Here is our staff which, along with a dedicated team of lay persons, keeps CUMC a vital and engaged ministry in our community.
I was born and raised in Southern California. I grew up in Lakewood, CA, and was active in the First United Methodist Church of Long Beach. My father was head usher, mother was a Sunday School teacher, sang in children’s’ choirs before I could read, and learned to read music in bell choir.
Being a “Cradle Christian” I was raised to know and love the stories of the Bible, and to understand God’s love and acceptance. Like John Wesley, however, it was only later that I had an experience where I learned and realized that all of that information applied to me. This happened, of course, at church camp, Elementary camp at Cedar Glen, where I responded to an altar call and then came home asking “what does it mean that I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior?”
Upon becoming a believer, I began to hear a different call of God in my life. In youth group, and in madrigal singers in high school, I began to understand and practice the gifts of listening, caring, organization and leadership. As I began to practice pastoral roles, I realized that this work satisfied an inner hunger, so I set out on the path to ordination. I attended Cal State Long Beach, where I received a BA in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. I met with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry, who told me that being born, raised, educated, and churched in Southern California, I should probably go somewhere else for seminary. I applied at schools around the country, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, was the first to say “Yes.” So I spent three years in the Chicago area. I came back to the California-Pacific Annual Conference, where I was ordained and appointed to serve. I served as an Associate Pastor at the Yorba Linda UMC and Shepherd of the Hills Church in Mission Viejo. My first solo charge was the lovely, multi-cultural Artesia-Cerritos UMC. Next came Saint Andrew UMC in Santa Maria, where I went through some major life changes at church camp – this time at Colby Ranch.
In all of these places, times and experiences, I learned to be open to the movement of the Spirit, and that the best leadership is that which points beyond oneself to what God is doing today.
Director of Christian Education and Caring Ministries
This is an amazing church family! When I came on staff in the spring of 2003, I was the Director of Christian Education and Family Ministries; but with changes in our pastoral staff, I have been blessed to be able to transition into the caring and outreach ministries of this church.
I have been in the Christian Education field for 15 years, which seems amazing to me. I love being able to help others on their spiritual journey and I feel blessed to be able to grow and expand my ministry into showing, in a more formal way, the love and care of Christ Jesus.
I grew up in the Methodist Church here in Orange County. I married my husband, Jeff, in 1983, and we have two sons, Justin and Ryan. Justin is working in the environmental science field and Ryan is at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida studying Marine Chemistry.
I enjoy gardening, reading, hiking and especially going to Disneyland with my family. I am hoping to add stand-up paddle boarding, very soon, to that list of hobbies.
My favorite bands are Switchfoot and Third Day.
My favorite scripture is Micah 6:8 “. . . what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries
One of the highlights of my position is sharing in the children’s discovery of their faith and learning more about my own faith through them. They have a simplicity that is refreshing. I feel assured that our future is in good hands.
I am a Southern California native and a life-long Methodist. My husband, Bobby, and I enjoy camping and boating with our family. I look forward to my weekly soccer games, monthly scrapbooking gatherings and am always looking for an opportunity to play any board game. I am an amateur photographer and hope to sharpen my skills in this hobby.
Judith Deaton joined our staff as Business Office Manager in July of 2015. Judith is originally from the Detroit area in Michigan. She lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Newport Beach in December of 2010. She majored in political science and history at the University of Michigan. Previously, Judith worked as the Office Manager for Christ Church by the Sea UMC on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach.
Dr. James Calhoun
Director of Music Ministry
James brings a wealth of experience and talent to our thriving Music Ministry, beginning with his joining the youth choir at Macedonia Baptist Church in the Watts area of Los Angeles. He later earned Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees with majors in organ performance and church/sacred music graduate from the University of Southern California. His more recent sacred music experiences have included the Los Angeles area Westminster Presbyterian Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Second Baptist Church and Holman United Methodist Church and director of the dlw (Don Lee White) Community Chorale, a group of 45 gifted singers dedicated to the preservation and performance of black sacred music in it’s many forms including, negro spirituals, hymns, anthems, cantatas, and traditional gospel music.
As an educator, Dr. Calhoun has taught at the University of La Verne, Loyola Marymount University, University of California at Irvine, and Cypress College. He has traveled extensively including a 2006 European tour with the Paul Smith Singers to Munich, Frankfurt, Lucerne, Essen, and Vienna. In March 2010 James performed with the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers in concert at Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall), both as soloist and accompanist and he recently made his debut performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall where he was featured in a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Organ Concerto with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
We are blessed to have James join us in doing God’s work through music!
Preschool School Director
Vicki has been the Director of the preschool since 1999. She earned her degree at Loyola-Marymount University. She enjoys the company of her three children – April, Travis and Clint. She likes gardening with April, reading and going to the movies.
David John Perez
Saturday Ministry Coordinator
I love Jesus, my family, DJing, and music! I am an 8-year Navy Veteran, with a background in Mental Health, and I recently served as the Director of Youth Ministry for 10 years at a United Methodist Church in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. It’s a joy for my wife Sal and I to be back in Southern California and to introduce SoCal living to our daughter, Hannah, and our son, Aiden. Using music and creative arts to help others experience the goodness of our Creator is one of my passions, so I’m excited to see what God does through our Saturday Worship.
What a joy it is to be serving with you at CUMC as Worship Coordinator. Along with my husband Steve, we have two grown sons Justin and Matt who have beautiful families of their own. The joys of my life are my 3 grandchildren, Hannah, Lily, and William, who keep me very busy but happy.
In my spare time…I enjoy working Sr. High Summer Camp and walking along side young people on their faith journey, and I love to create! I do this through many different mediums such as gardening, singing/music, sewing, and I especially love creating sacred space. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” This verse keeps me grounded in all my comings and goings.
Liz is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, and has been a member of CUMC since 2011. She has been involved in many programs at CUMC including Vacation Bible School (VBS), Sunday school, and the Family Life Committee. She lives in Huntington Beach with her husband and their two children. Prior to working at CUMC, Liz was involved in Accounting and Banking as well as Asset and Property Management.
Coordinator of Web- Based Communications
With a life-long involvement in the United Methodist Church as the daughter of a pastor, Emalee is thrilled to be serving the CUMC congregation as Coordinator of Web-Based Communications. She brings a marketing communications background with an MBA and Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Denver. She transplanted to Huntington Beach with her husband and daughter from Colorado via Bakersfield, CA in January, 2017. She enjoys spending time baking, sewing, and going on fun adventures with her family.
Julie has long held an interest in wedding planning and has had the chance to begin doing that since becoming CUMC’s Wedding Coordinator in 2006. She attended California State University, Long Beach, earning both a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a certificate for Professional Meeting and Events Planning. She currently works in the special events department at University of California, Irvine. For more information on planning a wedding at CUMC, go to our Weddings page.
Celebration Choir Director
Marsha graduated from UCLA with a degree in Medical Technology – Microbiology. She loved her work as a microbiologist, but her spare time has always included children and music. For many years she has been involved in the various children’s and youth choirs at CUMC. Presently, she is co-director of the Celebration Singers (youth) with James Calhoun. She also sings in the Chancel Choir and plays handbells in the Adult Bell Choir. She even plays in Beginner’s Chimes if they need extra hands!
Marsha and her husband, Lionel, have been CUMC members since 1968. They have two married sons, Darrin (Nancy), and Brandon (Becky), and 3 grandsons – Noah, Ian and Joel.
Since retiring, Marsha loves playing with her grandchildren, going to musicals, doing puzzle games, reading, traveling and volunteering in CUMC’s after-school program, the Cove.
Joyful Noise Choir Leader
Roni Kuester is a life-long Methodist, born in Michigan, and a graduate of Michigan State University. She taught in the public schools in California after gradation – first at the junior and senior high schools levels, then, after a “break” to begin a family, moved to an elementary school district to develop an enrichment program of non-remedial psychomotor education and vocal music from which she has recently retired.
Roni has been involved with United Methodist Women starting in 1973 after joining CUMC the year before. Her first love, however, remains working each week with CUMC’s very active upper-elementary children’s choir.
Roni has two adult daughters, Margo and Temre, and one grandchild, Simon.
Cherub Choir co-Leader
Sonya is a graduate of CSULB and has been involved in many of CUMC’s music programs since childhood. She has volunteered as one of the music leaders for Vacation Bible School (VBS) the last few years, helps to lead worship as a vocalist in CUMC’s contemporary worship band and is a member of the adult chancel choir. Sonya is excited to be working with Dave Hattersley as the co-Leader for CUMC’s Cherub Choir.
She is extremely honored to have the opportunity to pass along a love of music to our youth, as Mary Lou Pratt has done with great love, care and expertise for many years.
Cherub Choir co-Leader
I enjoy working with children and am blessed to have a wife and daughter who attend CUMC with me. Often I act like a kid myself and have lots of fun! In this way, I hope to share God’s love and follow good advice from Jesus – “If you don’t change and become like a child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.” In the Cherub Choir, kids learn about God’s love, music, and reading all at the same time.
In addition to leading the Cherub Choir with Sonya Hatch, I play bass with the CUMC praise band and am the facilitator for the Children’s Council at CUMC. Over the years, I have played guitar & bass, sang, and composed music as a professional for many performances and recordings.