Welcome our New Members: Jan. 29, 2023

Rev. Gillian

Rev. Gillian M-S (she, her) grew up in the UCC and has been a member of five different UCC churches throughout her adult life. From Long Island, New York, she and her wife came to the Bay Area 11 years ago. She started attending FCCB virtually, enjoying the extraordinary efforts of the pastors and congregation, especially in the early stages of the pandemic. Gillian is a hospital Chaplain and Spiritual Care Coach and active in the Northern California Nevada Conference. Gillian and her wife, Lydia, have been together for 25 years and have two children: Jesse, 20, who works with autistic kids and avid e-sports, and Bella, a sophomore at University of San Francisco. They also have two wonderful dogs, Blue and Kenobi.


Lydia M-S (she, her) has been visiting and attending services (in person and virtually) at First Church Berkeley since 2020. She is married to the Rev. Gillian M-S. They have two young adult children, Jesse and Bella , and live in Oakland. Lydia competed in the 1984 Olympics in speed skating and has had a 30-year career in sports media. In 2012, her work required the family to move from New York to the Bay Area. Today she is the Founder and CEO of SportsBubble, a sports technology company.


Matthew P. (he/him) is from New Jersey, although he was born and raised in Europe by his English dad and American mother. He is currently a grad student at UC Berkeley studying social psychology. His hobbies include running, biking, listening to podcasts, watching Premier League soccer, and sharing meals with friends. He made his way to First Church in search of an open and caring community that thinks deeply about how we show up to those we encounter in our life.


Arin D. (she, her) has a wicked sense of humor and suspects that God does as well. She is interested in encountering the Divine in peripheral and liminal spaces. Her heroes include Jesus, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Richard Rohr, and Lisa Simpson. Arin looks forward to being of service to her new church family.


Alex C. (they/them) writes “Everyday I’m grateful for cats, coffee, and all the unexpected connections with other people that make life interesting. When I’m not busy being a workaholic, I like hanging out with my partner and cat and playing video games, or volunteering at the Oakland animal shelter.”


Nat B. (he, him) is an enthusiastic Bay Area convert who’s retained his Boston sports allegiances. He works in democratic politics, loves punk rock, and has recently stepped up his culinary skills. He’s proud dad to Bridget, Conor, and Rhody pup, and partner to Kera.


Kera B. (she, her) is a 4th generation Bay Area native and proud Cal sports fan (even though she didn’t go to school there herself). She’s a content marketer by profession, a historical fiction fiend, yogi, and mama to Conor, Bridget, and rescue pup Rhody.

Chris & Jennifer

Jennifer W. (she, her) grew up in Buffalo, and Chris I. (he, him) grew up in San Diego. They both went to Dartmouth College (with Reverend Molly) and lived in Washington DC before going their separate ways. They remained connected via mutual friends and fantasy football and reconnected at a Phish concert in New York City. Jennifer eventually moved from Brooklyn to the Bay Area. Rev. Molly officiated their awesome wedding in the middle of the pandemic in 2021 in Buffalo, New York. Chris has 2 kids – Eric and Isabella. Isabella is a sophomore at Colorado College and Eric just graduated from Tufts and is trying to become a rock star. Really! Chris works in healthcare technology. Jennifer is a news producer and marketing/social media strategist. They volunteer with Canine Companions and raise service dogs for people with disabilities. They are excited to make First Church and this community a new part of their lives.


Chuck W. (he, him) grew up in upstate New York and northern New Jersey. In the past, he has enjoyed gardening and bird watching. He is a retired psychologist who has lived in Kentucky for the past 45 years. He is still getting adjusted to this bigger city.