JEN STRICKLAND BIO: Pastor Jen received a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing and Mass Communications at Miami University and a dual Master of Fine Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at Chapman University. She received her Masters of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary where she and Pastor Jacob were classmates. They are currently pursuing their Doctor of Ministry degrees at Duke Divinity School.
Pastor Jen has previously served at churches in Philadelphia, PA, Liberty, OH, Prairie Village, KS, and Lincoln, NE.
When she isn’t writing a sermon or dreaming about the church, Jen can be found walking her two dogs, reading fiction, drinking lattes, cooking vegetarian food, watching movies, walking on the beach, or playing with her beloved nieces. She and her husband love to travel and find out what God is up to in other parts of the world.
JACOB BUCHHOLZ BIO: Pastor Jacob received his Bachelors in the Comparative Study of Religion at Harvard University and his Masters of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary where he and Pastor Jen were classmates. They are currently pursuing their Doctor of Ministry at Duke Divinity School.
Pastor Jacob grew up in a Deaf family and during seminary started a Deaf church conducted entirely in American Sign Language. Pastors Jen and Jacob then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where Jacob served at First-Plymouth Congregational Church.
Pastors Jen and Jacob were married in Budir, Iceland on May 27, 2014. If you ask them, “Why Iceland?” they will likely respond, “Why not?” They have two beloved rescue dogs, Barklee and Sophie. Jen and Jacob consider themselves “church nerds” who eat/sleep/breathe all things ministry-related, but outside of church they both love spoiling their 6 nieces, amateur gardening, bargain movie theaters, curling up with a good book, listening to podcasts, vegetarian food, international travel, art museums, and theological discussions over coffee (Jen) and tea (Jacob).
LEE WAGGENER BIO: Lee Waggener has been on the music staff of Claremont UCC since 1971 but her first association with the church was as a college student at Pomona College in 1960. She served as rehearsal accompanist for the Carillon Choir, and later directed the choir for over 25 years. With her husband Bill she developed an extensive handbell program that currently serves nearly 50 ringers from 6 years old to over 80. Claremont UCC ringers have participated in many events sponsored by the Handbell Ringers of America throughout the United States and have traveled to England, Canada, Australia, and Japan. They are currently the handbell choir for the Candlelight Procession every December at Disneyland.
In addition to the children’s choir and handbells Lee teaches Orff Schulwerk classes and recorder. A large collection of xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums and other percussion instruments has provided an opportunity to expand the children’s music program to the community.
Teaching is Lee’s vocation. For 38 years she taught primary grades and special education in the Ontario-Montclair school district. She has degrees in music from Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University with an emphasis in organ and music education. She is a member of Choristers Guild, the American Orff Schulwerk Association, and the American Recorder Society.
BILL WAGGENER BIO: Bill Waggener has been part of the music staff of the CUCC for over 40 years, during which he has been responsible for a recorder ensemble, a junior-senior high school choir, the Chancel Choir, a brass ensemble, and handbell choirs; currently, he works with the handbell program and assists the lay leader of the CUCC Brass Ensemble. His first association with the CUCC was with his trumpet during his Pomona College years.
The Choral Bells are composed of over two dozen members ringing as a double choir with at least two sets of handbells. Over the years, members of this group have traveled throughout the US to attend handbell events sponsored by the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (now known as the Handbell Musicians of America); members have also represented the CUCC at a number of International Handbell Symposia in Canada, Australia, England, and the US, and have participated in the annual Candlelight Procession and Ceremony at Disneyland for the last 20 years.
Bill has been involved in church music since 1964. He holds a BA in music from Pomona College and an MA in music from the Claremont Graduate University as well as two graduate degrees in the biological sciences. He has been involved in the AGEHR for almost 40 years and has served on the Area XII (CA-NV-HI) Board and recently completed a term as Director At Large on the national Board. He and his wife Lee have been conductors and clinicians at numerous local, national, and international handbell events. He spent his professional career in secondary and higher education, retiring as chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences at Mt. San Antonio College. He occasionally comes partly out of retirement to teach his courses in Human Anatomy and Human Physiology – when not traveling with Lee or spending time at their cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
DR. EARL RICHARDS, II BIO: E. Earl Richards II is a dynamic choral conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. Dr. Richards has conducted the La Sierra University Chorale and La Sierra University Chamber Singers and been featured as a guest conductor for the Crystal Cathedral ‘Hour of Power’ broadcast. He is recognized for his sensitive interpretation, and energy. Earl has appeared with choruses and instrumental ensembles across the United States, and has recorded with the United States Air Force Golden Band of the West. His groups have performed with the Riverside Philharmonic, the San Bernardino Symphony, the La Sierra University Symphony, and have been featured at the Los Angeles Music Center, and Carnegie Hall. Earl has studied extensively with Donald Neuen and has worked as his assistant conductor and teaching assistant. His Master’s degree and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees were earned at the University of California, Los Angeles, in Choral Conducting. Dr. Richards has taught with distinction in both public and private education. Earl and his wife Nicole, and son Earl III, enjoy travel and a number of outdoor hobbies.