Our Minister and Staff
The Reverend Matthew McHale
Rev. Matthew McHale is our new settled minister! Rev. Matthew joined Emerson on August 15, 2016.
Rev. Matthew is originally from Long Beach but had lived in Oakland since 2010. He has a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Cal State Long Beach, a Master’s degree in American Studies from East Anglia in the UK, and a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. He was raised as a Unitarian Universalist and has been active in every aspect of the UU movement since he was a youth—serving as coordinator, presenter, founder, or member of over 20 different groups, committees, and events.
Although this is his first called ministry, he brings with him a wealth of experience, finely honed skills, and a compelling prophetic vision grounded in history of justice work in UUism and the wider world. He possesses a warm and engaging personality, a sharp intellect, an empathetic presence, deep self-awareness, receptiveness to critique, a desire for personal growth, and a dash of humility.
Rev. Matthew is married to Anna Wagner, and they are the proud parents of baby River Grace.
We welcome Rev. Matthew, Anna, and River Grace!
Director of Religious Education
Farewell to Emmalinda MacLean
Update: June 2018. Emmalinda will be leaving Emerson to focus on her passion as co-founder and Lead Facilitator for More Than Sex-Ed (http://www.morethansex-ed.org/staff/). Emerson UU Church will miss Emmalinda and we thank her for her years of service to our children & youth. Best wishes to Emmalinda!
Emmalinda has served Emerson as Director of Religious Education for just over five years, having previously worked as an actress and teacher for various theater companies around Los Angeles. A lifelong UU from Northern California, she held a variety of leadership roles in PCD YRUU as a teenager before moving to LA to earn a BA in Theater from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and television in 2009. After college she began attending the Studio City UU Church and joined the Everybody Nose Clown Troupe, teaching the art of clowning to children and adults around Los Angeles as the company’s education director.
When Emerson hired her, she also began volunteering at Camp DeBenneville Pines, where she taught clowning at multiple camps and has filled a variety of staff roles for elementary, junior high, senior high, and family camps, as well as leading the Counselor in Training program for the past four summers. She is an approved Our Whole Lives facilitator for K-12th grade and is working with other OWL-trained UUs in the area to extend the reach of this program through their organization, More Than Sex-Ed.
Emmalinda has also earned recognition from the UUA for the completion of five Renaissance Modules: UU Identity, RE Administration, Teacher Development, Ministry with Youth, and Worship For All Ages. At the first Pacific Western Regional Assembly in San Jose, she presented a workshop for LREDA Professional Day on Storytelling For All Ages, which continues to be one of her favorite aspects of her role at Emerson. She feels deeply grateful to serve the warm, loving, compassionate community at Emerson and hopes that children in this RE program will carry these values with them throughout their lives.
Emmalinda has been serving in this position since September 2010.
Ramon has been an invaluable asset at Emerson for over 10 years. In addition to creating the weekly Order of Service and email blast, Ramon maintains the church calendar and files, answers phones and emails, and assists the minister with administrative tasks. Ramon splits his time with another UU congregation in the Valley, the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society (aka The Onion).
Ramon has been serving in this position since November 2005.
Kevin Mathie is a professional pianist and composer who has more than a decade of experience in the music and entertainment industries. He has garnished several awards and recognitions both as a composer and as the music director/conductor for The Grand Theatre and Salt Lake Acting Company based out of Salt Lake City, UT. Kevin has increasingly been involved in composing for film/tv/commercials. This transition has brought him to sunny LA, a city that he has absolutely fallen in love with. Kevin is currently a freelance composer, and is also a composer with the Los Angeles based music production collective HotTraxInc.com. He is also an accompanist for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. You can read more about Kevin’s experience and hear his music at www.kevinmathie.com
Farewell to Scott Rieker
Update: June 2018. Following three years of service to Emerson as our choir director, Scott has finished his academic studies and will be taking a faculty position in the Eastern U.S. Best wishes to Scott as he takes this next important step in his career, and many thanks from all of us at Emerson who have been grateful for services as our choir director
Scott came to us recently from Des Moines, Iowa, where he served as the Director of Music at the Basilica of St. John, where he was responsible for a choir of 40 voices, instrumentalists and cantors. Before that, he served as the Director of Music at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska, and Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He has led numerous honor choirs and classes on sacred music, including Drake University. He was the director of the Big Red Singers, and assistant director of the Varsity Men’s Chorus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In addition, Scott sponsored the Hoover High School/Meredith Middle School Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), a national anti-bullying organization that seeks to make schools safe for all students. He is an active composer and arranger – his works have been performed by choirs around the world. He is also the past president of the Iowa Music Educators Association.
Scott has been serving in this position since November 2015.
Lucy has been a great addition in this position.