Session - Ruling Elders
In our tradition, elders are elected representatives of the congregation and with the pastors, attend to the administration, discipline, and spiritual life of the congregation. Elders are ordained to this work and remain elders for life. Ruling elders may serve no more than two, three-year terms on Session before taking a sabbatical.
Class of 2023: Chris Colwell, David Elliott (Buildings and Grounds chair), Laura Fitzpatrick (Worship chair), Karen Halsey (Communications chair), Christina Hanson (Stewardship chair)
Class of 2024: Susan Bertelsen, Amanda Busch (Finance chair), Randy Huyser (Congregational Life chair), Jill Obata
Class of 2025: Jim Arce, Georgia Bender, Mary Beth Culler, Nicholas Hanson, Claude Hemphill, Suzanne Mellen (Outreach chair), Mary Roberts
Clerk of Session: Susan Berkhout
When their children were little, Karen and her husband, Brooke, went church shopping. They wanted their children to have a strong Christian foundation but one that fit with their progressive values. They chose Westminster for its attention to tradition, community of kind, intelligent people, and ability to leave them feeling better about life and the world after each service. They have been happily attending church since 2004. Karen works with our Communications team.
Chris has been a member of Westminster since 2016 when he moved to the Bay Area from Denver, Colorado. He and his wife Jane have 3 children. Chris is the Chief of Emergency Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center and a Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UCSF.
Clerk of Session
Susan has been a member of Westminster since 1987, served on Session and raised her children at WPC. As a retired HS English teacher and counselor, she enjoys serving as Clerk of Session.
David Elliott (and his family) joined WPC in 1999, several years after moving to the Bay area from the East Coast.
His family has been involved in many facets of WPC life over those two decades, giving a little and getting much in return.
David recently retired from a long career in the investment business. Among other pursuits he now leads the WPC Building & Grounds team while Erin offers a regular yoga class out of WPC. He and his dog Wally can periodically be found pruning shrubs in Frost garden or trying to diagnose a leak in the irrigation system.
Susan is a retired retail executive and a mother of four grown children and four grandchildren. She and her husband David joined Westminster in 2008. Susan walked part of The Camino del Santiago in 2016 with a group from Westminster. As a result, Susan volunteered to be an Elder is inspired to help deepen the Westminster connections.
Jim Arce and his wife Pat joined WPC in 2019. They live in Tiburon and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Jim is a semi-retired real estate asset manager. He enjoys teaching, woodworking, fly fishing and is the Scoutmaster for Tiburon BSA Troop 48.
Mary Beth Culler
Originally from Ohio, Mary Beth made her way to CA in 2005 and joined Westminster in 2014. Since retiring from full time work at Dominican University, she enjoys spending time with her son in Berkeley and his twin brother and family in western Massachusetts. Mary Beth chose Westminster because of its mission, beliefs and caring community. She enjoys participating in Women Connecting, the Spiritual Book Group, and the WPC Hiking Group, and serves on the Stewardship Committee.
Claude and his wife Pam have been attending Westminster since 2004 and their children Tom and Katy grew up in the church. Claude works as a neurointensivist at UCSF and is Chief of Neurology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. He enjoys camping, guitar, snowboarding, and playing with his golden retriever Zuzu.
Christina and her family joined Westminster in 2017 after moving to Marin from Houston. They were immediately drawn to the sermons and messages taught each week, the vibrant youth program, and the church's dedication to serving the community. In addition to chairing the Stewardship Committee, she volunteers with the National League of Young Men, her sons' schools, and arts organizations in support of classical music.
Deacons at Westminster are specially trained to visit the sick and shut-ins, to address community problems, and to care for both the congregation and the community. Deacons are also ordained to their work and may serve up to two, three-year terms of office.
Class of 2023: Jane Drobot, Nancy Leung, Kirk Ludwig, Julie Soja, Amanda Stephens
Class of 2024: Bev Alexander, Jerry Eaton, Coral Kisseberth, Ginny Quick, Maryland Swensen
Class of 2025: Gary Carlston, Jacquie Dara, Charlotte Montgomery, Rachel Ruffalo, Judi Sachs
Jane has been a member of Westminster for 26 years. Her kids grew up in the church and she is thankful for the positive effect this church has had on them both. She is a retired registered nurse, having spent 30 years as a home care nurse in San Francisco. Currently she volunteers at two local community agencies and serves on Westminster’s Spiritual Life Commission.
Nancy moved to Marin in 2006 after marrying Kirk Ludwig. She enjoys singing, traveling, hiking, bicycling, and boating/water skiing. She joined Westminster Presbyterian Church because of the programs and the friendly congregation. She became a church member in Feb 2017 and a deacon in 2020.
Kirk began attending Westminster in 2017. After getting to know the WPC community for a few years, he decided it was the right time to volunteer as a Deacon. Kirk serves on our Nominating Committee and is the Deacon liaison with the Alternative Christmas Fair. Kirk is one of the two founders of Westhill Financial Advisors in San Rafael.
Coral serves Westminster in many ways, including co-chairing the Spiritual Life Commission and coordinating the Hot Lunch program. She also volunteers at UCSF Breast cancer center and tutors at Bridge the Gap in Marin City. When not volunteering, Coral enjoy travel, running, yoga and hiking.
Bev a long-time WPC member (and retired clean energy geek) who lives in Novato. She has a daughter who lives in DC, and other family throughout the Bay Area. She is delighted to serve as a Deacon because the Deacons helped her when she needed it. Bev serves on WPC’s Personnel Committee.
Maryland Swensen joined WPC in 2020 and has quickly become involved in many small groups and activities. She oversees the Westminster-led worship service at the Redwoods in Mill Valley once a month. When not working her day job, she is honored to serve as a WPC Deacon.
Gary is now retired after working as a Swedish Women’s Basketball Coach, Software entrepreneur, Sheep farmer, and Winegrower. He and his wife, Nancy have four grown kids. Gary serves as the Deacon representative on the Building and Grounds Commission.
Amanda feels blessed to have found a spiritual home in Westminster and was called to serve the congregation as a deacon soon after joining the church. She volunteers in the wider community through WPC's Outreach Commision and is also on the national Board of Directors of the Joyful Heart Foundation. Amanda enjoys hiking, puzzles, and traveling with her two teenage children.
Ginny and her family have been active members of the church for over 30 years. She has served in a variety of capacities over the years, and currently chairs the Legacy Fund committee in addition to serving as Moderator of Deacons. After retiring from a career in nonprofit financial management, Ginny chose to serve as a Deacon again to engage and serve members of the congregation in more personal ways.
Judi has been a member of Westminster for 19 years, joining because she was attracted to the rich variety of learning opportunities, Westminster’s openness, and commitment to social outreach issues. She co-chaired the search committee that found Rob, taught Sunday School, and was a Deacon about 10 years ago. She chaired the Capital Campaign and is grateful for our new kitchen after working on the REST program for 10 years! She tutors at San Pedro School, volunteers at the Canal Food pantry and (pre-Covid) at St. Vincent de Paul’s kitchen. She enjoys gardening, yoga, hiking, baking and most of all spending time with her 4 grandchildren.
Rachel and her family (husband Robb Adkins and teenager kids Maria, Wilson, and Sam) joined Westminster in 2013 after a long search for a church home. They immediately felt welcomed at WPC and have enjoyed the youth programs, service to the community, and reflective worship services. Rachel was particularly grateful for the sense of community and connection that WPC continued to foster throughout the pandemic closure of in-person gatherings and felt it was time to support the WPC community in a more formal way as a deacon. Rachel currently serves as Director of Educator Engagement for the Education Trust-West, a non-profit educational equity research and advocacy organization.
Westminster’s work is primarily organized through eight commissions comprised of at least one deacon and one elder and several members at large. Anyone is welcome to participate in the work of these groups. Meetings are held at the church on the first Tuesday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. Please contact Pastor Rob McClellan or Pastor Bethany Nelson if interested in learning more about serving on a commission.