Los Altos United Methodist Church named the Rev. Mariellen Sawada Yoshino its new senior pastor, effective July 1. Yoshino succeeds the Rev. Mark Bollwinkel, who is leaving after a long stint at the church.
Yoshino has served as district superintendent of the California-Nevada Annual Conference for the past seven years, providing leadership to the 84 United Methodist Churches in the Central Valley District.
Yoshino was born in Japan and grew up as a preacher’s daughter in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. She graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina and earned graduate degrees from the St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas and the University of San Francisco. She also earned an AA degree in sign language interpretation.
In previous positions, Yoshino served on staff in a large-church setting, as pastor of two rural parishes and a suburban church and as senior pastor of an urban congregation. An adjunct faculty member of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, she wrote curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House and articles and study books for the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship and the United Methodist Women.
At the national level, Yoshino collaborated with the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, was elected an alternate delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference and led the California-Nevada Annual Conference delegation at the General Conference.
According to Los Altos United Methodist Church officials, Yoshino has a “warm pastoral heart” and is recognized as an “outstanding” preacher who will bring “energy, vision and commitment to our team here at LAUMC.”
“As we prepare to say goodbye to one beloved pastor,” church officials said, “God has given us a wonderful opportunity to welcome the next.”
For more information, visit laumc.org.