Community Church of Sebastopol

United Church of Christ

Come and Find the Quiet Center

1000 Gravenstein Hwy North           707.823.2484

Church Staff

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin J. Broadbent, Senior Minister

Pator Ben

Pastor Benjamin (or Ben) began his ministry at the Community Church in August 2016. Ben comes to us with his wife Brooke Bell and their son, Marin, and daughter, Sophia, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he served for 17 years at The First Congregational Church. They are happy to return to Northern California – Ben grew up in Santa Cruz and Brooke is from San Jose. He and Brooke met for the first time in our Pilgrim House in 1997, at a meeting of counselors for Camp Caz!

Ben earned his Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1998 and received his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from the Chicago Theological Seminary in 2012, writing a dissertation on Preaching as an Embodied Practice.

In addition to ministry, Ben loves playing guitar and ukulele, listening to live music, beach cruiser bicycles, craft beer, speaking Spanish and traveling.

Rev. Rachel Knuth, Associate Minister to Children and Families

Rev. Rachel Knuth is here Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday mornings and Sunday mornings during worship as she presents the Children's Message during worship. Under Rachel's tutelage, our Sunday school teachers work with the youngest members of our church families with Bible stories and projects appropriate for their age groups. Rachel was ordained and called as our Minister to Children and Families in August of 2015. Rachel and her husband, Nathan, live in Sebastopol with their four children.

Emily Syal, Youth Group Coordinator

Emily Syal joined our staff as Youth Coordinator - directing our Middle School and High School Youth Groups. Emily grew up in Wisconsin, loves cheese, and was living in Michigan before moving out to the West Coast. She enjoys hiking and being outdoors, so much so that Emily has brought the outdoors into her apartment with a small vegetable garden and 30 houseplants. Emily shares the apartment with her husband, a cat and a husky/lab mix dog. She is in her third and final year of seminary at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley with the goal of becoming a pastor in the UCC, or working forever in youth ministry (or both)!

Becca Emerson, Congregational Administrator

Becca is in the office Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm and can help answer most of your questions, or find someone who can. Have a facility or calendar question? Becca is the person to ask.

Becca just started working at Community Church. She grew up in California but has lived in many places, landing in the North Bay a few years ago. She keeps busy with her four children and many school and church volunteer opportunities.

Jennifer Halleck, Bookkeeper, Receiving Treasurer

Jennifer Halleck joined our staff in April 2014. Jennifer has three sons who all participated in our youth groups, summer camps and apple pies, so she is familiar face around the Community Church and she brings with her a wealth of bookkeeping experience.

Jennifer is in the Financial Office on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and can be reached at 707-823-2484 ext.103 or by email:

Maria Mojica, Custodian

  • 823-2484 ext.100

Maria comes to the Community Church with a wealth of experience taking care of commercial cleaning accounts. She works during the day on Fridays and afternoon/evenings Saturday through Tuesday. This schedule provides important coverage for our church and works best with her family and childcare needs.

To leave a message for Maria, please contact: the church office.

Brian Plaugher, Minister of Music

Rev. Brian Plaugher earned a Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological seminary in 1987, after and served as pastor in Presbyterian churches and, for 17 years, as pastor of the Community Church, UCC, in Guerneville. He has been our Minister of Music since 2005, supporting our music program where he leads the Chancel Choir, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band. As our Minister of Music, Brian coordinates worship music with the directors of the Handbell Choir, the Children's Choir, Acoustic Folk Group, the Divine Connection and a wide variety of other music.

Brian also works as a chaplain at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Brian and his wife Pam have two grown sons and a high school daughter, and has lived in Guerneville for 27 years.

Karna Roa, Handbell Director

Sunday Morning Childcare Providers

As part of the Safe Church Policy, and from a desire for our members to attend worship services regularly, the church has hired three Nursery Attendants. The Safe Church program requires that we have two adults (background-checked, over 18) working with our children at all times. We welcome Patricia Bower, Jenna Canfield, and Traci Harris to our Nursery Staff.

We are delighted to welcome these safe, calm, patient, experienced child care providers to our Nursery program. If you have any questions or concerns about our childcare program, please contact Pastor Rachel.

Safe Church Policy (PDF)



J. Althea has joined our staff as Pianist and we are delighted to see her at the keyboards on a regular basis on Sunday mornings. Althea has worked in music and theatre for 45 years, as a professional pianist, actress, theatre director, music director, playwright, arranger, composer, and piano teacher. Althea has also been playing in churches for the last two decades. Having returned to her native Bay Area from 36 years in Alaska, she works with various Bay Area regional community theatres and high school drama departments.

Althea is absolutely thrilled to be at Community Church!


Also new to our music staff, organist Judy Kinsey will join us occasionally on Sunday mornings.