Dear friends: The Spirit is alive at Skyland! We are deep into our reVision process, which places a priority on spiritual practices and community engagement. If I haven’t spent quiet time with you yet, I’d love to do so. Come and visit me during my office hours, of 9 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. If another time would work better for you, drop me an email at email@example.com and we’ll set something up. At a minimum, let’s try to connect on Sunday, okay?
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 left Sycamore with warm memories of people I loved and hopes for their future. I recently completed a six-year term on our denomination’s Board of Directors and serve on Section B of NCNC’s Committee on the Ministry, a group that meets with pastors and chaplains.
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 ministered to us from August 5 through September 16, 2018.
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 & Expositor, Made 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.