Interim Minister

Message from Reverend Kevin Omi

Dear friends:
I was surprised, not only by the warmth of the weather during my first week, but also by the warm welcome I received from everyone! By the time you receive this, I’ll have preached during our first Sunday worship together. I am really looking forward to getting to know all of you as soon as possible. One of the ways to do this is during my office hours, which, for now at least, are 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. If you can drop by or would like to schedule a visit during those hours, I’d love to see you. If another time would work better for you, drop me an email at revkevinomi@skylandchurch.com and we’ll set something up. At a minimum, let’s try to connect on Sunday, okay?

 

Speaking of getting to know you, I have a request. It would be really helpful for me if everyone wore their names tags every Sunday for awhile…really helps to put names and faces together. I’m also interested in hearing about your hopes for our Interim Time together.

Here’s a bit about me. I’m in the process of selling my home in Albany, which is near Berkeley. I’ve been living for a few weeks now with my long-term partner, Rev. Carol Barriger, and our cat, Shimano (named after the bicycle manufacturer). I have two adult sons, Alex and Ted, who live in the East Bay. My primary form of exercise is cycling in the hills above Redwood City. I look forward to exploring some routes near the church soon. I’m also a participant in the Mercy Center’s East West Program, which places Christianity in dialog with zen practices.

 

I’ve been involved as a lay leader in my local churches and chaired a Conference committee for many years before attending the Pacific School of Religion from 2003-2009. For the past several years, I was the Senior Minister at Sycamore Congregational Church UCC, a Japanese American church in El Cerrito. I leave Sycamore with warm memories of people I loved and hopes for their future. I also serve on the UCC’s Board of Directors and Section B of NCNC’s Committee on the Ministry.

Skyland, like 80% of churches in the U.S., has experienced demographic and cultural changes over many decades. I’m in the process of learning about some of its unique strengths and like what I see. So far, these appear to include dedicated and capable leaders, lots of “can do” folks that believe in direct service to the community (which I highly value), a core group of folks that wear many hats, and a desire to make a real and lasting difference in the world. People really care for each other here. Many people have been deeply involved with the church and community for decades.
I’m looking forward to not only serving together in ministry with you, but in exploring our heritage, leadership, missions, connections, the ReVision process, and planning for the future. I’ll be working with the Church Council, boards, committees, and Associate Conference Minister, Rev. Daniel Ross-Jones, to figure out how we sequence our activities so we don’t have too much going on at once.
God is in this place. Of this I am sure!
Love and blessings,
Rev. Kevin Omi

 


Our Interim Senior Minister beginning September 24 

Rev. Kevin Omi is finishing up his tenure as Senior Pastor of Sycamore Congregational Church UCC in El Cerrito (near Berkeley), where he has served since 2012. While at Sycamore, he collaborated with the congregation’s Japanese ministers, led worship, provided pastoral care, helped the church obtain a Renewing Church grant, and led them through a New Beginnings process (a “cousin” of the reVision process). He worked with other community leaders to implement many zoning changes to encourage affordable housing.

Rev. Omi graduated from the Pacific School of Religion with a Master of Divinity in 2009 and completed a certificate in transitional ministry with the Interim Ministry Network in 2012. He also serves on the Northern California Nevada Conference’s Committee on Ministry (Section B) and the Board of Directors of the United Church of Christ.

He was called to ministry after a 30-year career in information technology strategy, serving as an executive with Kaiser Permanente, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Consulting, and Wells Fargo Bank. He received a Master of Business Administration (Finance) from UC Berkeley.

His passions include leading churches and other organizations through change, pastoral care, spiritual formation, helping others live out the Gospel, and community outreach. He loves to lead retreats and small group ministries. He is a regular participant in gatherings of the East West Program at the Mercy Center, which integrates Zen Buddhist and Christian practices.

His hobbies include cycling, photography, and writing poetry. He has two adult sons living in the East Bay. He will be moving to Redwood City with his long-time partner, Rev. Carol Barriger, prior to starting at Skyland Community Church.

 

 

 

 

Pastor Jean Jeffress will be ministering to us from August 5 through September 16

Jean Jeffress holds a Master’s of Divinity from American Baptist Seminary of the West at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. She is a approved for ordination pending call in the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ and serves on the Committee on Ministry, Section B. She has been a member and lay leader of First Congregational Church of Oakland, UCC since March 1, 2009.

Jean has a passion for social justice, in particular racial and economic justice, the housing crisis and displacement in the Bay Area and across the country, LGBTQ and women’s rights. Her sermons will likely touch on one or more of these social justice issues as she firmly believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be an act of radical love and inclusion that charges us to stand with and care for the marginalized. Jean also believes deeply that following Jesus is a means to personal transformation, and spiritual revolution.

Jean was described by a member of the church where she did her internship as “Gracious and Gritty.” Jean has work published in the Review & ExpositorMade Whole from Pieces: A Lenten Devotional Prepared for the Men of Soledad Correctional Facility, and in Resipiscence: A Lenten Devotional for Dismantling White Supremacy. Jean is a preacher, musician, singer, writer, aspiring theologian, Bible nerd, cook, and bbqer. Jean lives in Oakland with her wife Carol, her cat Baby Boy and her housemate Nichola.