The Reverend Matthew McHale

Settled Minister

After a one-year search for a new spiritual leader, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church has chosen Rev. Matthew McHale as our new settled minister! Rev. Matthew will officially join Emerson on August 15, 2016.

Rev. Matthew is originally from Long Beach but has 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.

Be sure to come to services in September, when Rev. Matthew will begin his ministry at Emerson.  We welcome Rev. Matthew, Anna, and River Grace!


Director of Religious Education

Emmalinda MacLean



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.


Office Administrator

Ramon Alvarez



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.



Christy Carew Marshall


Christy has been a composer and pianist for 26 years, starting with the Royal Conservatory Program in Vancouver, B.C., where she was born.


Christy knew from an early age that she wanted to be a pianist and composer. After earning her Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Music Business from Loyola University New Orleans, she moved to New York to study film scoring and composition at NYU. She earned her Master of Arts in 2006, and also got a chance in the summer between her two postgraduate years to study piano and composition in Paris at L’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris.


Coming to LA was the next logical choice, and has spent the past ten years focused on having a dual career as a composer of film and concert music. She also works as In-House Composer for custom and production music house 5 Alarm Music, and really enjoys her work as accompanist for Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church. You can check out her music and read more about her at


Christy has been serving in this position since July 2010.




Choir Director

Scott Rieker


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.


Preschool Teacher

Lucy Graham

Lucy has just begun serving in this position.

Lucy Graham EUUC Staff



Nursery Childcare Provider

Sarah Siskin

Sarah has been serving in this position since 2013.