My Academic and Professional History

My Lifelong Interests

I have an abiding fascination with how we find authentic meaning in our life and work. I am inspired by listening to people as they describe the insights they’ve found in their personal and professional journeys, and how organizations either support or ignore our common search for meaning and how to make a difference in the world. I have a reverence for all spiritual traditions, as well as the role culture, history and politics play in our lives. Following this sense of call, I worked for 43 years in the nonprofit and spiritual development fields: Executive Director of Hospice of Santa Barbara, Director of La Casa de Maria Retreat Center (before it closed in 2018 following the debris flow event), and as a Presbyterian pastor in a variety of states and settings. I’ve been active in inter-spiritual work for 20 years, particularly with the Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities. I’ve served on several nonprofit boards and published a dozen articles. 

Current Involvements

Strategic Advisory Council, Major Gifts Committee, and “Good Neighbors” Steering Committee, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics. Neighborhood Clinics provides high quality, comprehensive, affordable healthcare to all people, regardless of their ability to pay, in an environment that fosters respect, compassion and dignity. The organization just successfully completed a $26 million capital campaign and welcomed a new CEO.

A New Day Committee — A small group of persons with long ties to La Casa de Maria Retreat Center working to redesign and reopen it.


Visiting Scholar – Dept. of Religious Studies, UC Santa Barbara Summer/Fall 2000; Research focusing on effects of globalization and digital culture on spiritual practices.

Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, 1994 Dissertation: Spirituality and Transformational Leadership in Secular Settings: A Delphi Study

Master of Divinity (with honors), Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J., 1981

Bachelor of Arts (with honors), Modern European History, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA, 1974

Professional Experience

Interim Pastor — Summerland Presbyterian Church, June 2022 –

Interim Pastor – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church; January 2019 – November, 2020

Director – La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center; August, 2014 – June, 2018

Responsible for program development, fundraising, grants, planned giving, community relations and leadership for 26-acre facility serving 12,000 people annually; staff of 45 with $4 million budget.  Highlights included receiving $940,000 water stewardship grant from California Fish and Wildlife and collaborating with several foundations to create the “Nonprofit Renewal Center” to provide renewal retreats and conferences for emerging and established leaders throughout Southern California.  Led organization through and beyond the mud and debris flow disaster of January 9 which involved laying off 2/3 of staff and adapting communication activities and development strategies to new reality.

Executive Director – Hospice of Santa Barbara; 2008 – January 2014

Responsible for staff of 30 and 45 volunteers as they provided free services to over 700 individuals and families monthly facing life-threatening illnesses and grieving loss of loved ones.  Active in building development and planned giving programs, as well as relationships with medical, social service, education and philanthropic institutions and individuals in Santa Barbara community.  Accomplishments included creation of bilingual services, placement of grief counselors in public schools, and development of  an innovative “Community Spiritual Care” project with support of Archstone Foundation, which extended spiritual care at 5 local long-term care facilities.

Senior Pastor – Goleta Presbyterian Church, Goleta, CA; 1992 – 2008

Guided organization through two successful capital campaigns to create a new sanctuary, develop 13 units of special-needs low-income housing and ecological restoration of adjacent creek. In 2004, congregation received national recognition for its innovative practices in leadership effectiveness (one of ten congregations in U.S.). In 2007, established partnership with principals in rural Ghana to create sustainable, micro-enterprise development projects. 

Adjunct Faculty – Heritage College, Toppenish, Washington; 1986, 1990-1992

Taught courses in history and religious studies within a multicultural (Native American, Latino, and Anglo) community. Completed internship with college president, leading faculty/staff retreat and rewriting various policies. 

Pastor – Community Presbyterian Church, Wapato, Washington; 1986-1992

Led a congregation in a rural, low-income community within the Yakima Indian Reservation.

Past Nonprofit Board Service

Member, Board of Directors – La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center, Santa Barbara, California; 1994-2005, 2009 – 2014

Member and President, Board of Directors- Interfaith Initiative, Santa Barbara, California. Developed interfaith public programs and events in post 9/11 climate.  2002 to 2008.

Member, Board of Directors– Isla Vista Youth Project, Goleta, California Project serves low-income children and families.  2003 to 2008.

Individual Grants During Pastoral Career

“Sons and Daughters of Abraham: An Interfaith Journey of Learning, Hospitality, and Service,” (Valparaiso Institute) Designed and directed project creating relationship-building events between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities. 2006-2007

“Practicing Our Faith In A Digital Age” (Valparaiso Institute) Project Director for study on effects of technology on personal life and spiritual practices. 2002-2003

“Technology, Globalization, and Spirituality” (The Louisville Institute) Project Director for study through UCSB; study in Silicon Valley and India. 2000-2001

Publications (partial listing)

“Receiving Spiritual Care: Experiences of Dying and Grieving Individuals,” OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying, coauthored with four othersMarch, 2018

“Choosing Life So You’ll Be a Healthy Blessing: A Rabbinic Survival Kit,” co-authored with Arthur Gross-Schaeffer, CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Summer, 2007

“Surviving Clergy Burnout,” with Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaeffer, Sharing the Practice: International Quarterly Journal of the Academy of Parish Clergy, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2007

“Soul-Keeping in a Digital Age: The Role of Spiritual Practices and Traditions in a High-Tech World,” EIDO: International Readings on Theory, History, and Culture, Vol. 22, UNESCO, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2006 (Included a presentation at annual UNESCO conference in Seattle, WA)

“Polycultures and Pilgrims in the Postmodern Age,” chapter in Nomads to Pilgrims, Butler-Bass and Sicking, editors, Alban Institute, 2006

“Practicing Our Faith in a Digital Age,” Congregations: The Alban Journal, Winter, 2005.

Hearts to God, Hands to Work: Connecting Spirituality and Work.  The Alban Institute, Washington, D.C. February, 1997.

“Preaching as if Monday Matters,” in Congregations: The Alban Journal, Summer, 1997.

“Spirit Matters: 22 Transformational Leaders Reflect on the Role of Spirituality in their Life and Work,” chapter in business anthology, The New Bottom Line: Bringing Heart and Soul to Business.  New Leaders Press, San Francisco, 1996.