Meet Our Staff

Tmara

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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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 served as one of the rotating pianists playing for Sunday morning services from 2008 to 2014, and has been music and choir director since 2014. 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 pianist, 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. He won SB Independent Weekly Magazine “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 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 composed and performed the music for a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing with the UCSB theatre program in 2016, and for a production of Brecht’s The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui at Westmont College in 2017.

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 was a substitute teacher for Goleta and Santa Barbara secondary schools and directed the jazz big bands at Goleta Valley Junior High School from 2004 to 2017. He taught music in local elementary schools 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. John was recognized as a “local hero” by the SB Independent in 2017.

A long-time activist for social justice and peace, John participates in actions with the Live Oak UU Congregation social justice committee, the Santa Barbara chapters of Democratic Socialists of America, Healthcare-for-All Calif., Truth in Recruitment, the MLK Committee and other organizations.

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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.