Jazz & Justice

Our Pastor, Rev. Marjorie Wilkes Matthews

Marjorie Matthews
Rev. Marjorie Wilkes Matthews has served as Pastor of Plymouth Church since October 2013. Before being called as our Pastor, she served for four years as our Associate Pastor.

Pastor Marjorie is a fifth-generation educator, descended from several generations of women who dedicated their lives to teaching and improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged children. She co-founded and co-directed the West Oakland Community School, a charter school for grades 6 – 8.

In addition to being ordained in the United Church of Christ, Pastor Marjorie is trained as a spiritual director, providing support to individuals, couples, and groups seeking to deepen their relationship with God. She believes that her responsibility, as pastor and spiritual director, is to help people embrace belovedness – to grow in love for God, themselves, and others.

Pastor Marjorie is a graduate of Princeton University and Pacific School of Religion. She is married to Rev. Bob Matthews.

Ministers in Covenant

Our Ministers in Covenant are members of Plymouth Church who are ordained in the United Church of Christ and are called to serve in hospitals, prisons, nonprofit organizations and other non-church settings. We are blessed to have eight Ministers in Covenant with Plymouth Church.

Carolyn Collins

Rev. Carolyn Collins

Rev. Carolyn serves as the chaplain for the Food of God Feeding Ministry.  Carolyn received a PhD in molecular biology from Duke University and a M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion.

Rev. Leslie Leasure

Rev. Leslie Leasure is a chaplain, writer, and group facilitator. She has been working with people in recovery for more than 26 years in various professional and volunteer roles.  She currently teaches spirituality classes and provides client spiritual care at Bayside Marin and Merritt Peralta Institute, the chemical dependency treatment center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. She also serves as a spiritual care counselor at a local hospice organization and provides spiritual direction to changemakers, artists, and people in recovery.  Rev. Leslie holds an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University, and an MDiv from Pacific School of Religion. She’s the founding curator of Into the Wilderness, an online church start created in 2014 and a guest faculty member at the Chaplaincy Institute’s Interfaith Studies program. Leslie has done advocacy in the areas of substance abuse treatment access, prison reform, anti-racism, and LGBTQ/SGL rights. 

Rev J Monahan

Rev. Joellynn Monahan

Rev. Joellynn is the founding spiritual director at the Spiral Way, serving people of all faiths in Northern California and across the US.  She also serves as Abbess of Heart of Wisdom Monastery which offers retreats and spiritual formation.  Her ministry reflects over 25 years commitment to education and activism on social justice issues including anti-racism, gender equity, LGBTQI/SGL advocacy, disability rights, and environmental & food justice.  Prior to ordination, Joellynn worked in secular Higher Education as a therapist and training student leaders on issues of diversity.  She holds a Masters of Education in Counseling & Human Development from St. Lawrence University, a Masters of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union, and a Certificate in Interfaith Spiritual Direction at the Chaplaincy Institute.

Ayanna Moore

Rev. Ayanna Moore

Rev. Ayanna came to Plymouth as one of our Ministers in Training during her seminary years. She’s been with Plymouth ever since! She currently works as a hospital chaplain.

Gillian M-S -- use this one

Rev. Gillian Murphy-Stephans

Rev. Gillian serves as the Chaplain of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She received a M.Div. with honors from Union Theological Seminary and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Hunter College. Prior to seminary, Gillian spent more than 15 years working on the intersection of social health and justice. She completed Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, where she discovered her love of chaplaincy.

Rhina Ramos - use this one

Rev. Rhina Ramos

Rev. Rhina Ramos is an ordained United Church of Christ minister leading an open and affirming Spanish speaking congregation in Oakland. Her church, Ministerio Latino, welcomes Latinx immigrants and also members of the LGBTQ community. Rhina was born in El Salvador and grew up during the civil war. Her understanding of the fight for justice was influenced by watching people rise up to fight for their human rights. Rhina graduated from Hofstra University Law School in 1995. She also obtained a Masters in Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in 2003. She practiced labor law for 5 years recuperating thousands of dollars in back pay for immigrant workers and is an experienced Community Organizer leading programs to promote educational equity, labor rights, international solidarity with El Salvador and domestic violence awareness.

Rev. Dearthrice DeWitt

Rev. Dea is a native of Albany, NY. He completed his undergraduate education at Colgate University and received his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling program at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He has served as Associate Pastor of First Congregational Church of Minneapolis, project director for the New Jersey-based nonprofit Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and pastor of First Congregational Church of Poughkeepsie, NY. He currently serves as a healthcare chaplain for Sutter Care at Home. Dea is both an ordained UCC minister and a bishop of The Renewal Church.

Ministers in Discernment

Our Members in Discernment are members of Plymouth Church who are considering a call to ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ. We are blessed to have three Members in Discernment.

Rachel Haxtema

Rachel Haxtema

Rachel Haxtema received her Master of Divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary, concurrently earning a Master of Arts in Christian Ethics and Social Theory at the Graduate Theological Union. She recently returned home to the Pacific Northwest and is working at Pacific Lutheran University in the Center for Community Engagement and Service as the Healthy Parkland Coordinator. Her work builds capacity of local organizations addressing healthy food access and helps connect students, staff and faculty through service-learning courses and volunteer opportunities in the same organizations. She is passionate about connecting faith communities to important issues like immigration, poverty, eco-justice and food justice.

Ashley Hiestand

Ashley Hiestand

Ashley Hiestand is a graduate of Pacific School of Religion. Originally from Cleveland, home of the UCC, Ashley moved to Los Angeles to attend college and then spent five years working on food access issues, including helping to establish a farmer’s market in South Los Angeles. She moved to Berkeley to follow the call to ministry, and she feels blessed to have Plymouth Church walk with her as she continues to discern the path that is unfolding.

Alicia Van Riggs

Alicia Van Riggs

Alicia Van Riggs has attended Plymouth since 2011 and graduated from Berkeley’s Pacific School of Religion in 2009 with a Masters in Divinity. She was born in Southern California, grew up in the rural Midwest and has called Oakland home since moving here in 1999. Alicia’s “day job” is in construction project management with UC Berkeley. She is discerning a call to ordained ministry because theology, art, and sacred story have all claimed space in her heart in a way she can’t shake off.

Retired Ministers

Retired ministers at Plymouth are very active in ministry! – leading prayer, presiding over Communion, providing pastoral care, and much more.

Kay Wellington

Rev. Kay Wellington

Rev S Kay Wellington is a graduate of The American Baptist Seminary of the West winning the Marian E Bratcher Prize in Functional Theology. She was ordained in January of 1983 by ABC/USA. Upon the “disfellowshipping” of her church for being a member of the Welcoming and Affirming Baptists her ordination was recognized by the UCC/NCNC in 2001. She is a certified new church planter and trained to professionally administer the MBTI Type Indicator, and Alban Institute trained Transitional Pastor. She has served several churches throughout the Bay Area and was the Field Education Director for three years at American Baptist Seminary of the West.

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