Rev. Colin Kerr-Carpenter, Senior Pastor
The Rev. Colin Kerr-Carpenter was appointed as senior pastor to our church on July 1, 2017. He comes to us after having served as pastor of the Federated Church of Orland in Orland, California. Previously he served as Conference Coordinator of Youth and Camping Ministries for the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church as well as serving United Methodist churches in Upstate New York.
Pastor Colin, as he prefers to be called, is a graduate of the University of the Pacific and the Boston University School of Theology. He is a sixth generation California and grew up in Kerman, California. He is married to the Rev. Dr. Kathy Kerr-Carpenter and they have three daughters: Emma, who lives and works in Billings, Montana; Katie Morgan, a school teacher living in Elk Grove; and Anna, a recent college graduate and working in the Sacramento area.
With over 30 years of ministry experience, Pastor Colin considers it a blessing to be serving such a dynamic community as the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church. He is passionate about connecting people to the life-giving message of Jesus so that they experience that deep and abiding love that comes only from the Divine. And he passionately believes in a Church that is open to all.
Carol Morris, Director of Arts & Music Ministry
Carol Morris is a graduate of Indiana State University where she earned her Bachelors and Master’s degree in music education majoring in piano and bassoon. Simultaneously with her first job as a high school choral director in Indiana, she also began a lifelong career of directing Methodist Church Choirs. Along the way, she has directed musicals including the King and I, Once Upon a Mattress and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. Expanding the Sanctuary Choir’s experiences to sing in venues like the Lesher Theater with the Diablo Symphony, the Concord Pavilion, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Masterworks Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall have created a broad scope for her music passion and mission.
At Walnut Creek United Methodist Church Carol serves as the Director of Music/Arts. She developed a mid-week children’s choir, a youth choir and a one week summer music camp that is still building the love of musicals in the lives of elementary children. She is a past president of Chorister’s Guild and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity. Carol is the mother of two daughters and six grandchildren.
Corrie Binker, Director of Children’s Ministries
Corrie Binker joined our church in August of 2000 when she moved here from Truckee, California. While in Truckee, she and her husband Monty, and their two daughters, Hilary and Claire, attended Church of the Mountains United Methodist Church, where Corrie held various positions, including Choir Director, Worship Committee Head, and Lay Leader.
Also while in Truckee, her love of children and nature came to the forefront as she took on the roles of Girl Scout Leader, then Service Area Chair, and lastly, as a Trainer for the local Girl Scout Council located in Reno, Nevada, working closely with all the adult volunteers.
Corrie is an alumna of many colleges and universities owing to her persistent vision of attaining her BA in English, even as she and her family moved around the West. She went to schools in such far-flung places as Seattle, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Reno, and Berkeley before finally getting her BA, Teaching Credential, and Special Ed Certificate from California State University, East Bay, in 2005.
With her background in teaching and church work, it was an easy transition for her to start heading up the Sunday School at WCUMC in 2010, and then adding in directing the Bus Stop After School Program in 2011, thereby creating what is currently called the Children’s Ministries Program.
Sharing books, art, music and nature with children, as well as the love of the Lord, are Corrie’s callings. She considers herself blessed many times over to be fulfilling her callings and doing it all right here at WCUMC. She believes that people should grow up but never grow old.
Michelle Brown, Youth Director
Michelle Brown has been the youth director for our church since 2012 and a member since 2009. With a Bachelors of Music degree in education and a Masters of Music degree in trumpet performance, she is a music teacher, trumpet player and all around lover of kids. When not with students, she can be found at the dog park with her two “little’s”- Louie and CoCo.
Michelle and her wife Tina have been together for over 20 years and found our church through a brass performance group. Born and raised in Mississippi, Michelle was shocked by the rainbow flag on the church sign and wondered if they knew what it meant. After attending services as a trumpet performer, she and Tina realized that a faith community was something they both had been missing and began attending regularly. They eventually joined the choir and became members.
When the last youth director moved away for bigger things, Michelle decided to offer her gifts and bring some long-term stability to the program. She frequently tells the youth that they will never get rid of her and feels so blessed to work for a church that always goes the extra mile for the youth. Her favorite thing about working at our church is that we don’t just talk the talk; wetruly walk the walk as both disciples of Jesus Christ and as a dedicated reconciling congregation. All absolutely means All.
Tessique Houston, Director of Handbell Ministries
Tessique Houston became our Director of Handbells in August, 2013. She began ringing here in 2005. Tessique holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Nevada, Reno, where her main instrument was flute. She has been ringing handbells since she fell in love with them during her student teaching in 1995.
Tessique is very excited to be part of this wonderful community of faith and music. She is proud to bring her skills to the worship life of Walnut Creek United Methodist Church.
As an active musician, Tessique currently rings with Sonos Handbell Ensemble and Tapestry Ringers and Singers, teaches at various handbell clinics throughout the area, and works part time as a substitute teacher for the Mt. Diablo School District. She is also an active member of The Handbell Musicians of America and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.
Tessique has reconnected with the son she gave up for adoption years ago. She and her husband, Brian, are enjoying their new status as grandparents. In her spare time she enjoys reading, crossword puzzles, and pushing Brian off cliffs!
Dr. Natalie Chan Ning, Organist/Pianist
Dr. Natalie Chan Ning became our resident organist and pianist in June 2019. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California. Previous to her position at our church, Natalie served as Parish Organist for the Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Fullerton, California. She also is a private teacher in organ, piano, and music theory.
Natalie is our principal organist and pianist for our Sunday worship service. She also accompanies when needed for special musical offerings and acts as our organist/pianist for weddings and memorial services.
Randy Short, Office Manager
Randy Short has been at Walnut Creek UMC since October 2016. He coordinates our building use, and the receiving and disseminating of both written and email communications. Randy also compiles our weekly e-newsletter and is the editor of our monthly newsletter, the Walnut Leaves. He also is responsible for creating our Sunday worship bulletin.
Originally from Livermore, Randy presently resides in Martinez with his two children.