What is worship? What are we doing here? Hailing from the shores of the Atlantic, Alex can often be spotted carrying two things: his guitar, and a desire to wade through the questions that might cultivate deeper connections/convictions with God and neighbor.
Alex grew up in a churched environment – he can still sing you the books of the Protestant Bible, upon request. But it was a rock band from the West Coast, Taekwondo after-class meditations, and the promise of wisdom (#help!) found early on in the book of James that pushed him into a more personal pursuit of practicing Christ’s teachings. After graduating from Connecticut College in 2012 with a somewhat confounding array of coursework completed (Religious Studies major, Music & Technology minor, Arts & Technology certificate), Alex went on to teach for two years at Nazarene Christian Academy in his native New Bedford, MA as thier chapel head/gym instructor/math teacher/newspaper editor, varying grades K-12.
Alex spent his undergraduate years in an academically-driven language dorm with friends from around the geographic world and across the world of ideas. This only grew his unique multicultural framework, as a white product of one post-industrial whaling city's public school system. Studying Indian art history and cinema abroad diversified Alex's notions of common religio-poltical structures, and a Storyline Conference in San Diego helped introduce him to the seemingly-hidden justice-oriented, confessional, and prophetically-voiced choruses of the Christian story vibrant underneath modernity's America.
Enrolled to begin a Master of Arts in Theology & Culture at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, Alex relocated mid-summer of 2014. In so doing, he joined a new work at JBC - particularly as part of their Praise Team! As with the act of leading worship itself, the work is not laboring to bring something new and trendy to people, but instead laboring consistently, gracefully, expectantly to make known God’s love already at work and surrounding our present tense.
Instagram | @lexzarecki
Twitter | @lexzarecki
Rev. Dr. Bob
Rev. Dr. Robert Reid is the Director of the Master of Arts degree in Organizational Communication and Leadership at the University of Dubuque and also serves as adjunct faculty for Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry. Dr. Reid is the author of 6 books—most recently, The Six Deadly Sins of Preaching: Becoming Responsible for the Faith We Proclaim (Abingdon 2012). He is also the author of an e-novel that introduces the character of Rev. Jonah Newman entitled The First Stone. Both he and his wife, Rev. Dr. Barbara Reid, are ordained to the American Baptist Ministry (ABC, USA).
Benjamin grew up in Minnesota and studied Sociology and Spanish at Bethel University in St. Paul. After graduation, he moved to Posas Verdes, Santa Bárbara, Honduras to teach second grade at Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School. Teaching eight year-olds how to do two-digit subtraction while also trying to convince them to stay in their chairs gave him new perspectives on himself, his calling, and the powerful story of Jesus' resurrection.
As a pianist, Benjamin brings a classical training and over 17 years of experience. He has led worship in various settings and enjoys the challenge of creating music that connects to people of different generations and musical tastes.
As youth director, Benjamin draws on his experiences working with youth in locations across North and South America. He has led teenagers in service trips in Puerto Rico, taught pre-schoolers in Colombia, and tutored the daughters of prison inmates in Bolivia, among other experiences. He loves the energy that youth bring and the chance to work with them as they discover their passions.
Currently a student at The City University of Seattle, Benjamin enjoys drinking coffee, going for bike rides, and exploring Seattle.
Instagram | benjamin.u
Snapchat | benjamin.u
Deyana was born in Kauai, Hawai`i and is the eldest of five siblings. She grew up in a non-denominational Christian home. She was baptized at JBC on Easter Sunday, 2016. She felt that Sunday School was something she could never really relate to as a child, so when taking on the Nursery Director position she felt excited to try and change the way lessons are taught to become more relatable and fun for kids. She started her Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree at Trinity Lutheran College before transferring to Everett Community College to begin her second major in Marine Biology. She hopes to continue both degrees and one day find a path that can relate the ministry of God in working with youth and Marine Biology. She started learning Japanese formally at age ten in school. She is a third generation Japanese American. For fun, she practices Jiu Jitsu during the week and enjoys exploring new places in the Pacific Northwest.
Diamond was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. She graduated from Trinity Lutheran College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems with a minor in Religious Studies. She currently works as a claims handler at State Farm. She feels her God-given purpose is helping others. Her passions include books, plants, kids and video games. She hopes to one day become a Librarian.
Joseph's motto is, "Without music, life would be a mistake." With this outlook, he became determined to make music his life-long career. Currently, he is a student at the University of Washington where he studies vocal performace under Thomas Harper. To enhance his rehearsing and directing skills, Joseph also partakes in several choirs in Seattle and his home city, Hong Kong. Among others, he is involved in the Seattle Symphony Chorale and the Hong Kong Melody Makers.
As a choir conductor, Joseph is musically trained with his piano and choral background. He has worked with different music abilities from beginners to experienced singers, and has directed a wide variety of repertoires. To strengthen his music ability, Joseph achieved Grade 8 Theory (the highest rating) with distinction and Grade 8 Piano with merit under Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (England). As a music student, Joseph spares no effort to reinforce his musical skills and to promote music to different people. He is the founder and the artistic director of Viva Voce, a choir in Seattle Central College, which aims to connect people with music. Additionally, he was also a choir director when he studied during high school in Hong Kong.
Michele Turek was born and raised in Fresno, California, the home of the Fresno State Bulldogs and +110 degree summers. Though she grew up going to church with her family, she would have never dreamed that God would lead her to a life pursuing ministry and full-time pastoral work. Graduating with her Master of Divinity from the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, life's journey has brought her many experiences including several years working with youth and young adult ministry, involvement with the church praise team, and missions across the sea to places like Thailand and Japan. Looking forward to what the Lord has in store, she is excited to see what the future holds.
As Japanese Baptist Church's Communications Director, Michele offers her previous work experiences as well as some natural talents to ensure the church family will remain connected with each other and our larger community. We seek to represent ourselves in accordance with our beliefs and as reflections of Christ to all. It is Michele's hope to help facilitate this well. Her new role as the Interim Pastoral Care Minister only adds to the passion she has to bring the feeling of community.
Other interests of Michele's include spending time with her husband Adam, staying in touch with her family and friends, photography, video games, and the art of discovery.
You can read Michele's blog here. She also keeps up the JBC Instagram, @jbcseattle.
Miyata | Nichigo Pianist
Mime was born in Hiroshima, Japan. She started to play a piano at five years old under her mother. After she graduated from Musashino Music University in Tokyo, she came to Seattle to study a piano at Cornish College of the Arts, graduating with a B.A in Classical Piano. She has been playing at JBC since 2000 as the Nichigo pianist. In 2009, she was baptized on Easter day by Rev. Sakiyama. She is a preschool teacher, a private piano teacher , an accompanist for Evergreen Glee Club, and a mother of two daughters. Whenever she gets a chance, Mime enjoys time to just sit back and relax!