Born in England and raised in New York, Fred is now very happy to call the Bay Area home and to be the Senior Minister of Hillcrest Congregational Church. Among the things that attracted him to Hillcrest were the words of our Hillcrest Covenant: “Responding to God’s love and will, we unite in striving to walk in the way of Jesus Christ….” As pastor and teacher, Fred enjoys working with others to experience God in their lives and answer God’s call to serve.
Before coming to Hillcrest, Fred served as the Director of the Center for Church Life and Professor of Biblical Studies at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, where he developed and directed a professional coaching and consulting program for church leaders and ministries. Prior to that, he served as Minister for Education (Interim) at The Riverside Church in New York and as Associate Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Fred is the author and editor of several books and articles on the New Testament and early Church, including a recently published commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and a forthcoming commentary on the Shorter Epistles of Paul (Westminster/John Knox Press). He has also written on the challenges and opportunities for the churches today.
He has preached, lectured and led workshops throughout the United States and abroad, served on the Advisory Boards of Christian Networks Journal and The Yellow Star Project, contributed to the San Francisco Examiner, and has been interviewed by local newscasts as well as by the BBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Jewish Week, The Middle East Times, and ARD German Radio.
Fred is married to Kerstin Weidmann, also a pastor, and has two children, Joshua and Katie, both in college. He enjoys baseball (now more so watching than playing), bike riding, traveling around California (and elsewhere), listening to music (jazz, blues, rock, and classical), reading (history, mostly) and attempting to play the piano.
When asked about his ministry at Hillcrest, Fred responds, “God is at work in the world. The people and ministries of Hillcrest are the recipients of God’s grace and serve as God’s hands and feet in helping to put that grace to action in our own lives and on behalf the community and world. Join us, and grow with us.” [email Fred]
A native of Southern California, Ray found a congenial rut in Northern California and spent his entire professional life here. He has served congregations in Berkeley, Redding, San Francisco and Orinda. He “retired” in 1991, and has served nine congregations as Interim or Transitional consultant.
A graduate of Pamona College, Rev. Welles attended Yale Divinity School, the Pacific School of Religion, and holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He was ordained in South Pasadena in 1955.
Ray serves as Director for Carmel Valley Manor, and has been a Trustee of the Pacific School of Religion. He is an Annuitant Visitor for the UCC Pension Boards, visiting several dozen retired clergy or their widows each year. He authored three publications, none of which were ever mentioned in the New York Times, nor are they available on Amazon, but they say much about him:
- Between the No-Longer and the Not-Yet, A New Model of Interim Ministry, 1977
- Prophets and Paupers, Religion in the California Gold Rush, 1848-1869, with Harland E. Hogue
- Familiar Strangers, Encounters with Jesus, Eight Soliliquies by Those Who Knew Him, 2000
In 2001, Ray received the Arts Minister of the Year Award from the Center for Arts and Religious Education, Pacific School of Religion. While in Redding, he engaged Frank Lloyd Wright to design the building for the new congregation there. For many years, Ray had a private practice in family therapy and spiritual counseling. He also helped design the Interim Ministry specialty, and was instrumental in the building of Orinda Senior Village in Orinda.
Ray’s special interests are marriage preparation and spiritual eldering. He preaches often and consults with clergy and layleaders. With his wife Jackie, he has been a docent at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. After owning property in Boulder Creek for thirty-five years, he moved to Rossmoor in Walnut Creek in 2000. He married Jacqueline Bell in 1952, and enjoys his two daughters and six grandchildren who loom large in his life. [email Ray]
Marijke Fakasiieiki is our Children and Family Minister. She graduated with a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in 1998, where she currently serves at the writing coach for international students. She also studied at Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland in 1996 with 60 students from 40 countries.
In addition, Marijke works as an Ecumenical/Interfaith Consultant serving faith-based non-profits in Northern CA/NV. She has served as the Children and Family Minister at Arlington UCC, as a local UCC pastor, with the national UCC office in D.C., with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, and as an assistant regional Director for Church World Service/CROP organizing 25 CROP Hunger Walks in Northern CA/NV.
Marijkeis a mother of three children, all under 7 years old. Her husband, Ikani, is in the Ph.D. program at the Graduate Theological Union and is an ordained minister in the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.
Marijkehas worked with children and families, youth and young adults in local, regional, national and international settings. She loves storytelling, arts and crafts, cooking, hiking, traveling, needlepoint, world music and adapting international activities, hymns, mission stories into the life of local churches. She enjoys engaging with creative styles of worship, to empower parents and children and to train Sunday School teachers.
Her goal is to create a beautiful and safe church space so all people will feel welcome. She loves to connect people with similar interests to each other, from Bible Study and crafting, to reading and parenting from a spiritual base. [email Marijke]
Adam is an Australian who grew up with cows, chickens and sheep in the small rural town of Leeton. Growing up in a small town, he was snagged by a local Church to play drums in their morning service with other youth, and that is where it really began. His love of music led him to the Sydney Conservatory of Music where he majored in Education and Percussion. During his years studying at college, Adam also took an active hands-on approach to his ministry in the Church.
In 2003 Adam began his role as a youth minister at a Christian Outreach Center in the Sutherland Shire (also known as God’s country). He worked with children’s ministries until he was discovered to have a unique relationship with the youth. It was there that Adam developed a teen Praise and Worship band that would lead the music at the Church School, as well as host overnight Lock-ins at the Church.
Adam’s love of service in the community was seen in Australia where he was a volunteer music therapist at an extended care unit at Ryde Hospital. These days Adam can been seen as a Games Management Team leader that helps facilitate the Special Olympics event in Northern California.
Adam’s professional career in the States had its emphasis in education where he was a Jr. High History and Science teacher at a local Catholic School. Adam and his wife Grace, have also served at a local Concord Church as their music ministers for the Youth Service, as well as performing at a variety of youth days and retreats. He has worked with a High School youth group and enjoys seeing the many graduates that he has had the pleasure of teaching. We are excited about his shift in careers so he could move into full-time ministry life as the Youth and Young Adult Minister at Hillcrest and also as the Youth Minister at St. Josephs Basilica in Alameda.
His vision is to provide a fun and safe place where teens and young adults can learn about God’s love and enjoy the relationships that they build here with each other. Whether in a small group session, on a camping trip, or volunteering to help the less fortunate, Adam fully believes that God is here and loving the life we share with Him. [email Adam]