If you would like to get in touch with us, click on picture or name of the staff member you would like to contact.
If you would like to get in touch with us, click on picture or name of the staff member you would like to contact.
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.
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.
Rev. Paula Mann joined the staff of WPC as Executive Associate Pastor in April 2022. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio as the middle of 5 children. Paula has a degree in mechanical engineering and enjoyed a 27-year career in project and quality management at General Motors and Alcoa in Ohio and Indiana. She eventually entered seminary and served as the Pastor at Palms Westminster Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles which lead to her decade long commitment to our Presbytery and our Synod. Most recently, Paula worked as the Business Manager for the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii. Paula is married to Kathy Mann, a life-long Presbyterian and they live in Westchester, CA.
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.
Sarah Ilger joined the Westwood Presbyterian Church staff in November, 2017. She was originally hired as an Administrative Assistant, but stepped into the role of Operations Manager in September, 2021. She coordinates all administration across the church, manages the maintenance staff, communications, and technology. 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 12 years and has served at many different churches as a singer, musician, worship leader, and office administrator.
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.
Jessica comes to us from Denver Community Church, where she served as Children’s Ministry Assistant/ Pastoral Resident. She earned her M.Div. from Wake Forest Divinity School, and her B.A. in Women’s & Gender Studies from Northern Arizona University. Her experience includes college instructor in world religions, curriculum development for children’s ministry, church mission event planning, and social media oversight. Whether it's through play, music, art, or stories, Jessica's hope is to reinforce the message that we are each uniquely and unconditionally loved by our Creator.
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
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.
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.
Jacquelin is our new Administrative Assistant, and she will be working under our Operations Manager, Sarah Ilger. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Jacquelin has been in Los Angeles for 12 years. She has more than 20 years of experience as a legal assistant and is a proud Afro-Latina and United States Air Force Veteran. In addition to her work with us, she also works as a professional actress and is a very talented home chef. She is a bookworm and loves salsa dancing.
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.
Ja’Michael Davis-Hoag, Sunday Receptionist
Franci Geller, Sound & Lighting Engineer
Caroline Gill, Choir Librarian
Priscilla Glaza, Preschool Office Assistant
Farrah Mikail, Financial Manager
Heidi Rudd, Preschool Office Manager
Lourdes Torres, Custodial
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:
Other Committees provide oversight of the church’s infrastructure:
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.