EVERYONE IS WELCOME
Here you will find a diverse and open-hearted community of people, united by a curiosity to explore and practice what it means to be a Christian today.
We envision a world transformed and made whole through God's love. We are called to love one another, express gratitude, ease suffering, and work for justice.
We come from all walks of life and diverse faith traditions, but we share a common purpose—to grow in love for neighbor, self, earth, and God.
All of us, believing and doubting, are companions on the journey, together leaning into our faith as we confront complex issues of compassion, justice, faith, and love.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe, along with the psalmist, that “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it; the world, and those who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1). We believe that God created the world in love, that God still loves the whole world, and that love is God's hope for us all, borne out in the life and teachings of Jesus.
We believe that Jesus points us to a way of life and faith centered in the love of God. He called this “the kingdom of God,” a kingdom not defined by a list of unchanging beliefs, but by the dynamic pursuit of love. Therefore, we believe that church should be more of a “school of love,” and less about right doctrines or beliefs.
Our starting place is seeking to love one another. We strive to be a welcoming and hospitable community where all people are welcome. We value the sacredness of life. We honor diversity. We listen for God’s call. We challenge and nurture each person’s journey toward the justice of Christ, the reconciliation of the Spirit and the wholeness of God. This is how we live our faith in the world.
We are called to live out our faith in our relationships in the world. We are called to love broadly and to seek fullness of life for all people, wherever they are. This means that we will act on behalf of others and on behalf of God’s creation, addressing injustice, healing the planet, and seeking peace with our neighbors and our enemies.
Above all, we believe that practicing love is more important than anything we believe.
MEET OUR STAFF
Scott Clark, Pastor and Head of Staff
Scott is the former Chaplain and Dean of Students San Francisco Theological Seminary, and also worked with their Program in Christian Spirituality. Prior to his ordination he was a member of this church. Before moving to California with his partner Jeff, Scott practiced law in Alabama, focusing on constitutional law and complex institutional employment-discrimination cases.
Scott joined us on November 1 as our Interim Pastor and was unanimously selected by the Pastor Nominating Committee as nominee for our Pastor/Head of Staff position. Rev. Scott's candidacy and terms of call was voted on at a Congregational Meeting on August 23, 2020, and we are thrilled to call Rev. Scott Clark our newly installed Pastor.
Daniel Canosa, Director of Music
We are fortunate to have the talented Daniel Canosa as Musical Director. He has led orchestras in his native Argentina, Europe, and the United States, and is a master of choral and orchestral conducting and composition. He uplifts us with an extensive repertoire of symphonic and choral masterworks from all periods.
Natsuko Murayama, Organist
Natsuko fills the room on Sunday mornings with her skillful playing on both the organ and piano. She holds a Master of Music in Organ Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has studied organ literature and music theory at Westminster Choir College at Princeton. She also holds a B.A. in Music Education from Kunitachi College of Music in Japan. She has been married to Hitoshi Murayama a physicist and professor at UC Berekley for 30 years, and they have three children. She also accompanies the San Francisco Boys Chorus.
Laurie Buntain, Church Accountant
Our Wall Street refugee has been a part of this church community for more than 20 years. As an elder having served on our finance and personnel committees, she deeply understands how our church functions. She now serves as our church accountant. After leaving her job as a portfolio manager, she earned her Master’s degree from Dominican University in Counseling & Psychology, and maintains a private practice focused on the psychology of money.
Martha Spears, Director of Older Adult Ministries
Martha will tell you that her job title is just a fancy way of saying that she gets to play with her friends. She’s been leading our wisest members on outings and activities for a dozen years. She and her husband, and their two daughters, have been members of this church since 1993.
Patrick O'Connor, Director of Family Ministries
Patrick is thrilled to be working with students and their families here at First Presbyterian San Anselmo. Pursuing a Masters of Divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary, his undergraduate work was in early childhood and elementary education at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. A curious learner himself, he enjoys facilitating students to experience God in fun and creative ways.
Tom Lannert, Custodian
Tom has fixed almost everything in this church for over 20 years. A retired carpenter/foreman, he has refurbished our Duncan Hall kitchen, installed new cabling and lighting, repaired leaking roofs, designed and built storage solutions, and countless other projects. He is married, with 2 sons and 4 grandchildren, and is currently volunteering to build the Matthew Turner tall ship in Sausalito.
Our roots go back more than 100 years, beginning with a small worshiping community of San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS).
When Montgomery Chapel was constructed in 1897 on the corner of Bolinas Avenue and Richmond Road, this community incorporated itself into a formal congregation with the name “Seminary Presbyterian Church.”
The name was changed to First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo in 1907 when the town of San Anselmo incorporated. Even though our church has since been a separate entity from the Seminary, we have maintained a close association through the years.
Montgomery Chapel, first home of the Seminary Presbyterian Church.
The frame of the current church building during construction in 1957.
Our history includes dramatic events that have helped shape who we are today.
These include a 1909-1911 heresy trial about biblical modernism, membership loss over the Angela Davis Defense Fund in the early ‘70s, and a walkout during a sermon on Central America in 1985.
We have also experienced a gradual unfolding, from decade to decade, of congregational patterns of worship and education, mission and service, fellowship and nurture.
If you want to know how we moved from condemning “Demon Rum” to savoring the wine of our members’ vineyards; why we worship the way we do; how we obtained two of the best organs in northern California; how we became an inclusive church; how children and youth became a central focus of our congregational life; or who our pastors have been for the past century, ask the church office for a copy of Our Past: A Window to the Future.
Adapted from “Congregational History: A Past for the Future,” by Walter Davis and Chandler Stokes, The Presbyterian Outlook, September 7, 1998, p. 15.