Rev. Dr. Fred Weidmann
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Rev. Dr. Fred’s Bio
Born in England and raised in New York, Rev. Fred is very happy to call the East Bay home and Hillcrest UCC his home church. What continues to attract him to Hillcrest is how we put faith into action through our social service ministries and work with the Interfaith Council and Multifaith Action Coalition. As pastor, worship leader, and teacher Fred enjoys working with others to experience God in their lives and to share that with others.
Rev. Fred is Dean of the Pleasant Hill Clergy Group. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Multifaith Action Coalition and is co-facilitator of the Coalition’s Faith Leaders Advisory Board. He has taught at the Pacific School of Religion and served as guest lecturer at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. This past summer, he presented the Invocation and Prayer at the gathering marking the one year anniversary of the death of Miles Hall on June 2, spoke at the gathering at Pleasant Hill City Hall following the Silent Prayer March from Christ the King and Hillcrest on June 3, and served as a panelist for the Pleasant Hill “Community Conversation – Social Justice and the Role of the Faith Community” on August 12.
Before coming to Hillcrest, Fred served as the Director of the Center for Church Life and Professor of Biblical Studies at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York. Prior to that he served on the clergy staff of The Riverside Church in New York and as Associate Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Fred is the author and editor of several books and articles on the New Testament and early Church, including commentaries on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and on the Shorter Epistles of Paul (Westminster/John Knox Press) as well as a bible study series on the Gospel of Luke and a forthcoming series on Philippians (for the Listen Up! series, Pilgrim Press). He has also written on the challenges and opportunities for the churches today. He has been interviewed by local newscasts and newspapers as well as by the BBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Jewish Week, The Middle East Times, and ARD German Radio.
Fred is married to Kerstin Weidmann, also a pastor, and has two children, Joshua and Katie. He enjoys baseball (watching, no longer playing), bike riding, listening to music (jazz, blues, rock, and classical), reading (history, mostly) and attempting to play the guitar.
Allison Kuechle Silva
Allison Kuechle Silva is Hillcrest’s Pastoral Associate, which means she assists in a variety of pastoral roles from helping out during services to pastoral care. Her primary role is in Hillcrest’s Christian Education program, helping to run the Sunday school program. She can often be seen directing the youth of the community during events such as the Christmas pageant and annual Summer camp.
Allison is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion and has a passion for theology and history. She seeks to grow faith and foster curiosity in young minds. Allison believes that questioning is the route to a healthy faith, and that the only bad question is the one that is not asked.
Allison came to Hillcrest as a Minister in Training during her time at PSR, and fell in love with the strong sense of community she found there. She appreciates the way that Hillcrest people care deeply for one another and the wider community and shares in their commitment to social justice.
While at home, Allison enjoys reading, writing and the occasional foray out into nature.
Children and Young Families
Mya has been a member of the Hillcrest congregation and Christian Education ministry team since 2012. When she isn’t teaching Sunday school, she works full time as a behavior analyst serving individuals with Autism and related disorders and exceptional learning needs. Mya has worked with children in some capacity since she was a teenager and enjoys teaching and bringing creativity- from her love of and background in music and theatre-to her work. Mya loves the open and affirming (and loving and supportive) community of Hillcrest and strives to “be the church” always. Mya loves spending time with her family (especially her husband Ryan and littles-Nina and Fox) outdoors being active together in nature.
Our Support Staff
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The Office Manage works in coordination with staff, church leaders and volunteers to carry out the work of the church. Responsibilities include preparing worship service bulletins, publishing the church newsletter, assisting with arrangements for memorials and baptisms, scheduling room use; and responding to inquiries from church members and the public.
As the newest addition to the Hillcrest staff, Sammantha is an Office Manager by day and a professional Latin dance instructor by night. Asked about her new position, Sammantha replied, “One thing I can tell right away is the people from Hillcrest are more than welcoming. I felt right at home from day one. Glad to be part of the team.”
Shelby has literally grown up in Hillcrest Church. As a child, she attended Sunday School and Confirmation classes. As a young adult, she has assisted in the nursery, preschool and with Summer Kidz Camp. Shelby also assists with church social media communications by posting to Instagram. Her interests include anything craft-related including painting and crocheting. She loves that no matter who you talk to at Hillcrest, it feels like family.
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As Financial Secretary, Jim Flagstead is the church’s bookkeeper. Duties include paying church bills, producing employee paychecks, processing revenues, and keeping the books
balanced. Additionally, he maintains records of donations made to the church by members and friends. In his personal life, Jim enjoys taking walks and doing jigsaw puzzles.
Church Maintenance and Sound Technician
Ryan performs a variety of landscaping and maintenance duties such as setting up rooms for meetings and events, performing repairs, and assisting the Outreach volunteers as necessary. His second role at Hillcrest is Sound Technician for Sunday services, memorials and special events. Ryan has acquired a depth of knowledge and history of the 1950’s era buildings. In his free time, Ryan and his wife, Mya, enjoy spending time with their young family and participating in community theatre.
Organist, Pianist and Chancel Choir Director
Joshua Feltman is a multi-faceted musician working in such diverse environments as education, theater and choral direction, and orchestral composition and arranging. He currently teaches at the Jewish Community High School in San Francisco and founded a company arranging music for school age instrumental groups. With an emphasis on sight-reading and playing-by-ear, Joshua’s skills as a keyboard accompanist are much in demand, especially among vocalists. Mr. Feltman is also a highly experienced leader in several administrative and artistic capacities, including Director of Development at Awesöme Orchestra Collective. While in New York, he took on several roles in the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas including Assistant Conductor. He also conducted the Contemporary Ensemble at the Graduate Center for five seasons and ConTempo at Brooklyn College for two while completing his PhD at City University.
Guitarist and Vocalist
David Kohls plays guitar and accompanies Hillcrest’s choirs and soloists at worship services as well as playing other church functions throughout the year. Some years ago, David was a member of a number of performing and recording rock bands in San Francisco and the Midwest. Now, he’s very pleased and humbled to take up the guitar again to play with our talented Hillcrest-associated musicians and vocalists.
David works as a local track and field and cross-country coach. He lives in downtown Lafayette with his wife Lily. Their daughter, Greta, is studying Elementary Education at Michigan State University. David’s older daughter, Sidney, is a teacher in Los Angeles.
Lay Leaders oversee the governance of Hillcrest Church. They are members of the congregation who volunteer to lead Children’s Ministries, plan worship themes, oversee long-term facility maintenance projects, manage our community outreach services, and much more. Hillcrest Church Lay Leaders direct and carry out the programs and mission established by the congregation. Lay Leadership is conducted under the auspices of the Church Council and the Board of Trustees.
The Church Council is made up of the chairs of our program ministry committees, as well as a member at large along with the moderators, scribe, and the Trustees’ Chair and Treasurer. Church Council represents, plans and supports the ministries and programs of the church.
The Church Moderator is responsible to the Council for coordination of all church activities and for the development and accomplishment of the programs of the church.
Co-Moderator’s for 2020-2021:
Board of Trustees
Hillcrest’s Board of Trustees is primarily responsible for personnel and property, and supports all aspects of Hillcrest ministry and operations by working to assure the safety, security, access, and functionality of all of our buildings and venues.
The Chair of the Board of Trustees for 2020-2021: