St. Paul Lutheran Church

Oakland, CA



The Reverend Christopher Berry recently joined the staff of St. Paul Lutheran Church as the Intentional Interim Pastor. He comes to St. Paul from Trinity Lutheran Church in Pleasanton, CA where he served as the Intentional Interim Pastor. He previously served as the Lutheran Campus Pastor at Western Washington University for 21 years, where he also served as the Director of the Shalom Center, an interfaith religious center at Western.  His doctoral work was in Ancient Semitic Languages at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago where he specialized in Ancient Syriac, Aramaic, Ugarit and Hebrew.  He has also been named as a visiting scholar, visiting professor or fellow at various universities and research centers throughout the world, including Hebrew University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, University of Nice, University of Ontario, and the Smithsonian Institute and Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Pr. Berry is a linguist and philologist who has worked on the translations of many extra-canonical texts along with working with a team of international scholars who are charged with establishing the historical setting and significance of each of these texts to the early Christian community and the world.

His previous work has included translations of Genesis 1-11 with an emphasis on the creation narratives.  He has done extensive research and lecturing on the topic of the misuse of sacred texts to perpetuate sexism in Western society. His translations and commentary on sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity as they purportedly relate to same-gender relationships are used all over the world by those who support inclusivity in the church. Since 2002 he has served in various capacities in working to end violence among young people as a senior fellow and lead instructor for various institutions such as the Pacific Violence Prevention Institute. His work, along with others, has been instrumental in working to end bullying and harassment among young people.  This work has been nation-wide in its scope and is the basis of many non-profits in their working with young people.  He also has been a tireless advocate and trainer in diversity training, boundaries workshops and conflict resolution work in church groups, classrooms and businesses.

Chris is an avid photographer.  His current passion combines his work in linguistics with his love of backpacking and photography as he and two other scholars explore links between Ancestral Puebloans in the Southwestern United States and civilizations in the Ancient Near East.  He loves to fish, especially with his four sons.  He is an accomplished fly fishing rod builder.  For over twenty- five years he has been a soccer referee, referee instructor and referee assessor.  He has also been a mentor to countless soccer officials all over the country. He is a voracious reader of many different types of literature ranging from Ancient Near Eastern texts to suspense novels.  He is rarely caught anywhere without his current books or Kindle in his hand or in his briefcase.



Pastor Craig Minich (PC) lives in the West Bay with his partner Bruce. Craig is originally from Tampa, FL and took a BA in Literature & Philosophy at Lenior-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, an MA in Ethics from the Graduate Theological Union, and a M.Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (the latter two in Berkeley, CA). Pr. Craig is Adult Chair fo the Sierra Pacifice Synod Youth Committee (SPSYC) which is a youth-led group of Lutheran high school leaders from our large synod who lead age appropriate youth retreats. Pr. Craig loves snowboarding, playing vintage video games, going to rock concerts, and shares his passion for justice and sharing God's grace as a Gift!



Rev. Ned O’Donnell is our pastor called to serve the East Bay Lutheran Parish’s Lutheran Ministry to Nursing Homes. Rev. O’Donnell received his Master of Divinity degree from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and was ordained in 1993. He comes with a breadth and depth of experience, serving in both suburban and urban parish settings and also bringing to this ministry a background in Clinical Pastoral Education supervisory training. Over the last ten years, Pastor Ned has served as a Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Services Manager.

In the diverse settings of the nursing homes of the Lutheran Ministry to Nursing Homes, Pastor Ned brings his passion to serve as an advocate to those in need, his experience in providing spiritual care to those who suffer, and his skills as a volunteer coordinator. In working with hospital spiritual volunteers, he facilitated the creation of a community that provided ongoing education and mutual support of the volunteers serving that ministry.

As a theologian, Rev. O’Donnell views himself as a progressive Lutheran who is respectful of other people’s experience of the Divine, while remaining grounded in the knowledge of the God who has called him through ordination to serve in the name of Christ. This has enabled him to be present as a Christian leader in a variety of ecumenical settings and ministries. Pastor Ned understands that Lutherans have a unique way of understanding God’s grace-filled and merciful work in the world. He has been profoundly touched by Christ’s promise to always be with us, even through the worst of times, and by the privilege of ministering to others during those moments.

On a personal note, Pastor Ned grew up in New York and New Jersey. He was confirmed, married and his son, Keith, was baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Edison, NJ. He is a graduate of Upsala College in NJ. After a divorce when his son was 18 months old, Pastor Ned became a single parent.  Keith is now grown, married to Michelle and living in NJ. Rev. O’Donnell moved to San Francisco in 1995.  He loves spending time with family and friends.  He also is an avid swimmer, enjoys sailing and kayaking, hiking and biking, and frequently finds himself at a movie, play or concert.



Sheldon Erickson is St. Paul’s Administrator and you can find him in the office weekdays from 9am – 5pm. Drop him an email or give him a call for anything about the church and he’ll find an answer for you. Sheldon’s background includes 35 years in television production. When he’s not at the church, you can usually find him, along with Callisto the cat, aboard his sailboat Polaris. (The cat gets seasick, Sheldon doesn’t.) He likes hiking, reading and enjoys a good glass of zinfandel.