Our Ministers & Staff
Our Senior Minister
The Rev. Dr. Arlene K. Nehring is Senior Minister at Eden United Church of Christ in Hayward, California. She is the congregation’s lead pastor and teacher, staff supervisor, and community organizer.
Ms. Nehring was raised in rural Iowa and called to ministry at age 14. She was ordained by the Central Association of the Iowa Conference in 1988, and holds ministerial standing in the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Prior to serving as Eden’s pastor, she was a member of the United Church of Christ National Staff in Cleveland, Ohio, where she served as Associate Director for the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries. From 1988-1992, she served as Senior Minister at The Park Church in Elmira in New York, and from 1996-2002, she was Associate Minister at The Old South Church in Boston.
Nehring was awarded the B.A., magna cum laude, from Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1985; the M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts, in 1988; and the D.Min. in Preaching from Chicago Theological Seminary in1995. She also holds professional certifications in organizational design from DePaul University, and she completed graduate course work in nonprofit management at Cleveland State University. During the summers of 2013 and 2014, she will study Spanish language and Mexican culture at the Querétaro Language School, Querétaro City, Querétaro, Mexico.
Arlene and her spouse, Stephanie Spencer, live in Castro Valley, California. Stephanie (a cultural anthropologist and public health worker) was raised in the Middle East, Europe, Peru, and Virginia. She is a lay leader at Eden Church, and a language interpreter and cross-cultural resource person for Eden’s Compañeras Ministry.
Our Education and Spiritual Life Coordinator
Liz Jobst, our Education and Spiritual Life Coordinator, joined the Eden staff in March 2008 after serving as the Interim Director of Children’s Ministries at Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. A former Kindergarten teacher, Liz has taught in the field of Early Childhood education for many years including a time as an instructor at Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley.
Involved with the Episcopal Church since childhood, Liz started singing in the choir at an early age and later participated in a variety of church-wide programs. Throughout her life she has worked for social justice, whether organizing volunteer tutors or helping to facilitate anti-racism trainings; she believes in the transformative powers of communities.
Born in Washington, D.C., Liz has lived a nomadic lifestyle, including a brief period of residence in Mexico where she was enrolled in an Augsburg College extension program entitled “Gender and the Environment: Latin American Perspectives.” Liz received a B.A. in Creative Writing and Religious Studies from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2001; and a M.Ed. from the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, in 2003.
Her normal hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday mornings on campus, Thursdays off campus, and other times as scheduled for church events, conferences, or worship services.
Our Compañeras/os Ministry Coordinator
As Compañeras/os Ministry Coordinator, Corina Vasaure is responsible for developing and coordinating Eden’s just-in-time food bank, Comida para Cherryland; Eden’s partnership with Cherryland School; Eden’s Youth Investment Initiatives; and Let’s Do Lunch in Cherryland Park. She also provides technical assistance for our Compañeras/os programs and participates in ESLO meetings.
Corina brings to our Cherryland-based ministry nine years of experience in grassroots community organizing and public policy advocacy work for school improvement in the State of California and the City of Oakland. She is deeply committed to federal immigration reform, food security, health improvement, violence reduction, and school improvement for our community.
Corina and her family live in the City of Hayward. She was born and raised in Fresno, and educated in public schools. She matriculated at and received the Bachelors of Arts degree in 2001 from Cal State University-Chico in Multicultural and Gender Studies with an Emphasis in Chicana/o Studies and Minor in Women’s Studies. Her Master of Arts degree in Cultural Studies with an Emphasis in Education, Community Building and Grassroots Advocacy, was received from Claremont Graduate University in 2005.
Most recently Corina has served as Education Coordinator for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) in Oakland. She was previously Education Coordinator for the American Institute for Social Justice and California ACORN, Oakland; Special Events Coordinator for the Claremont Information and Technology Institute; and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Academy of Culture and Technology Charter School in Pomona.
You will find Corina in the church office and around the Cherryland neighborhood on Sunday mornings, Tuesday mornings, Wednesdays all day, Thursday afternoons, and one evening per week.
Heather Paisar accompanies congregational and choral music for Sunday worship, and plays for weddings and memorial services. A native of Northeast Wisconsin, Heather began playing organ for churches at age 14. Most recently, she served as organist for Colonial Congregational United Church of Christ in Prairie Village, Kansas. She has also served Lutheran and UCC congregations in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
Heather is currently completing a doctoral dissertation at the University of Kansas in Musicology and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance. Her dissertation topic is on 15th and 16th century Iberian organ music. She holds the Master of Sacred Music in Organ degree from Emory University, where she served on the Chapel planning staff and as Eucharist Organist at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. Her undergraduate degree in church music is from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana.
At the University of Kansas and Emory University, Heather has served as an organ instructor and college and university teaching assistant. She has taught youth and adult piano and brass lessons and beginning strings, and she has developed a specialty in teaching autistic students.
Heather accompanied Handel’s Messiah for a men’s prison choir during Advent 2011. She delivered an invited paper in the United Kingdom, in July 2012, on the role of classical music in the reduction of recidivism among incarcerated men in the state of Kansas.
When she’s not rehearsing or performing music, pounding the books, or teaching, Heather can be found on the badminton court and the softball field.
Heather Paisar, Organist