Rev. Leslie Takahashi

Lead Minister

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 leslie@mduuc.org.

  Rev. Neal T. Anderson

Minister for Justice and Engagement

The Rev. Neal T. Anderson, was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2008 upon graduation from Starr King School for the Ministry and an internship at West Shore UU in Cleveland, OH. He served the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada in Reno as senior minister for 9 years where he created vibrant and transformative worship and led the effort to create a faith-based community organizing network in Northern Nevada. Rev. Neal also led the congregation in declaring itself a Sanctuary Congregation and accepting requests for sanctuary from two local residents.

Prior to his call to Unitarian Universalist ministry, Rev. Neal completed a B.A, B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan and taught school for 10 years.  He feels a deep call to pursue ministry as a vehicle to create a spiritually alive, radically inclusive and justice centered Unitarian Universalist congregation. Send email to Neal@mduuc.org

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy

Community 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

Indigo Lewis

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

Rev. Dr. 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.

Natalie Malter

Intern Minister

Natalie recently received her Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to attending Harvard, Natalie served as the Youth Director at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Washington County in Hillsboro, Oregon. She is a Co-Editor of an anthology of UU history entitled A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism (Skinner House, 2017) and has contributed to the Journal of Unitarian Universalist History. In her free time, Natalie enjoys going on long runs and spending time with family and friends. Send email to Natalie@mduuc.org

MMcGregor

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 childcare@mduuc.org

MUSIC

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 musicdirector@mduuc.org

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.

OPERATIONS

Chuck Rosene

Administrator

Chuck Rosene is a 5th generation Unitarian, and comes to MDUUC after serving the Pacific Central District – UUA for 17 years as the District Administrator. He is a member of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, where he sings in the choir and plays bass in the Joyful Noise band. Send email to chuck@mduuc.org

Tristan Thielman

Facilities Manager

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 facilitiesmgr@mduuc.org

Christian Melton

Publications Coordinator

Christian is currently a Diablo Valley College student studying Biology, Psychology, and Business working towards his transfer to a four-year institution. He joined the MDUUC staff in November of 2016 after working with his father as a Network Engineer Intern. He currently resides in Pleasant Hill where he spends most of his time reading, traveling, and working out. If you need to get a hold of Christian, please email him at publications@mduuc.org