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the council


Chris Bell
Chris has been the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa since 2006, after earning his MDiv from the Harvard Divinity School (where he met the Urban Love Monk). Chris has been a UU since 1991. He is a Deadhead and a long-time Zen practitioner in the lineage of Robert Aitken, James Ford and Rachel Howlett-Mansfield. He has two children, Cait (27) and Aaron (18)....


Jennie Curtis
Jennie is an avid gardener, wilderness lover, deep listener, and retreat leader.
Lisa Fullam 
Lisa is Associate Professor of Moral Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. She teaches courses such as Fundamental Moral Theology, Sexual Ethics and Issues in Virtue Ethics. Her research interests include virtue ethics, Thomas Aquinas, biomedical ethics, and Ignatian spirituality. She was a veterinarian in a former life.

Barbara Gates
Barbara is author of Already Home: A Topography of Spirit and Place (Shambhala Publications, June 2003) which came out of years of writing, editorial projects, Buddhist practice and research into the ecology and history of her home place in the San Francisco Bay Area. For nearly 30 years, Barbara has written for and edited Inquiring Mind, a journal of Buddhist practice. As co-founder of the journal, she has played a significant role in making Buddhist ideas accessible to readers in the English-speaking world.

John Mabry
John is a United Church of Christ pastor, serving at Grace North Church in Berkeley, CA. He teaches in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministry at Santa Clara University, and directs the spiritual direction certificate program at the Chaplaincy Institute, also in Berkeley. He is the author of several books on spirituality and ministry, including Faithful Generations: Effective Ministry Across Generational Lines (Morehouse, 2013) and Growing Into God: A Beginner's Guide to Christian Mysticism (Quest, 2012). He and his wife Lisa Fullam live in Oakland with their two dogs. In his spare time, John sings with Bay Area progressive rock band Mind Furniture (www.mindfurniture.com).

Nancee Sobonya
Nancee is an ordained minister/teacher of the Diamond Approach guiding people on their inner journey of self-discovery in the Bay Area and Europe. She is also a Grief Counselor and Educator and the producer/director of The Gifts of Grief. She offers workshops and screenings of this highly acclaimed educational documentary at conferences, churches, retreat centers and hospices worldwide. Nancee has been working in the field of death and bereavement for the past 28 years and began practicing vipassana meditation in 1983. Her website is www.giftsofgrief.com.

Willie Van Doren
Br. Willie Van Doren, n/BSG, serves as a youth minister at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Mill Valley, CA.  His Master of Divinity (’07) studies led him to preaching, youth ministry, and hip hop ministry, and now to tutoring youth around the Bay Area.  He is also a Novice (becoming a Brother) in the Brotherhood of St. Gregory, an Episcopal Religious Order of non-cloistered religious.  He enjoys rapping and listening and preaching and praying and teaching all de youts, dem[1].  Master of Divinity thesis at Harvard: A Ministry of Redemption through Hip Hop.  He lives in Oakland.


[1] Jamaican patois for “teaching SAT and ACT test prep and tutoring high school math around the San Francisco Bay Area.” The patois sounds cooler though.  



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