Meet the Staff

Rev. Sunae Cho

Rev. Sunae Cho

Lead Pastor;

Sunae is Korean-American, born in Seoul, Korea, and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 15. Raised in San Jose, she always refers to it as her home.  Now she is making her home in the community of Oakland with her husband, Michael.

Sunae graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She worked as a Registered Nurse at Kaiser Santa Clara (1988-1997) and Valley Medical Center (1997 – 2004).  After her spiritual growth caused her to realize her calling was to care for the people in a different way, she earned a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion (Graduate Theological Seminary) in Berkeley, California. Sunae was ordained as an Elder in the California – Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2014. She has served five churches in California:  Bethel Korean UMC (1999-2001), New Community Mission Church (2003-2004), Korean United Methodist Church in Santa Clara Valley (2006-2013), Calvary UMC (2013-2016), and Evergreen Valley UMC (2013-2022).

Sunae has been married to Michael for thirty-three wonderful years and they have two grown children, Edward and Anthony.  Eddie is a surgeon in the Fellowship program in Trauma and Critical Care at the University of Southern California.  Anthony is going to school and working in San Jose.  They have a wonderful furry child, Butters, an 8-year-old mix of Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer, and Poodle.  This creature of God brings immense joy to our family.

Her mission is to live out God’s love for all. She inspires and strengthens other’s faith as she journeys alongside others to build God’s beloved community.  She welcomes all, and inspires others to live out their calling, faith in action and justice for all people.  She seeks to return to God and to herself daily as she practices contemplative prayer.

Her personal mission statement is “God loves you. God is present in our lives in knowing or without knowing.  So, enjoy God and others.  Enjoy life.”  She is passionate about touching others and restoring a healthy relationship in families through God’s grace.  Sunae believes that a healthy home and healthy church can have a powerful impact in our community and on the world.

Sunae and Michael love to travel.  Sunae loves a good cup of coffee, music, nature walks and reading books.  Moreover, Sunae is an excellent cook, particularly with Korean dishes, and she looks forward to introducing the Lake Merritt and Lake Park family to them and her own brand of hospitality.  

Jim Meredith

Jim Meredith

Music Director;

Jim is a singer, pianist, organist, arranger, composer, conductor and music director born in North Carolina and studied at the university of North Carolina and Tulane University.

His musical abilities have seen him working in many international countries as a soloist, accompanist and conductor and he has appeared in the United States leading ensembles such as the Oakland Symphony Chorus and the Sonos Handbell Ensemble.  

As the founding music director of the Sonos Handbell Ensemble he has made several successful recordings and given numerous concerts. In the world of education he has taught masterclasses at several colleges and universities, and he has also been on the faculty of Merritt College. As a composer he has written the work “Kodo Triptych” for percussion, handbells and hand chimes and as an arranger his work has been heard the world over. Before becoming the Music Director at Lake Merritt UMC, Jim was Music Director for Lake Park UMC. We are so blessed to have such a gifted musician leading our Lake Merritt choir and supporting our worship services with his diverse talents. 

Ken Schoon

Ken Schoon

Church Administrator;

As an ordained United Methodist deacon, Ken (he/him) has helped the church meet the needs of the world through a variety of ministry settings and roles including parish ministry, retreat ministry, LGBTQ+ advocacy, worship planning, and church administration. He holds a B.S. in Urban Studies from the University of Cincinnati and an M.Div. from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Ken is completing his doctoral studies in the Anthropology of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where his research interests include pilgrimage, decolonial studies, and Asian American liberation theology.

Ken originally hails from the Detroit area, and he was raised in a musical family whose Methodist roots go back six generations. He plays cello in the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, where he met his husband, George, with whom he lives in Oakland.