Meet the Staff

Rev. Pamela Kurtz, Pastor


Rev. Pam is a single mom of two teen-aged daughters.  She grew up in rural Michigan, about 18 miles from the Indiana border.  She was raised as a Roman Catholic; one of 9 children - 3rd from the youngest.  Rev. Pam earned her BA in Political Science with an emphasis fin Political Theory from UCLA and graduated from Law School.  She practiced law for 9 years with a focus on criminal law, family law and juvenile law.  After a tough legal decision, she questioned whether she was called to practice law.

Rev. Pam began attending Trinity UMC, Mountain View.  After attending Discipleship Bible Study, a 34 week study of the Bible, she felt called to ordained minitsry. Her pastor and faith community supported her in the process of ordination and in attending seminary at Pacific School of Religion.

Rev. Pam is passionate aboput social and economic justice for the individual and in systems.  She believes that God desires us to work on the individual and systemic level at the same time.  She loves worshiping God in community, doing all she can to make relevant connection between Scripture, our faith tradition, and our real life issues.  Pastor Pam is inspired hearing people tell their faith journeys, where they hunger to grow and, to be sent into the world to work as God's presence.  She truly enjoys going on and leading others on  mission trips.  Rev. Pam has gone to New Orleans 8 times since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Rev. Pam says this about herself:

      "I have a "why not" rather than a "why" view of living life, trying out new idweas to serve the Lord through serving others  and in worshiping God through Jesus, the Christ.  I am passionate about the UMC mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  I firmly believe that Christ is big enough, broad enough and open enough to offer joy and love to all persons."

Rev. Pam serves as the chair of our Annual Conference COSROW (Commission on the State and Role of Women) and has been the executive director of the Children's Program at Annual Conference for the last two years.  Through COSROW she has worked with others to promote the just and equal progression of women and men in church leadership, UMC ordination, position and pay.  Heading up the Children's Program at Annual Conference, she works with others to make sure the children of pastors, deacons and lay members to Annual Conference have full participation, training and education in the life of the Annual Conference Session.

pastor@lakemerrittumc.org


 

Mary Gallahue, Music Director
Mary has over 20 years of choral conducting experience.  She has conducted church choirs and community groups in both sacred and secular music.  Mary continues to perform in the University of California Chorus as a Soprano 1.  She sang in the Orff Carmina Burana recently staged with the Smuin Ballet at the Berkeley Community Theater and will be singing in the December 2015 production of Belshazaar's Feast.  Her other major musical activity is participating in West Edge Opera's produxtion doing whatever they want her to do!  During 40 operas - that's included singing in the chorus, preparing the chorus, making and coordinating props, working in the house, dismantling sets, making costumes, and dressing actors during scenes.

When not involved in music Mary knits, needlepoints, sews and walks.

Mary has Batchelor of Music Education degree from Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI and has studied conducting with Sr. Laura Lempe, OSF and Dr. Mark Sumner.

 

Joan Miller, Pianist

Joan has been entertaining audiences and instructing students in the Bay Area for over 30 years as a piano and voice teacher, choir director, actress, fund-raiser, theatre producer, composer and arranger.  A native of Russell, Kentucky, she graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.M.E. degree in voice and piano.  Joan is a member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California and serves as President of the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation.  Besides LMUMC, Joan is also the accompanist for College Park High School, Pleasant Hill, Queen of All Saints, Concord, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto, Palo Alto Children’s Choir and entertains at various venues in the Bay Area.  In 2014, Joan received a Jefferson Award for ‘keeping music alive’ in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.     “Music changes our lives.  Studies have shown that music stimulates the brain and reduces stress.  It connects us all together and I'm grateful I'm part of that connection”.
 

Ken Schoon, Church Administrator

A native of the Midwest, Ken comes to LMUMC after three years as Site Coordinator at the Waller Center in San Francisco, where he worked with building management, communication, and hospitality. Ken is excited to work as Church Administrator at LMUMC as he pursues his doctoral studies in liturgy in the PhD program at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.

Born in Cleveland and raised in the Detroit area, Ken comes from a family of professional musicians. He pursued an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies at the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated in 2010. Ken became passionate about urban affairs and discerned a call to ministry during his college years through involvement in the local Wesley Foundation campus ministry. 

After college graduation, Ken moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he began a ministry internship at Broad Street United Methodist Church downtown and matriculated at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). At Broad Street UMC, Ken founded Art of the City, an arts ministry that brought together volunteers and community members at the Manna Cafe, the church’s free, weekly meal. Ken graduated with an Master of Divinity from MTSO in May 2014 and began his role at the Waller Center in July.

Ken is pursuing ordination as a deacon and was commissioned at the California-Nevada Annual Conference in June 2017. Ken is a new resident of downtown Oakland. When not at LMUMC or the GTU, he may be found studying, riding his bike around the East Bay, counseling tenants at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, or practicing the cello in preparation for his next concert as a member of the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony. 

 
 






 

 

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