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

linda-russell

LINDA RUSSELL

PRESIDENT

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.

ron-ahnen

RON AHNEN

VICE PRESIDENT

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

DAVINA SMITH

CO-SECRETARY

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.

Neysa Matt

NEYSA MATT

CO-SECRETARY

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-carter

CHRIS CARTER

TREASURER

My husband Peter and I have been UUs since joining a Sacramento congregation in 1991. We joined MDUUC in 2015 after moving back to the Bay Area. I most value the strong community at MDUUC, which helps me to grow, allows me to recover from my mistakes, and generally guides me to being my best self. I recently retired from a deeply satisfying career with the University of California, where I last directed the systemwide financial aid program. Retirement has brought many opportunities, including dedicating more time to MDUUC, our two-year-old grandson, and being outdoors hiking and camping.

BOARD MEMBERS

davies

JAYNESE DAVIS

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.

sharon-solstice

SHARON SOLSTICE

MDUUC has been part of my life for nearly ten years. I’ve actively participated in the Membership Committee and coordinated Winter Nights breakfasts. Our services rejuvenate me. I am committed to our Make It So 2020 goals and am encouraged by the possibilities of Beloved Commitments. I live nearby with my wife and teenage daughter who is an enthusiastic member of YRUU. I work as a Business Systems Analyst and like to play with yarn and thread, hike, watch birds, garden, read, and recently I’ve taken up tennis.

Andrew-Oswald

ANDREW OSWALD

Hello! My name is Andrew Oswald and my pronouns are he, him, and his. I joined MDUUC in March 2013 with my wife Juli Torok. We live in Concord with our children Matthew (16) and Emily (13). Most of my time at MDUUC has been just as a member without official church positions, although I did spend one year co-leading the middle school youth group and I was a member of the Committee on Ministry for one year. I have also participated in community circles and fundraiser events like ServeU. One of my most memorable UU experiences was in January 2018 when I went to Tijuana as part of the UUBorders program witnessing and learning about immigration justice issues. I am looking forward to becoming more engaged with the church by serving on the Board.
Outside of church, I work full-time as an IT Manager for Marqeta, a financial technology company based in Oakland. I enjoy spending time with my family and outdoor activities such as biking, running, hiking, and camping and I also enjoy reading. I look forward to traveling again when I have opportunities and I also have a life goal of completing a triathlon. I enjoy helping others and I may someday teach and coach again in some capacity, or just be available as a caring listener.
The mission and values of MDUUC and Unitarian Universalism resonate with me and I look forward to ongoing spiritual development, learning, and service as I see myself as a long-term UU. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the MDUUC community.
Steve Hirsh-VP

STEVEN HIRSCH

I have held positions as a product development leader within the financial services industry for more than four decades. I currently work for Charles Schwab and manage a team developing technology-based solutions for our institutional clients and the front-line professionals serving them. I joined MDUUC in 2010 – along with my wife Marianna Laurence – and have chaired the church Stewardship Committee, served as Youth Advisor in the Coming of Age and YRUU programs and sing in the choir. I have a BA from Oberlin College and enjoy literature, the performing arts, solving puzzles and working out.

Mark David Watanabe 2019-07-29

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.