OUR STAFF

If you would like to get in touch with us, click on picture or name of the staff member you would like to contact.

  • christine chakoian

    Pastor/head of staff

    As Pastor/Head of Staff since August, 2019, the Rev. Dr. Christine (Chris) Chakoian is called to lead us in the ways of Christ. She comes to us from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where she served as Vice President for Seminary Advancement. Her previous calls include Pastor/Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, IL (2005-2017) and Community Presbyterian Church in Clarendon Hills, IL (1996-2005), as well as Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portland, OR (1992-1996), Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago (1986-1992), and Overbrook Presbyterian Church in Columbus, OH (1983-1986). Chris was drawn to WPC because she feels like we “are the real deal”, doing our best to promote the gospel with an authenticity that is refreshing. She is married to John Shustitzky, Director of the Doctoral program in Applied Clinical Psychology at the L.A. campus of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Their daughter and son-in-law, Anna and Spencer Sohn, live in Albuquerque.

  • Mark Jones

    Pastor of Mission, Outreach, and Pastoral Care

    Rev. Mark S. Jones, Sr. first came to WPC as a seminary intern in November 1994.  In mid-1995 he became Director of Children and Family Ministries and served in that position until March 2005. Over the past 18 years Mark, while working to complete a Master of Divinity degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary, served at all levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church; Presbytery of the Pacific (COM, NomComm, & PJC); Synod of So. CA & HI (Synod Commissioner and NBPC-SC Coordinator); and the General Assembly (ACREC). Mark returned to WPC on July 1, 2017. He currently serves as Director of Mission & Outreach and Pastoral Care. He is a member of the P.A.T.H. Board of Directors and the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Clergy Round Table for Service Planning Area (SPA) 5. Mark brings a passion for mission, a deep faith in and love for God and God’s people. Romana, his loving wife of 45 years, and he have three children, Mark Jr, Sylvia, & Matthew.

  • Anne Cioffi

    Coordinator of Membership Ministries

    Anne has served WPC in several roles over the last 20 years involving membership and lay ministry. Her institutional knowledge is put into practice by helping maintain the church membership database and coordinate the overall WPC membership process. Her primary passion is encouraging our congregation to take full advantage of opportunities for service and spiritual growth. Serving on the Membership and Lay Ministries Committee, Anne assists in planning the New Member Seminars, helps organize the new member mentor program, and leads the Spiritual Gifts Course. Anne is also a part of the planning team for the annual women’s retreat. She and her husband live near the ocean. When not at WPC, you may find Anne aboard a sailboat on Santa Monica Bay…or somewhere on the seven seas. 

  • Gretchen Greenwood

    Director of Operations

    Gretchen Greenwood joined the WPC staff as our new Director of Operations in January, 2018. Gretchen most recently served as Senior Operations Manager at the J. Paul Getty Museum Center and Villa where she liaised to the Trust organization in the areas of capital projects, risk management, office services, facilities, security/visitor services and IT, and supervised support staff. We are excited to have Gretchen join us in managing our property and office functions and in looking toward our future build with Belmont Village. 

  • Sarah Ilger

    Administration and contributions coordinator

    Sarah Ilger joined the Westwood Presbyterian Church staff in November, 2017. She comes to us from Knox Presbyterian Church in Pasadena. Sarah was worked as an administrator and Director of Worship Arts for churches for the past 10 years and has served at many different churches as a singer, musician, worship leader, and office administrator. Sarah attended Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia and graduated with a major in vocal studies.

  • Stephen Karr

    ORGANIST

    Stephen Karr is a compelling interpreter of opera and orchestral works, appearing as a guest conductor in recent seasons with Anchorage Opera, Long Beach Opera and Sacramento Opera and Philharmonic. He is currently Artistic Administrator at Long Beach Opera, where he was Associate Conductor 2019’s premiere of The Central Park Five, which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music. As an organist, he has held positions at St. Clement’s-by-the-Sea in San Clemente, St. Thomas the Apostle in Hollywood, St. Athanasius in Echo Park and St. Wilfrid’s in Huntington Beach, as well as interim directorships at the Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel, Newport Harbor Lutheran Church in Newport Beach and St. Mark’s in Glendale. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ from Mercer University and Westminster Choir College, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in orchestral conducting from UCLA.

  • Brooke Larson

    Interim Director of Children & Family Ministries

    The Children & Family Ministries (CFM) and Director of CFM Search Committee are pleased to announce that Brooke Larson has answered the church’s call for stewardship to our children. After Janelle Pearson’s departure at the end of this 2020, Brooke stepped in as our interim DCFM starting February 1, 2021 as we continue our search process to fill this permanent position. We could not be more excited for Brooke’s dedication and enthusiasm for this role. 


    We are so grateful for Brooke’s contributions to help the youngest members of our church! If you’re a parent to a preschooler through 5th grader, you are more than welcome to join us at 11:00am every Sunday. 

  • brianne Naiman

    PReschool Director

    Brianne Naiman joins the WPC Preschool as the new Director on Monday, August 24. Bri has most recently served as Director of Early Childhood Education at the Leonard I. Beerman Early Childhood Center at Leo Baeck Temple. She has extensive experience as a teacher as well,        including her role as Lead Preschool Teacher at Temple Isaiah. Brianne carries a BA with Emphasis in Illustration and Art Education from the California College of The Arts and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College. She has worked in both religious and secular settings and has served as a California State Mentor Teacher at Santa Monica College and is an Executive Committee member in The Association of Child Development Specialists.  

  • Lynda Park

    Assistant Preschool Director

    Lynda was born in Mexico, and raised locally in Pacific Palisades. She has a daughter, Hailey, and has been a preschool teacher for more than 15 years. She speaks Spanish fluently and had her ECE education/AA from SMC and UCLA. She is also a member of the NAEYC.

  • Jake Putich

    Director of Student Ministries

    Jake begins his position on 5/4/2020. Jake feels particularly called to youth ministry; as a teenager, he became involved in a large youth program after having been raised without a strong church connection and truly began to feel at home in church. He knows how important formation is in youth ministry, actively working to make sure his programs grow and develop faith in Christ as opposed to only being “fun” without substance. His ministry focuses on the whole family, equipping parents as well as youth to grapple with issues of faith. He holds a M.A. in Theology from Talbot and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Divinity from the University of Aberdeen; in 2018 his paper “Apocalyptic Convivence” was presented to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Social Analysis program at the American Academy of Religion. He and his wife Nikki have a 4.5 year old daughter Liora, who keeps them busy and entertained.   

  • Dan Redfeld

    Director of Music

    We welcomed Dan Redfeld to our WPC family and to his new role as our Director of Music in 2018. Dan brings 15 years of experience directing church choirs, both in Culver City and Pasadena. Having stepped away a few years ago, Dan began to feel the “itch” to get back at it last Christmas Eve, when he realized how much he missed participating in the richness of the church’s Christmas choral tradition. Not only is Dan an experienced church musician, he is an award-winning composer, conductor, orchestrator, pianist and producer. Dan received his training at Boston’s New England Conservatory before transferring to UCLA, where he graduated with a degree in composition with an emphasis in conducting. Dan is married to renowned violinist, Elizabeth Hedman, whom we look forward to meeting someday soon.  For more information about Dan, visit www.danredfeld.com.


  • Javier Torres

    Maintenance Director

    Javier has been at Westwood Presbyterian Church for 18 years and does everything from maintaining the cleanliness of the church and preschool, managing security, set-up and tear down of special events and general handyman tasks. Javier’s wife, Lourdes, also works for WPC and together they have two adult sons. When he’s not working he likes to relax at home with his family.


    If you would like to contact Javier or Lourdes Torres, please call the church office at (310) 474-4535.

  • other staff

    Ja’Michael Davis-Hoag, Sunday Receptionist

    Franci Geller, Sound & Lighting Engineer

    Caroline GillChoir Librarian

    Priscilla Glaza, Preschool Office Assistant

    Farrah MikailFinancial Manager

    Heidi Rudd, Preschool Office Manager

    Lourdes TorresCustodial

Our Leaders

Members and officers alike serve together under the mandate of Christ, who is the chief minister of all.  The standard for all offices is the pattern of the one who came “not to be served but to serve.” (Matthew 20:28)  Each year, church members elect officers who are then ordained to fulfill particular functions. Ordained officers differ from other members in function only. The existence of these offices in no way diminishes the importance of the commitment of all members to the total ministry of the church. It is hoped that all members will find some arena of service within the life of our congregation.  The ministry of Christ in and through our church is strongest when each of us does our part.


Elders are chosen by the people as leaders of the church. Elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament together exercise leadership, government, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a particular church, as well as the larger church. It is the duty of the elders to strengthen and nurture the faith and life of the congregation committed to their charge.  It is incumbent upon Elders to perform their duties by the law of love.

Elders serve with members and Pastors on Committees that support all ministries of the Church.  Some committees serve to provide the programmatic ministries of our church:

  • Adult Education
  • Children & Family Ministries
  • Congregational Life
  • Membership & Lay Ministries
  • Mission & Outreach
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Stewardship
  • Student Ministries
  • Worship & Music

Other Committees provide oversight of the church’s infrastructure:

  • Finance
  • Nominating
  • Properties & Infrastructure
  • Personnel

Deacons serve under the authority and supervision of the church Session (elders). The office of Deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of sympathy, witness, and service after the example of Jesus Christ. Deacons minister to those who are in need: to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress.  If you are in need, please call (310) 474-4535 or email the church office that we might come alongside you with care and support.  As well, the Board of Deacons organizes the preparation of the elements of Holy Communion, visitations to people in need, the delivery of Easter Lilies and Christmas Poinsettias to the home-bound.