The Rev. Dr. Cornel Barnett, D.Min. — Pastor
Stephanie Ryder — SFTS Intern
Mari Robinson — Office Administrator
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Cornel has served churches in the Bay Area for over a decade and has also ministered in churches in Staten Island, New York, and Jacksonville, Florida. Suellen is a marriage and family therapist in Napa where she works with youth at risk.
Cornel was called to be the pastor at Redwoods Presbyterian Church in August, 2008, and loves this church. The members are warm, caring, accepting, and inclusive. He is committed to the fullness of ministry – worship, education, community, and mission.
Cornel was born in South Africa. His growing years included school, rugby and surfing. He represented South Africa at the World Surfing Championships and later wrote a book on surfing, called Hitting the Lip, published by Macmillan. He was a journalist with South African newspapers in his first career and developed a sense of the inequities in the country and worked to end the system of apartheid.
Cornel married Suellen, a US citizen, and their children Anna and David were born in South Africa. The family moved to the US in the early eighties for Cornel to attend San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) where he earned a Masters of Divinity. A decade later he acquired a Doctor of Ministry degree at SFTS. In 1994, he was an international election observor at the historic, first, democratic elections in South Africa and in Mexico.
He has had a broad range of theological and ministry experiences. He is centered in his relationship with God, in Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit. He loves the church at large when it affirms love, compassion, inclusivity, peace, and justice. He loves the dynamic nature of the Presbyterian church which is reformed, always reforming, according to the Word of God and the call of the Spirit. He describes his theology as eclectic (valuing many streams) and he appreciates religious pluralism.
He agrees with Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 that “faith, hope, and love abide…and the greatest of these is love.”
Cornel welcomes hearing from members, friends and all those interested in the church and he can be reached at 415-924-4832 or at email@example.com.
Stephanie Ryder a student at San Francisco Theological Seminary, is Redwoods new intern for 2013-2014 and the interim music director as well. She says, “I am looking forward to spending the year with you, sharing and growing our faith together! On Tuesdays, I will be leading bell choir and Bible study; Wednesdays, helping with the children’s program; and Thursdays, leading choir. I am also excited to be worshipping with you on Sundays.”
Stephanie was raised a Presbyterian in Wilton, Connecticut, and has been a member of St. Andrew Presbyterian in Marin City for the past 12 years, serving as Deacon and Assistant Music Director, and working with the youth. She has lived the past 18 years in Mill Valley with her husband, Bill, who works in the solar industry, and two sons, Charlie (age 17) and Brooks (age 15), who delight in football, baseball and lacrosse.
Prior to attending San Francisco Theological Seminary, she taught piano, guitar and band groups from her home, and spent many years as a drama therapist working in various schools, hospitals and treatment centers in the Bay Area. She says, “I feel it is a great privilege to now be welcomed as a part of the
Redwoods Presbyterian community!” Stephanie can be reached through the church office, 389-5070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mari works mornings from Monday through Thursday. She is also employed by Westminster Presbyterian Church as the editor of their monthly newsletter and in the afternoons by Redwoods’ tenant, SoloQuest School & Learning Center.
Mari, a longtime active member of Westminster, lives in Mill Valley with her husband, Richard, the Vice President of Human Resources at Seton Medical Center, and their daughter, Elise, a recent graduate of Occidental College and newly employed at Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco.
Mari’s activities at Westminster include Mill Street Shelter team head, new member photos and subbing for the middle school youth classes on Sundays. She was a Bible Study member for 15 years, is currently under individual spiritual direction of Westminster’s Pat O’Neil and attends the weekly women’s spiritual direction group on the SFTS campus led by Debbie Dybsky. She has taken meditation classes at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre for the past dozen years.
Mari is a lifelong artist, and for the past 20 years, a bird watercolorist. She uses her art for her spiritual direction and has enjoyed describing this process to Redwoods and others. Stop by her office to say hello and see some samples of her work! She may be contacted at the church at 924-4832 or email@example.com.