About

Who We Are

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Founded in 1864 when San Mateo was a little village of 400 people, CCSM has grown and evolved with this dynamic region. We’re inspired by our 150-year history as we focus on what it means to be a spiritual community here and now in the 21st century.

We are part of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and support its “God is Still Speaking” Campaign.

We are a Congregational Church which means we are our own independent, self-governing body with an active lay leadership team and high volunteerism among our members. While independent, we maintain fellowship with other UCC churches.

Our vision is to be a strong voice for Progressive Christianity on the San Francisco Peninsula and beyond, to build a beloved community and to lead in championing social justice for all.

We are an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation. This is a UCC designation which means that we affirm the full inclusion of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions into CCSM’s life and ministry.

We are an open and affirming (ONA) congregation. This is a UCC designation which means that we affirm the full inclusion of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions into CCSM's life and ministry.

Guiding Principles


To get a sense of our essentials, we offer our guiding principles that are intended to describe the spirit and nature of our congregation as well as Progressive Christianity. We seek to hold ourselves accountable to live them in community together.

We are a Spiritual Community

We welcome the full participation of believers, agnostics, and skeptics from all faith traditions. We are all at different places on our spiritual journeys, and we come together to support each other as we seek connection with God through ritual, artistic expression, nature, study, and fellowship.

We are Christian

We follow Jesus’s example as a way of life and a way of love. Following Jesus is rooted in our identity as Christians, and we cherish our tradition’s sacred book, the Bible, for its spiritual wisdom contained in symbol, metaphor, and history. We also explore other faith traditions and learn from other sacred texts as we seek to answer Jesus’ call to love.

We are God’s Hands, Feet and Face

We work together to feed the hungry, care for the sick, house the homeless, and advocate for a more just society. We do this knowing that God has no hands but our hands, no feet but our feet and no face but our face.

We are Inclusive

We celebrate Jesus’ teachings of radical equality and the differences among us including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, age, and mental and physical disabilities. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.

We are Open Minded

We recognize the inherent worth of each of us, and we listen to different points of view in order to learn and grow. We strive to practice empathy and compassion, and we seek to understand one another.

We are Evolving

We experience faith as a quest, not a set of absolute truths. We welcome change, seek transformation, and explore new ways of being faithful because we know that God is still speaking.

God has no hands but your hands, no feet but your feet, no face but your face

History


A gift from the past. A promise for the future.

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Our 150th anniversary was celebrated joyfully in 2014. A commemorative book was created, which may be viewed here.

Staff


Led by our ministers, our staff dedicates itself to bringing expertise and enthusiasm to our work within CCSM and throughout the local community and beyond.

Contact Us

Clergy

Penny Nixon

Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon

Senior Minister
Jorge Bautista

Rev. Jorge Perry Bautista

Associate Minister
Sheryl Johnson

Rev. Dr. Sheryl Johnson

Associate Minister

Administration & Operations

Chase Montara

Chase Montara

Director of Operations
Cheryle Matteo

Cheryle Matteo

Bookkeeper
Zoe Mullery

Zoe Mullery

Administrative Assistant
& Graphic Design
John McCann

John McCann

Webmaster & Technical Support
Oscar Rosa

Oscar Rosa

Custodian
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Cheryl "Chuck" Rosenthal

Video Producer

Music Team

Lynnelle Bilsey

Lynnelle Bilsey, MA, CVA

Director of Music, Chancel Choir & Carillon Bell Choir Director
Angela Kraft Cross
AAGO, Artist in Residence, Organist
Melanie Dresbach

Melanie Dresbach, MA

Liturgical Musician
Julie Berk

Julie Miles Berk

Joyful Noise Youth Choir Director

Children & Youth

Lily Gonzalez

Lily Gonzalez

Free Play
(approx. ages 0-4)
Shannon McEntee

Shannon McEntee

Godly Play Program
(approx. K-Grade 2)
Libby Barnard

Elijah Barnard

Kids’ Liturgical Arts Program
(approx. Grade 3-5)
Elaine Kauffman

Elaine Kauffman

Summer Program

Coleen Castillo &
Lily Gonzalez

Wednesday Program

Campus


Our campus is comprised of multiple buildings: our Sanctuary, Loggia building (office and meeting rooms), Kloss Hall, and our Betsy Woodward Christian Education building. We also have a Memorial Garden and central courtyard.

Housed on our campus is the Muslim Children’s Garden School, a preschool committed to teach and grow children through group learning, a sense of community, and Islamic values. Also on our campus is Little Wonders: A Parent-Child Center, a play-based, cooperative parent-child education center that teaches parents about child growth and development.

Learn more about how to hold your wedding or special event at CCSM. You can view the rooms by viewing the slideshow below.

four stained glass windows depicting a tree of life

Sanctuary

Our beautiful Sanctuary is fully accessible — with wheelchair and hearing-impaired accessibility aids – so that we can welcome everyone…wherever you are on life’s journey.

It’s designed in the classic Spanish colonial revival style with a bell tower and carved, double wood main doors. The interior, which seats 400, has a long center aisle, an open chancel for flexibility and a balcony.

Its stunning visual focal point is a timeless five-window art glass installation designed by the world-renowned glass artist Gordon Huether of Napa, California. Our windows serve as the backdrop for our worship and special events.

During our services and special concerts, our Sanctuary reverberates from the magnificent tones of our Casavant Frères pipe organ, considered by many to be one the best pipe organs in the state of California.

Memorial Garden

Our Memorial Garden is our open-air sanctuary. In this sacred space, we honor the cycle of CCSM’s spiritual community — the connections from those who have gone before and those who will come after.

It is designed for meditation and prayer and is comprised of our Labyrinth, Columbarium, and Wall of Remembrance.

Walk our Labyrinth and experience the simultaneity of the past and present; of the body and the soul; of the physical and the spiritual. The journey is one foot after another, and it is a path to the holy place inside us.

Our Wall or Remembrance offers a sense of permanence to our members and friends by providing the opportunity to etch loved ones’ names in a beautiful granite wall.

Our Columbarium is a sacred space designed as a granite wall for the permanent place of inurnment for CCSM members, friends and loved ones.

Contact us to learn more about remembrance opportunities at CCSM.

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Partners


We support these through our plate offerings every Sunday, and through our volunteerism.
Each organization is linked to a member of the congregation.

Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS) (Latino cultural arts and social services)
Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition
CALL Primrose (community services, central San Mateo County)
Camp Cazadero Scholarships
Charitable Assistance Discretion Fund
Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA)
Foster the Bay
Help a Mother Out
Home and Hope (emergency family shelter)
Homework Central (tutoring, San Mateo)
Intercommunal Pre-school (low income preschool, San Mateo)
Las Memorias
LifeMoves
LGBTQ+ Pride Center of San Mateo
NAACP - San Mateo Chapter

Zimbabwe Mother of Peace
Nepal Youth Foundation
Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County (protecting the rights of those in long-term care)
Pacific School of Religion
Peace Village (an interfaith peace education camp)

Peninsula Food Runners (food redistribution, San Mateo County)
Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center
Peninsula Multifaith Coalition
PRIDE Sponsorship
Puenta de la Costa Sur
 (community services, South Coast)
Rebuild South Sudan (working to build a school and support peace education in South Sudan)
Rebuilding Together
Re:Store Justice
Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley
Samaritan House Sanctuary Church
San Francisco Night Ministry (outreach to homeless)
Swords to Plowshares
UCC: Neighbors in Need (supporting ministries of justice and compassion in the US)
UCC: One Great Hour of Sharing (disaster, refugee/immigration, and development ministries offering)
UCC: Strengthen the Church (building the future of the United Church of Christ)
UCC: The Christmas Fund (supporting low-income retired church employees and clergy)