St. Cuthbert's Clergy, Staff, & Lay Leadership
Rev. Izabella (Bella) Sempari
Reverend Izabella was born and raised in St. Paul, MN and is a "second career" priest. She worked for many years as a Public Safety Communications professional in Minnesota.
Rev. Izabella moved with her wife, The Rev. Marianna Sempari, to the Berkeley, CA in 2012 to continue her education and earned her Master of Divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in 2015. Rev. Izabella has served as chaplain with the Gubbio Project in San Francisco, interned at two East Bay churches, and completed a year-long chaplain residency
at UCSF Hospitals in San Francisco.
It is believed that Rev. Izabella is the first out and openly transgender woman to be ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. She was ordained by Bishop Marc Andrus in the Diocese of California at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco on December 2, 2017.
After ordination, Rev. Sempari served at St. James/Santiago Episcopal Church in Oakland. She became Vicar of St. Cuthbert's in August of 2018.
Director of Music
Cole Stanford was born in San Francisco in 1994 and grew up in the East Bay Area. He fell in love with music at a young age--as a child, he liked to pick out tunes from his favorite movies on his electronic keyboard. Cole studied piano privately throughout high school and earned an MTAC Certificate of Merit Award during his senior year. In addition to his piano studies, Cole discovered his gift for singing and now studies classical voice with a well-known Bay Area teacher. His musical and academic interests eventually led him to attend UC Berkeley, graduating in 2017 with a degree in Music and a minor in English. Cole currently works as a professional tenor, choir accompanist and gigging musician; eventually, he plans to attend graduate school to further his vocal training.
Shivaun Van Straatum
Bookkeeper & Administrator
Shivaun has been a member of St. Cuthbert's staff and community since 2002. She has been happily married for 33 years to her husband Glenn, who is the Director of Coaching for East Bay Untied Soccer Club. Together they raised their three wonderful children, Paul, Sean and Nicole in Oakland, and are so proud of them. They currently share their home with Shivaun's brother, Michael, who had a stroke 7 years ago, leaving him disabled, and their crazy, but adorable dog Stewie. Shivaun is a BIG fan of music festivals, the Opera and Cal Shakes. She enjoys hiking the beautiful Oakland hills and traveling the world every chance she gets.
Shivaun grew up in San Diego in a tight-knit Irish family, she is the third oldest of seven children. She attended San Francisco City College where she studied Business Administration. Before coming to work at St. Cuthbert’s, she worked as an office manger for a successful San Francisco law firm. In addition to her position at St. Cuthbert's, she is the office manager for an HR and Compensation practice in Lafayette and a bookkeeper/manager for a family-owned property company in Tiburon.
Don is the current junior warden at St. Cuthbert's, which is a position equivalent to that of Vice President on most boards or councils. (He is a lay volunteer, not a paid staff member.) He oversees all aspects of the church's buildings and grounds, working with the sexton and others who provide professional cleaning and yard services.
Don has been at St. Cuthbert’s since 2002, and has been junior warden before in the past. He and his husband Bill Baillie and fellow parishioner Roberta Hutchison painted the inside of the church years ago. He has helped with many parish events, including yard sales, the annual Caribbean Festival, and fundraisers like the crab feed.
In 2012 he began hosting the annual Spaghetti Feed/Drag Show at St. Cuthbert’s, which he hosts under the name of “Mama Portugal.” The event is a fundraiser for the Royal Grand Ducal Council of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties’ charity fund and has been warmly embraced by all of our communities.
Tom Burt is the sexton at St. Cuthbert's, a position responsible for caring for the church building and grounds. Much of the physical labor for cleaning and yard work is hired out by the church, but Tom is the go-to person for any of the day-to-day maintenance of the grounds. He is a major source of institutional memory about the building, and he and his wife Kathy, who are both faithful members of St. Cuthbert's, set up for classes and activities in the church and parish hall and oversee our recycling program.
The Rev. John Rawlinson
John is a retired priest who attends St. Cuthbert's and assists with liturgy, education, and preaching.
John retired after 38 years as the pastor of a small bi-lingual multi-cultural parish in Oakland, CA, where he initiated both Korean and Latino ministries. In pastoral contact with immigrants with traumatic histories, he developed a working knowledge of PTSD. He also learned about cultural analysis and adaptation.
Having a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union, he taught in the School for Deacons, and the Academia Teológica Latina of the Diocese of California. For 15 years he supervised seminary field education students. For 20 years he was the Archivist of the Diocese of California.
In addition to pastoral and academic pursuits, he was active in Diocesan planning, Latino ministry, anti-racism, liturgical, and youth ministry programs.
Clerk of the B.C.
Milene is the clerk of the Bishop's Committee. (She is a lay volunteer, not a paid staff member.) She is not a member of the B.C., but attends the B.C. meetings to take the minutes and prepares the agenda for the meetings ahead of time. She also manages the church's Facebook page.
St. Cuthbert's is a mission congregation of the Diocese of California. Its governing board is called a Bishop's Committee (B.C.). The Bishop of California, Marc Andrus, is the Rector of all mission congregations, although he delegates authority to the priest (vicar) and B.C. for the day-to-day management of the congregation.
The B.C. meets every fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the parish hall to conduct the business of the church. The leadership officers of the B.C. are the Bishop's (Senior) Warden and Junior Warden. These are roughly equivalent to the positions of "president" and "vice president" on a secular governing board.