Hola First Church! My name is Jonathan (he/him) and I’ve lived in the SF Bay since 2004. Previously, I lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico. My wife Kathleen and I have lived in North Berkeley together since 2016, and we enjoy its lovely parks and delicious food. I work with very smart people who make machines that read and write. In my down time, I enjoy nature, swimming, good stories, and learning about what makes us human.
Hello, First Church! My name is Kathleen (she/her). I grew up in Queens, New York and was raised Catholic. I learned about First Church from a Facebook post by Ann Naffziger. (Thanks, Ann!) I currently work as Student Services Advisor in the Physics Department at Cal. In terms of hobbies, I enjoy reading (mostly memoirs and books about psychology, religion, and culture), running through the trails in Tilden, and participating in local workouts led by my friends (at “Lift & Sprint”). I am usually happiest when I’m laughing and relaxing with my husband, Jonathan, or breaking bread with friends.
I was born in Concord and have spent most of my life here in the Bay Area with my grandparents, mom, and sisters. From 2019-2021, I attended Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN, where I completed an MTS with a focus in New Testament. At VDS, I also met my best friend and soon-to-be-husband, Mack! Currently, I work as an admissions counselor at Pacific School of Religion, and in my free time I enjoy baking, spending time with my family, and embroidering.
Mack grew up in Saline, MI and was raised in an extremely conservative Christian tradition. While in college studying special education, he came out as Transgender and became fascinated with progressive Christianity. He earned a Master’s of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity School where he met his fiancée, Kimberly Dell. After graduating, Mack started a PhD in New Testament, he and Kimberly moved from Nashville to Walnut Creek together, and they found First Church Berkeley.
Frances moved to Berkeley last spring together with her husband Lorenz and baby daughter Louise, and will be here probably one more year before they move back to Germany, where she grew up speaking English and German. Frances is a classical singer, musicologist, and freelance translator, and loves spending time in nature, baking, and playing tennis. She is also part of the Cherokee Tribe of Oklahoma and is excited about FCB’s commitment to advocating for justice for people of all backgrounds, genders, and incomes.
Christine is a former Cal Bear (PhD ’18) who though she moved to the peninsula to work for NASA found First Church online during the pandemic. She is thrilled to meet everyone in person. She likes talking about the sermon, hiking, climbing, and trail running, and she is always looking for new friends who might like those things too!
Doris was born on Staten Island and went from Kindergarten to College there. After living in Washington DC and San Rafael, CA she moved to Southern CA where she lived until May, 2021. Doris has worked most of her life in education, teaching every grade from preschool to graduate school, as well as being a school psychologist, a special ed administrator and a high school counselor. Doris is the mother of three grown daughters, one of whom she shares a house, and is the grandmother of 5. She enjoys walking, dancing and traveling, and loves to read, see plays, and attend musical events, theater and movies. She also enjoys watching and listening to birds, and is anxious to travel again.
First Church found me by accident in January 2018. Thanks to my obsessive interest in singing, a friend introduced me to Derek. Almost immediately, I found myself on stage at First Church somewhat unprepared to sing in a choir during the MLK day fundraiser that year. That event was the first time I heard a speaker bringing queerness and Christianity together. I had resigned myself to keeping those two parts of my identity very separate. I knew I had to come back to singing and to church after a long break from both. More recently, right before the pandemic, I moved back east to Burlington, Vermont to be closer to my aging parents, but I have been grateful to remain connected to First Church virtually.
I moved to Berkeley from Charlottesville, Virginia a few months ago. My daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter live here, and I wanted to be near them; my husband passed away 3 years ago. I used to teach English as a Second Language and Women’s Studies, but I’m now retired. I enjoy getting to know Berkeley and other places on the West Coast, participating in a Senior Water Aerobics class, reading, meditating, and listening to music. First Church seems like a very welcoming place — I’m glad to become a member of this community.
I have lived in Berkeley most of my life. I really appreciate all of the prayers and support the UCC has provided both for me and my loved ones and the community at large in their service work and fund raising. I hope to become more active in the church and in the service work they provide as the threat of the pandemic decreases and dwindles. I have two adult children who live in neighboring cities to Berkeley.