Meet Our Ministers
Our Minister, Rev. Greg Ward
Rev. Greg Ward (he / him / his) joined Mission Peak UU as it’s settled minister in September, 2020. He is a cradle Unitarian Universalist, raised in the Neighborhood Church of Pasadena. Growing up as the middle child of a divorced household from a racially and economically diverse neighborhood in East Los Angeles, it sometimes felt to him like love, positive role models and good attention weren’t something he could count on. Non-profit communities such as Parks and Rec., YMCA, Indian Guides, Cub Scouts and organized baseball sports helped. But it was his church that, he said, ‘saved his life.’
‘My church was the community that showed up and loved me,’ he says. ‘They helped me learn how to love myself when my family experienced crisis and the love I needed wasn’t always consistent. They showed up, remembered my name, showed me hope and kept it alive. They taught me to ‘love beyond limits’ and showed me how service leads to the powerful, transformative love we need to know is possible.’
Greg had a eclectic range of professional ambitions on his way to ministry. He was a cook, waiter, tutor, baseball player, aerobics instructor, dancer and clown while eventually earning his BS in Biochem / Biophysics from UC San Diego. He worked as a pharmaceutical engineer hoping to understand how the world and the human body works before focusing on understanding how people worked. He eventually discovered his true calling working with relational, social and organizational systems. He received his Masters of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and got excellent parish training from First UU Toronto and chaplaincy training with a residency at Toronto General Hospital.
Greg has chosen Mission Peak to settle down and devote his ministry after 25 years of experience in congregations large and small specializing in organizational and family systems, worship and justice.
In addition to his professional posts, Rev. Greg served as chair of the UU Minister’s Association’s CENTER committee chair helping to reorganize our denomination’s Ministerial Continuing Education programs. He has taught worship in UU Leadership School and now serves as a member of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the credentialing body for new UU Ministers.
His spiritual practices include Vipassana meditation, storytelling, exercise and multicultural travel. He is married to Lucy Ruszel, a teacher in one of the most multicultural school districts in the nation. They both report to their amazing rescue dog, Molly.
Our Community Minister, Rev. Barbara Meyers
Rev. Barbara F. Meyers is a Community Minister with Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. A member of our church since its founding in 1994, she earned a Masters in Divinity in 2004 from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley and returned to Fremont to launch a community ministry specializing in mental health.
Her entry into ministry marked a career change after working as a computer software engineer at IBM for 25 years. She holds a BA in Mathematics, an MS in Computer Science and a PhD in Computer Science, all from UCLA, and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Chapaincy Institute in Berkeley.
Our Minister Emeritus, Rev. Chris Schriner
Rev. Chris Schriner is Minister Emeritus of Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. He graduated from the University of Redlands, majoring in religion, philosophy, and psychology. He received a Doctorate in Religion from Claremont School of Theology and an MS in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from the University of LaVerne. His honors thesis at Redlands examined the ethical thought of theologian Paul Tillich. His dissertation at Claremont dealt with nuclear weapons policy.
In addition to ministry, Dr. Schriner worked for 20 years as a psychotherapist and he has led personal growth workshops throughout his career. He has also written six books, including Feel Better Now: 30 Ways to Handle Frustration in 3 Minutes or Less; Your Living Mind: The Mystery of Consciousness and Why It Matters to You; Do Think Twice: Provocative Reflections on Age-Old Questions; and Bridging the God Gap: Finding Common Ground Among Believers, Atheists and Agnostics.
Dr. Schriner has also studied comparative religion, neuroscience, philosophy of mind, and various spiritual disciplines. He lives in Fremont, California with his wife Jo Ann.