Our Staff

Click on any staff member to expand/collapse their information.

D. MARK DAVIS, Pastor-Head of Staff

Mark3949.644.1341 x1902
mark@stmarkpresbyterian.org

The congregation of St. Mark Presbyterian Church called the Rev. Dr. Mark Davis (“Mark”) as its Pastor/Head of Staff in December 2013, following the retirement of our former long-time pastor, Rev. Dr. Gary Collins.

Says Mark, “I am excited and humbled to be part of this journey with the congregation of St. Mark. This church’s commitment to inclusiveness, environmental advocacy and social justice is an incredible example of what God has called the church to be in the 21st century.” He came to St. Mark following a highly successful, 18-year term as Pastor/Head of Staff at Heartland Presbyterian Church near Des Moines, IA.

Mark is part of the Generative Catalyst Team at the Los Ranchos Presbytery (the Orange County regional governing body of the Presbyterian Church-USA). The GCT is responsible for cultivating and stimulating ongoing “generative” and “adaptive” thinking and recommendations; evaluation of effectiveness and appropriateness of mission. Additionally, he represents St. Mark on the Newport Mesa Interfaith Coalition.

Ordained in 1996, Mark holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology, Ethics and Culture from the University of Iowa and a Doctor of Ministry from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Virginia. He is the author of two books: “Talking About Evangelism,” (May 2006), and “Left Behind and Loving It (Fall 2011), and he blogs intensive Bible studies regularly at http://leftbehindandlovingit.blogspot.com. Mark is also a monthly contributor to The Politics of Scripture blog at http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/

He is a music lover who sings and plays jazz saxophone, and enjoys sessions with St. Mark’s Synerjazz Trio. Mark and his wife, Chris, have four children ranging in age from 13 to 24.

SUSAN THORNTON, Director of Christian Education

Susan Thorton949.644.1341
smythornton@mac.com

Education:
University of Santa Clara, University of California Irvine, and Presbyterian School of Christian Education.

Why St. Mark?
Because we are open, accepting, not afraid to think and, most especially, not afraid to ask questions, even the difficult ones.

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work what would you do?
Spend it with my grandson, Quinn.

What tradition(s) in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
We went to church every Sunday.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would that be?
I would like to walk with Martin Luther King, Jr. for a day.

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited what would you do)?
A camera safari in Kenya, a trip around the world, a year in a cabin overlooking Lake Tahoe, the time and ability to cultivate a proper English garden.

LYNN GIFFORD, Parish Associate

Gifford_Lynn_1

949.644.1341 x1995
lynn@stmarkpresbyterian.org

Education: A.B. Occidental College, Lost Angeles

Master of Divinity Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA

Why St. Mark?  When I first visited during Lent, St. Mark felt like coming home in a deep and spiritual sense. It is a congregation that I have described as a people with whom I can breathe.  Having been on the receiving end of support and encouragement has reinforced my impression that this is a very special church with eyes on God. That shared focus on the Living One influences how we see the world and how we respond.  St. Mark is an answer to prayers!

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work, what would you do?  It depends how much gasoline is in the tank – the beach, the zoo, or maybe even Las Vegas.

What tradition(s) in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?  We were at church every Sunday and frequently during the week. But the church was at our house, too. I remember my grandmothers’ schedules included their Circles and Bible Studies, and our hosting turned into a family event.  Thanksgiving and Christmas always included giving to others through the church, be it food or gifts.  When invited to my first Bat Mitzvah, my mother took me to a family friend for me to learn more about the celebration.  My parents and grandparents definitely gave me Presbyterian roots; they also encouraged me to grow toward the light so our paths are not identical, but that’s not the goal, is it?

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would that be?  Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited what would you do)?Go on an African safari, take a trans-Atlantic cruise, serve and work in a foreign country, and go to Gibbs Gardens in Georgia.

 

JUDITH HUG, Business and Facilities Manager

Judith Hug949.644.1341
judith@stmarkpresbyterian.org

Education: University of California, Davis; Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning and Management.

Why St. Mark?
I found St. Mark through my family and am here because of St. Mark’s commitment to social justice and inclusiveness. My role as Business Manager gives me a unique opportunity to be of service and to make a meaningful contribution to my faith community.

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work what would you do?
Head to the beach for a stroll along the sand, enjoy some time with my dog, and read a good book.

What traditions in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
My family attended church every Sunday, Vacation Bible School in the summer, youth groups, and retreats. Regular church involvement was simply part of my family life growing up and that tradition has certainly been the strongest influence.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would that be?
Simon, an amazing safari guide in Kenya.

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited, what would you do)?
Trek through the jungles of Rwanda to see the Silverback Gorillas; go on safari in Botswana; visit Victoria Falls. Serve in the Peace Corps. Learn to play the violin.

SUE-ANN WICHMAN, Office Manager

Sue-Ann-Wichman949.644.1341 x1911
sueann@stmarkpresbyterian.org

Why St. Mark?
Why NOT St. Mark? What a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a vibrant, multi- generational church where mission matters, not just with a check in the offering plate every month, but hands on mission work that makes a difference in our community and abroad. I believe that the mission statement of the church is one that is needed around the world and I am thrilled and grateful to be here.

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work, what would you do?
I would probably make some popcorn and watch a movie without any interruptions, a real luxury for me. I would call a friend for sushi and maybe even go shopping.

What tradition(s) in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
I was raised Catholic by my paternal grandparents, but church was not a big part of my childhood. My first real understanding of having a personal relationship with Christ was junior high when, I was invited to a youth group Bible study by a classmate.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would that be?
That is a tough one. I think I would have to say any astronaut on the international space station. What a thrill that would be!

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited what would you do)?
Travel with my husband. I have always dreamed about going to Greece but would also like to visit Ireland. I would love to travel by RV across every state in the U.S. visiting friends and relatives and seeing the sites and cities of American History. I would visit every major league ballpark and see a home game and follow my favorite football team the Green Bay Packers for the entire season.

JANE REIMUND, Education and Nurture Assistant

Jane-Reimund 949-644-1431
jane@stmarkpresbyterian.org

EDUCATION: University of Findlay, Findlay, OH

Why St. Mark?
We visited several churches when my husband and I moved here with our family. Once we found St. Mark, it became our church home. We were met with friendly, accepting people who care for each other and the community.

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work, what would you do?
I recently retired after having worked in Education Administration for 30 years, including 12 years at Central Michigan University and 18 at University of California-Irvine. I have the best of both worlds; working with the St. Mark staff and having time with the grandchildren, working with volunteer interests and travel.

What tradition(s) in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
Every Sunday I attended church with my family, and my parents were very active in in church life. My dad served as treasurer and my mom headed up the women’s programs.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would that be?
I am an avid reader of American History. A day with Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln would be at the top of my list.

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited what would you do)?
Would like to revisit the island of Moorea, spend one more week in Barcelona and cruise the Alaskan inland passage.

RICHARD MESSENGER, Director of Music

rich2949.551.5734
richmessenger@me.com

Hometown: Clarinda, Iowa

Family Info: Parents live in Ames, Iowa. Three younger brothers live in Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Waterloo, Iowa; and Des Moines, Iowa.

Education: Bachelor of Music, Hastings College (NE)

Why St. Mark?
I knew of St. Mark and knew Leslie Brockman (my organist colleague) for many years. I recommended my predecessor (John Byun) to St. Mark when the choir director position was open in the mid-1990’s. When the position re-opened in 2000, the time was right!

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work what would you do?
I would not set foot outside the house. Having a free day at home is a real luxury for me!

What traditions in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
I grew up in Iowa in the Methodist church. My father for many years filled the pulpit (as a layman) for ministers who were on vacation. These were frequently “circuit” positions—churches in several small towns sharing the same minister. Since no minister ever had more than three weeks’ vacation, Dad only needed three sermons. My brothers and I were towed from church to church on a Sunday morning, sometimes hearing Dad preach the same sermon at two or three different churches in one morning. To this day, I remember bits and pieces of those sermons!

If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would that be?
I guess I’m pretty happy being who I am. I can’t think of anyone I’d want to trade places with!

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited, what would you do)?
I would travel, including two places where I would like to stay for as long as I’d like: (1) I’d go back to Brazil and stay at a wonderful hotel overlooking the Iguassu Falls—one of the most impressive sights I’ve ever seen! (2) I’d hibernate in a cabin in the mountains with a stream running nearby—reading and hiking and sleeping!

DAVID LINES, Organist/Accompanist

DavidDavid Lines-1

 

Education: Ingraham High School, Seattle WA, bachelors degree in music from Brigham Young University, Provo UT, and a master’s degree in music from Notre Dame, South Bend IN.

Why St Mark: Welcoming and affirming congregation with wonderful friendly people. Beautiful facility and location! (and they offered me a job.)

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work what would you do? I like to spend time in my workshop restoring reclaimed wood or making a leaded glass window for my house. Or take the dogs on a hike in the mountains around Riverside.

What traditions in your family enhanced your spiritual growth? I grew up in a Mormon church with a pipe organ that my mother played. While Mormonism didn’t stick, the organ music did! Luckily my family has been supportive and respects other religions and enjoys hearing me play wherever I have worked.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would that be? That’s a hard one because I have so many different interests. Maybe Oprah on her day off.

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited, what would you do)? See and play all the historic organs in Europe. Spend time at all the great natural beauty spots of the world. But first class accomodations only, please.

ANN SCOTT, Parish Nurse

ann scott2949.644.1341
parishnurse@socal.rr.com
stmarknurse.wordpress.com

See my blog on health related issues.
parishnurse@socal.rr.com

Hometown: I was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. My dad served in the Air Force and we moved often during my childhood. I have spent a good portion of time in California as an adult. I ususally win the “how many places have you lived” game with the answer of 14.

Family Info: I have been married to Andy since 1979. He is a Presbyterian Minister, retired. He is another reason I continued to move around as an adult. We have two adult children and one granchild.
Education: I am a Registered Nurse with many years of experience. I graduated from the San Jose School of Nursing in 1973. My career has taken me from the ICU to the Emergency Department, then PreHospital with the Paramedic Program and now to GI procedures. In my spare time I teach the American Heart Certification courses to nurses and doctors and CPR to the public.

Why St. Mark?
The most friendly congregation I have ever met is here at St. Mark. It is truly inclusive with so much energy you just can’t wait to get started. Having passed the test of my Princeton trained husband, St. Mark has been a good fit for both of us. We have been members for 19 years.

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work what would you do?
First, I would go to the beach for some contemplation and reverence. Then honestly, I would go shopping.

What traditions in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
My mom is a church organist. She found positions at every Air Base we were stationed. As the eldest of four kids, she always took me with her. Bless her for her wisdom because it has been a lovely journey.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would that be?
I would like to be the Secretary of State. I love to travel and how fascinating it would be to have an influence on world peace.

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited, what would you do)?
I would like to explore the coasts all along the Meditteranean. I’d like to spend as much time as needed to know the culture and develop some friendships for future trips. I would end up back here because this is the best place in the world to walk on the beach.

HELEN WALLEY, Wedding Coordinator

Helen Walley949.241.9409
huwalley@aol.com

EDUCATION: San Diego State University

Why St. Mark?
I was raised in the Presbyterian Church and had friends at work who attended St. Mark. I visited on Sunday and stopped my search for a church. The is The Place.

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work, what would you do?
Breakfast in Laguna Beach and a walk on the beach.

What tradition(s) in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
Regular church attendance and participation.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would that be?
I am happy being me!

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited what would you do)?
Travel to Europe, Asia and South America, and take a road trip through the U.S.A.

STAR BRIMER, Director-St. Mark Community Preschool

StarBrimer2949-644-1442
preschool@stmarkpresbyterian.org

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the California State University of Fullerton, with a focus on Neurology and Child Development. She has been in the Early Childhood Education field for 15 years.

Why St. Mark?
Because St. Mark is the BEST! I am completely amazed at how wonderful everyone is here. The Lord’s love is evident through the people who are a part of the St. Mark Community Church and Preschool.

If you had an unplanned (spontaneous) day off from work, what would you do?
The ideal day would include either golfing or bowling with my son.

What tradition(s) in your family enhanced your spiritual growth?
My family attended church while I was a young child but unfortunately that tradition did not continue as I got older. I found myself becoming involved in church and Bible study classes with my close friends. Personally, whenever I am outdoors I find myself amazed by God’s creations and feel that those experiences enhance my spiritual growth.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would that be?
This is a very tough question! I would trade places with the teachers at St. Mark Community Preschool so that I could enjoy the children in their class for the whole day!

What is your bucket list (if money and time were unlimited what would you do)?
I would travel around the world and see as many countries as possible with my family. I would also buy an RV and travel around the United States, learning more about our country’s history along the way. I would also spend time volunteering in children’s orphanages and with disadvantaged youth.

LINDA BELT, Executive Director of Newport Community Counseling Center

linda949.721.8079
counseling@newportccc.org
www.newportcommunitycounselingcenter.org

Education: Masters degree, USC.

What is your role at St. Mark?
Executive Director of Newport Community Counseling Center. Clinical Supervisor for MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy) Interns.
What is the best part about what you do here?
The part of what I do is help individuals, couples, and families improve the quality of their lives through Mental Health Services.

Name three people you’d like to have dinner with and why.
1. My family- husband, children and grandchildren because we have a great time together.
2. Mother Theresa- for her love and dedication to helping people in need.
3. Jackie Kennedy- She was my role model and I admired her when I was young.

What’s your favorite book?
The Diary of Anne Frank.

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
A short time ago- watching a very funny movie.