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
No matter who you are, where you come from, or where you are on your faith journey, you are welcome here.  Everyone belongs; we strive to be inclusive.
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, service, 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?
  • We are all one people of God.
  • 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.
  • Each person is called to love our neighbors as ourselves.
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.
  • We are called to be faithful allies to those affected by social inequities, injustice and exclusion.

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!

Contact Graham at gbaird@burlpres.org.

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Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Frykberg
Associate Pastor - Adults 
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.

Contact Beth at bfrykberg@burlpres.org.
        
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Rev. Cynthia Purvis
NextGen Pastor
About Cynthia Purvis
Cynthia is passionate about empowering students to live out their faith with integrity and love for others. As a youth pastor, she has over ten years of experience developing programs and strategies for children, youth and young adults to engage in worship, Bible study, and missional service. Her goal for ministry is to develop resilient disciples of Christ. Cynthia firmly believes we are all being formed and re-formed by things in our lives.

To help students in their formation as Christ followers, Cynthia focuses on three key areas of development: identity, belonging, and service. With these three areas in mind, she cultivates an atmosphere within our program that reminds students who they belong to, where they belong, and what they were created for.

In her free time, she loves taking her nephew and niece to the zoo to see the hippos. On a Saturday afternoon, you can find her hiking the beautiful trails around town and satisfying her sweet tooth with plenty of baked goods. Cynthia loves to play board and card games and is always down to teach others how to play games.
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Stephen Koh
Commissioned Lead 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.

Contact Stephen at skoh@burlpres.org.


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Elaine Liang
Commissioned Pastor
Mandarin-Taiwanese Congregation
About Elaine Liang
Elaine Liang was born and grew up in a loving Christian family in Xiamen, China. Under the guidance of grandmother, she believed in Jesus Christ at an early age, and volunteered in church to serve children's Sunday school, youth fellowship and other ministries. After graduating from Xiamen University with a MBA degree, she worked for an enterprise management software company as General Manager for many years. Responding to God's calling, in 2012, she quitted her job and came to American Chinese Evangelical Seminary in Sunnyvale, CA, USA to study. In 2016, she obtained a Master of Divinity degree. In 2018, she was ordained as a Ruling Elder of Irvington Presbyterian Church. In 2022, she was Commissioned as a Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame to serve the Mandarin - Taiwanese Congregation.

Elaine Liang lives in the Bay Area, with her husband Jonathan Jiang who is also a Commissioned Pastor of San Francisco Presbytery. Since 2017, Elaine Liang has assisted her husband to plant a New Worship Community - Fule Church for Mandarin speaking people based in the Bay Area in CA and Shanghai in China. The desire and goal of Elaine Liang and her husband is to use their gifts and skills to reach out to the Chinese community and friends, to bring them to know Jesus Christ, and to cultivate disciples’ spiritual growth.

Contact Deb at eliang@burlpres.org.


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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.

Contact Deb at dconcklin@burlpres.org.


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Steven Hall
Director of Worship, Music & 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!).

Contact Steven at shall@burlpres.org.


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Carolyn Richardson
Finance Manager
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.

Contact Carolyn at crichardson@burlpres.org.


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Gretchen Provensen
Marketing & Communications Manager
Contact Gretchen Provensen
Contact Gretchen at gprovensen@burlpres.org


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Astrid Barrientos
NextGen Associate
About Astrid Barrientos
Astrid is excited to provide a fun, safe and enriching environment and witness each child's growth. She feels passionate about creating a space where children can sense the presence of God, in an environment that is fun, safe, and loving for them to build a relationship with God as well as lasting friendships. She finds joy when she talks with children and learns about their daily discoveries and concerns about life and their understanding of God.
 
Astrid believes in nurturing, creating, showing kindness toward each other and appreciating the world that God creating for his children. She has a BA in Legal Studies and graduated from San Francisco State as an Interpreter. Prior to her calling to work with children, she worked for the California Supreme Court in San Francisco as a paralegal and has served as an Interpreter in court trials.
 
Astrid truly believes that service is a privilege, and she enjoys serving her community as well as traveling to other countries in missions as an interpreter.
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Lupe Rodriguez
 Office and Human Resources Coordinator
About Lupe Rodriguez
Lupe keeps everyone informed and organized at burlpres.  She has four adult children and is blessed with grandchildren!  Prior to working at burlpres, she was the Office Manager at her home church where she taught in the children's ministry for over 25 years, and was involved in many ministries.  Lupe graduated from USF, and prior to her church-oriented work, she had a long corporate career with financial institutions in the San Francisco financial district.  She stepped down in 2012 as a VP from Corporate Banking, Government, Education & Nonprofit sectors; servicing large corporate and high-value clients and their affiliates.  She believes that the skills and experience she developed in the corporate world have helped her serve God and the church in many ways.

Contact Lupe at lrodriguez@burlpres.org.


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Sonu Sharma
Facilities Supervisor and Services Coordinator
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.

Contact Sonu at ssharma@burlpres.org

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Casey Fowler
Technical Director
About Casey Fowler

Casey is passionate about building volunteer teams and using technology as a tool to help others on their faith journey. Casey grew up in the church  and comes from a musical family He has been involved in ministry for the last 13 years, previously at Menlo Church, and Congregational Church of San Mateo. When Casey is not at church, he enjoys going to concerts and sporting events.

Contact Casey at cfowler@burlpres.org.


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Julie Corpuz
Preschool Director
About Julie Corpuz
Julie is passionate about creating an environment that is God-centered, fun, safe, and a loving place to build lasting friendships among children, parents, teachers and the church community. She finds joy when she talks to children and learns about their daily discoveries.  She believes in nurturing creativity, showing kindness towards each other and appreciating the world that God created for His children. 
 
She has 15 years of experience as a preschool educator and leader in early childhood education in Burlingame.  Prior to finding her calling as an educator, she worked at SaRonix and Levi Strauss as a Technologist. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Golden Gate University. She joined the burlpres team in 2021. Julie looks forward to traveling more with her husband Vill and her three young adult children to other countries and cities within the United States. She enjoys visiting museums, creating watercolor paintings, watching plays and playing the piano. She plays tennis and walks by the beach to recharge.

Contact Julie jcorpuz@burlpres.org.


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Onkar Sharma
Custodian
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!).

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Peter Bassford
Organist
About Peter Bassford
Throughout my life music and church were always connected.  I have spent the better part of the past six decades doing music in churches.   Growing up I started at age 6 singing in the "Cherub Choir", then taking piano lessons along with starting clarinet through the public school music program.  After college, I worked full-time for Bank of America while pursuing music in my free time.  I was always some kind of church musician whether as a pianist, choir director, organist, singer or handbell ringer and I joined the American Guild of Organists.  I can't remember a time when I wasn't doing music for a church.  But along with church, I was also involved in Community Theater directing amateur productions of Broadway Musicals (Showboat, Oliver, Anything Goes, Brigadoon, Guys and Dolls) and many others.  After my time with Bank of America, I started accompanying the elementary choirs in the Burlingame schools.  I got my teaching credential and taught elementary instrumental and choral music in the Burlingame School Disctict for nearly twenty years.  While working on my credential, I was on the substitute organ circuit for several years having the opportunity to play many of the finest organs in churches on the peninsula.  Since 2007, I have been the organist and occasional interim choir director here at First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame.  I have Bachelor degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance from San Francisco State University.  Since 2007, I have been the organist at First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame and I'm also an accompanist for the Ragazzi Boys Choir.

Contact Peter at pbassford@burlpres.org.

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