The Minister

One or both co-ministers usually lead Sunday morning worship. Recognizing that the social, experiential, theological and cultural assumptions of our community are broader than any two people can faithfully represent, our ministers work with a cadre of Worship Associates.

Responsibilities of Worship Associates

Each Worship Associate assists the minister in planning, preparing and presenting the Sunday morning worship. Each Worship Associate conducts approximately 6-8 services each year. Some experienced Worship Associates may also work with speakers besides the minister. Finally, a Worship Associate may also have opportunities in the summer to be Worship Leader where they craft the central message (sermon) and work with another Worship Associate supporting the liturgy.

Together, members of the Worship Associates Team meet monthly to 1) reflect intellectually, emotionally, socially and spiritually on each month’s themes and share ideas for upcoming services; 2) engage in experiential learning opportunities to understand the art and intention of worship theory, design and practice; and 3) do logistical planning regarding putting together the congregational Sunday and Vesper worship.

Current Worship Associates

Bob Adams
Raised in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Chicago, Bob appreciates the life and teachings of Jesus, and that the DoC has been biracial from its earliest days. The Civil Rights movement seemed like a natural extension of inter-racial youth fellowships in which he participated. Bob served 2 years as pastor of a rural congregation in western Illinois, in the Peace Corps in India, did 2 years of doctoral work at the University of Chicago Divinity School, worked as a community organizer with the leader of the Chicago Freedom Movement, got a Masters in City Planning from Cal, and served as Executive Director of five affordable housing nonprofits in Chicago, Oakland, Berkeley & Richmond.
Later, he taught middle school in West Oakland, Pinole and El Cerrito till retirement in 2015. He continues volunteer work in local schools through the WriterCoach Connection and Read Aloud. A single parent of two children, Bob became a UU first at BFUU, then UUOakland for 15 years, now UUCB since 2005. Here he’s served as a board member, choir member, and in the Men’s Fellowship. He calls himself a Universalist.

 

Cynthia Asprodites
Cynthia was raised in a devout Catholic family in New Orleans. While she appreciated many aspects of her religious experiences as a child, she came to reject Catholic doctrine when she was a young adult. For more than a decade, she resisted the notion of organized religion. After moving to the Bay Area with her family in the mid-1980’s, she and her partner, Maryann, recognized a need to provide their young child with a faith community consistent with their beliefs and values. As Cynthia has often commented, she came to UUCB for her daughter, then stayed for herself. Cynthia was particularly drawn to Sunday morning worship, which she considers a deeply spiritual experience.
Over the years, Cynthia’s attachment to this congregation has deepened as has her involvement in many different aspects of church life, ranging from governance to small group ministry. At this time, she feels called to support UUCB’s worship program. Cynthia recently retired from a meaningful career as a school psychologist. Besides church work, she now has more time for activities she enjoys: hiking, cooking, learning, traveling, studying Italian, and spending time with family and friends.

 

Rev. Dr. Jeanne Foster
Jeanne_FosterJeanne Foster grew up in the First UU Church of New Orleans, graduated with Honors from Tulane, received an MA in philosophy from University of Texas, Austin, an MDiv. from Starr King, and served as minister in Modesto. She earned her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Religion, Literature and the Arts. Currently Professor of Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, her poems have appeared in numerous journals. A Blessing of Safe Travel won the QRL Poetry Award. Among her other books are Appetite: Food as Metaphor, A Music of Grace: The Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry, and Goodbye, Silver Sister. Her passions are ballroom dancing and Tuscany and, in particular, ballroom dancing in Tuscany.

 

Cami Fuller
A longtime Pagan, Cami has committed herself to combatting discrimination against the minor points of the compass rose. She works to give Southwest, Northeast, Southeast and Northwest the honors they deserve. That Pagan ceremonies exclusively honor the “cardinal directions” strikes her as “too reminiscent of Catholic hierarchic bureaucracy.” She loves that UUCB is “all over the map” in so many ways.

 

Cami particularly enjoys UUCB when Diablo winds blow from her favorite direction, Northeast, threatening fiery conflagration. That one could throw a stone from UUCB’s terrace directly onto the Hayward fault, overdue for a catastrophic earthquake, makes our church for her the perfect place for meditation on the ephemeral nature of life.

 

Jim Gasperini
Raised in the Episcopalian faith, Jim found the “confirmation classes” his home church taught adolescents enlightening, to the point of dis-confirming his belief in many tenets of the Apostles’ Creed. After a long period of disinterest in organized religion, an intense mystic experience in Nepal led him to search for a spiritual home. He explored Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Sufi forms of worship before finding the UU Church of All Souls in Manhattan. He joined UUCB soon after moving to California. He has facilitated Chalice Circles, sings in the choir, prepares service slide presentations, and serves as Webmaster of uucb.org.

 

Lee Maranto
The reincarnation of Decius the Deficient, one of the most justly obscure Roman Emperors, Lee was the first recruit Sarah Ward made to Mithraism at UUCB.
A rising star at the law firm Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, Lee is a leading exponent of the movement to reintroduce trial by fire to American jurisprudence. “If it worked for Torquemada,” he wrote in one of his many articles for the trend-setting journal Inquisition Today, “who are we to say that it can’t work in modern times?”
Lee looks forward to bringing his unique perspective on historical precedent to UUCB.

 

Melissa Rosales
Melissa RosalesMelissa found Unitarian Universalism as an adult in Dallas, Texas while looking for a place for her family to find community and worship together. Raised as a Methodist, Melissa was looking for a theology that was open and valued the intrinsic beauty and goodness she saw in their young child. Raised as a Catholic, her husband David was looking for a place that valued rationalism and science. They found both in Unitarian Universalism at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, where they were active members until their move to the Bay Area in the spring of 2016. Now, they are happy, active members of UUCB! While not at church, Melissa is a teacher, homeschooling her son. She is also an avid dancer, reader, crafter, and lover of puzzles and math, just to name a few interests. As a complex, multi-faceted, equally right and left-brained person, she refuses to be defined by any one label.

 

Sarah Ward

The reincarnation of a Roman gladiator, Sarah is currently the last living devotee of the mystic cult of Mithraism. While on a spelunking trip in the Pyrenees, she witnessed the emergence of Mithras from the rock wall of the cave, carrying a dagger in one hand and a torch in the other. As flames shot from the god’s Phrygian cap, he commanded the astonished Sarah to lead a revival of his devotion.

Unable to find any other Mithraists to lead, Sarah wandered far and wide, attempting to convince others of the reality of her vision. Finally someone made a suggestion that changed her life: “Why don’t you join the Unitarians? They’ll take anybody.” Finding her way to UUCB, she soon realized that she had found a spiritual home.