Meet Our Staff

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Rev. Tamara Casanova Suzuki

Minister
E-mail Rev. Tamara Casanova Suzuki

The Reverend Tamara Casanova Suzuki was called to Live Oak UU Congregation and began her ministry with us in August 2014. She says ” We come together as a Unitarian Universalist congregation because we know that we are stronger together. Here is a place where the worth of each person is honored while the good of the whole is nurtured. Something unique, amazing, and life-giving happens when we gather together. Here is place of love, and justice, and hope.”

Rev. Tamara graduated with her Masters of Divinity degree, summa cum laude, from Claremont School of Theology in May, 2011 and was ordained by the Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair, CA in June, 2012.

She also has a Masters degree in International Relations from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She studied abroad at the University of Lund, Sweden, and speaks fluent Swedish.

Rev. Tamara identifies as an atheist and spiritual humanist, and states that the beginning of her spiritual journey was in the Girl Scouts!

Before beginning as the settled minister of Live Oak, Rev. Tamara served for two years as the Acting Associate Minister of Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. She has also served as a chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, CA and as a chaplain at the University Interfaith Center at California State University, Long Beach.

Rev. Tamara comes to Live Oak with a strong background in teaching and education having served as a religious educator for 10 years. She was a founding member of the current Pacific Southwest District (PSWD) Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Chapter serving for four years as its president, and enjoys serving as chaplain in our district youth camps at DeBenneville Pines.

Rev. Tamara has served on several interfaith committees and councils including the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion at the Claremont School of Theology. She enjoys spending time with her family, organic gardening, sudoku, camping, reading and beachcombing.

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Lora Barnett

Ministerial Student Intern
E-mail Lora Barnett

Lora Barnett is a Candidate for ministry with the UUA and is in her final year of studies at Iliff School of Theology.  She has been a resident of the Santa Barbara area for much of the last 20 years and enjoys taking her two children (Sydney and Ethan) to the beach and back country hiking.  Lora has a background in non-profit management both in development and leadership roles and a strong commitment to social justice in the areas of climate change, racial and gender justice issues.  In her spare time, Lora enjoys cooking, writing essays and reading trashy fiction novels.  She is on track to complete her studies in June 2017.

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Steven Lovelace

Director of Religious Exploration

Steven Lovelace started his performing arts career in 1980 and has danced and acted professionally. He founded Santa Barbara Dance Arts in 1997 and cofounded Stage Left Productions in 2001. He has also created for and directed the Summer Solstice parade, toured Latin America and Europe with the various dance and theatre companies he has worked with over the years. 

Steven has been teaching about 35 years of this career, and started his job at Peabody Charter School in 2013, where he still works in the morning.  Steven cherishes his career and it has been vastly influenced by his work with children who are drawn to the creative arts. He is excited to add RE to his teaching experience, as spirituality has been a drive and sustaining force in his life for many years. He believes performing arts and RE are very compatible as they ask each individual to look deeper into oneself, which will ultimately help our young people to make sense of the world and foster a strong sense of self and identity. 

Steven has “dabbled” in Unitarian Universalism for years but became a member in 2013. Since his membership, he has been a mentor in the Coming of Age program and is a Worship Associate. In Feb 2017, he has added DRE to his incredible UU color palette and is thrilled to be at Live Oak.

John Douglas

John Enrico Douglas

Music Director
E-mail John Enrico Douglas

 John Enrico Douglas and the younger two of his four children, John-Paul and Fernanda, have been members of the Live Oak UU congregation since 2008. John has been one of the rotating pianists playing for Sunday morning services since then. He is a pianist, songwriter, composer and arranger whose discography extends back to 1975, and whose performing credits include tours with the Pointer Sisters (1983), Donald O’Connor and Eddie Fisher (1979-81), and performances with Dizzy Gillespie (1978) and Aretha Franklin (2005).

Since 2005, John has served as musical director and orchestra conductor for over a hundred Broadway musicals and revues with Santa Barbara junior high and high schools, colleges, and community and professional theatre companies. In the past few years he won SB Independent “Indy” awards for musical direction for shows at the Rubicon Theater, Ventura and with Out of the Box Theater Company at Center Stage Theater, Santa Barbara. John composed the music and songs for two musical plays at Santa Barbara High School in 2008 and 2009, and from 2007 to 2012 he was musical director-songwriter-composer for six original musicals produced by City at Peace, a theatre program for at-risk teenagers, at Center Stage Theater.

John has been on adjunct faculty, directing jazz ensembles and teaching jazz piano, at Westmont College since 2006. He has accompanied voice classes at Santa Barbara City College since 2008, and joined the adjunct faculty there in 2013. He has been a substitute teacher for Goleta and Santa Barbara schools and has directed the jazz big bands at Goleta Valley Junior High School since 2004. He served as music teacher in local elementary school from 2005-10.

Since 2004, John has accompanied choirs at Dos Pueblos High School, SBCC, SBCC adult ed, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Light of Christ Baptist Church and 2nd Baptist Church. Although he has worked as a professional musician continuously since 1970 while still in high school, previous careers have also included moving furniture, driving cab, record industry promotion and marketing, and 12 years as a trial lawyer in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office.

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Clacey Kahn

Office Administrator
E-mail Clacey Kahn

Clacey Kahn is the Office Administrator at Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Clacey has a background in business management, small business growth and office administration. Clacey is also an active school volunteer who enjoys participating in her children’s school activities and education. Clacey grew up in the Santa Barbara area and is currently residing in Goleta with her two sons. Having spent many years away from Santa Barbara, Clacey is enjoying being back home and spending time with her family and friends.