A southern California native, John has been serving United Methodist Congregations for twenty-five years in a number of capacities; Youth Minister, Education Minister, Minister of Evangelism, and now Senior Pastor. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California (go Trojans!) and Fuller Theological Seminary. He and his spouse Linda have three young adult children (Mark, Elizabeth, Peter). His responsibilities at Westwood include Minister-in-Charge, Worship Coordination and Preaching, Administration and Pastoral Care. When not at church, you might find him working in the garden, trying out new recipes, attending concerts, reading a good book, working a crossword, or sitting at the piano.
Rev. Chris Spearman is the Founding Pastor of The Loft, an emergent Christian Community providing transformative relationships for its participants and good for the world we inhabit together. The Loft’s mission is to pioneer new forms of Christian practice that hold true to our grace-filled history and embrace the changes technology and science have delivered to our modern world. The Loft is a conversational community in that dialogue and diverse encounter act as catalysts for personal discovery.
As the Associate Pastor of Westwood United Methodist Church, Chris leads in efforts to fulfill our organizations mission to do justice, seek kindness, and walk in humility with God. Whether leading advocacy teams to Washington DC for the poor and the immigrant, to organizing food relief efforts in the neighborhood, or mobilizing to help our friends who sleep outside find shelter, Chris is passionate about fueling ministries that humanize and empower us to know one another.
The results: 1) successful turnaround strategies assisting aging urban churches in becoming a multi-ethnic, dynamic, expanding community 2) spiritual innovation charting Christian religious practice congruent with the modern Scientific mind 3) stimulate greater creativity and imagination around art, film, and music to birth beauty in our world.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business specializing in market research while working of the University’s Small Business Development Center. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary with a Masters in Divinity and an Elder in Full-Connection of the California Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Chris and his wife, Paige Allocco, are the proud and tired parents of Asher, Caleb, and Eden…and another “bun in the oven”.
Kathy is a native of Burbank and spent most of her adult life navigating both the southern California freeways and the United Airlines skyways. Kathy often tells people she is a “recovering banker” having spent over 30 years working in various banking roles (thus the millions of airline miles) before responding to the gentle (and, frankly, not so gentle) nudging from God to go to seminary. After graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary, Kathy joined Westwood UMC as the Children’s and Youth Pastor. She spent several great years in this role before she left to take a pastoral position closer to her home in Valencia. Kathy has now returned to WUMC in a new position as Minister of Children’s Ministry, Administration, and Creative Connections. She is excited for the opportunity to meld two of her spiritual gifts – administration and teaching.
Andrew Schultz is a first year doctoral student pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Music as a teaching assistant under Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe in the USC Thornton School of Music. Prior to his move to Southern California, Andrew spent seven years as Director of Music Programs for Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. Much of his time there was spent revitalizing the music program which included establishing three music minors, music scholarships, an annual choral festival and multiple touring choral ensembles. Furthermore, Andrew led music for the theater productions and taught courses in music theory, voice, and conducting. While in Defiance, Andrew also served for nine years as director of music at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and was an active OMEA adjudicator and area clinician. Andrew continues to work as Performance Series Director for the Defiance Community Cultural Council, coordinating several local concert series. Andrew holds undergraduate degrees from Ohio Northern University earning a bachelor of music and a bachelor of science in business administration. He also holds advanced degrees from Bowling Green State University: a master of music and a master of business administration.
Jaebon Hwang is a Los Angeles-based composer and organist. She received a Bachelor of Music in composition from Korea National University of Arts, and a Master of Arts in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University. While pursuing her career as a composer, she also has been an active church musician and organist. In 2011, she earned the Fellow of American Guild of Organists, the organization’s highest level of certification. She won the 3rd prize at the 13th National Organ-Playing Competition sponsored by The Ruth and Clarence Mader Memorial Scholarship Fund. She served as Organ Scholar and Assistant Organist at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, which is the home of the largest church pipe organ in the world, before being appointed as the Organist of the Westwood United Methodist Church where she presides over one of the largest instruments in the region. She completed the Graduate Certificate in Organ Performance at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music, studying with Dr. Ladd Thomas, and has begun the Doctor of Musical Arts degree program there.
Linda joined the Westwood Preschool family in June 2007 with over 35 years of experience in early childhood education. She received her Associate of Science degree in Preschool Education as well her Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, in Elementary Education. Linda has taught preschool in Hawaii, California and Puerto Rico. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Linda worked for a preschool that eventually branched out to 20 sites. Linda continued to grow along with the company, making the transition from teacher and curriculum coordinator to site director. After 21 years with that company it was acquired by an international child care company. At this time her husband accepted a position at a major music publishing firm in Hollywood. Linda was able to transfer within her company to direct a corporate Child Development Center. After learning her way around the greater Los Angeles area she decided to return to her roots in the non-profit world. The timing was perfect: WUMP was seeking a director.
Westwood UMC is part of the larger witness of the United Methodist Church. We are a part of the California Pacific Annual Conference which is actively living into the vision of “Inspiring the world as passionate followers of Jesus Christ so all may experience God’s life-giving love.”
Resident Bishop: Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
District Superintendent: The Reverend Dr. Mark Nakagawa