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MC45Our Senior Minister

The Rev. Dr. Arlene K. Nehring is Senior Minister at Eden United Church of Christ in Hayward, California. Since November 2002, she has been the congregation’s lead pastor and teacher, staff supervisor, pastoral care provider, and community organizer.

Pastor Arlene 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.

Pastor Arlene 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 in 1995. She also holds professional certifications in organizational design from DePaul University, and she completed graduate course work in nonprofit management at Cleveland SUniversity. During tate University. During the summers of 2013 and 2014, she completed Spanish language and cultural immersion courses in 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 Associate Minister

pepper edenPepper Swanson coordinates our Church School program (Grades K-12) and our Education, Spiritual Life, and Outreach Committee, which facilitates our Stewardship, E-Team, Fellowship, Spirit-in-Action, and other ministries. Pepper is also coordinating our communications, including the Sunday bulletin production, weekly e-Chimes, the monthly Chimes, and social media. Pepper also leads worship, preaches, and provides emergency pastoral care to the congregation when the Senior Minister is out of town.

Pepper, whose previous career was in public policy and local government, came to ministry later in life. She completed her Master of Divinity and ministerial training at the Pacific School of Religion in 2014 at the age of 52 and was approved for ordination pending call by the United Church of Christ in late February 2015. She served as ministry intern at the Community Church of San Carlos UCC and is a member of the NCNC Committee of Ministry, Section B. She has preached and taught at several UCC churches in the greater Bay Area, including Mill Valley UCC and San Rafael UCC.

Pepper’s academic background includes a Bachelor in Political Science from Willamette University and Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Pepper is passionate about preaching, writing, and poetry. She is an accomplished and award-winning quilter, who loves to hike and camp. Pepper, with her husband Scott and daughter Lia, has been a member of Eden since 2007.


Our Music Director & Organist

jessie edenA native of Taipei, Taiwan, Jessie received her first piano lessons from her mother, SuMei Shen, when she was 5 years old and played her first public performance at age 9.  Aside from many national awards in her native country, Dr. Lo has won prizes in international competitions and her performances have been heard in many countries, including Taiwan, Japan, Austria, Germany, San Marino, Spain, Italy, Belarus, Poland, Brazil, England, and in the U.S.

Jessie received the Bachelor and Master degrees in piano performance at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria, where she studied with Hans Petermandl and Michael Krist. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from Boston University in 2012, where she had been Teaching Assistant for private piano lessons, as well as Collaborative Piano Assistant.  Jessie’s dissertation was Piano Music of Mathilde Kralik von Meyrswalden (1857-1944) and was also published by Certosa Verlag in Germany.

Jessie was pianist/organist for Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Vienna from 2000 to 2007, during which she performed several organ/piano concerts in various old churches in Austria. She was organist/pianist at Church of Christ, Scientist in Marshfield, Massachusetts From 2008-2012. She was the Associate Music Director and Organist/Pianist at Faith Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee Florida from 2013 to August 2015 when she began her work at Eden Church. In addition to her church service and concert engagements, Dr. Lo is a dedicated music teacher with knowledge and experience in methods taught in Asian, European, and America. She also speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese, English and German fluently and has knowledge of Italian and Portuguese. Jessie’s husband, whose name is also Jessie, is a classical guitarist. The couple has a young daughter, Natalie, and a beloved cat, Silver.

Jessie describes herself as passionate about her work as a church organist/pianist/musician. “Playing music to serve God,” she writes, “is a way for me to connect to my deepest beliefs, and it is a way to bring people closer to the ultimate serenity/peace in their hearts.”

Upcoming Events

Tue 20

Cherryland Computer Café

February 20 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Tue 20


February 20 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Wed 21

Seekers Book Discussion

February 21 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Sun 25

Sunday Worship

February 25 @ 10:00 am - 11:15 am
Mon 26

Bible Study

February 26 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Mon 26

Cherryland Computer Café

February 26 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Mon 26

Bible Study

February 26 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm