Our Staff

Rev. Dr. David Bahr

Rev. Dr. David Bahr

Pastor

(he/him)

david.bahr@missionhillsucc.org

I’m a farm boy from North Dakota and value my roots, but I love living in cities – Minneapolis, Washington, DC, Cleveland for 17 years, Denver for 14 years, and San Diego since October 2021.

I love being a pastor – starting from my first pastorate during college in South Dakota at age 20. I’ve been preaching almost every Sunday ever since. I received my degrees at Dakota Wesleyan University, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and earned my Doctor of Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary. My research resulted in a study entitled Open Gay and Lesbian Pastors Called by Predominantly Straight UCC Congregations. I also studied in a program focused on the intersections of theology and public policy. I worked on a range of social justice issues with the Office for Church in Society in DC and Hunger Action in Cleveland. Hunger ministry has a been vital part of my life, including annual stints in the church steeple in Cleveland. I was a 24-hour “hostage” for 14 years to collect food and raise money for our hunger center. That’s how I met my husband Art in 2001. He was a reporter for a local TV station, interviewing me following 24 hours in a cold wet open-air steeple. We married in 2007.

When we moved to Colorado, we discovered a passion for hiking and snowshoeing. I tried cross-country skiing but couldn’t stay upright long enough to enjoy it! I’ve climbed two 14,000 foot mountains and am now discovering new trails in California.

Travel is another passion. If I couldn’t be a pastor, I’d love to be a travel writer/blogger/photographer. I’ve been in 25 countries and 49 states (fingers crossed: Hawaii one day). Travelling is spiritual to me. I got my first taste of international travel when I was 17 as part of a US/Canadian choral group touring Europe (where I had my appendix out in Paris!). Then a mission trip to Haiti, college exchange to Japan… I couldn’t stop! I have a special affinity for Southeast Asia where I have spent time in nearly every country.

If you would like to get together for coffee, I’d love to hear your story too.

Rev. Courtney Mys

Rev. Courtney Mys

Minister of Visitation

(she/her)

Rev. Courtney Mys, M.Div., BCC, is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) with the Association of Professional Chaplains. She is a graduate of Hope College with Bachelor Degrees in Geology and Religion and an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary. Specializing in chaplaincy after experiencing her own healing event, she completed two Clinical Pastoral Education residencies through UCLA and UVa Medical Centers, specializing in oncology and pediatrics respectively.

Returning to California in 2015 after serving as an Interim & Supply Pastor for St. John’s United Church of Christ in Chambersburg, PA and a Staff Chaplain for Delaware Hospice, she holds her standing in Mission Hills UCC. Rev. Mys is certified in Interim Ministry through the Interim Ministry Network, Palliative Care from the Institute for Palliative Care, and Critical Incident Stress Management through the ICISF. As a Staff Chaplain for Sharp Grossmont Hospital, she enjoys working in healthcare to support patients, families, and staff in some of the most difficult times in someone’s life.

Aside from pastoral responsibilities, Courtney enjoys beach bonfires, interior design, kayaking, traveling, meditation, and a good mystery. One of her favorite goals was visiting all 50 United States before turning 50 years old.

Elizabeth Quiñones

Elizabeth Quiñones

Administrative Assistant

(she/her)

elizabeth.quinones@missionhillsucc.org

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!

Kristopher Abels

Kristopher Abels

Director of Instrumental Music

(he/him)

kjabels@gmail.com

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, and worked for several years as a freelance/substitute organist.

When not playing the organ, he works full time as a computer network engineer.

Danielle Carlin

Danielle Carlin

Youth Leader

(she/her)

Danielle Carlin is a mother and nature lover. She is a native of The Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California and has been living in San Diego since 2011. Danielle began attending the United Church of Christ as a teenager and knew immediately that she had found the inclusive church home she’d been seeking. She has been a member of MHUCC since 2016 and is grateful to be able to provide her children with a church family that teaches them to love all God’s people, just as they are, and that they themselves are worthy of love, just as they are.

Danielle is passionate about enabling youth to use their voices and facilitating their playing an active role in the formation of their faith through meaningful discussion, service, and fun fellowship.

Danielle is a credentialed high school teacher. She began by teaching 10th grade English and was lead teacher for her high school’s Independent Studies program, where she worked with teens who were struggling to graduate high school. She also held the position of advisor for Allies for All, a fully inclusive student club striving for social justice.

In 2020, Danielle began working as Youth Leader at MHUCC. She loves this role as it allows her to work with the youth she finds so inspiring while affording her time to focus on her growing family.

Angelica Eclar

Angelica Eclar

Director of Vocal Music

(she/her)

Saige Afalava

Saige Afalava

Multimedia Coordinator

(she/her)

Beth Purcell

Beth Purcell

Social Media Coordinator

(she/her)

Toni-Jean Rushing

Toni-Jean Rushing

Bookkeeper

(she/her)

Carlos Wilson

Carlos Wilson

Sexton

(he/him)

Amelia Norkowski

Amelia Norkowski

Nursery Attendant

(she/her)

Gloria Schacht

Gloria Schacht

Nursery Attendant

(she/her)