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 is participating in a Spanish language and Mexican cultural immersion program 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 Compañeras/os Ministry & ESLO Coordinator
The Rev. Yolanda Moreno is the Minister for Education, Spiritual Life and Stewardship at Eden United Church of Christ in Hayward.’Since 2008, Yolanda has served as full-charge bookkeeper for Eden United Church of Christ and the Eden Area Foundation. In 2013, she also began coordinating the congregation's education and spiritual life ministries and providing guidance to the stewardship committee.’Yolanda was raised in downtown central Los Angeles. She was ordained in 1993 and holds ordained ministerial standing in both the Northern California Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ. Prior to serving on Eden's staff, she has served as Senior Pastor, Intentional Interim Pastor, and Transitional Pastor for several churches in the Bay Area.
Sandra Perez began her 15-month internship with Eden Church in June 2013. She graduated with honors from Cal Berkley in May 2013, where she received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies. During her years at Cal, Sandra worked as Director of Student Films, and edited short narrative and documentary films for production classes.
Prior to matriculating at Cal, Sandra attended and graduated from Chabot College in 2011, where she co-founded the Cultural Community Connection Club, which created awareness about cuts in the California budget that effected education. Sandra also organized college students to participate in a state-wide rally in Sacramento to advocate for increased funding for public schools, community colleges, and state universities.
As Compares Intern, Sandra serves as the "ChYLI Big Sister" and is teaching participating students how to create their own small-budget documentary film. She provides program support and translation services for Eden's food security ministries and the Cherryland Children's music program.
Our Organist and Music Director
Heather Paisar accompanies congregational and choral music for Sunday worship, and plays for weddings and memorial services, and plan and leads worship music. She also directs Eden's church school and Cherryland music programs, provides staff support for the music committee, and coordinates communication for Eden's music programs.
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.
Michael Morales is the choir director at Eden. He selects the weekly anthems and prepares the choir for weekly services. On occasion, he makes them laugh.
A Bay Area Native, Michael has degrees in Drama from UC Irvine—class of 2009, Honors in Directing—and Vocal Performance from Sonoma State University—class of 2013, Magna Cum Laude. He has performed around the Bay Area as a member of the Pacific Mozart Ensemble, Les Hommes Men’s Ensemble at CSU East Bay, and as a soloist. Most recently he performed as the tenor soloist in “Carmina Burana" at Weill Hall. He can be heard as a featured soprano on the “Dave Brubeck and American Poets” recording project from PME, and continues to sing professionally as a tenor and countertenor when possible.
Michael conducts with the Cantare Children’s Chorus of Oakland “Nova” choir under the direction of Julie Haydon, teaching the young voices of Oakland. He has also served as an assistant conductor to Ben Johns for the past three summers with Chanticleer’s Skills LAB Choir, cultivating good musicianship and preparing some of the Bay Area’s most talented musicians for college.
Outside of choral music, Michael is a passionate disciple of rock and roll and an avid Giants fan.