Staff

Pastor Brandon

Rev. Brandon Austin is a graduate of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (Master of Divinity, 1990) and transferred from the Tennessee Conference to the California-Nevada Conference at the invitation of Bishop Melvin Talbert in June 1990. Since arriving he has served as pastor in Carmel, Lake County, Sacramento, Hayward, Manteca, Modesto, and now Davis UMC. Before coming to California, he served a four-congregation church circuit in rural Tennessee for one year, served 5 years as a youth director for various churches throughout college and seminary, and grew up in a United Methodist Church, where his mother was the church secretary for 12 years – she remains a lifelong member of the United Methodist Women.

His professional training includes studies at Martin Methodist College in Pulask, TN (A.A.), a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology (1985) from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, AL, a Master of Divinity Degree (1990), ordination into the Order of Elders of the UMC in California-Nevada Conference (1997), an M.A. in Clinical Psychology (2008), and he is currently completing his dissertation for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy. D.). He has training as a Victim-Witness Assistance in the area of Domestic Violence, a Spiritual Director (individual and group), a Labyrinth Facilitator, a Conflict Mediator, a Clergy/Church Transition Facilitator, and as an Interim Pastor.

For fun he likes to hike in Yosemite Valley, play guitar, sing, and teach salsa dancing.

Office Manager

Office Manager
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Michael Stokes is the Office Manager and Staff Secretary to the Treasurer. He was born and raised in Michigan where he helped build (literally) the New Community Church in Grand Rapids, where he also was a Sunday school teacher. He holds a BA in English, as well as an AA in Theatre Arts. Michael is an independent scholar as well as a tutor for the GRE Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing sections. His writing centers on the entangled relationships between the representation of disabled characters in science fiction literature from the 1940s to the present with race, queerness, and sexuality.

When not running the church office or tutoring, Michael spends his time writing with his partner Jess, reading, or painting. He enjoys science fiction films and books, board games, and cooking.

Ashley Arroyo

Music Director
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Ashley was born in San Jose in 1985 and lived there all of her childhood except for ages 1-5 when her family lived in Japan.  During her childhood, she studied piano for 10 years and sang in the high school choir. These experiences led her to majoring in Music at UC Davis, and eventually graduating with her B.A. in 2008.

Ashley began working for Davis UMC as the accompanist in 2006.  She continues to fill that role but is now additionally the choir director and teaches private piano lessons. Although Ashley was raised Catholic, she left the church after high school and has found that she really likes the progressive theology and emphasis on social justice at Davis UMC.

When she isn’t working,  Ashley sings in the Sacramento Choral Society, and enjoys baking, cooking, running and spending time with her husband David and dog Willow.

Jeri Viera Dahlke

Coordinator of Children's Programs
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Jeri has worked at eight churches in some staff capacity focused on faith formation. In an additional congregation she served as their interim pastor. All were part of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Jeri is a graduate of the Free Methodist college Seattle Pacific University and of Claremont School of Theology, a Methodist seminary.

Megan Houpt

Worship Arts Ministry
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Megan developed a lifelong passion for church music and drama at her home church in Schenectady, NY where she sang in the children’s and adult choirs, played in the bell choir and performed with the Dramatic Players. Additional choir experience in high school included the District Youth Chorale and Madrigals. Her BA is in Theatre Arts and English Literature from Emmanuel College, Boston.

 

Ji Hyun Song

Youth Ministry Coordinator

Ji Hyun first immigrated to the USA with her family when she was 4 years old and grew up in various areas of California. As a daughter of an ordained minister of the Korean United Methodist Church, most of her life has revolved around attending and assisting in church services and programs. She is currently studying at UC Davis in pursuit of her B.S. in Animal Science and Management and hopes to continue into the field of genetics and production in dairy animals.

Caroline Makepeace

Nursery Attendant
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Caroline Makepeace is the lead childcare provider in the nursery. She is originally from Orange County, where she attended a Christian school from k-8th grade. She grew up in a Lutheran church, and has been attending Methodist services since she moved to Davis. She is currently a 4th year Human Development major at UC Davis. After graduation, she will be applying to occupational therapy graduate school. She currently works for the UC Davis Football team and is also a caregiver for people with developmental disabilities. Caroline aims to create a safe and nurturing environment for your children while introducing them to the love and affirmations that we find in the church.