The Rev. Dr. Cornel Barnett, D.Min. — Pastor
Barbara Bacon-Shaw– Director of Music
Ian Vellenga — 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Bacon-Shaw, Director of Music and her family of performing musicians grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where in the living room, a Gulbransen Theatre organ and a piano stood side by side. High school years brought touring in Europe with “Up with People,” until college years and a move to the West Coast brought her into a career in corporate entertainment. Upon the burst of the Silicon Valley bubble, Barb and her husband, Keith (who she met at Michigan State University), started their family–Parker (college athlete in baseball), Paige (Terra Linda High, ballet student) and Piper (San Rafael High, varsity cheerleader).
Barb keeps ultra busy as a musician. Her church work has included playing at Novato Presbyterian, Trinity Lutheran, Unity of Marin, First Presbyterian of San Anselmo and many others. She offers private piano and voice lessons, and has provided music services for Aldersley and Aegis, Coleman and Laurel Dell elementary schools, San Rafael High School, Marin School for the Arts and others. She performs in Marin, San Francisco and in the wine country on weekends and operates a performance company, “Essentially Classic Entertainment” offering Broadway-style ensemble shows in the Bay Area.
Barbara would love to hear from members and all others interested in music, and can be reached at 924-4832 or email@example.com.
Ian Vellenga, SFTS Intern, is the son of The Rev. Dr. David Vellenga, pastor at Nutbush Presbyterian Church in Townsville, North Carolina and a NC State University professor working in nanotechnology, and Anne Vellega, a retired hospital IT specialist. His older brother, Andy, is an officer in the US Marine Corps serving in Afghanistan.
Ian grew up in West Virginia, Ohio and Massachusetts and received a degree in Religious Studies from the College of Wooster in Ohio. After unsuccessfully trying to save money for seminary while working retail jobs, he followed his brother into the Marines and served four years as a Tank crewman in California with two seven month tours in Iraq. After his honorable discharge, Ian used his GI Bill funding to enroll in San Francisco Theological Seminary, his father’s alma mater and where Phil Butin, a former pastor at a church that worked closely with Nutbush, was President.
Ian has completed two years of seminary and a recent year-long internship in India as part of the PC (USA) Young Adult Volunteers program. He is now pleased to be completing his internship requirement at Redwoods, where he will serve 15 hours per week from August 19, 2012 through August, 2013. Ian may be contacted through the church office or directly at 1-919-247-5002 and 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 and 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 Venebles Bell and Partners in San Francisco.
Mari’s activities at Westminster include teaching Sunday school, Mill Street Shelter team head and new member photos. She was a Bible Study member for 15 years, is currently under the spiritual direction of Westminster’s Pat O’Neil. She has taken meditation classes at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre for the past ten years.
Mari is a lifelong artist, and for the past 15 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.