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.
Chris is a highly energetic, slightly disorganized, covertly competitive, musical worshiper seeking to become all God has created him to be. He is a proud and growing husband to Paige, an exuberant father and jungle gym to sons Asher and Caleb and daughter Eden, a loving son of Tyron and Sandra, big brother to Sallie and her husband, Oliver, and the doting uncle of MJ and Ollie. As a member of Westwood United Methodist, Chris participates in the community as a Christ Follower who facilitates educational environments, connection opportunities, and ways to unlock the life God dreams for us. Many other Christ Followers partner with Chris teaching, serving, and seeking to express themselves to and through God together. Chris loves the wildly unpredictable journey of pursuing God.
Kathy is a native of Burbank and spent most of her 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. Recently Kathy returned to WUMC in a new position as Minister of Administration and Creative Connections. She is excited for the opportunity to meld two of her spiritual gifts – administration and teaching.
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