WHO WE ARE

We know that the journey with God is an adventure that never ends.

Come join the journey with us!

Who We Are

We know that the journey with God is an adventure that never ends.

Come join the journey with us!

Our Values

Welcoming
Everyone belongs. No matter who you are or where you are on your faith journey, you are welcome here.
Christ-Centered
We invite Christ’s love to transform us, our neighborhoods, and our world through worship and serving others.
Safe
Physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being are nurtured and protected.
Grace-Filled
We find our identity in Christ and work to remove the barriers that separate us from one another.
Vibrant
Hope, compassion, encouragement, generosity, and fun are marks of our life together.
Relevant
The gospel engages with our current culture and guides our actions in our families, workplaces, and communities.
Our Mission
To connect people with God, build relationships, and together serve the community and the world.

What We Believe

Who is God?
  • God is love, and that God loves all people unconditionally.
  • The Bible is God's word to us and provides answers for all the challenges of our lives.
  • God's love is revealed to us in the life and death, and resurrection of Jesus.
  • The teachings of Jesus are timeless; that means that they are relevant for all people, at all times, and in all circumstances.
Who are humans?
  • Each person is wonderfully and perfectly made in the image of God and, because of this, is intimately known by God.
  • Each person falls short of living the life God intends us to live.
  • Jesus offers his love and grace and invites us to be forgiven, transformed and renewed.
Who are we?
  • We are called, as individuals and as a church, to respond with joy to God’s love for us.
  • Growing in our faith helps us address the challenges we face in our families, our relationships, our work, and in our broader social context.
  • We are guided by the Holy Spirit as we serve others and seek healing of our relationships with God and with humanity.

Past + Present

Founded in 1926, burlpres (First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame) is a Christ-centered, Bible-based Presbyterian church that loves God and people everywhere. We are a member of The Presbytery of San Francisco, which has over 50 churches across the San Francisco bay area.
burlpres Leaders
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Rev. Dr. Graham Baird
Lead Pastor
About Rev. Dr. Graham Baird
Graham is passionate about helping people who do not know God, to become connected with God.  He finds joy in helping people understand that Christianity isn’t a perfect faith system, and certainly Christians aren’t perfect people, but that through Christ, we can all be made perfect. Graham believes in the importance of creating worship experiences that help connect people with God, and that our hearts are vessels which constantly need nourishment. Graham has a musical background himself and you’ll frequently find him sitting down at the piano or singing a song during a Sunday service.

2020 marked his 20th year as an ordained Presbyterian minister, and also his 20-year anniversary with his wife Star. He says he married his wife and the church in the same year! Earlier in Graham’s life journey, he wasn’t sure he wanted to follow in the family tradition (he’s a 4th generation pastor), but God had a plan. He got started in ministry as a professor of religion at a small boarding school in central Utah (Wasatch Academy). There, he learned that he loved teaching people about God, and that kicked off his journey to becoming a pastor. Graham has started three new churches in his career, the most successful of these was Highlands Church in Paso Robles. He also served as Lead Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs.

Graham’s role as Dad to his three wonderful kids, Haley, Sheena and Ewan, is the most rewarding, important and challenging current role in his life. When he’s not at burlpres, you can find him working as “horse lesson chauffeur, laundry folder, dance lesson picker-upper, and lego builder.”  But when he has time, he also enjoys playing the bagpipes, singing, playing piano, reading, and doing home improvement work on his 100 year old house!
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Rev. Jane Doty Mackenzie
Associate Pastor of Community Care
About Rev. Jane Doty Mackenzie
Jane is passionate about caring for individuals during times of crisis, loss, or major life transitions. As a pastor, chaplain and spiritual director, she seeks to create invitational spaces for others so they can hear God’s voice in the midst of these wilderness experiences. Jane retired early from a full career in business when she discerned a call to ministry. One of the unintended gifts of attending seminary at a later stage in life was getting to hang out and learn from the next generation. Jane joined the staff at burlpres in 2019. She enjoys running, hiking, and long bike rides through the California hills and backroads with her husband and two daughters (whenever they are free to come along).
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Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Frykberg
Associate Pastor - Adults + Families
About Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Frykberg
Ordained in 1977, before most of the world knew women could be ministers, Beth has served as a pastor here at burlpres and previously Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, CA. She holds a B.A. in physics from UC Davis, an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Th.M and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2016 she published a book called "The Jesus Fractal," where she wrote about the genius of divine creation, human community, and a strategy for progress in personal character. Beth is passionate about sharing God’s love with every person she meets and feels called to create community experiences that help others encounter God’s unconditional and never ending love.
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Dr. Deborah Concklin
Commissioned Lay Pastor
About Dr. Deborah Concklin
Deb is passionate about discovering ways for people to live out the Christian faith in church, family, and community. She first came to know Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade at the age of 13, but it was later in her mid 20s when she heard her primary calling and she started getting involved in mission work and caring ministries. In her career with Pan Am, she was able to work with foreign missionaries, orphanages, and hospitals throughout the world, primarily in Brazil, Guatemala, and Hong Kong. After retiring, mission and outreach became her focus in church ministry. She served as Elder of Mission with burlpres and began two separate church homeless shelters (one homegrown and one operated through the Home and Hope program). She was also involved in outreach to Cameroon, Africa, which became the Orphan Compassion program, and created a weekly faith study program called Women Together. She enjoyed attending seminary, and holds both Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Divinity degrees. When she’s not at burlpres, she enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, hiking, skiing, and spending time with her family.
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Stephen Koh
Commissioned Lay Pastor
Mandarin-Taiwanese Congregation
About Stephen Koh
Stephen is passionate about helping people in our Chinese communities come to Christ through preaching, teaching, music and developing new worship groups. Stephen joined burlpres in 2014 as an elder and music director of the Mandarin Taiwanese Ministry and then became a Commissioned Lay Pastor in 2018. Stephen also leads activities for PC(USA) related to ethnic churches, serves on the San Francisco Presbytery NWC committee, is Moderator of the National Chinese Presbyterian Caucus, and serves as Treasurer for the National Asian Presbyterian Caucus. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, reading and music, especially going to concert halls, museums and galleries. He’s a dedicated fan of the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors, and enjoys many of these activities with his loving wife Amelia. His twin daughters and two grandchildren live in Redondo Beach.
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Kerry Persichitte
Communications +
IT Director
About Kerry Persichitte
Kerry is passionate about finding innovative ways to help keep people connected to Jesus, the congregation and each other. Having served in a wide range of roles in churches across the country over the last 20 years, she brings a unique perspective to burlpres. As an alumni of Burlingame High School and a Hillsborogh native, she is excited to be serving this community. Kerry loves spending time with her family and friends, traveling and everything "outdoors"- skiing, hiking, swimming- even jumping out of planes!
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Tara Rumler
NextGen Student Director
About Tara Rumler
Tara believes that young people can change their community and the World. As NextGen Director, she works to guide young people towards finding a transformational, authentic faith. Tara’s passion is largely connected to the ways God intersected her life as a teenager. Her faith journey began at a middle school camp and she discovered her leadership gifts by serving in her high school youth group. These formative, positive experiences rooted her faith and inspired her calling. Tara recently relocated from Chicago where she worked in ministry for ten years and held positions in NextGen as well as staff and volunteer development. She also has a background in Life Planning and Life Coaching, which empowers her to help others find their calling, purpose, and direction. She holds two Masters Degrees in Organizational Leadership and Executive Coaching from Concordia University Irvine. In her downtime, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and going to the beach. You may also find her at a local coffee shop or pop concert!
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Chynasie (Chy) Zayas
NextGen Interim Kids Director
About Chy Zayas

As NextGen Kids Director, Chy is passionate about sharing the Gospel with the next generation and walking alongside youth on their journey towards Christ and a relationship with God. She has worked with youth programs for the last eight years and during a church internship a few years ago, felt that God was calling her to do this work. She was pivotal in opening and running a young adult ministry at Willow Creek Community Church which has grown to over 200 participants, and also worked as a teaching pastor for Middle and High School students at Willow. In her free time, she loves hiking, photography, reading, travel, and also runs a thrift clothing business where she’s turned her shopping hobby into something fun and lucrative.

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Steven Hall
Director - Worship Arts
About Steven Hall
Steven enjoys connecting with people on a spiritual level through music and the arts. His life motto is aligned with Micah 6:8 which includes “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Steven grew up in the church and his entire family is made up of singers and musicians. Steven sings and plays guitar, percussion and keyboard and has been involved in music ministry for over 13 years, including being Director of Contemporary Arts at Pleasant Grove UMC and Assistant Worship Leader at FPC Winston-Salem. Steven has also directed music for many church conferences, retreats and camps across the US. When Steven is not at church doing music, he enjoys traveling, enjoying the outdoors with his dog (Sprout) and partner (Jess), as well as cycling and throwing a frisbee (but not at the same time!).
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Cortlandt Bender
Associate Director - Music + Chancel Choir
About Cortlandt Bender
Cort feels called to work with people to help them reach higher goals than they thought they could — through choral, vocal, and classroom teaching on various biblical and theological topics. He has been involved in ministry since he was just 15 years old when he was involved with student church choirs and in youth Presbyterian leadership roles. He has been involved in theater, musical theater, opera, solo and orchestral work as a producer, director, performer, composer and conductor. He has worked as a consultant in areas that include creation of large scale fabric visual arts for worship and large scale A/V installations for churches. He is an avid movie watcher, loves reading mysteries and procedural detective novels, and also enjoys cooking, visual arts, and has started to do some writing as well.
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Peter Bassford
Church Organist
About Peter Bassford
Peter sang in ”cherub choir" at age 4 and has been hooked on music ever since. He took piano and clarinet lessons in elementary school, and achieved degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance in college. Early in his career he worked for Bank of America, which enabled him to simultaneously work part time as Choir Director and/or Organist for many churches, community theaters, and other local choirs. Peter spent nearly 20 years doing elementary instrumental and choral music in Burlingame [primarily at Franklin and Washington schools]. While working for the school district, he was a substitute organist at St. Paul's Episcopal and Congregational Church of San Mateo, before coming to burlpres in 2007. He has also taught private instrumental lessons at Heriz Music and worked as Assistant Director with the Ragazzi Boys chorus. Peter also enjoys traveling, long car trips, scuba diving and bowling (appropriate since for both organ playing and bowling you have to change your shoes).
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Dan Chiapelone
Assistant - Tech and Environment
About Dan Chiapelone
Dan strives to find a balance between a technology-driven and Christ-centered worship experience for the burlpres community. He started in ministry in 2013, working with the NextGen/Youth group and then two years ago shifted into his current technology role. He also has a passion for music and sometimes plays percussion with the burlpres band when he’s not manning the behind the scenes tech part of worship. And when he’s not at burlpres, he enjoys playing golf and snowboarding in the winter.
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Joan Cleary
Director of Operations
About Joan Cleary
As Director of Operations, Joan is passionate about connecting people, things, programs and projects. She has been involved in church leadership for 15 years, having first started in family ministry and then later led church volunteer boards. Prior to her involvement in ministry, she worked in business management for Del Monte Foods. She and her husband Jeff raised two children here in Burlingame and now enjoy lots of hobbies together, including gardening and cooking - with the fresh herbs, fruits and veggies they grow at home. They are looking forward to travelling again soon! Joan also loves the outdoors and plays tennis, bikes, skis and sails.
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Lupe Rodriguez
 Executive Assistant
About Lupe Rodriguez
Lupe keeps everyone informed and organized at burlpres. She has four adult children and is blessed with 11 grandchildren!  Prior to working at burlpres, she worked as an office manager with another church. She is passionate about teaching children and has 28 years of experience in children’s ministry. Prior to her church-oriented work, she had a 30+ year career in the corporate world with a financial institution in the area of Government, Education & Nonprofit. She believes that the skills and experience she developed in the corporate world have helped her serve God and the church in many ways.
Tiffany Teele
Preschool Director
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About Tiffany Teele
Tiffany wanted to be a teacher since she was in kindergarten, and as Preschool Director she is able to feed her passion for early childhood education and teaching children to love learning. She has been involved with teaching and youth organizations for more than twenty years, the last 10 here with our preschool. She's also been active with Girl Scouts, Little League and PTA organizations. In her free time she balances her love for reading and cooking with her love for the outdoors, especially kayaking and enjoying the Lake Tahoe area.
Carolyn Richardson
Finance Manager
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About Carolyn Richardson
Carolyn is passionate about helping others and serving those in the community. Numbers have always come naturally for her, and as such, she has been called to use her accounting skills throughout her entire career. Involved in ministry for over 20 years, Carolyn seeks to bring a personal touch to the world of numbers. Landing at burlpres and being involved in the community has been a blessing allowing her to integrate her values of integrity, customer service and a commitment to others. In her free time, she loves nothing more than gathering family and friends around the table. Combining purpose and passion for serving others is the secret ingredient in the recipe for being a vessel for God’s use.
Sonu Sharma
Facilities Coordinator
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About Sonu Sharma
Sonu is passionate about helping people any way she can, all the time. Because of this, her service touches nearly all of our burlpres ministries in some way. Her life revolves around the church and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She has worked at burlpres since 2005, is married to our wonderful custodian, Onkar, and both of her children grew up in burlpres community. She enjoys cooking, both as part of her work at church, as well as exploring or creating new recipes at home. She also enjoys the outdoors, especially biking and hiking.
Samantha Kelly
Preschool Administrative Assistant
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About Sam Kelly
Sam has always had a passion for working with children and families. She began working here at the church as an aide and teacher for the 2-year old preschool classes in 2012. Then, when her daughters went off to college, she felt the need to increase her workload and took a job as an instructional assistant in a special day class working with preschool aged children who have special needs. While she enjoyed her time there, her heart never really left the burlpres community. Then, in 2019, an opportunity presented itself to come back to burlpres and she is now serving as the Administrative Assistant for our preschool. She enjoys meeting all of the families with children attending the preschool classes and watching the children flourish as they learn and grow.
Onkar Sharma
Custodian
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About Onkar Sharma
Onkar believes in spreading happiness to everyone he meets, and he’s met just about everyone in the burlpres community over the years since he started working here in 1998. Onkar is married to our wonderful facilities coordinator, Sonu, and for their family burlpres feels like a second home. Onkar loves fixing things and actively looks for anything at the church and at home that could use his magic touch. He also enjoys watching football and you can often find him in the garage working on cars (he loves fixing them too!).
© 2020 burlpres.church 1500 Easton Drive Burlingame, CA 94010 650.342.0875