graduating. She has served San Ramon Valley (Alamo) as Associate, St. John’s (Rohnert Park), and now Lynnewood (Pleasanton) for the past 4 years. She is the lead pastor serving a church of folks dedicated to community outreach. The congregation is interested in progressive theology and spiritual formation. They have a group working on issues of inclusion and are becoming more ethnically diverse each year.

Brian Hutchison (MDiv ’09) is the new Senior Pastor of Emerald City Metropolitan Community Church in Seattle. An installation service is being planned for the fall. More information can be found at

James Latimer (MDiv ’02) is doing renewal work at North Madison Congregational UCC in Madison, CT. He also coaches pastors and congregation through the Center for Progressive Renewal.

Susan Meeter (MDiv ’00) is currently in transition, experimenting with an arts ministry supporting prayer and meditation with beautiful touchstones (prayer chains, prayer bracelets).

Kimberly Montenegro (MDiv ’08) is leading a new church start­—a “multicultural traditional church,” in Mountain House, CA.

Heather Moody (MDiv ’04) serves as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Poughkeepsie, NY. She recently enrolled in a two-year School for Transformational Leadership run by the Mastery Foundation (,

The White House named Kim Morrow (MDiv ’00) a Champion for Change for her work mobilizing faith communities for environmental sustainability.

Lavon Stalling (MDiv ’09) was ordained on August 15th at the First Christian Church in Vallejo, CA. Lavon is active in community organizing efforts in Vallejo, CA, primarily around the issues of economic justice, education, and public safety. Lavon has formed a faith-based non-profit, The F.O.R.G.E., to provide afterschool programming and advocacy for at-risk and high-risk youth in Vallejo.

Corbin Tobey-Davis (MDiv ’08) is “rocking out” ministry at Parkview Church in Aurora, Colorado, recently starting a new 501c3 to support his community ministry offering. He is also happily raising two kids, helping to lead the Rocky Mountain Conference UCC Annual Meetings, and is a member of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative of the United Church of Christ.

Young-Gweon You (MDiv, MA ’90) was installed as the Dean of Graduate School of Theology & College of Theology at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

Alison Berry (MDiv ’98) began a new ministry at the Church of the Joyful Healer in McKinleyville, CA on July 1st, 2015.

After serving Modesto First UMC for 11 years, Debra Brady (MDiv ’94) was appointed as Central Valley District Superintendent of the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church on July 1st, 2015.

Laura Stivers (MDiv ’92) is currently the Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Dominican University of California in San Rafael. She has a book that should be published this fall by Orbis Books entitled Earth Ethics: A Case Method Approach, co-authored with Jim Martin-Schramm.

Eric Dale (MDiv ’80) began as the Interim Pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Albany, Oregon on September 8th.

Lanny Peters (CTS ’80) is retiring as pastor of Oakhurst Baptist church after 28 years of service on April 23.

Philip A. Rolnic (MA ’86) has recently published a new book with Baylor University Press entitled Origins: God, Evolution, and the Question of the Cosmos.

Anne Dilenschneider (MDiv ’87) is a partner in Journey Counseling Services in Sioux Falls, where she works closely with endocrinologists and surgeons to meet WPATH standards for mental health and medical care as they serve the transgender community. In addition to her work as a counselor, she is serving as a South Dakota Humanities Council Scholar in 2017. Anne is also a poet and has recently received a Third Place award in the 2016 South Dakota State Poetry Society contest for her poem, “Homestead.”

Mary Ellen McCarthy (MA ’87) recently retired as Special Projects Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Jeffrey Spencer (MDiv ’87) is the Senior Pastor and Teacher at Niles Discovery Church in Fremont. The congregation is a recent merger of First Christian Church of Fremont and Niles Congregational Church (UCC) and is now dually aligned. The congregation recently underwent a major remodel of one building and the sale of another to a Buddhist community, with whom they are now finding ways to partner.

Robert Tussing (MDiv ’80) is currently the Senior Minister at Dublin Community Church (UCC) in Dublin, Ohio.

In May,  J. Shannon (Pitts) Chamberlin (MA ’75) completed her PhD in Education from Walden University. She will present her dissertation research at the International Conference for Service-Learning and Community Engagement 2015. Over the summer, she was a research fellow for Campus Compact (an organization that promotes service-learning). Now, J. Shannon is serving on the Community Engagement Council at The University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

For the past 15 years, R. Lee Hayward (MA, MDiv, ’74) has supported individuals seeking to integrate their personal values in the workplace. He works regularly with executives in the corporate world, as well as clergy in several judicatories for established and new church starts as a leadership coach. Lee is certified as an ontological coach by the International Coach Federation, and for the past 10 years, he has worked as executive coach to the head of NASA Mission Control in Houston, Texas.  Although recently retired from the United Methodist Church, Lee remains appointed by his Bishop and endorsed by the United Methodist Endorsing Agency to a ministry of organizational effectiveness and leadership development. Lee recently received the “Achievement Award for Excellence in Engineering” from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.   He and his wife Linda live in San Jose, California.

In August 2016, Marsh Hudson-Knapp (MDiv ’75) will retire after 35 years serving First Congregational Church of Fair Haven (VT) UCC.  Marsh has inspired Biblical Gardens around the globe, and involved the local church in healing, and community ministries.  Marsh and Cindy will live in Pownal, Vermont where he grew up.

Diane Dulin (MDiv ’79) is currently the Director of Church Participation for KAIROS USA, working on behalf of justice for Palestine.

Rich Smith (MDiv ’76) retired in May after 39 years in the UCC ministry, serving churches in Tombstone and Tucson, AZ, Long Beach, CA, Bethesda, MD, and most recently, the First Congregational Church of Reno, NV.

Pam Smith (CTS ’76) retired from teaching English and writing, most recently at the University of Nevada, Reno. Rich and Pam have moved to Green Valley, Arizona. They became grandparents a year ago, an event which encouraged them to retire!

Rev. Dr. Richard Cunningham (MDiv  ’68, MRel ’68) retired from the core faculty of the School of Theology and Ministry (STM), Seattle University. He was named Professor Emeritus of Contextual Education by the University.  He continues to teach in the new Doctoral Ministry Program at STM, now in its second year.  He is also a contributor to a new work, just released, Brimming with God: Reflecting Theologically on Cases in Ministry, edited by Barbara J. Blodgett and Matthew Floding.

Richard Einerson (MDiv ’61) and his wife, Carolyn, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary June 4. Their three daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren all gathered in Estes Park at the Historic Stanley hotel June 7-8 for the family celebration. Daughter Stephanie Narveson and husband Bob live in suburban Minneapolis. One of their twin daughters, Sonia, lives in San Francisco and sings at the Ritz-Carlton, at jazz festivals, the wine country, and other events. Their other twin daughter, Andrea, lives in the Denver area. They have one granddaughter and three grandsons. In 2006, Richard published Prayers of the People: Pastoral Prayers for Worship and Personal Devotion, based on the 2-year Revised Common Lectionary.

After graduating from PSR in 1958, with a special emphasis in ministry in higher education, Tom Lindeman (MDiv ’58) worked in an ecumenical team at Fresno State 1958-1966, and then at UMass Amherst l966-1974, dealing with a wide range of issues on the interface between the church, higher education, and social change. For 21 years, Tom served as an urban pastor, parish pastor, and organization development consultant in non-profit systems throughout New England.  

On “retiring” in 1995, Tom returned to Amherst and took up working again in campus ministry, but with the new advantage of not having to answer to any board or committee, only to the Holy Spirit. During his earlier years at UMass, he had founded a faculty movement emphasizing undergraduate teaching, challenging the prevalent “publish or perish” mentality. By the time he returned to Amherst, it had morphed into a university focused on teaching.

 Tom chaired the chancellor’s committee to create a diversity program for the university. He also coordinated a partnership between the university and the nearest urban center, Springfield.  This past year, Tom was the first honorary member of UMass Amherst’s Senate. He resumed contacts with hundreds of faculty, staff and administrators, providing communication and sometimes counseling for many people hungry for someone knowledgeable and dependable to talk to about pressing issues in their professional and personal lives.  Tom says “in hidden places ministry in higher education persists!”

Agnes Alden

John Berger (MDiv ’52)

Sydney Thomson Brown

James C. “JC” Browne (MDiv ’88)

Jacqueline J. Carr

Patricia Clarke

Barbara Cone

Barclay Ann Daily Hanna (MDiv ’87)

Gerald A. Larue (ThD ’53)

Anne McCullum

James Alexander McCullum (DMin ’88)

Robert Midkiff

Richard Neill

Jerome Foute Politzer (STM ’65)

Richard Post

Ann Loofbourrow Rood

David S. Sandberg

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis (ThD ’72)

Eileen Smith

John Steinitz (MDiv ’58)

Carol Toney

James Toney

Charles Townes

Charlotte Wirt