Our Minister and Staff
Reverend Matthew McHale
Rev. Matthew began his Ministry at Emerson in August 2016. He was raised as a Unitarian Universalist and has been active leader in the denominations as youth and young adult, particularly in work around racial and climate/environmental justice, which are two of his deep passions.
Rev. Matthew grew up Long Beach, CA and has also called Oakland, Berkeley, Cleveland and England home. Rev. Matthew attended seminary at Starr King School for the Ministry, and has BA and MA in American Studies.
Rev. Matthew loves creating worship services that touch the head and the heart, and a compelling prophetic vision grounded in history of justice work in UUism and the wider world. He believes that a church should serve those within and beyond its walls, and equip others to live lives of meaning and purpose.
Rev. Matthew has a daughter, River Grace, with his wife, Anna Wagner.
Reverend Rebecca Benefiel Bijur
Affiliated Community Minister
As Emerson’s Affiliated Community Minister, Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur works with St. Joseph Center to advance social and economic equity for people experiencing homelessness. She leads worship at Emerson several times a year and also serves as additional support to our Pastoral Care Committee. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School and Yale University, Rev. Bijur has served UU congregations and social justice communities in Southern California since 2010. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and three children. Her work as a nonprofit and social justice leader is an important part of the mission and ministry of this church, and supports the movement of Unitarian Universalism beyond the walls of the congregation. Her website: www.rebeccabijur.com
Rebecca is originally from Kansas City. She lives in Simi Valley with her husband, 2 step-children and dog. She enjoys hiking, the beach, watching sports, adventure vacations, arts/crafts and supporting her community.
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