Meet the Staff

Rev. Pamela Kurtz

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 about 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 ideas 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

Joan Miller

Joan Miller

Music Director

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”.

Neil Wade

Neil Wade

Office Administrator

Neil Scott Wade is a fourth generation United Methodist, Oakland native and proud graduate of St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland. At a young age, Neil developed a love for music and performing arts that has been enriched by many Bay Area programs such as the Black Repertory Theatre, Alvin Alley Dance Camp, and The Young Musician’s Program at UC Berkeley. Currently, Neil is studying music and shares leadership in Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church’s Taylor Anointed Praise Choir in Oakland.

Neil credits his mother Marie Wilson, candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church as the wind beneath his wings and his biggest supporter. It was her support and encouragement that helped him to discover his gifts and talents in theater, dance and vocal performance.

Neil’s future plans include completing his BA in Music and forming a community choir for Bay Area youth.