It has been my great pleasure to serve as Rector of Saint Alban's since April 2008. A California native I received my B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1993. From 1998-2000 I served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. I received my Master's of Divinity from Yale Diviivty School/Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in 2004. I served as Curate at Calvary Church Stonington, CT until my arrival at Saint Alban's in April 2008. I also serve as Dean of the Semper Virens Deanery of the Diocese of Northern California. When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my family, swimming, hiking and reading.
Since my ordination to the priesthood in January 2015, I have served with gratitude as a priest associate at St. Alban’s. Born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, I migrated to California in 1979 where I completed my engineering degree at U.C. Santa Barbara followed by a long career in defense electronics at Delco Electronics and Raytheon. I also went to law school and after passing the California bar exam in 2003, my husband Dick and I fled the smog and traffic of Los Angeles to live in God’s country here in Humboldt County. I started a small law practice and simultaneously began a small-group seminar study program called Education for Ministry (EfM), a four year distance program out of the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. It was during EfM that I discerned my call to ordained ministry and by 2011, I had entered the formal process toward Holy Orders in the Diocese of Northern California. I acquired my seminary education at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin in their hybrid distance program and earned a Master of Arts in Ministry degree in 2014. My Clinical Pastoral Education was taken at Genesis Medical Center in Iowa. As a seminarian, I trained at St. Alban’s for my field education. Before ordination, I served as a volunteer chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital and as a chaplain intern at Hospice of Humboldt.
In addition to serving St. Alban’s, I also serve the congregations at Christ Church, Eureka and Sts. Martha and Mary Episcopal Mission in Trinidad. Besides preaching and presiding for services, my primary ministries revolve around liturgy, music, adult Christian formation, and music and arts programs for children including a summer camp. When I am not studying theology, I love to read British crime novels, take long walks, do crossword puzzles, play my flute and piano, and pet my adorable cats, Mortie and Meeso.
At the request of Father Eric Duff, I ﬁrst came to St. Alban's as a substitute organist for Merle
Barlow in 1997 and continued to be "on call" while Lee Barlow was choir director. I later
replaced Merle as regular organist until 2005 when Merry Phillips came to St. Albanʼs.. Now I
am returning again as organist.
The following are just a few highlights (so far) of my long and wonderful life immersed in music...
Born in Pasadena, California I grew up in South San Gabriel, now Rosemead, east of Los
Angeles. Having studied and played piano since the age of 6, I had organ lessons and began
playing the organ for church services in 1965 when I was 17 years old.
Over the years I have continued to serve as organist in various capacities, playing music for
funerals, weddings, and school graduations in Oakland and other parts of the San Francisco
Bay Area and Los Angeles, as well as in Catonsville, Maryland and Queens, New York. On a
study tour of the Holy Land in 1987 I had the privilege of playing the organ for a prayer service
in the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives outside the old city of Jerusalem.
At different stages of my musical life I have also served as choir director, director of liturgical
music, accompanist for soloists and groups, music teacher in elementary, high school,
community college and extended education programs in southern and northern California. From
1976-1981 I did music therapy in nursing homes in Oakland, Los Angeles and on the east coast
with the Little Sisters of the Poor. I have played second violin in several community and college
symphony orchestras over the years, including a concert tour in the summer of 1981 of
Germany, Austria and northern Italy. I worked 10 years from 1981-1991 as a member of the
parish staff at St. Leoʼs Catholic Church in Oakland - involved with music and liturgy as well as
spiritual direction, retreats, and religious education of adults...and during that same time as
assistant to the director of the Suzuki music school while giving private piano and violin lessons
and teaching theory classes to young people on the campus of Holy Names University in
Oakland. From 1996-2003 I taught piano and violin through the Humboldt Music Academy at
HSU. I received a Bachelorʼs Degree in 1970 and then a Master's Degree in Music Education
from Holy Names University in 1979, a lifetime secondary teaching credential from the State of
California in 1973, and a Master's Degree in Applied Spirituality from the University of San
Francisco in 1986.
After living 25 years in Oakland, I moved to Southern Humboldt in October of 1991 (the very day
of the Oakland ﬁre!) to join the community of Redwoods Monastery (cistercian nuns). Finally in
1996 I settled in Northern Humboldt. I currently continue to give private piano and some violin
lessons in my home in Arcata where I hope to stay for a very long time.
Aware of living in a place of immense Beauty, I am very grateful to be able to follow a way of life
here which supports silence and solitude. At its heart is music.
I was offered the Sexton position in 2002. I cherish working in a church because I can sense the presence of God. Few jobs allow you to sing hymns while mopping. From baptsim to burial, I marvel witnessing the drama, joy and sorrow of life played out at St. Alban's. With its roster of professors, I enjoy its intellectual stimulation. I consider a day wasted if I don't learn something. Most of St. Alban's folk are true friends--in bad times we cry together, and in good we laugh and joke--like abig family. I love to learn about the Bible, the social and economic context of its writers and Christian writings before Constantine. My favorite interests are the Dead Sea Scrolls, bacteriology, evolution, genetics, mathematcs, statistics, epidemics, microorganisms, hard science fiction, the history of science and my sweetheart. I love dance, visual arts, nature walks, woodworking, singing harmony, meeting people, foreign and art films, Christmas, prayer and communion. My undergraduate and graduate studies at UC Berkeley and HSU comprised forestry, ecology, experimental design, botany and a teacher credential
Hello I'm Layla, originally from the Morgan Hill area near Santa Cruz. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Humboldt State University in Child Development. I currently work at Strongbridge Montessori School as a full-time teacher. I enjoy spending my Sunday mornings here at St. Alban's, supervising and interacting with the children four and under. In my spare time I enjoy volunteering for non-profits, being a part of the alumni association of Humboldt State University and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. I appreciate how welcoming this community has been and the many outdoor activities Humboldt has to offer. I am happily engaged and soon to be married July 2014.