Rev. Cynthia Towle Kephart
Pastor Cindy was called by the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Alameda in January 2020. She greatly enjoys interacting with members, friends, and neighbors of the church, and worshipping in the historic sanctuary of First Pres. Her greatest joy is studying the Bible with others and gaining new insight into Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father.
Pastor Cindy is a member of the Presbytery of San Francisco and a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the PC(USA). She was ordained by the Presbytery of Stockton in June 2017. She served as the interim pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lodi for two years. This is where she first experienced the privilege and joy of serving as the pastor of a congregation. Before ordination, Cindy was a long-time member of Park Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Oakland.
Cindy graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. Her church internship was at the First Presbyterian Church of Richmond, CA with Rev. Jim Wheeler. Her focus was on the Khmu congregation. She completed a one-year residency in spiritual care at the UC San Francisco Medical Center and worked as a staff chaplain at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She created and led worship services for residents at Lake Park Retirement Community in Oakland and Manor Care Health Services in Walnut Creek.
Cindy earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at Cal and graduated with a BS in Applied Math from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. She then became a Peace Corps volunteer, living in the Philippines for two years and working for the Ministry of Agriculture. After moving to San Francisco, she worked at Wells Fargo Bank as an industrial engineer and systems analyst. During this time, she volunteered in the Tenderloin, teaching English to refugees from Laos.
Cindy and her husband, Murray, have three adult children who live nearby. Cindy and Murray retain close ties to family members and the many friends they have made during the various seasons of their lives. They enjoy hosting people in their home, walking on the trails in the Bay Area, and interacting with neighbors where they live in Lafayette. Cindy returns to visit family in Massachusetts whenever possible.
Ankie Schuitema joined the staff after a career in container shipping and logistics. She is a member of the church and enjoys singing in the Chancel Choir. In addition to singing in the Chancel Choir and Distaff Singers (an Oakland based women's choir), she spends time volunteering at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital holding babies in the NICU. And, you may see her walking with her loyal Australian Shepherd companion, Coby.
Cynthia Hovermale has been a part of the FPCA staff since 2006 and attends our church. She lives in Alameda with her husband, Mark and their two children.
Interim Music Director
Barbara Acosta was raised in Alameda. She began her musical training at Porter School by studying the flute, and later the piccolo. In high school, she studied piano and voice with the late Elizabeth Curtis. She has been a member or the Distaff Singers since 1980, the Alameda Community Chorus since 1991, and the choir at First Presbyterian Church since 1992, where she performed the role of the mother in Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," directed by the late Bonnie Horlbeck.
She has participated in the Holiday Home Tour, Memorial Day Ceremonies, the Mayor's Fourth of July Parade, Alameda Community Band and several musicals at Encinal High School. She is a continuing supporter of the Encinal High School Music Boosters. Barbara is an honor graduate of Diablo Valley College, where she received her AA degree in Liberal Studies. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Armand, and they have three daughters and sons-in-law, six grandsons and two granddaughters.