Our Staff

Rev. Dr. Scott Landis

Rev. Dr. Scott Landis

Pastor

Rev. Dr. Scott Landis began his ministry at Mission Hills United Church of Christ in November 2004. Previously he served as Associate Pastor of the New Goshenhoppen United Church of Christ in East Greenville, PA, as Chaplain and Executive Associate to the President of Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA, and Senior Minister of First Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Denver, CO. A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, Scott took his M.Div. degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and was ordained by the North Penn Association of the PA Southeast Conference in June 1980. He later took a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA and a Doctorate in Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. More recently Scott has studied at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C. focusing on contemplative practices in leadership and worship.

Aside from his pastoral responsibilities, Scott enjoys reading, swimming and a daily practice of yoga. A father of three grown children, Scott is married to Randy Spicocchi.

Santina Poor

Santina Poor

Minister of Christian Education

Originally hired in 2002 as Director of Christian Education, Santina Poor transitioned to Minister of Christian Education after completing a Certificate of Ministry Studies from Pacific School of Religion and satisfying the requirements for Commissioned Ministry with the United Church of Christ in 2009. Santina is also a Licensed Minister in the United Church of Christ.

As Minister of Christian Education at MHUCC, Santina is responsible for planning and implementing the church’s education programs for children, youth, and adult learners. Santina is passionate about helping MHUCC be a place where families of one and families of many feel welcome and affirmed and find a place where they will learn and grow on their faith journeys. She loves her ministry here at the church and enjoys finding ways to integrate the community and the church.

Santina earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from California State University Fullerton and her Master of Arts in Education Administration from Chapman University. She graduated in 2016 from Fuller Theological Seminary with her Master of Divinity degree. She is currently a Member in Discernment for ordination in the Southern Association of the Southern California Nevada Conference of the UCC.

Santina is married to Bob and together they have three sons: Lewis, Charley, and MJ. The Poor family completely understands the expression, “It takes a village,” as they have been the grateful recipients of so much love and support from the MHUCC village.

Elizabeth Quiñones

Elizabeth Quiñones

Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth began working at Mission Hills UCC in 2015. Before that, she worked as program manager for The Tomorrow Project, a job-readiness program for homeless women within Catholic Charities. Elizabeth has a wide range of skills, isn’t afraid of new technology, and is enjoying getting to know our congregation. Her goal is to make every person feel welcome!

Jeremy Bloom

Jeremy Bloom

Senior High Youth Leader

Jeremy first joined a UCC church in 2009 and was inspired by the UCC’s ability to merge the sacred past with a radical & welcoming present. Moving to San Diego with his partner Robert in 2015, he was happy to find an Open & Affirming UCC church walking distance from his home. Jeremy first led the MHUCC youth group during the summer of 2015 and is happy to return to the post. Through cleaning the beaches of San Diego, leading forums on Trans* issues, and feeding the homeless at soup kitchens, Jeremy has been able to share his passion of progressive theology with the youth of the Church. Outside of church, Jeremy works at the San Diego affiliate of the ACLU and volunteers frequently with the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He received his B.A. in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Mary Washington In Fredericksburg, VA. At his leisure, you can find Jeremy with a good book in hand or searching for the best place to eat in San Diego. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Lauren Wong

Lauren Wong

Junior High Youth Leader

Lauren is new to San Diego and is excited to bring her passion for youth ministry here to Mission Hills UCC. As a California native she is happy to be near the ocean again, but she enjoyed her time adventuring in the mountains of Washington and Colorado. Her love of outdoors and education found a perfect match through summer camps and leading adventures throughout Southern California. She is very excited to start working with a faith community that values social justice and self-reflection. Lauren received her Bachelor’s from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA in feminist economics and has a background working in ministry with the Methodist Church! As a Sierra Service Project vet she is super stoked about getting to go on trips with the youth and be in humble service together!

Max Chodos

Max Chodos

Director of Music

Native San Diegan, Max Chodos is a well-known Soloist and Choral Director, having performed as soloist with San Diego Opera, San Diego Symphony, Burbank Symphony, La Jolla Symphony, Starlight Opera, San Diego Comic Opera, Lawrence Welk Resort and many others. Max is currently the Music Director at Mission Hills United Church of Christ, and Directs the Men’s Early Music ensemble, Schola Pacifica. Max is also a Harpist.

Kristopher Abels

Kristopher Abels

Organist

Kris was raised in central Illinois, and after living in Chicago for several years moved to San Diego. He studied organ under Dr. Lorraine Brugh, Dr. Sally Cherrington-Beggs, Dr. David Christiansen, and Dr. Alison Luedecke. He held organist positions at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Addison, Illinois; Bethel Lutheran in Palatine, Illinois; and Our Saviour’s Lutheran in Arlington Heights, Illinois. After working for several years as a freelance/substitute organist, he is excited about joining the staff at Mission Hills UCC. When not playing the organ, he works full time as a computer network engineer.