2015 Nominee Biographies

 2015 Certified Election Results

posted October 20, 2015

STANDING COMMITTEE

Elect: 2 — one lay member and one clergy member

LAY

Andrew Lee

George Teekell

Br. Karekin M. Yarian, BSG

CLERGY

Stephen Hassett

Sylvia Vasquez

Mauricio Wilson

 

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

Elect: 2 — at least one must be lay

LAY

Robert Middleton

CLERGY

Deborah Hawkins

 

SECRETARY OF THE CONVENTION

Elect: 1 (any order)

David Frangquist

 

TREASURER OF THE DIOCESE

Elect: 1 (any order)

Robert McCaskill

Note: It is not the practice of the Nominations Committee to edit or correct submitted nominee biographies.


STANDING COMMITTEE

LAY NOMINEES

Andrew Lee

Christ Church, Sausalito
Marin Deanery

Interests:
I have to confess to being a “religion geek”: I love visiting different churches, attending religious workshops and retreats, and experiencing different expressions of Spirit (such as Taizé worship, meditation, and the like). I am also studying religion at the graduate level; see my research interests below. Beyond these interests, I love to read and write and travel, although I don’t get much opportunity for the latter now on a student budget. I also enjoy birdwatching and gardening, and am a practitioner of qigong and other mind-body (“martial”) arts.

Professional associations:
American Academy of Religion Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
I serve in a regular rotation as a lay Eucharistic minister, acolyte, and lector in my parish. I have also served two years as one of my parish’s representatives to our Deanery and Convention. In consultation with my rector, I am in the process of developing a centering prayer retreat and other Christian education/spiritual formation offerings for my parish.

Major activities beyond diocese:
I am a PhD student in Christian spirituality at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, which takes up most of my time. My research interests include contemplative practices, the history and theology of mysticism (especially the medieval English mystics, such as Julian of Norwich), and Celtic Christian spirituality. For the past two years, I have also led discernment retreats for prospective students at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo. I am also a member of an inter-denominational contemplative spirituality group that meets regularly (at St. Paul’s Episcopal, San Rafael) for centering prayer and lectio divina

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
The rapid growth of the “spiritual, but not religious” phenomenon suggests that many people find church irrelevant to their spirituality. Even regular church-goers can find that church has little impact on their daily lives. This suggests that our greatest needs in the church involve a return to the basics of our identity and purpose. Are we listening deeply to those around us, meeting them where they are and responding to their real needs? Are we seeking to address the ways we have hurt and continue to hurt others? Are we becoming more welcoming, more loving, more humble, and more generous, especially towards those who don’t fit in or who disagree with us? Are we listening to and being guided by the Spirit? Are we truly following and becoming ever more like Christ, offering grace and healing to the world? Are we really connecting people with God, nurturing meaningful spiritual experiences that are transformative and life-giving? Do people recognize us as “a house of prayer for all nations”—a link between earth and heaven where they can seek and find God? How can we more fully manifest the presence of the Divine on earth? 

Why are you running for this position?
I have a contemplative nature and tend to listen carefully and reflect deeply before speaking. I also have a long-running centering prayer practice and have had formal training in group discernment practices and contemplative listening skills. As a lay person (neither ordained nor seeking ordination) with considerable theological training (MDiv, MA in Christian spirituality, and currently working on a PhD in the same subject), I feel I can serve as a bridge between lay and clerical concerns. As a former Southern Baptist (I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church six years ago), I have a unique, outsider perspective combined with a great love for the Episcopal Church as my adopted, chosen spiritual home. Finally, I am simply enthralled with the breadth and diversity of this diocese, and would be honored to serve it. Given my personality and background, I think that the quiet, prayerful leadership called for in the work of the Standing Committee would be an ideal way for me to be of service.

Nominated by Chip Larrimore

 

George Teekell

Trinity + St. Peter’s, San Francisco
San Francisco Deanery

Interests:
My primary interests are Episcopal liturgy and sacred music. For over a decade I have attended the Eucharist on most days: weekdays at Grace Cathedral, occasional weekday and Saturday mornings at Church of the Advent, and Sunday mornings at Trinity, San Francisco (now Trinity†St. Peter’s). Since 2003 I have sung at services at Grace Cathedral, first in Cathedral Singers and now in the successor group, Cathedral Camerata. I also sing in the Trinity Choir. I regularly sing at the Eucharist, Sunday Evensong, Christmas Eve, Maundy Thursday and the Easter Vigil.    I have a vigorous yoga practice and also enjoy swimming.

Professional associations:
California Attorneys in State Employment  California Bar  California Teachers Association

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
I have served as junior warden, senior warden, treasurer and vestry member at Trinity, San Francisco. As lay leader of a lay-led congregation, initially with volunteer clergy only, I was responsible for the temporal aspects of church management. Working closely with Linda Griffith, senior warden of St. Peter’s, I managed the successful blending and unification of two Episcopal congregations, as Trinity†St. Peter’s (T+SP). Started architectural and permitting work for the upcoming seismic strengthening project. Launched capital campaign. Spearheaded the calling of a full time priest-in-charge. I am also a member of the Capital Campaign and the Building Committees at T+SP.

Major activities beyond diocese:
Since 2001 I have worked in San Francisco as lead rulemaking attorney for the California Department of Insurance, a state agency whose main mission is consumer protection. I coordinate teams of interdisciplinary professional staff to promulgate insurance regulations that improve people’s lives, on subjects ranging from gender nondiscrimination to mental health parity.    For twenty-five years I have taught part-time at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. On Saturdays, I teach remedial English primarily to nonnative English speakers. I also taught for six years at West Valley College in Saratoga, where I served for three years on the Academic Senate.

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
the need to gain relevance in the lives of new generations of unchurched young people and the apparently competing need to maintain the subtle but real differentness from the ambient secular culture that identifies us as Christians and Episcopalians.    Declining attendance/membership and rising median ages at many churches in the diocese are troubling for at least two reasons: They threaten our long-term sustainability, and they accuse us, collectively, of failing to spread the Good News effectively, particularly among young people.    We obviously cannot continue as we always have and simply hope that the adverse trends will reverse themselves. Rather, we must innovate and experiment, searching out and implementing new ways to attract, accommodate and retain new congregants.     By the same token, however, we must beware of catering to the expectations of the unchurched so completely that we end up abandoning essential elements of our tradition, in an effort to get more people in the door. We seek greater attendance/membership not for its own sake but because we believe our tradition in particular offers newcomers a distinct kind of religious experience and awareness that is sorely needed in the broader culture, precisely because it is generally not to be found there.

Why are you running for this position?
I believe I am called to serve on the Standing Committee. Should the convention elect me to the position, I am ready to carry out its responsibilities faithfully and to the best of my ability.    I am well equipped to bring to bear on the enterprise of diocesan governance the full force of the insight and skill I have gained and developed over the years through sustained prayer and worship, professionally in secular society, and at the parish level, as a faithful and effective lay leader. In particular, I am I able to approach difficult and sensitive matters with tact and humility.     I am a patient and careful listener, and a team player, and I have extensive experience in successful committee work. I am also capable of communicating effectively and, when necessary and appropriate, can pose questions or express an opposing view clearly and respectfully, all the while promoting a congenial, loving and collaborative meeting atmosphere.

Nominated by Ron Johnson

 

Br. Karekin M. Yarian, BSG

St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco
San Francisco Deanery

Interests:
Writing, spiritual direction, social activism, LGBT issues, religious life.

Professional associations:
Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, Spiritual Directors International, Sacred Space SF, Recycled AIDS Medicine Program.

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
Member of Advisory Board for Sacred Space SF, professional Spiritual Director, member of Bishop's Committee SJE. Former Minister Provincial - Province VIII of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory. Advisor to community-in-formation Companions of Dorothy the Worker.

Major activities beyond diocese:
Consultant to Church Publishing, Inc.

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
How do we get the Church to become outwardly focused on ministry, rather than inwardly focused? We need to become more aware of systemic racism, develop clearer advocacy for immigrants, in this Diocese to become more active in speaking out against the impact of income disparity, and address the increasing poverty in this city. 

Why are you running for this position?
To be a voice in the governance of this Diocese that calls to Church to be more active and deliberate in ensuring that our structures and parishes have the means to address the issues we face as a denomination.

Nominated by Diana Wheeler

 

CLERGY NOMINEES

Stephen Hassett

St. Stephen’s, Orinda
Contra Costa Deanery

Interests:
Needless to say I am interested in my family: they are my favorite people and I love spending time with them every day. I am pursuing a Doctor of Ministry studying methods of teaching and learning for the purpose of enriching our strategies and tools for discipleship. That's interesting. I am taking lessons on the ukulele which is awesome, and for the past four years I have been a student of an Afro-Brazilian martial art called Capoeira, which is super interesting.

Professional associations:
None that I can think of!

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
I was ordained to the priesthood in 2006 and served a church plant in Marin County called the Macrina Community. After that I served as Associate at St John's in Ross for six-and-a-half years. I have served as rector of St Stephen's in Orinda for one year, and have served on the Commission on Ministry for four years. I have occasionally led or contributed to programs for Clergy Conference and other programs for faith formation.

Major activities beyond diocese:
For the past seven years my family and I have been committed members of a public school community in Oakland. MLA is a dual-immersion Spanish-English K-8 school that serves families from all over Oakland with a special emphasis on immigrant and Spanish-speaking families in the Fruitvale and East Oakland. Our primary goal is to develop a community of teachers and learners who are engaged in the work of transforming social structures so as to address patterns of inequality and injustice in schools and in society. Our boys are in 6th and 3rd grade, and we volunteer a lot.

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
I'll be honest and say that I think one of the major issues facing the church today is the exorbitant amount of time we spend worrying about issues facing the church. I'd rather see us focus on our commitment to enriching our prayer lives, searching the Bible for transformative wisdom, and patterning our lives after Jesus so that we have the courage and stamina to live lives of mercy and justice as a witness to God's power and grace.

Why are you running for this position?
I was nominated and accepted the nomination. If elected I would be glad to serve on the Standing Committee. In my work as a parish priest and a member of the COM, I have tried to improve structures and processes for the sake of institutional health and vitality. If the church is a the body of Christ, then the body needs to be strong to carry out its mission. I think I have been effective as a leader and colleague in my various roles, and would be glad to bring that same energy and those same priorities to a Diocesan body such as the Standing Committee.

Nominated by Lori Walton

 

Sylvia Vasquez

St. Paul’s, Walnut Creek
Contra Costa Deanery

Interests:
I enjoy spending time in my tiny garden and I absolutely love being on large ocean going ships. Cruising on the ocean is a deep joy for me. I also enjoy reading novels and watching a variety of genres of cinema. I love cooking for large groups and spending time camping under the giant redwood trees near Garberville, CA. I have a huge family and I enjoy keeping up with all 300 of my family members who mostly live in Texas.

Professional associations:
I have a few professional associations outside of the church, but am not currently active in any.

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
I have served most recently on Executive Council, and currently serve on Constitution and Canons. I also served two terms on the board of Episcopal Charities and was a member of the Ad Hoc Search Committee for the diocesan multi-cultural officer. At the Bishop's request, I energetically participated in the Assessment Formula Review Committee and just finished my service on the Capital Campaign Steering Committee. I am starting to put together a plan to re-engage the Latino Commission. I am current vice-president of my Deanery.

Major activities beyond diocese:
I am a volunteer staff associate for General Convention as a House Services Coordinator for interpretation. I have been either a deputy, alternate or volunteer for General Convention since 2000. I have served on the Episcopal Church Latino Advisory Board, and I conducted workshops for Province IX Bishops on the Catechumenate. I have organized and led multiple parish based mission trips in four different dioceses to Mexico and Honduras for the last 17 years.

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
I think one of the major issues facing the church today is to stay focused on the core message of the Gospel. We've been distracted by legal wrangling over property and social issues and not applying the values of the Gospel to guide our decisions about our mission as a church. Love God, love your neighbor--change the world. That is a short hand for what God is calling us to do, yet, we are constantly sidetracked by other distractions. We must be willing to live the values that Christianity espouses or our message rings hollow.     Another major issue facing the church is to figure out how to go about creating a culture of non-anxious leadership that inspires and challenges rather than responding out of fear and scarcity. Many times church leaders are pressured to lukewarm solutions so as not to upset others.

Why are you running for this position?
I want to contribute part of my time and energy to serve the Diocese as an advisor to our Bishop. We need courageous leadership that is able to stay the course of the Gospel message in the face of strong pressure to let things be as they are. Our Bishop has the courage and the vision to lead the diocese in the world of Bay area secularism. I want to assist him in his vision for the diocese and to support him in his ministry by being a sounding board for his ideas, hopes, and dreams. I have a direct way of speaking and feel that I can be candid with the Bishop in those areas where we may need to explore different options than he might initially believe. I think we need to value, treasure and respect his gifts and talents while also inviting him to stretch in other areas. I have several years of experience in congregational development which can be an asset when making decisions about property, and facilities use, etc. I have been ordained for 20 years and feel I have good insight into the role of clergy in the life of the church.

Nominated by Warren Wong

 

Mauricio Wilson

St. Paul’s, Oakland
Alameda Deanery

Interests:
Liturgy & Worship, Church Governance, Youth Ministry, Accounting/Audit, Cooking, wines.

Professional associations:
N/A

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
Rector, St. Paul's Church, Oakland  Board of St. Paul's School  Board Clausen House  Completing term on Executive Council  Chair, Assessment Appeals Committee  Program and Budget Committee  DioCal General Convention Deputation

Major activities beyond diocese:
N/A

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
1. Our growing concern about numbers:  Episcopalians and others spend an inordinate amount of time in conversation on statistics, bank accounts and ASA’s.  Unfortunately this takes away from what is and always should be sharing the Good News of God in Christ Jesus.  2. The Name of Jesus:  many have used this name to promote an agenda of exclusion and hate.  It is essential that those of us who are working for causes of social and environmental justice to reclaim Jesus as our guide and inspiration.  3. “United we stand, divided we fall.” I believe the Church must inspire the world towards unity.  To do so we first have to live that oneness within the Body of Christ. 

Why are you running for this position?
As part of my ordination vows I made a commitment to serve in the councils of the Church.  I am offering myself for consideration for the Standing Committee of our Diocese because I believe strongly in the structures of governance of our church and in the vital role this body has in supporting the ministries and ministers of the Church.  I have been an Episcopalian my entire life and at 13 years of age I starting serving in leadership and governance positions in the church.  This form of service to the church has extended to my six years in the Diocese of California.  It is my hope that I will be able to share my gifts and talents with the other members of the Committee so as to continue being a strong source of advice for the Bishop, as well as strong but very spiritual resource of discernment for those who feel themselves called to God’s service in the ordained ministry.  

Nominated by Jeri Robinson

return to top


EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

LAY NOMINEE

Robert Middleton

St. John’s, Oakland
Alameda Deanery

Interests:
Medieval and early modern european history, literature and music;  gardening; local animal welfare programs; maintaining and driving vintage sports cars.

Professional associations:
Episcopal Communicators; North American Maritime Ministry Association; National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, public seaport planning forums.

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
Lay Eucharistic minister, 1997-present;  President/VP Alameda Deanery, 2010-12; St. John's Oakland deanery delegate 2004-present; St. John's parish newsletter editor, 2004-08; port chaplain, Bay Area Seafarers Service, 2000-04; Education for Ministry, 1992-96; publicity chair, Diocese of California 150th anniversary celebration, 1999; Vestry member, 1988-91 and committee chair or member for various parish programs including annual stewardship campaigns, rector searches, facilities operations and maintenance, men's fellowship group and annual retreat and rides for non-driving parishioners, 1988-present.   Postgraduate study, diocesan School for Deacons, 1996-2006.

Major activities beyond diocese:
San Francisco Night Ministry, crisis line counselor, 2006-present. Oakland-East Bay Symphony Orchestra development, 2012-present; National Alliance on Mental Illness, family-to-family education; Piedmont Pines Neighborhood Association.

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
It's been said that Christian faith draws us into a vertical and a horizontal relationship: the vertical our relationship to God, the horizontal to each other.  In my view, Episcopal Church strengths reside more along the vertical axis, articulating theological principles and their implications for individual practice and political and social action.  We do less well at integrating members into emotionally satisfying and productive congregational life, and our parishes too often resemble the proverbial "herd of cats." To newcomers and church-shoppers (to say nothing of the unchurched), it is not always clear what draws Episcopalians together, and why they worship as they do.  As a result, outreach initiatives tend to "preach to the choir loft" without giving compelling, credible grounds for exploring church membership-- religion at the retail level, if you will.  We have an enormously strong story to tell, but we need to dramatize it convincingly, accessibly and far more often than we typically do.

Why are you running for this position?
I now am retired after more than 30 years of staff and managerial employment in both the public and private sectors, and over that time I have belonged to the same parish, under two bishops, three rectors and a number of interims.  Cumulatively this experience has shown me how people in groups of varying sizes respond to the challenges of organizational life, successfully and not so successfully.  It has emphasized the virtues of patience, empathy and pragmatism, and it has taught me above all, to listen.  These are faculties I gladly bring to the work of the diocese, as I very much admire and enjoy the church and want it to flourish in our time.

Nominated by Krista Fregoso

 

CLERGY NOMINEE

Deborah Hawkins

St. Elizabeth’s, South San Francisco and St. Andrew’s, San Bruno
Pennisula Deanery

Interests:
Reading, walking, boating, gardening, and time spent with family and friends.

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
Lay Vicar of St. Elizabeth’s and St. Andrew’s, St. Andrew’s Preschool board, and Committee for Congregational Development.

Major activities beyond diocese:
I participate in both the South City Pastors Association and in Assemblyman Kevin Mullins ‘Coffee with clergy program.'  The primary purpose of both programs is to engage with clergy from different faiths and traditions around issues affecting our communities.

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
We are always faced with the issue of how to grow as disciples of the risen Christ both as individuals and as communities of faith. This requires a constant discernment of how to blend the old with the new in order to flourish in the present and the years to come. It is tempting to either toss out all that is old or refuse to consider anything new. Instead we must be open to new combinations of practices, structures and processes in all aspects of the church. This requires being willing to try, fail, learn, and try again all while remembering that what at first glance appears to be failure often turns out to be the opening of a new opportunity.

Why are you running for this position?
Governance, finance and long-range planning are important and fascinating facets of the life of the church. I enjoy being a part of making things work. I bring a love of small mission congregations and respect for the gifts they carry for the diocese as whole into the conversations.

Nominated by Diane FitzGibbon

return to top


SECRETARY OF THE CONVENTION

David Frangquist

St. Aidan’s, San Francisco
San Francisco Deanery

Interests:
History, computers & com­munications, Christian voca­tion, parliamen­tary law, labyrinth design.

Professional associations:
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
Secretary of Convention, Committee on Dispatch of Business 2007-2013, Committee on Governance 2010-2012, Standing Committee class of 2008 (Secretary 2006, Vice President 2008), Diocesan Council 2002-2004, Pacific Church News Advisory Board 2002-2005, pre­senter at Diocesan Ministry Conferences (voca­tions track), Convention Delegate, Vestry (3 times), Parish Treasurer, Congregation Vocations Committee, Senior Warden, Rector Search Committee, labyrinth builder, thespian, Mother Superior (St. Dymphna’s).

Major activities beyond diocese:
Carleton College Alumni Association, Colorado River runner.

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
Restructuring our Church to present the Gospel of Christ in new and relevant ways. We must learn to refashion our institutions and use our resources effectively to communicate our true excitement about Christ to a skeptical people. We need to convey the importance of Christian com­munity and corporate action to a society where religion has become private and personal for many people. We must mobilize the power of the Holy Spirit embodied in all our members. In this time of economic, environmental and political crisis, the world needs Christ more than ever. (Same thing I said last year, and the landscape hasn't changed much.)

Why are you running for this position?
I was first called to this work when the Rev. Channing Smith asked me to run after I had served as Secretary of Standing Committee and led the organization of the Special Convention that elected Bishop Marc. I have found the work to be interesting and rewarding. I believe there is still more I am called to do. There is much to do to promote transparency and communication in our diocese and to improve the effectiveness of Diocesan Convention. I am pleased to serve Christ in this way.

Nominated by Peter Fairfield

return to top


TREASURER OF THE DIOCESE

Robert McCaskill

St. Stephen's, Belvedere
Marin Deanery

Interests:
Nonprofit organizations, environmental protection, travel, snow skiing and water skiing.

Professional associations:
Retired CPA (past member of American Institute of CPAs and California Institute of CPAs).

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese:
Diocese: Treasurer of the Diocese (2009-present), Diocesan Finance Committee (2002-present), Program & Budget Committee (2008-present), Diocesan Audit Committee (2006-present), Diocesan Investment Committee (2009-present), Diocese Board of Directors (2006-2008), Governance Review Steering Committee (2007-2008).

St. Stephen's Church: Vestry, Senior Warden (2010), Treasurer (2001-present), Co-Chair Capital Campaign (2013)

Major activities beyond diocese:
Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (board member)
Belvedere City Council (2012-present), Mayor (2014)
Marin Clean Energy (board member)
Belvedere-Tiburon Recreation (board member)
Marin Academy (Finance Committee)

In my opinion the major issues facing the church today are
As the financial condition of many of our parish churches continues to suffer, we must continue to seek an appropriate balance between the financial needs of the Diocese and those of its individual churches, and work to identify innovative ways that the Diocese can give meaningful assistance to its congregations in the areas of stewardship and membership growth.

Why are you running for this position?
I am a retired CPA and have served both as a board member and as treasurer of various nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area. Having served as the treasurer of my own congregation for many years, I have an understanding of the financial pressures that many of our churches face. As a member of the Diocese's finance committee since 2002, I also have a good understanding of the accounting and financial issues of the Diocese.

Nominated by Roulhac Austin

return to top