Four New Staff for Pacific Western Region
The Pacific Western Region is pleased to announce the hiring of four new field staff. They are:
- Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto
- Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
- Rev. Sarah Schurr
- Rev. Tandi Rogers
Rev. Kubal-Komoto will be taking on the Regional Lead position of the Pacific Western Region staff team. He is following the skillful, relational and innovative leadership of Rev. Nancy Bowen who will be stepping down from the Lead role after 11 years of ministry in PWR. Reverends Millspaugh, Schurr and Rogers will serve as PWR Congregational Life Consultants. They follow the Rev. Ken Brown, who is retiring after 17 years of exceptional and dedicated service to our region as District Executive in the Pacific Southwest District and Regional Consultant; the Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams who began her heart-filled and creative ministry with us 7 years ago in the Pacific Central District; and Janine Larsen who is moving on to new ministry after 12 years of distinguished leadership as District Executive in the Pacific Northwest District and then as Regional Consultant.
More information about all four of the new staff can be found below.
Rev. Scott Tayler, UUA Director of Congregational Life, shared the following in a letter to PWR congregations. “It’s been a privilege to work alongside our staff and the PWR District Board leaders to build a new model of regional collaboration. This collaboration has gifted us with a single, unified regional staff team. The larger team structure allows our staff to be true partners, complementing and amplifying each other’s strengths. The impact and advantage of this cannot be overstated. So, as much as I am impressed by the individual gifts of our new and continuing staff, I am even more excited about who they can be together. They are lucky to have each other. And we are lucky to have them."
New Staff Introductions
The Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto is completing his 16th year of ministry at Saltwater Church, the Unitarian Universalist congregation in the Seattle suburbs that first called and ordained him. During his tenure at Saltwater Church, James led the congregation through challenges of change and growth, developed innovative programs using the latest technology, was a long-term Good Officer, served on the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association's Board, and most recently led an interfaith coalition that successfully advocated for immigration reform, funding for early childhood intervention programs, and a day shelter for the homeless.
A native of the Chicago suburbs who discovered Unitarian Universalism in his early 20s, James now lives with his wife Hiromi, nine-year-old son, and sixth-month-old miniature australian shepherd in Federal Way, Washington. Together they enjoy discovering new restaurants, cooking together at home, watching foreign films, and occasionally bingeing on a TV series on rainy Pacific Northwest afternoons. In his free time, James also enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking, and cross-country skiing as well as doing the New York Times crossword, playing chess with his son, and reading literary mysteries.
Rev. Tandi Rogers is beginning her 14th year serving the UUA in various roles. Additionally she is adjunct teaching faculty with Meadville-Lombard Theological School. Prior to being the Innovation & Network Specialist of Congregational Life, the position she is leaving, she was our Association’s Growth Strategist and before that the Interim Director of the Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry. During her time as Growth Strategist she developed a co-learning model called Innovative Learning Circles, which has had over 300 participants. Prior to working for headquarters she was the Program Specialist in the Pacific Northwest District. During that time she took the GoldMine Youth Leadership model and helped plant it across the U.S. and Canada. This move feels like coming home to her, and she’s thrilled to be joining the PWR team!
Originally from northern Ohio, Tandi discovered Unitarian Universalism as a young adult in college when a professor took her to church. She looked for a UU congregation before even looking for a job or apartment when she moved to Tacoma, WA in 1990. She’s been active with the Tahoma congregation and the wider community every since. She and her wife, Rev. Sue Phillips, have 5 kids between them (ages 22, 21, 20, 20, and 8.) She and Sue have been bicoastal for 6 years – Tandi in Tacoma and Sue in Boston, MA. Thus she is well versed in video conferencing!
The Reverend Sarah Schurr is finishing her fifth year as minister at the West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and is the first minister to be asked to serve this lay-led fellowship in over 35 years. Prior to serving West Hills, she worked for the Pacific Northwest District as their first Developmental Outreach Minister, bringing ministry to our congregations in Juneau and Fairbanks, Alaska. She has been an active member of the PNWD and PWR transitions team and continues to volunteer in campus ministry. Sarah began her work as a faith leader many years before ordination, serving as a district board member, congregational consultant, and was new congregation organizer for the Wy’east UU Congregation. Sarah had a successful social work career and has experience in organizational development and systems theory.
Sarah is a native of Portland and continues to live in the Rose City with her husband, Scott. They have two grown children and have recently added a little black cat to the household to fill the empty nest a bit. Sarah sings in a community choir and likes all kinds of music, from classical to grunge. She enjoys cooking and walks in the neighborhood. She works out at the gym at least twice a week, but doesn’t really enjoy that.
Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh is a minister, teacher, and resource creator with a strong background in lifespan faith formation. She currently serves as the UU Religious Education instructor at Harvard Divinity School and as the UUA’s Outreach Associate for Digital Ministries. Her current UUA work has equipped UU communities for innovative outreach and has built a vibrant, authentic UU online presence through UUA.org’s transformation and the development of the UUA WordPress Theme for congregational websites.
Sarah authored the Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations, co-authored and edited components of Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith, and conceptualized and launched the development of Tapestry of Faith’s adult programs. She has served the UUA in the youth office (1994-1995), on the team that launched Our Whole Lives (1997-2001), as the Adult Programs Director (2005-2008) and on the Outreach Team (2013-2016). Serving as co-Minister of the Winchester, Massachusetts congregation (2008-2013), Affiliated Community Minister of the Mission Viejo, CA congregation (2005-2008), and Intern Minister in Needham, MA (2003-2005), as well as a lay leader in two congregations, Sarah brings a rich background in congregational life.
Though she’s lived in Massachusetts for a while, Sarah is no stranger to the West: her first leadership roles were in Mountain Desert District YRUU and her home congregation in Boulder, Colorado, and she was active in the Pacific Southwest District while living in Orange County. She is married to Rev. John Millspaugh and has a four-year-old son Maxfield, whose grandparents all live in the Pacific Western Region. Sarah enjoys biking and public transportation, exploring the natural world, gardening, vegan living, and discovering everything anew with her sweet and joyful kid.