Search Committee Members
Our Ministerial Search 2019 Committee
Back: Linda Propert Sanford, Brian Joaquin, Dan Goss.
Front: Lynn Gallogly, Sherry Weston-Vigil, Donna Fujioka, Noemi de Guzman.
Member Roles and Biographies
Noemi de Guzman
Role — Noemi Chairs the committee, communicating with the UUA, our Board, and our congregants about our progress. She organizes the team, coordinates our work, and manages somehow to remember what all the other team members are doing. And does it with grace.
Biography — Noemi de Guzman joined First Unitarian Church of Oakland in 2005. Church helps her gain a deeper sense of self in relation to the world and to find confidence in her place in the order of things, such that increasingly over the years, she is emboldened to actually sing aloud during worship and not just lip sync. It is at this church where she has allies and partners in the hard and meaningful conversations that further her racial identity development and fuel her quest for liberation for all. She is dazzled by the good work being done through the church’s ministries, is an ardent secret admirer of all the church staff, is grateful for how our ministers minister and how they have inspired her personal transformation and wishes on all the world the kind of love she receives from members of the congregation.
She has decades of experience working in healthcare, not as a nurse-please don’t ask her that!-but rather developing programs for emergency management and business continuity and more recently for health equity and language access. One day, she will resume her professional life, but for now, it is family and church work for which she bounces out of bed in the morning. She enjoys family life because of her adorable husband, two unbelievably creative young adult sons, a medium-sized geriatric dog who once climbed trees in his youth, and a yappy small dog whose mission is to carry home sticks of various dimensions.
Role — Donna is the search committee Secretary, communicating with the congregation via our website, the Chalice Chatter, e-blasts, the search bulletin board and the unofficial listserv. She will also be a primary point of contact for ministerial applicants and our eventual candidate. She has a great sense of humor.
Biography — Donna Fujioka is a second generation UU and has been attending this congregation with her husband since they were young adults. Their daughter, almost age 25, self-identifies as UU but lives in Chicago so can’t serve on our Board where she would be fabulous. In addition to MSC19, Donna is also on the Journey Toward Wholeness (JTW) Transformation Team and is finishing up her work on JTW’s assessment project as well as her term on the Committee on Shared Ministry. She has also served on the Transition Team and on a ministerial intern committee and taught Pre-K/K and K/1 many years ago when RE was traditionally structured. She currently works part-time as an immigration attorney and listens to audio books while driving, mostly non-fiction so that she can pretend she is getting smarter.
Role — Brian is our search team’s Treasurer, keeping track of our budget, writing checks for search expenses, reminding the Board and finance team about financial issues bearing on our search. He likes getting receipts!
Biography — Brian Joaquin has been attending First Unitarian Church of Oakland since June 2014. He joined the church in November 2016. He has served as a Sunday Table Greeter, member of the Finance Committee, and a co-leader for the Young Adults Group.
Coming to worship at FUCO energizes Brian to create the spiritual framework necessary on promoting a community that is multigenerational, multiracial, multicultural, and anti-oppressive within & beyond the walls of the church. FUCO has helped him realize that one way we may be able to achieve that is by issuing out love to all around us with no bounds so that every single living entity has an equal playing field in achieving their pursuit of happiness. Outside of church, Brian works as an underwriting assistant at an insurance company.
Linda Propert Sanford
Role — Linda serves as Congregational Record Coordinator, pulling together all the pieces to explain who we are and what we want in a new minister for our candidates. There are a lot of pieces and she has a lot of help from a lot of congregants and staff!
Biography — Linda Propert Sanford has been an active member of First Unitarian for more than 25 years. In that time, the church has helped her to explore her spirituality, be part an extended community, raise an amazing daughter, learn to speak from her heart about her beliefs, and develop as a white ally determined to combat systemic racism. She also married the love of her life in our gorgeous redwood sanctuary. She has served in a variety of roles at church including as a Trustee, as a Worship Associate, on the Transition Team, and on the Assessment Team. A retired attorney, Linda now volunteers many hours a week for the work of the church.
Role — Sherry serves as Hospitality Coordinator. When speakers, ministerial applicants, and our eventual ministerial candidate are invited to Oakland, she rolls out the red carpet for them. She makes sure they are fed, housed and transported well. She is also our Reference Checker.
Biography — Sherry Weston-Vigil has been a UU for 39 years, and has about 2 years in First Unitarian Oakland. Although raised Baptist, she is mostly earth-based in her spiritual connections, with interests and influences from West Africa, Buddhism, the Southwestern U.S. Native traditions and the Caribbean. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Inclusiveness Consultant.
Role — Lynn is the team’s Congregational Survey Coordinator. After arranging nine Cottage Conversations and coaxing completion of online surveys, she collects the information gleaned from these sources to create the database that our next minister will pore over to figure out who we are and what we want from them. And she always bakes something yummy for search committee meetings!
Biography — Lynn Gallogly has been attending the First Unitarian Church of Oakland since 2013. Since joining the church, she has deepened connections by serving as a Worship Associate and as one of the coordinators of Vespers/Second Tuesdays. When she is not volunteering at church, you can find her baking, reading fantasy novels, and working on a dissertation.
Role — Dan wears two hats. He is the Neutral Pulpit Arranger, finding local churches where a ministerial applicant can preach so the search committee can hear them in action. And finding a backup minister to preach at those churches in case those plans fall through at the last minute. He also serves as the Committee representative on the Negotiating Team, which drafts a contract for our next minister.
Biography — Dan Goss is a long time member of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, and has served on the Board and many committees and task forces. He loves singing in the choir and with the Joyful Noise Band. Dan met his wife in the choir, and they were married in the church in 1999. His son Dash was dedicated at the church in 2002. Dan lives in a three-family community of other FUCO members. He is deeply grateful for all the growth, challenges, and blessings that have come from his involvement with the church.