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Rev. Dr. Christy Newton is the Executive Director at DSF, an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and has served Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ congregations in Arkansas and California for over 25 years.  Most recently, from 2013-2023, she served as Senior Pastor of First Christian Church (DOC) of Vallejo, CA.  Since 2011, she has also taught Social Ethics and the Practice of Ministry online for Lexington Theological Seminary.  Her teaching credits also include 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 in Nagoya, Japan. She regularly leads retreats and teaches a variety of courses in the areas of social ethics, leadership formation, spirituality, globalization, and culture.  She is energized by practical and public theologies that insist on hospitality, justice, and compassion, and she is relentlessly inspired to help individuals and communities find ways to sustain their prophetic voices in a difficult and polarized world.  Dr. Newton earned her M.Div. in 2000 from Pacific School of Religion and her Ph.D. in 2011 from the Graduate Theological Union.

Rev. Dr. Christy Newton
Executive Director

Rev. Siobhan Lopez
Program Coordinator

Rev. Siobhan Lopez works as the Program Coordinator at DSF. 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 Pacific Southwest Region in ministries such as Disciples Women and the Youth Immersion Ministry, as well as the General church with La Obra Hispana and 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 the Director of DSF's Certificate of Ministry Studies and Diploma of Ministries Studies (CMS and DMS) programs. 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 bilingual 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.

Jess Kim
Managing Director

Jess Kim is the Managing Director at DSF. She is a graduate of Chapman University (BA in English/journalism) and Claremont School of Theology (M.Div.). She has served on the boards of the Pacific Southwest Region and NAPAD and has been active in youth/young adult ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).


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, and 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

Rev. Dr. 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 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

Rev. Dr. Joseph Driskill is Dean Emeritus for DSF Berkeley and served as Professor Emeritus of Christian Spirituality at PSR. He served as DSF's Dean in Berkeley from 1993 until 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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