“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.”
Mary Kay Ash
REV. FRANK YATES
Bridge Team Co-Pastor
Frank Yates (M.Div and DMin at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary) grew up in Texas and graduated from UT Austin. After seminary Frank served as campus minister in three locations and several churches in Texas before being called as pastor of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque. Since retirement he has served as interim at Las Vegas, NM and as parish associate at First Presbyterian. Frank and his wife Sharon have four grown sons.
REV. STEPHEN MILLER
Bridge Team Co-Pastor
Stephen J. Miller (M.Div. Lexington Theological Seminary, D.Min. San Francisco Theological Seminary) grew up in Albuquerque, served Disciples of Christ churches in Kentucky, California, Colorado, and Michigan before returning to Albuquerque in 2001. In New Mexico he’s served as interim pastor in Disciples, UCC, and Presbyterian churches as well as being on Presbytery staff and being acting director of the NM Conference of Churches. Steve has a son in California, a daughter in Colorado, four grandchildren, and a step-daughter who lives with Steve and his wife, Carrie, in Albuquerque’s north valley.
Bridge Team Lay Person
Beth Pachak is a 30+ year member of La Mesa Presbyterian Church. She is currently a member on Session and Chairperson on both the Social Justice and Personnel Committees. Her background is in Corporate Training and Human Resources Management. She is married to Bob Robie and has 2 sons and a daughter-in-law.
Denia Napoli is the Office Administrator and began her tenure at La Mesa in October 2019. She migrated from Cuba at the age of ten and couldn’t wait to be old enough to join the US Army. She served her new country for six years during its time of need, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After receiving her college degree she relocated from Miami to Albuquerque with her supportive husband and their four children. Denia has found meaning in La Mesa’s mission of helping others and is excited to have joined the cause.
Leon began his work at La Mesa in September of 2019. His other career is as a performing arts teacher at Menaul School. He has a long history as a church musician and vocalist. Leon grew up in Lubbock, Texas where he sang and conducted church choirs from the age of 15. He attended college at Southern Methodist University. Leon has performed as a vocalist in the United States and in Europe and has a wonderful voice with an amazing range. He is also an accomplished pianist and voice coach.
YATZIRI Y GONZALES
Children and Youth Leader
Yatziri joined our staff on Christmas Eve 2017. She initially started as the Childcare Worker and has done so well, her responsibilities have been expanded to include working with Kids’ Club. Yatziri became involved in Arts Academy when her sisters were participating. After coming to events, she began to participate as a volunteer. She has assisted in teaching drama classes and beading classes. She has also taught an Arts Academy class on Ballet Folklorico. Yatziri’s major is nursing, with a specialty in pediatrics. She says that working with the church nursery and elementary age children is a good opportunity for her to work with children who will someday be her patients.
Yatziri is a recipient of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act. Her family came to the United States from Morelos, Mexico, when she was almost two years old, and she has grown up in this country. DACA has allowed her to attend school, work, and plan for future opportunities. She states, “DACA means hope for me because I’m able to pursue a career and work in jobs I know I’m good at and love doing. It means that I can have hope to make a difference for my family and community.”
Arts Academy Director
Flutist, harpist and educator, Bonnie Schmader, has performed and taught for over 30 years. Graduating with a Bachelor in Music degree from Arizona State University, she has made performing and teaching a life-long pursuit. In addition, she is a Certified Clinical Musician, providing therapeutic music services at Lovelace Women's Hospital, the University of New Mexico Hospital, New Heart Wellness Center and Alliance Home Healthcare and Hospice.
Bonnie is also an environmental educator and is passionate about connecting children and adults to the natural world. She's worked for the U.S. Forest Service, Albuquerque BioPark, City of Albuquerque Open Space, the Jane Goodall Institute, RiverXchange and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. She has lead music and wellness workshops for the community and has performed as a guest artist in several cultural music festivals.
Bonnie was chosen to be the 2017 Artist in Residence at the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwestern Colorado, where she composed, recorded and performed original music with her own soundscape field-recordings. Most recently, she traveled to the Netherlands to participate in Musicians Without Borders, a global music program that uses community music-making for reconciliation, healing and social change.
Meghan has served as La Mesa's bookkeeper since 2006. For nearly twenty years, she has provided administrative and accounting support to a variety of entities. In addition, she is a Certified Financial Social Work Educator, taking her love of numbers into her financial well-being small business.
She and her husband, Justin, are parents to their two young children, spending time working, playing, traveling, hiking, and dancing through life.
Ken was born in Salina, Kansas and is a third generation Presbyterian. He served in the Air Force, stationed in Japan, for four years as a radar technician, before attending Kansas State University and receiving a Engineering Associates degree in electronics. He worked at Sandia Labs in the weapons development area until 1985. He joined the congregation in 1997 and has been on the staff since 2008.
His work at La Mesa with the community has deepened his concern for the plight of immigrant, Native American, low-income, and special needs persons. He is very interested in seeing progressive government policies and non-governmental social organizations help create practical, if not radical, solutions for people seeking a better life.
The Rev. Howard Paul has been Pastor Emeritus since 2001. He served as pastor at La Mesa from 1979 to 1994. He attended seminary at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Virginia and was ordained in 1954. He served churches in South Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Virginia;Bogota, Colombia; and was an administrator and teacher at Menaul School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He served as moderator of the Presbytery of Santa Fe, he served on the board of Montreat Presbyterian Conference Center, provided leadership for the New Mexico Conference of Churches, and was a founding member of the Cuba Connection, a partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Cuba. During his tenure at La Mesa he helped guide the church through a major expansion of the building to better serve the church and community. His interest include church unity, global and urban mission, social justice, and camps and conferences.
His beloved wife and partner in ministry, Frederica, died in 2014. He has three children and four grandchildren.