Ministers and Staff
Senior Minister - Rev. Leslie Takahashi
Leslie Takahashi serves as Minister at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church in Walnut Creek, CA. Prior to entering the ministry, she worked professionally in the area of leadership development, sustainable economic development and education policy and was the Assistant Vice President for Policy for the North Carolina Community College System. 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 children, Garner and Liam, offer on-going inspiration. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistant Minister - Rev. Jason Cook
Jason Cook serves as Assistant Minister at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church in Walnut Creek, CA. Before entering the ministry, Jason was active in the arts for many years, working as everything from an actor to writer. He also served as a state-certified HIV prevention counselor and a hospital chaplain. Most recently, he worked in the position of community minister as Director of Recruitment and Admissions for Meadville Lombard Theological School, one of the two Unitarian Universalist identity academic institutions in the world. He is a trained OWL facilitator and also works as a facilitator for “Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity.” Jason is married to Lawrence Ingalls, a harpist, and lives in the diverse community of Santa Ana, CA, where they have been active in social justice for many years.
Mr. Barb Greve, Developmental Director of Lifespan Religious Education
Mr. Barb Greve serves as Developmental Director of Lifespan Religious Education at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church in Walnut Creek, CA. Barb earned his Master of Divinity dgree at Starr King School for
the Ministry and is a UUA Master level Credentialed Religious Educator. Barb has served as interim director of religious education to congregations in Atlanta, GA, Newton, MA and Hamden, CT. Prior to seminary he served in the UUA Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns. Barb is the co-founder of Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together (TRUUsT) and a tri-founder of the Guild of Interim Religious Educators (GIRE). Additionally, he is a trained Our Whole Lives (OWL) facilitator. Barb is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and the child of a Director of Religious Education, a lapsed classical bassist, former home brewer, and a lover of Legos. Send email to email@example.com.
Marena McGregor,RE Assistant/ Childcare Coordinator
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ranwa Hammamy, Intern 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 email@example.com
Marie Arce, Church Administrator
Marie lives in Pittsburg with her husband and their two young daughters. She joined us for an Administrative Office position where she could utilize her ability and skills in multi-tasking, streamlining procedures, bookkeeping, and dealing extensively with the public. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Raquel Williams - Publications Coordinator
Raquel came to MDUUC in March of 2015 after arriving in the Bay Area for an internship. Raquel has experience working within nonprofit organizations as a grant writer, administrative assistant, and consultant. She enjoys digital storytelling, camping, and exploring. She looks forward to familiarizing herself with the Bay Area! Send email to email@example.com.
Mark Tuning, Music Director
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
Brett Carson, Pianist
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.
Rev. Andy Karlson, Community Minister
Andrew holds a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry and a Bachelor's degree in Art History from Oberlin College. He serves as the Acute Care Chaplain at Kaiser Medical Center in Walnut Creek, and as a Community Minister here at MDUUC. He lives in Oakland with his wife Sarah, daughter Greta and son Isaac. Andrew is a life-long UU, and is passionate about art, music, comic books, and travel.
Shaun Smith, Facilities Coordinator
I am a 32 year old father of two. I grew up in Contra Costa County, mostly in Pittsburg and Concord. I have worked in customer service, and labor intensive jobs, and came here from working with the Pittsburg school district as a substitute custodian. I am glad to be here. Send email to email@example.com.