Redwoods Presbyterian Church

110 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur, California 94939 – (415) 924-4832


Rev. Dr. Cornel Barnett, D.Min. — Pastor

Rev. Stephanie Ryder — Pastoral Associate and Music Director

Mari Robinson — Office Administrator

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The Rev. Dr. Cornel Barnett and his wife, Suellen, at the entrance of the San Francisco Bay with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. barnetts280jpg

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

Stephanie Ryder 3Rev. Stephanie Ryder a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary, was Redwoods intern for 2013-2014 and the interim music director as well. Last year, Stephanie led the choir, bell choir and Bible Study and worked with the children’s program.  Stephanie is now beginning a new ministry at Redwoods in the area of family faith formation in addition to continuing as the leader of the choir and bell choir. Her title is Pastoral Associate for Community Formation and Family Ministry as well as Music Director.

Stephanie was raised a Presbyterian in Wilton, Connecticut, and prior to being ordained by Redwoods Presbytery, was a member of St. Andrew Presbyterian in Marin City for 12 years, serving as Deacon and Assistant Music Director, and working with the youth. She lives in Mill Valley with her husband, Bill, who works in the renewable energy industry. She has two sons, Charlie, attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and Brooks, attending Marin Catholic HS, 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 at 415-924-4832 or

Mari Robinson, Office Administrator, came to Redwoods Presbyterian Church from the Lloyd Center Pastoral Counseling Service at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which closed in July, 2009.

Mari works mornings from Monday through Thursday. She is also employed by Westminster Presbyterian Church as the editor of their monthly newsletter.

Mari, a longtime active member of Westminster, lives in Mill Valley with her husband, Richard, a human resources consultant, and their daughter, Elise, a marketing manager at Uber in Santa Monica, CA.

Besides newsletter editing, Mari’s activities at Westminster include leading a Mill Street Shelter team and taking new member photos. She was a Bible Study member for 15 years and is currently under group and individual spiritual direction of Westminster’s Pat O’Neil. 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 415-924-4832 or