Who We Are


Our five-window art glass installation in the chancel is designed by the world-renowned glass artist Gordon Huether of Napa, California.

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.  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 part of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and support its “God is Still Speaking” Campaign.  Since 2002, we have been 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.

CCSM's Guiding Principles

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.

Staff & Leadership

Photo of Rev. Jessica Vacketta

Rev. Jessica Vacketta, Senior Minister

CCSM welcomed Rev. Jessica Vacketta (she/her) as our new senior minister this last fall!  She comes to San Mateo from University Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Fort Worth, Texas where she served in a variety of ministry roles during her 14 years on staff, most recently as the Minister of Outreach.  She is passionate about creating sacred space for people to experience the Divine through retreats, serving others, and meeting at Christ's table - where ALL (or as they say in Texas, "all y'all") are welcome.

She enjoys being "Aunt Jess" to Lily, Penny, and Theo who live in Livermore, and she looks forward to many adventures in the Bay Area with her California family (which also includes her sister, Leslie, and brother-in-law Greg). 

Jessica loves deviled eggs, holiday cups, and discovering new restaurants.  If she's not at the church, you can probably find her at a local coffee shop or walking around downtown San Mateo listening to a podcast.
Joining us in welcoming her by saying "Hi" at jessica@ccsm-ucc.org, friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Instagram @revjv
Picture of Sheryl Johnson

Rev. Dr. Sheryl Johnson
Minister to Children, Youth and Families

Sheryl Johnson (she/her) was born on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Métis, and Oji-Cree Nations, Treaty 1 territory, in what is colonially known as Winnipeg, Canada. She grew up and was ordained in the United Church of Canada and holds a BA from the University of Toronto and an M.Div and Master's of Pastoral Studies (MPS) from Emmanuel College, Toronto. Sheryl served as an intern with People's Action Forum (Zambia) and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and served in ministry with several Canadian congregations. She and her spouse, Kelly Colwell, moved to the Bay Area in 2016 to pursue PhDs at Graduate Theological Union; Sheryl earned hers in 2020.

Sheryl received dual ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ and began serving at CCSM in 2019 where she is privileged and delighted to support the children, youth, and family ministries, social and environmental justice work, walk alongside congregation members on their spiritual journeys, and serve wherever is else is needed.
Photo of Rev. Álvaro Durán

Rev. Álvaro Durán,
Transitional Minister, Ministerio Latino

The Congregational Church of San Mateo has maintained a sustained commitment to the Latino community since 2009, when an initiative to share solidarity support and expand its relationships with Spanish-speaking Latinos in the North Central San Mateo neighbourhood emerged from the dream of its members.

In 2017, the Spanish-speaking "Wednesday gathering" faith community was organized, a group of Latinos with many things in common with the church's English-speaking community: A commitment to social justice and willing hearts to live a lively, progressive, and inclusive spirituality.

That same year, the congregation adopted "Sanctuary Congregation" status, offering physical refuge to people facing deportation orders. It became one of the first churches on the peninsula to offer physical shelter on religious property. Between 2020 and 2022, the church provided pastoral accompaniment and, in alliance with other partner organizations, distributed food and supported all Latino persons who requested it to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the Latino Ministry is strengthening and preparing for a new time of growth to extend an extravagant welcome to all Spanish-speaking Latinos seeking a progressive, Christian faith community committed to justice where all people are welcome without exception.


Chase Montara
Chase Montara

Director of Operations

Cheryle Matteo
Cheryle Matteo


Zoe Mullery

Administrative Assistant
& Graphic Design

John McCann
John McCann

Webmaster & Technical Support

Oscar Rosa
Oscar Rosa


Chuck Rosenthal

Video Ministry

Lay Leadership

Pictures of the CCSM Board of Directors and Members-at-Large
Photos of the CCSM Committee Chairs and Ministry Leaders
Penny Nixon

Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, Minister Emerita, Retired

Penny Nixon served as the Senior Minister of CCSM from 2007 – 2022 and was honored with the title of Minister Emerita upon her retirement from pastoral ministry.  She was the first woman to hold that position and had the longest tenure in CCSM’s 158-year history.
Under her leadership CCSM thrived as a vibrant, progressive spiritual community, became known for its work in social justice, received the MLK award from the county of San Mateo and had the distinction of becoming a sanctuary church.  A community leader and political activist, she has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in both San Francisco and San Mateo, the most recent being named 2019 Woman of the Year for Assembly District 22.  She also is the founder and co-director of the Peninsula Solidarity Cohort, a group of 40 interfaith clergy engaged in addressing the most pressing social needs in San Mateo County.

Currently, Penny works as a consultant at the intersection of affordable housing and faith communities.

A Little Background

Inquiries and Prayer Requests