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Rev. Dr. Christy Newton, Executive Director for DSF, served as the Senior Pastor at First Christian Church of Vallejo, CA, from 2013-2023, where her achievements include the mentorship of five student ministers as well as a committed member of a Clergy Women’s Circle of Trust for over 16 years. Rev. Dr. Newton has served at Lexington Theological Seminary since 2011 as Adjunct Professor of Social Ethics, Practice of Ministry, and Doctor of Ministry Faculty Advisor. Her teaching experience also includes work at Pacific School of Religion, San Francisco Theological Seminary, the Graduate Theological Union, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Chapman University, and Yagumo Juko. Rev. Dr. Newton earned her Ph.D. in 2011 from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, where she won the Chan Prize in Religion and Economics in 2006 and 2007 as well as the Newhall Scholar/Teacher Award in 2008 and 2010. She received her M.Div. in 2000 from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, and was ordained on June 18, 2000 at Arkansas First Christian Church (DOC) in Russellville, AR. Rev. Dr. Newton is a firm supporter of DSF, having not only been a recipient of its scholarship program but also served on the Board of Trustees as a member and an officer from 2008-2014.

Rev. Dr. Christy Newton
Executive Director

Rev. Siobhan Lopez
Program Coordinator

Rev. Siobhan Lopez works as the Program Coordinator at Disciples Seminary Foundation. She completed her Master of Divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology in 2016. She serves Iglesia Cristina Del Este De Whittier (DOC)/East Whittier Christian Church (DOC) as Co-Pastor for their English Ministry along with her husband, Rev. Gabriel Lopez. She is also an active member of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ Pacific Southwest Region in such ministries as  Disciples Women, and the Youth Immersion Ministry as well as the General church such as with La Obra Hispana and the General Youth Ministry. Siobhan also holds a deep passion for those individuals and groups who are “in the shadows of the open table. People who are often overlooked or forgotten,” and works in partnerships to extend the table.

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Rev. Xosé G. Escamilla
Director of CMS Program

Rev. Xosé G. Escamilla is Director of DSF's Certificate in Ministry Studies (CMS) program. He is the Senior Pastor of Casa de Oracion (Disciples of Christ) Church in San Diego.  Under Xosé's leadership, this congregation has become the largest Disciples of Christ congregation west of the Rocky Mountains. It is a multi-cultural, fully bi-lingual congregation and has birthed three other growing Disciples Congregations in the Pacific Southwest Region and one in Tijuana Mexico. He holds an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and is passionate about New Church Starts, Church Growth and forming and mentoring Pastors who are committed to doing effective and flourishing ministries. Xosé is married to Ofelia Escamilla with whom they have a son, a daughter and two grandchildren. The Certificate of Ministries Studies Program is offered in San Diego and Claremont in Spanish for the training of lay Pastors and leaders.

Jess Kim
Managing Director

Jess Kim is the Managing Director at DSF. She is a graduate of Chapman University (BA) and Claremont School of Theology (M.Div.). She has served on the boards of the Pacific Southwest Region, NAPAD, and Week of Compassion and has been active in youth/young adult ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She currently resides in the greater Seattle area with her partner.


Erin Zavala
Development and Communications Manager

Erin Zavala works as the Development and Communications manager for DSF. She has spent most of her professional career working in marketing and media. She is a longtime member of First Christian Church of North Hollywood where she has served in many positions including Board Vice President, Christian Education Council member, Media Services Council Member, Christian Nursery School Council Member, to list a few. She also worked for several years as the congregational liaison to the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry where she held a seat on the board. Erin lives in Valencia with her two children, Lucy and Noah. 

DSF's Deans Emeriti

Rev. Dr. Mark David Parsons

Mark David Parsons was DSF's Dean Emeritus in Claremont until his death on June 3, 2015. He had been Vice Dean for Academic Programs at Claremont School of Theology where he also served as Assistant Professor of Religion and Music. He taught in the areas of music and worship, theology and the arts, and religion and popular culture. He held a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and brought a strong background in music ministries, with 10 years of experience as a church music director and numerous publications in the field.

Rev. Dr. Joseph Driskill

Joseph Driskill is Dean Emeritus for DSF Berkeley and is also Professor Emeritus of Christian Spirituality at PSR. He served as DSF's dean in Berkeley from 1993 to his retirement in 2011. He holds a Ph.D. from Graduate Theological Union as well as degrees from Culver-Stockton College and the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University. He has been a pastor and college chaplain. His books include Protestant Spirituality Exercises: Theology, History and Practice published in 1999, and in 2002 he published the well received Spiritually Informed Pastoral Care: The Elder's Ministry of Care-giving in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). More recently he co-authored and published with Karen Lebacqz Ethics and Spiritual Care: A Guide for Pastors, Chaplains and Spiritual Directors. Joe's wife is Dr. Leslie Bryant, a staff psychologist and administrator for Kaiser Permanente.

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