Ministers and Staff

MINISTRY

Rev. Leslie Takahashi

Rev. Leslie takahashi

LEAD MINISTER

Rev. Leslie Takahashi serves as the Lead Minister at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church where she has been part of the ministry for 16 years.  Prior to entering into the ministry she worked as a journalist and in public policy and leadership development. Her previous positions included serving as Assistant Vice President for the 59-institution North Carolina Community College System and as the Executive Director of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative, a statewide leadership program focused on building a network of leaders across a diversity of backgrounds. Leslie is a contributing author of two books related to the impact of race and her faith and has an upcoming book called Truth, Trauma, and Transformation.  She has held numerous national leadership position in her association and currently served as the president of the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association. She lives in Martinez with her two bully breed pups and is the mother to two remarkable adult children and is a new grandmother to two grandschildren 3 years and 10 months!

Rev. Rodney Lemery

REV. DR. RODNEY LEMERY

JUSTICE AND ENGAGEMENT MINISTER

Rev. Rodney has a Master's of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School and advanced degrees in Epidemiology. Currently, he serves as the Justice and Engagement Minister here at Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church. He is passionate about creating a better world through service, and relationship building. With previous experience as a prison/jail minister with Worthy Now Prison Ministry and Solano County Jail, Rodney remains committed to a Love so big that it reminds us all we are not the worst thing we have done. He lives in West Contra Costa County with his husband of 22 years and their furry companion, Basil. rodney@mduuc.org

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REV. JIM LEWIS

COnsulting MINISTER

Jim Lewis received his Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry and is now a fellowshipped Unitarian Universalist minister. He works primarily as a hospice chaplain and bereavement coordinator in San Rafael and has the pleasure to do some ministerial support at MDUUC. Before graduating from seminary, his focus was on music and education. Jim has a strong interest in how justice work intersects with our theology and how we find theology in popular media. Send email to jimlewis@mduuc.org

Ranwa Hammamy

REV. RANWA HAMMAMY

AFFILIATED MINISTER

Ranwa earned her Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary, where she focused on Interreligious Engagement. She serves on the Steering Committee for DRUUMM (Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries), and was a facilitator at the UUA’s Multicultural Leadership School for youth and young adults of color. During seminary, Ranwa served as a Lead teacher with the children’s religious education program at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, where she created a story-based interfaith curriculum called “Patchwork.” A self-described “UU-Muslim,” Ranwa hopes to serve both living traditions in her ministry. She is also a classically-trained vocalist, cat parent, and lover of children’s books. Send email to Ranwa@mduuc.org

Rev. David Sammons

REV DAVID SAMMONS

MINISTER EMERITUS

Dave Sammons was ordained into the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1965 and has served UU churches in Rochester, N.Y., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Evanston, Illinois, as well as MDUUC, where he was Minister from the end of 1983 through June, 2016. After this he served on the faculty of Starr King School for the Ministry and was had interim ministries in Golden, Colorado and San Francisco, as well as serving as consultant for the Unitarian Universalist Association and UU Ministers Association. Dave has been a part of many denominational and civic groups, including the boards of Starr King, PSR and the Graduate Theological union. He has earned several awards, including an honorary doctorate from Starr King and Outstanding Graduate from Pacific School of Religion, where he also earned a Doctor of the Ministry, to go along with his Master of Divinity from Starr King. Dave’s wife, Jan, is a retired teacher and they have five children and six grandchildren. Dave still occasionally preaches, does weddings and memorial services and serves on the Collegial Ethics Task Force of the UU Minister’s Association.

Travis MacPhee June 2024

TRAVIS MACPHEE

STUDENT CHAPLAIN

My name is Travis MacPhee (he/him). I work as the Student Chaplain at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church.

I am excited to support the MDUUC congregational and wider community with spiritual and emotional care. I feel that I have been spiraling towards spiritual care work for many years. I knew since I was young that I wanted to care for others, but spirituality was not something I opened up to until my mid-twenties. Before this opening, I felt too hopeless about the oppressive nature of the system into which I was born to anchor in any method of addressing it. I felt rudderless until a larger context of faith manifested itself in my life. With this new orientation, I felt called to join a Soto Zen monastery. Living for three years as a Buddhist monastic was deeply nourishing, and it helped me to ground my new spiritual perspective in a more balanced way. It also helped me develop means of mindfulness and meditation to more effectively and sustainably enact my calling for care.

I left the monastery looking not only to encourage greater peace and love, but also to contribute to the collective movement for justice. This calling to enact justice with spiritual care led me to enroll in the master of divinity program at Starr King School for the Ministry. It led me to work as an activist and organizer at JUUstice Washington, a Unitarian Universalist state action network in the state of Washington. And it led me to work in the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin and downtown San Rafael as a chaplain intern, caring for the houseless and housing insecure while learning about the structures and realities of economic injustice.

I am very glad that this calling has led me to Mt. Diablo UU Church. I hope to help in the movement for greater peace, love and justice that exists here. I hope to learn from each of you and to hold space for transformative healing through deep and caring listening. May our collaborative local efforts support collective transformation that reaches all beings with love.

You may reach Travis at travis@mduuc.org.

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Marena McGregor

Director of religious education

Marena earned her Bachelor of Arts in musical theater with a minor in music from California State University East Bay. She has been an active participant in the Religious Education Program at MDUUC since childhood and has served in various religious educator capacities since 2010.  This has included serving as the Assistant Director of Religious Education, supervising childcare staff, teaching religious education classes, leading youth and young adult programming, facilitating Our Whole Lives programming, directing family choirs and theatrical productions. When not working at MDUUC, Marena teaches music and theater to children of all ages. Send email to Marena@mduuc.org.

MUSIC

ondine

DR. ONDINE YOUNG

CHOIR DIRECTOR

Dr. Ondine Young has directed music at a wide range of institutions, from the Jewish Community Center East Bay preschool piano to her family’s Berkeley Chinese Community Church memorial services and the University of San Diego Choral Scholars. Ondine holds a doctoral degree from the University of Southern California in Choral Conducting and Early Music Performance, in addition to violin/viola/orchestral conducting masters/bachelors at University of Santa Cruz and choral doctoral studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Ondine and has recorded for Focus and other labels and performs with various ensembles including her family band (La Monica Ensemble). Ondine is a Berkeley native, and lives in Wildcat Canyon with her children Talia Young Skeen (director of University of California Berkeley Cal Jazz Choir, member of Kitka) and Liam Young Skeen (San Francisco Conservatory Telegraph quartet intensive ) and they all love to perform together with cellist William Skeen and other family/friends (San Francisco Early Music Society).

Brett Carson

BRETT CARSON

ACCOMPANIST

Currently working toward his MA in Music Composition at Mills College in Oakland, Brett has performed and has had works performed around the country. Drawing from jazz, experimental, and concert music traditions, he seeks to incorporate an eclectic range of influences in his work. He currently performs and composes in two Oakland-based avant-garde groups, the Medium-Sized Band and Quattuor Elephantis.

ADMINISTRATION

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JEN MARSH PRINK

CONGREGATIONAL ADMINISTRATOR

Jen has extensive experience in project and event management, web development, and digital marketing that she wanted to bring back to MDUUC in 2017.  Although she graduated from St. John’s University with a BS in Toxicology, she started working in technical and event project management roles within a few years of graduating. She has 18 years of experience working for non-profit organizations and spent 9 years as an agency and freelance digital project manager/web developer/producer. She enjoys playing with her grandchildren, digital and watercolor painting, floral design, cooking, football, and hanging out with family in her spare time. jenm@mduuc.org

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GING LEE

COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT

Ging’s blend of graphic arts design and marketing background spans the corporate realms of real estate, investing, and information technology, guiding her to MDUUC where she can contribute to a community focused on service rather than profit. Raised with Taoist and Animist beliefs, she is passionate about exploring diverse cultures, religions, and perspectives.

At home in Contra Costa County, she wrangles a lively crew: a husband, two kids, a dog named Appa Cabbage, a cat named Coco Banana, and some plants that could use some therapy. When she's not coaxing life out of her garden (fingers crossed!), she's rooting at her daughter's soccer game, grimacing at her son's tae kwon do sparring match, rescuing treasures from the roadside, and experimenting with watercolors, illustrations, and oil pastels. Want to chat? You may reach her at ging@mduuc.org.

 

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LIAM TAKAHASHI

TECH COORDINATOR

COMING SOON! You may reach Liam at liam@mduuc.org.

 

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Eric chapot

Facilities manager

Bio Incoming! You may reach Eric at eric@mduuc.org.