Meet the Staff
My faith story: I laughed when my New Testament Professor at Carleton College, Marcus Borg, told me 32 years ago that women could be ordained ministers and that I ought to consider it. I laughed even harder when he told me that he would nominate me for a fellowship that would pay for my seminary education. I assured him that I was going to law school; and that my parents were ready to re-mortgage their house to pay for it. Yet my wildest dream of going to law school, wasn't half wild enough. There was that crazy idea of the ordained ministry, something I had never heard or seen any woman do.
I always knew from my youngest years, that I had a calling from God to ministry. I just thought that ministry would be like that of an Old Testament prophet, calling out for justice through the work of a lawyer. I did not think my calling was special, I thought and still think that every Christian has a calling from God to a ministry that uses her or his gifts and graces.
What I like most about my ministry here: The chance to interact meaningfully with people at the important intersections of their lives and the chance to make a witness for social justice.
What's in your iPod: KT Tunstall, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Usher, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Pointer Sisters, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Indigo Girls, Talking Heads, Van Morrison, Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Jackson Brown,
What do I like most to do on my day off: Jazzercise, coffee with friends, garden, paint with water color and oils, sew, visit art museums in
Three words I'd use to describe myself: reflective, creative, analytical
Family info: Married to Bill Hughes, parents of four grown children, left with two cats.
What brought me to WCUMC: What brought me to WCUMC back in 1990? The allure of exceptionally fine music! The choir was performing John Rutter's Requiem and the choir director invited me to sing with them. (That open invitation remains today, come join us!) About the same time that my husband and I joined the choir, the Children's Choir needed a director so I was able to put my music education degrees and 25 years experience to good use.
What I like most about my ministry here: What is most fascinating and fulfilling about the music ministry here is watching and helping it continually grow into ever changing sounds, groups and experiences that bring a deeper understanding of the participant's connection to God. I thrive on the challenge to continually spark creativity to keep the music ministry alive for everyone who briefly joins us or makes this community their church home. One key to that is keeping a wide venue of music styles, as one size definitely does not fit all in this wonderfully diverse congregation. This diversity is found in our different programs, from our hand bell ringers, to our pre-schoolers discovering their singing voice, to our Adult Choir (which has just earned the honor and invitation to sing at Carnegie Hall, so exciting!) And all are precious to our church. There is a broad spectrum of thought and appreciation in our congregation, so all genera of music from classical to contemporary, from Bach to Joplin and from Broadway show tunes to world music are all enjoyed and experienced here.
What do I like most to do on my day off: You'll find me with my two daughters and their families My four grandchildren sustain my interests in play-doh, sand castles and sleep-overs.
Three words I'd use to describe myself: I asked my grown daughters for their thoughts (risky, I know). Loving, loyal and insightful got top billing which is pretty wonderful, I think! Personally, I get excited when I see learning happening either in me or in you and I love to live fully in each moment God has given me. The world, its music and its people are abundantly full of fascination and wonder, and I am truly blessed to be living my passion
What brought me to WCUMC: My family and I found WCUMC when we were living in Truckee, CA, and my parents were living here in Pleasant Hill. When we'd come down for a visit we'd go to the church here. When my older daughter, Hilary, moved down here to go to college, we felt we were leaving her in good hands; and when my younger daughter, Claire, and i moved down here in 2000 we already felt very much at home here.
What I like most about my ministry here: Sharing my faith and God's Love with children ... also, having a lot of cool keys!
What's my greatest challenge: Unfortunately, finding enough people who are willing, able and God-sent to teach Sunday School.
What's in your iPod: From Gregorian Chants to madirgals to "classical", especially Bach, and on to big band, concert choir, cool jazz, folk music and the Beatles!, as well as light rock, contemporary Christian and country, the you throw in a little Taize and that about covers it all.
What do I like most to do on my day off: In a perfect scenario it would be early summer in the Sierra and I'd be sitting on a big rock by a stream, surrounded by trees and wildflowers ... but other than that I like to work in my garden, watch old movies and cook.
Three words I'd use to describe myself: cheerful, optimistic and friendly
Family info: My husband, Monty, and I have 2 daughters, Hilary and Claire. Hilary and her husband Kevin also have two daughters, Kalia-dora and Amariya. At our house we have 3 cats - Pumpkin, Mew, and Mimi; one dog, a golden retriever-cocher mix named Sandy; and a cinnamon cockatiel named Tasmin. We are all fortunate to have each other!
My faith story: I grew up attending St Andrews Methodist Church in Oxford, MS, but as I got older I left the church. I somehow got the idea that church was no place for sinners. Today that seems ridiculous but it is what I thought at the time. I returned to the church and GOD initially in my early 30's but still felt very unworthy of prayer much less grace. It has been in the last several years that I have really developed my faith and it took a pretty desperate situation to bring me to my knees. I cannot imagine how I lived with so much fear and no faith and am so very grateful to have landed here at WCUMC. Today I connect with God on a daily basis - it is my medicine and I am lost without it. I love that I have found a God personal to me, who loves me just as I am.
What brought me to WCUMC: I was introduced to WCUMC initially when I would play with the Pacific Brass Quintet as a substitute trumpet player. Later I joined the group permanently and would play for Sunday services throughout the year. I was amazed that I actually understood AND enjoyed the sermons. They made sense to me and the congregation was so diverse and welcoming.
What's in your iPod: Oooh, this is gonna be interesting. Where do I start? Beastie Boys, Canadian Brass, Adele, Old School Hip Hop/Rap, Harry Connick, jr., Indigo Girls, Chicago Symphony, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, London Philharmonic, Lion King, Madonna, Run-DMC, Tiddas and my current favorite The Blind Boys from Alabama. So you see, I listen to a crazy mix of stuff.
What do I like most to do on my day off: We LOVE the dog park at Heather Farms, and I like to ride my Harley Davidson.
Three words I'd use to describe myself: Funny, Blessed, Sensitive (yeah, don't laugh)
Family info: My partner/wife Tina and I have been together for 18 years and I have two step-daughters Sylvie and Jessi who now live in California with their partners. We have a 13 year old black cat named Jackson Brown (what else) and the cutest little dogs on the planet! Louie is a 10 pound Maltese/yorkie mix and CoCo is a 5 pound Chihuahua/dachshund princess. I have the perfect family....God is good!!
My Faith Story: We were not necessarily a church going family, but I grew up with Jesus always present in my life. So although I didn't attend church regularly, my parents would decide to try a new church every so often. We'd go for a while, and then they would decide it just wasn't for them, and then we didn't participate in organized religion for awhile. I now participate much more, due to my involvement with the music ministries of various churches over the years. The thing that I really appreciate about my early experiences with all those different churches, is interacting with so many people with different outlooks in their faith. That variety showed me so much about the wonders of God's world, and really helped to solidify my own faith.
What brought you to WCUMC: It's all about the music! When I moved here eight years ago, Carol Smith found out I was coming, and she contacted me right away! They needed a bass bell ringer! And I said, "Awesome! I'll be there.
What do I like to do on my days off: What days off? When I do get a chance to relax, I love to read. I will re-read things (I've read the Harry Potter series about 15 times). And, I really enjoy pushing my husband of cliffs! (Okay, I don't push him, he runs and he's attached to his hang-glider, but it's fun to say it that way)
What's in your iPod: The Beatles (plus solo stuff from the Fab Four), Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Cat Stevens, Collective Soul, Harry Connick, Jr., The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, The Police, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who.
Three Words I use to describe myself: Hopeful, Bookish, and Shy
My faith story: I grew up in non Christian and non musical family in Japan. I am not sure why God touched my heart and gave me a faith. My faith is standing here at the church through music. I started a keyboard lesson with a nun at a Catholic Church near my house when I was four, then I started to go to Sunday School there with my friends. Later I changed a piano teacher to study more seriously. When I was in Six Grade, I started to go to a United Church of Christ in Japan with my best friend. When I got in High School, I started to volunteer as a Sunday School teacher and a musician there. I was baptized when I was a junior in a music college. I started to study/play organ and earned a BA in music education from Kunitachi College of Music in Japan and a Master of Music in organ from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Because the sound of organ gave me a enough satisfaction of an instrument worthy to praise God's grace. Playing at the church, is my devotion.
Randol Short - Office Manager