Meet Our Staff

Rev. Jonathan has been an ordained minister since 1981. He is also a clinical psychologist. His search for meaning led to studies with Viktor Frankl. Jonathan's books and articles focus on personal mythology and the inner journey. As a professor, he has taught psychology and religious studies in graduate programs. He is seen on the History Channel as a commentator on mythology in several documentary series. He assisted Joseph Campbell at seminars and served as the founding curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives. More recently, he has been teaching continuing education for psychotherapists, including spiritual issues in therapy. Jonathan is a lover of poetry and theater and says he finds soul by hanging out with cats and dancing. As a seeker of wonder, it is my bliss to serve as minister for this amazing tribe. Inspiration is where you find it. My idea of a cathedral is hiking in the redwoods. Meaning can be found in the vastness of the cosmos, a child’s smile, or a caring congregation, like Live Oak.

In addition to being a vital part of Live Oak's music ministry as vocal soloist and choir member, Janet serves as a volunteer bookkeeper for our congregation, giving generously her time, talent, and treasure. Those are side gigs to her full-time career at the Santa Barbara Foundation where she is the Senior Director of Finance. As much there as at Live Oak, Janet is energized by working in collaboration with others to achieve shared goals and improve operating efficiency. Abundantly experienced and capable, Janet is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of Washington. She counts Live Oak as her spiritual community, and has been an active, cherished member of this congregation for years. One of her favorite quotes:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. ... Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

Melanie is winding down her 35-year career as a high school history teacher. Teaching just one class enables her to take on this part-time position as administrative coordinator at Live Oak, her spiritual home for three decades.  She grew up in San Diego with a agnostic father, who attended the Church of Sunday NFL, a sporty form of televangelism that at times got him up on his feet, shouting God's name at the whistle-blowing deacons in black and white with such intensity that the family was convinced he was touched. In retirement, Melanie's parents turned to a far less pentecostal group - Summit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship - for whom the question was more important than the answer. They encouraged Melanie to visit a UU congregation when she moved to Santa Barbara in 1993, saying she'd find her people there. She obeyed, and has praised her parents' wisdom ever since. Melanie is ever grateful to have sunk roots into this congregation, which has held her through changes, joys, and sorrows. This administrative role only deepens her belief in community and the expansiveness of our care for each other and Live Oak's future. 

Kevin began working as a professional pianist at 17, playing at restaurants and hotels in Ventura. A few years later he performed on cruise ships and, in 1990, moved to New York City. For nearly 20 years Kevin played at many of Manhattan’s best-known hotels, clubs and restaurants and worked in musical theater as rehearsal pianist for various shows. While visiting his parents in Oxnard, Kevin met his future wife, Lisa. In 2009 he moved back to California, and he and Lisa settled in Carpinteria. Kevin enjoys cooking, making up his own recipes, and working with Lisa in their garden. For the last few years, Kevin has been a substitute or interim pianist for various congregations; he's found that places of worship call upon multiple areas of his skill set and are a rewarding environment to work in. Because Kevin has worked with singers in a variety of settings - from a small Baptist choir to student musicals - he leads our choir with a reassuring mix of competence and patience on Thursday evenings from 6:30-7:45 pm. He gets kudos for his versatility, professionalism, ease to work with and his kindness - all of which he brings to bear in his music ministry here at Live Oak UU Congregation, where he uses his musicality and creative programming to enhance our services.