Rev. Leslie Takahashi
Rev. Leslie Takahashi has served the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church as a minister since 2008. Passionate about the ways a vibrant and aware community can help people reawaken to the life of the world, she is also engaged in work to ensure that our communities serve all it citizens. Using her background in leadership development, economic development and education policy and nonprofit management, her goal is to empower others to take leadership. She is the co-author, with Chip Roush and Leon Spencer, of The Arc of The Universe is Long: Anti-racism and the Unitarian Universalist Association (Skinner House 2008) and a contributor to a number of professional publications and meditation collections. Finding Unitarian Universalism in her twenties, she has served extensively at the congregational, District and national levels both within the Unitarian Universalist Association and the UU Ministers Association. Her family, especially children Garner and Liam, offer on-going inspiration. Send email to email@example.com
Rev. Rodney Lemery
Rodney is the half-time Minister of the Worthy Now Prison Network, a virtual organization serving over 1000 incarcerated Unitarian Universalist people. He also serves as a contract Justice Minister at the Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church of Walnut Creek, CA. Rodney resides in West Contra Costa with his husband of 18 years and their Yorki/Terrier fur-baby Basil.
Rev. Ranwa Hammamy
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
Director of Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE)
Indigo earned her Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Germanics at the University of Washington and is a UUA Credentialed Religious Educator. Indigo has been working as a Director of Religious Education since 2007, serving congregations in Tacoma, WA and Vashon, WA. Additionally, she was the director of PNWD’s (Pacific Northwest District) UU Middle School Conference, a weekend gathering of 70 UU youth, for three years. Like many before her, she found Unitarian Universalism while searching for a liberal faith home for her family. With three children now in their teens, she has witnessed the many ways a faith home can hold our children and youth and believes passionately in the gift of multi-generational community. Send email to DLRE@mduuc.org
From the first time I set foot in MDUUC, this congregation felt like it could be a home to me. I am highly honored to be stepping into the role of ministerial intern here for the next two years!
I moved to Oakland from the Boston area last September, when my spouse and I decided we were done with New England winters. At the same time, I began working on my Masters of Divinity at Meadville Lombard Theological School. I decided to attend seminary while serving as the Director of Music at First Parish in Malden, Universalist, when I realized that what I loved most about my job were the ministerial tasks involved. I’ve been a practicing Unitarian Universalist for around 12 years, and I’m hoping to go into parish ministry once I’m ordained.
In a previous life, I left high school early to become a ballet dancer and moved all over the northeast in pursuit of that art. I’m self-taught in music and foreign language basics, as well as other interests. My spouse is an aerial acrobatics instructor, and I still teach ballet lessons to adults of all ages. We live with two pet snakes, a corgi puppy, and a small grove of fruit trees.
I identify as queer, nonbinary/transgender, and disabled, and I’m happy to answer compassionate questions about these identities. I’m really looking forward to getting to know firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Dr. David Sammons
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.
Marena earned her Bachelor of Arts in musical theatre with a minor in music from California State University East Bay. She has been an active participant and employee in the RE program for over a decade. Marena has worked as a caregiver, RE teacher, Children’s Choir director and even served on the Board of Trustees for two years. When not working at MDUUC, Marena teaches music and theater to children of all ages. Send email to email@example.com
Mark Tuning joined MDUUC as Music Director in September 2003. He holds degrees in Music Education and Choral Conducting from George Fox University (B.A.) and the University of Oregon (M. Mus.). In addition to serving for several years as Music Director for churches in Idaho, Oregon, Illinois and New Mexico, Mark also directed Jazz Choirs in several of those locations. Mark is also Music Director for Diablo Choral Artists, a community chorus based in Walnut Creek. He is a frequent soloist as tenor or countertenor and especially enjoys the creative opportunities of music ministry in a liberal congregation. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Marie Arce re-joins MDUUC staff as the Business Administrator after the loss of her 5-year old daughter Caitlin Emma Arce to cancer. She is currently working on starting a non-profit with her husband and 11-year old daughter, to help others. Marie and her family hope to help other kids and families that have been touched by childhood cancer in memory of their daughter. In the same spirit of helping others, she has started the jewelry business, 4eversunshineDesigns, where all the proceeds are donated to Caitlin’s foundation. The thought is to make something beautiful amidst tragedy. Send email to email@example.com
I grew up in Walnut Creek CA, where my family and I joined the MDUUC community in the early 2000s. I also have over 4 years of custodial maintenance and landscaping experience with a little bit of a tech background thrown in the mix. I have worked a plethora of odd jobs over the years including sales, customer service, and working in the food industry. When I’m not at MDUUC I am usually out hiking in the shell ridge open space or composing music with friends. If you need to get a hold of me you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Marsh Prink
Administrator, Communications & Operations
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 15 years of experience working for non-profit organizations and spent the last 6 years as an agency digital project manager/web developer/producer. She is has recently studied floral design and enjoys watercolor painting, bike riding and hanging out with family in her spare time.