Reverend Jean Jeffress, MDiv, Minister of Faith Formation and Outreach, is a lifelong Bay Area resident. She has been a Member-in-Discernment with the Northern California Nevada Conference (NCNC) since 2015 and was ordained in November 2020. Jean earned a Bachelor in Science, focusing on Kinesiology, from San Francisco State University and received a Master of Divinity from American Baptist Seminary of West at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. Jean has served as a licensed pastor in Oakland, a bridge pastor in Los Gatos, has preached in congregations all throughout the NCNC, and has served as a leader, organizer and preacher at First Congregational Church of Oakland, a lay-led congregation.
Jean has essays published in the “Expositor & Review,” devotionals published in Resipiscence: A Lenten Devotional to Dismantle White Supremacy, and is a regular contributor to THE WORD IS RESISTANCE PODCAST, a project of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Faith. She believes in the creative power of words through both preaching and song that communicate the radical love of Jesus, compel justice seeking, and bring about personal and communal transformation. Jean is a musician, a singer, loves to cook, learn about history, work in the garden, make things out of wood, go hiking in the Oakland hills, and finds inspiration in speculative fiction and the movement of God’s people in the form of protest and social change. Jean lives in Oakland with her partner Carol, their roommate, Nichola, and her cat Baby Boy.
Fred Cummins has been Foothills’ Choir Director since 2001 and organist since 1983, He served as children’s music director from 1972 until 1981. He accompanies the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus and has sung in the San Francisco Choral Artists and San Francisco Bach Choir. Fred holds a Masters in music education and a Bachelors in music from Stanford, where he sang in the Early Music Singers, Memorial Church Choir and Mendicants (which he directed for 2 years). He has also studied voice with Marie Gibson and organ with University Organist Robert Nanney. Fred was the first professional director of the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View.
Gretchen Rauch joined Foothills as its Handbell Choir Director in early 2019. She has a long and impressive history of ringing with several handbell ensembles in California. A mallet percussionist since 4th grade, Gretchen began her path to professional handbell performing in 1990 and since has served on the Board of Directors for Area 12 of the Handbell Musicians of America and as a past president of Handbell Ventures. She has performed with Bronzewood Paedeia in a Northern California concert tour, toured in Italy with Handbell Ventures, and rung all over the U.S. and Japan with Sonos. A Palo Alto resident with her husband and Airedale, she works at and volunteers with Grace Lutheran Church, the latter especially with its summer Christian Music Theatre.
Kristin Burns is our Children’s Music Director. Kristin grew up within the Foothills church community, participating in Sunday School as a child. In 1982 she began leading singing in the Children’s Program and has directed the Elementary Choir since it was established in 2007. Kristin is a classically-trained pianist who regularly accompanies our adult choir and substitutes for our organist when he is away.
Molly McDonough is our Interim Children’s and Youth Program Director. Molly grew up at Foothills Church, participating in our Sunday morning Children’s Program and Youth program. After graduating from Santa Clara University and then Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, she taught in Palo Alto for ten years. Since leaving the classroom, Molly has been a support teacher and tutor and now writes children’s books. Molly’s family recently moved back to the area, and she is excited to be part of the Foothills community again in this new role.
Teresa Garcia is our treasured Sexton. In her years with us she has shown herself to take great pride in keeping our facilities sparkling clean and welcoming to all who use them – church members as well as outside groups. We so appreciate her happy attitude, high standards and from-the-heart diligence and commitment. A mother of three children, she is even helping a few of us learn Spanish as we share some English with her.
Veronica Nourse is our Church Administrator. Veronica grew up in the Bay Area and started her career in high tech in Silicon Valley as an Administrator and Office Manager. Later in her career she decided to return to college to work on an art degree. She put that degree to good use teaching art to children in schools and after-school programs for many years. Then she returned to the office because she missed working in the business world. In her free time Veronica writes books, does art, works in her garden, makes jewelry and soap, and cooks for her family and friends.