Board of Trustees
MDUUC’s Board of Trustees is the governing body of the church, elected by members of the congregation to serve 3-year terms, and eligible for a second consecutive term. The president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and lead minister together form the Executive Committee, which meets monthly to set the agenda for board meetings at which issues are discussed, actions agreed, and votes taken on church business. There are 10 voting members of the board and a (currently open) youth representative.
Board Policies (pdf)
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
When I arrived in 2008, I was attracted to many things at MDUUC – fed by the message in the pulpit, reading the UU principles, the presence of people of color, including the minister, and those from different faiths, in one place, forming community. I have witnessed courage at the border and in the streets, conviction, celebrations of life and respect for the many ways we love ourselves and others. On my UU spiritual journey, serving this community, this whole community, has been very important to me: Worship Associate and Chair, summer sermons, Winter Nights, Beloved Conversations Retreat Leader and MDUUC facilitator, Chair of the Beloved Commitments Task Force, Restorative Practices -Conversations on Death, and semi-annual co-host to a Halloween fundraiser (!) As a member of your Board, my commitment continues – to highlight the multiple perspectives that make us UUs.
I have been a member of MDUUC since 2006. I taught for eight years in the religious education program from tiny tots through eighth grade. I have also served on the racial justice committee. During the day I teach in the Politics and Global Studies Programs at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga where I offer courses on international relations, politics of other countries, just war theory, and politics of incarceration. My life partner, Angela Canestraro, and I have three children with whom we enjoy traveling and outdoor activities.
Davina Smith joined MDUUC in 2018 and is active in the young adults group and the RE program. She has lived in the Bay Area since 1997 and has a degree in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley.
I grew up in the Bay Area and became a member of MDUUC in 2018. I am an active member of the Young Adult Group and have sung with the House Band. On workdays, I am a Montessori teacher for grades 1-3 at the school I attended as a child. I enjoy reading books, singing songs in my car, and snuggling my beloved cat, Sheba.
Chris and his husband, Peter, have been UUs since joining a Sacramento congregation in 1991, where Chris served as treasurer and chaired a ministerial search committee. After relocating to Walnut Creek in late 2014, they signed the MDUUC membership book in 2015. Prior to his being treasurer at MDUUC, he was a member of the Finance Committee for several years, coordinating the development of the church budget. Before the pandemic, both he and Peter greatly enjoyed serving as greeters. They look forward to when they can resume that role! Chris retired from the University of California, where was a campus budget director at UC Davis. More recently, Chris was director of the University’s system-wide student financial aid program. Retirement has brought many opportunities, and, most notably, the chance to spend consistent time with their five-year-old grandson.
In October 2013 I happily joined MDUUC. I have served on the membership committee, the Coffee Committee, Co-chaired the Kitchen Committee and helped organize the Fellowship Dinner. I directed early childhood programs for thirty years, serving on the Board of Directors for two non-profit preschools in the East Bay. My husband Pete and I live in Lafayette with two grey cats. Our son Paul and his family live in Fremont. Our granddaughters light up our life.
Jana and her husband Juan have been members of MDUUC since 2015. They live in Walnut Creek (where Jana grew up) with their two children, Amalia and Xavier. With two school-age children, Jana has been most active with MDUUC’s family and youth religious education (RE) programs. In addition to teaching various RE classes over the years, Jana has also served on the Children & Youth RE committee, most recently as Chair. Jana and Juan have also volunteered as ushers and Winter Nights. Jana is especially grateful to the MDUUC staff and community for the youth programming and the education her children have been able to experience, including Sunday RE, OWL, the Middle School Youth Group, and multiple summer camps. Jana currently works full-time as an attorney for PG&E. In addition to spending time with her family, Jana enjoys puzzles, paint-by-numbers, and long hikes in the open space. Although not a runner herself, she enjoys the many weekends spent watching her husband coach and children compete at cross-country and track and field meets.
Steve and his wife, Elizabeth, were introduced to MDUUC in 2008 through Elizabeth’s parents, members Lou and Jeanne Gelwicks. After many years of attending services, they joined, too, in 2015. The support and guidance provided by members and ministers of MDUUC have been invaluable to their family. MDUUC is a valuable part of their life and community. Their two sons greatly benefitted from the OWL program. Their eldest son, Nigel, participated in the 2018-19 Coming of Age program. Steve has served as the chair of the Grounds Committee and member of the Place Council since 2019. Originally from Marion, Ohio, Steve has lived in the Bay Area for over 30 years. He majored in Management and Accounting in Purdue University and made a career in public accounting and finance. He recently retired after serving as the Chief Financial Officer of a national real estate investment firm, based in San Francisco, for almost twenty years.
MARK DAVID WATANABE
While I’ve only been a member of MDUUC since 2018, I am a devout Unitarian Universalist who has previously served in numerous capacities at UU congregations, Districts, Regions, and the continental Association over the span of four decades. I was particularly drawn to MDUUC for its public proclamation of a bold mission and its desire to live into it with intention. I hope to help co-create with the congregation a place where all stories of lived human experience are valued as sources of the collective wisdom that drives our aspiration to transform ourselves and our world. My pronouns are he/him/his, I am a solitary resident of Oakland (occupied Muwekma Ohlone land), and I work full-time as a board-certified clinical psychiatric pharmacist for the San Francisco Department of Public Health where my practice is regularly informed by my UU values.