Who We Are
We are an open-minded faith community that welcomes people of every age, race, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Our church family is made up from people of many different family structures, economic realities, physical and mental ability, education and faith experiences. That is part of what makes us great. While there are differences among us, we practice loving respect even though we may not always think alike.
We welcome all who desire to participate in this nurturing community. We’re on an exciting journey of faith toward a life of greater love, understanding, and mutual respect. We seek to serve those in need, both globally and locally.
Some of us are just beginning our faith journey. Some of us have been on the path much of our lives. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Wherever you are in your faith journey, here at FCC, you will find others who are seekers of the sacred, all living the questions as best we are able.
We are an Open and Affirming Church
What is Open and Affirming? "Open and Affirming" (ONA) is the designation for congregations in the United Church of Christ that have adopted a public covenant that welcomes all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity fully into the church's life and ministry. Churches become ONA to send a clear message that God's welcome is for all people and that this particular church is a safe place for the LGBT community. We acknowledge God's acceptance of every individual and Jesus' commandment to love one another. We strive for justice and equality for all of God's children.
Pastor - David Stabenfeldt
Pastor Dave calls himself "a Midwesterner at heart". Born and raised in Evansville, Indiana, and earning his degree at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, he describes it as a “great place to evolve into young adulthood.” St. Louis also holds a special place in his heart, because there he met his wife Pam and graduated from Eden Theological Seminary. His pastoral life began in Burlington, Iowa at First UCC. From there, they set sail down the Mississippi River, to Collinsville, Illinois and St. John Evangelical UCC.
Like so many others from the Midwest, he and his wife, Pam, found themselves being called west to Bakersfield. The church’s welcoming and energetic spirit drew them here, far from their Midwestern roots. They are excited about this extravagantly welcoming congregation! Since arriving in June 2009, they have happily joined with people who are seeking to live the UCC motto, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
“Life,” he says, “is filled with the unexpected.” Having served a large congregation for a number of years, he didn’t really know what to expect in saying yes to a church of 250 members. To his surprise and delight ... the members of First Congregational UCC are engaged in the local community in significant and caring ways, far beyond what their numbers might indicate. Mission and worship are the hallmarks of this growing and thriving congregation.
First Congregational is a good size — small enough so that people know your name and large enough to offer the variety of benefits of a larger congregation. David brings strengths in preaching and worship leadership. Music, too, is central to our worship. Our children’s program, both Sunday morning and evening, is a place of nurture and faith development.
Curious about what would draw a Midwesterner to Bakersfield? Interested in finding a place of welcome and a community aspiring to follow Christ Jesus? Then stop by his office or for worship on Sunday morning. He's always glad to meet a fellow traveler on life’s byways.
Music Director - Amanda Isaac
Amanda Isaac lives up to the moniker “crazy music lady” and loves it. Amanda teaches music and choirs at all five schools in the Norris School District in town. She spent most of her formative years in UCC churches, including First Congregational, returning to Bakersfield after college. Her BA and MA in music are from CSU Chico and holds a Kodály Certificate from McNeese State University. She is very active in her academic professional community through different organizations and leadership roles. Amanda joined the staff of FCC in August 2009. A wide variety of diverse music, threaded by the Spirit, has enriched her spiritually and professionally; her goal is to share that wide vision of the sacred with the First Congregational community.
Collaborative Musician - Elizabeth Cervantes
Elizabeth Cervantes brings so much more than her renowned keyboard skills with her to FCC-UCC! Her wealth of professional experience includes seven churches, four different colleges/universities, both the Bakersfield Master Chorale and the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, and our very own Dukes Concert Series. She is varied, versatile, and vivacious and has already participated in her first Worship Design Group meeting. Liz agrees that the Spirit has guided her and FCC-UCC onto a common path and looks forward to what lies ahead.
Administrative Assistant - Jolie Roberson
Jolie Roberson was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA, and obtained a BA in Cinema and Television Arts, Multimedia Production from Cal State Northridge. Before deciding to return to Bakersfield, she worked for two years on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a Graphic Designer. Jolie continues pursuing her love of the arts by working as a freelance graphic designer, and the Facility Director of The Empty Space Theater.
Child Haven Director - Myetta Beavers
Myetta Beavers has been the Director at Child Haven Preschool since 2010. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA and has one adult son. She received her MA in Early Childhood Education from CSU-Bakersfield and holds a Child Development Director's Permit. At the age of 14, she began volunteer work with children ages 0-5 at Compassion Christian Center and now serves as the Director of the Nursery and Early Childhood Department during church services. Myetta has worked in the Child Development field since 1995, first as an aide and teacher’s assistant, then as a 2-year-old teacher for six years, and later teaching preschool. She currently runs the preschool by day and by night is a Adjunct Child Development Faculty at Bakersfield College. She loves to dance, read to children, and occasionally sing (to children).