History & 2018-2019 Session of Elders


  • Founded on February 20, 1950 under organizing Pastor Rev. W. Moffatt Dennis with a 50 year-old barn-style chapel (seen above) that was physically moved from the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank,  Shadow Hills Presbyterian Church of Sunland, California (SHPC) started regular Sunday services from April 1950 onwards.
  • SHPC initially aptly aimed to serve the many individuals, couples, and/or their families employed in diverse industries – aerospace, arts & entertainment, farming, ranching, and the like – that were living in this semi-rural area during the post-WW2 period.
  • As the decades pass, SHPC – with God’s grace – still continues to creatively adapt as a relatively small congregation with a very big heart for worship, fellowship, and outreach.
  • For a church its fairly modest size, SHPC has a formidable heritage of nurturing new generations of quality clergy.
  • For example, its Interim Pastor between 2012-2014, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Prichard, is the granddaughter of one of SHPC’s early members, a former First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood Elder named Margrete Prichard.

Rebecca and John Knox

Interim SHPC Head Pastor for 2012-2014, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Prichard, posing alongside a statue of the founder of Presbyterian Protestant Christianity (Scottish theologian and religious reformer John Knox), during a contemplative sabbatical leave.

  • SHPC’s current Mission Partner, Rev. Sarah Henken (Presbyterian World Mission’s Regional Liaison for the Andean Region in South America), spent her teen and young adult years here before pursuing her seminary studies and overseas mission work.
  • Over the years, the congregation has nurtured a number of candidates for ministry including Ministry Intern, Deidra Goulding, now under care. Starting April 2015, we have welcomed a new Head Pastor, Rev. Arlo Tysinger.
  • Across the generations, as the Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood has evolved, along with the ups and downs of our society at large, SHPC has adaptively endured to be a durable outpost for spiritual renewal and social action.


SHPC Main Sanctuary in August 2013 – prior to the extensive re-shingling and external painting done in June 2017.

  • Some noteworthy pastors who have led SHPC through the toughest of times include:

a) Dr. Rev. Robert L. “Bob” Caldwell (pastoral term: 1978-1980), who patiently worked with our Session of Elders to see SHPC through the difficult oil crisis years of the late 1970s;

b) Rev. Craig Hall (1980-1993), who creatively kept members grounded in timeless Christian values and authentic fellowship even as an increasingly self-centered, money-driven mindset was overtaking mainstream popular culture; and

c) Dr. Rev. Janet B. Winslow (1996-2012), who shepherded SHPC through some of the most trying years American society has ever faced, given how the new millennium brought about the significant challenges of 9/11 and the Great Recession.

  • Indeed, God has graciously blessed SHPC with determined pastors and talented members who balance pragmatism and disernment in making God’s loving will still shine through even in the darkest of hours.
  • SHPC’s serene location away from the hustle and bustle of urban living may be part of the reason so many find reinvigorating peace and purpose coming to worship here.

coacbettercroppedarmenianlanguagesignwithcountrylivingshpcpreschoolsignsseenwhendrivingfromglenoaksblvdmarch2018When driving or walking from the Glenoaks Blvd side of  the Sunland Blvd stretch: one can see the huge “Country Living in Shadow Hills” sign at the corner of Sunland Blvd. and Johanna Avenue, right in front of the SHPC Labyrinth & Giant Oak Tree that has the SHPC Parking lot behind it.

Note how the 3 other signs found on the right-hand side of the “Country Living in Shadow Hills” sign prominently feature, from Top to Bottom: 1) Shadow Hills Presbyterian Church, 2) Shadow Hills Preschool, PH # 818-353-7554, and 3) Armenian language-signage of the Christian Outreach to Armenians in California (COAC) Church Ministry, PH # 818-588-2537, which has been held inside the SHPC Chapel during Sunday afternoons from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. since late 2017 onwards.

  • SHPC also stands out in its commitment in being possibly the most animal-friendly Christian congregation within the Greater Los Angeles area, given its semi-rural Foothills location, its annual Blessing of the Animals typically taking place within the milder Spring or Fall seasons, and its Pets Are Welcome Service (PAWS) every 1st Sunday afternoon of the month, 5pm, either inside the SHPC Main Sanctuary or Front Lawn (depending on weather conditions).

P1030749lexi blessed by arlo 2015

From L to R: Interim Pastor Rev. Dr. Rebecca Prichard w/ Brownie the Chihuahua, the pet of the Urias-Thompson clan posing with her during Blessing of the Animals 2013; and Rev. Arlo Tysinger posing with Lexi the Collie-Rottweiler-Chow hybrid of Rhona Lopez Nath, during the Blessing of the Animals 2015.

  • This church has a long-standing tradition of hospitality and generosity towards various groups, as seen in this website’s current Missions & Outreach page.
  • For example, the Shadow Hills Presbyterian Preschool  (seen in action below) has provided high quality early education to infants and toddlers for many generations to the families of the Sunland-Tujunga area.


  • SHPC also still serves as a reliable venue and partner to other community groups, such as: the local Girl Scots troop, the Doll Club, the American Sewing Club, our neighboring non-profit equine-based therapeutic services group Ahead with Horses, and the local Los Angeles County elections (Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council Elections).
  • Other past guests of SHPC hospitality included: the Burbank Chorale, and other live musical performance groups seeking a venue for auditions and rehearsals; a long-running Alcoholics Anonymous chapter that later moved to larger local venues; and other Christian ministries that incubated their fledgling flocks inside the SHPC Chapel – such as the bilingual Spanish-English Winds of Hope Ministries, which has gracefully expanded enough to move into its own larger venue by 2015.



When driving or walking from the 210 Fwy Exit/Entry Ramps near Ralph’s Supermarket: The 3 Top-to-Bottom Signs prominently feature SHPC, the Shadow Hills Preschool, and the English-language signage for COAC (Christian Outreach to Armenians in California) Church Ministry being hosted inside the SHPC Chapel during Sunday afternoons/early evenings since late 2017. Such front-and-back signage smoothly signals that one has arrived at our campus on the corner of Johanna Avenue and Sunland Blvd.!

Given SHPC’s proximity to Los Angeles, its members come from a wide array of personal and professional backgrounds, and it has a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

Reflective of the immediate environment’s down-to-earth spirit, most members attend church services and events in fairly casual attire.

Thus, whatever one’s background, SHPC invites you to be part of its ongoing history as an intimate community out to make a lasting impact for Christ in more ways than one.






Rev. W. Moffat Dennis: Organizing Pastor – April 1950

Rev. John R. Stewart: October 1951 – February 1955

Rev. Wesley Clyde Baker: September 1955 – January 1960

Rev. Charles E. Link: September 1960 – September 1966

Dr. Jacob A. Long: Stated Supply, November 1966 – October 1967

Rev. Gordon MacInnes: October 1967 – November 1974

Rev. Leonard Osbrink: Interim, December 1974 – August 1975

Rev. Leonard Orr: September 1975 – October 1976

Dr. Rev. Robert L. Caldwell: Interim, November 1978 – May 1980

Rev. Craig Hall: June 1980 – November 1993

Rev. Faye L. Serene: Stated Supply, December 1993 – February 1994

Rev. Steven L. Frank: Interim, February 1994 – August 1995

Rev. Thomas F. Johnson: Interim, September 1985 – April 1996

Dr. Rev. Janet B. Winslow: April 1996 – December 2012

Dr. Rev. Robert Caldwell: Emeritus Pastor – April 20, 1996

Dr. Rev. Rebecca Prichard: Interim, April 2013 – December 2014

Rev. Michael J. Roffina: Stated Supply, January 2015 – March 2015

Rev. Arlo Tysinger: April 2015 – PRESENT


SHPC Memorials (in honor of beloved members and their loved ones who have passed on)

Jane Whitten: March 1961

Dorothy Huck: January 1966

Conrad Llynn Storer: September 1966

Claire Warren Cone: June 1968

Rusty Lloyd: January 1989

Merle Tretter: March 1989

Wilma Baulo: April 1989

Emily Laird: May 1989

Adelaide Williams: June 1989

Lillian & Otto Rorbach: November 1990

Elaine Watt: February 1992

Alvina Folie: May 1992

Olive Herbert: July 1992

Ages Hornickel: August 1992

Patricia Valcheck: March 1993

Stanley Gilbert: May 1993

Eleanor Yerzley: December 1994

Mackie & Bob Williams: October 1995

Kent Blott: December 1995

Jack Kite: March 1996

Joe Eddy: April 1996

Margaret Huckaby: January 1997

Ryan Huckaby: July 1997

Dr. Clifford & Francis McGinnis: June 1997

James Moore: July 1987

Roy Busse: November 1997

Gretchen Oglesby: January 1999

Zana Harper: January 1999

John Sito: June 1999

Len & Alex Tomich: October 1999

Maria Latuperissa: February 2001

William Meachum: April 2002

Phyllis Harry: September 2003

Stan Watt: March 2005

Dr. K. C. Anderson: April 2005

Betty Thompson: June 2005

Virginia King: 2006

Lorene Arnold: 2006

Jim Hodges: September 2006

Dortha & Dean Ball: April 2007

Lillian Watson: April 2007

Evelyn Lorene Russek: October 2007

Hideo Endo: January 2008

Dorothy Hopkins: January 2008

Margaret (Peg) Meyer: February 2008

Justin Sawicki: July 2008

Sandy Hall: December 2008

Ellen Hewit: December 2009

Ida & Roger Jensen: December 2009

Dan Christopher: October 2011

Elaine Whittington: October 2014

Gary Whittington: May 2015

John Becker: July 2015

Rachel Gunches: November 2015

Virginia Johnson: May 2016

Bea Waterman: May 2016

Janette Loth: May 2016

Jim Lowe: June 2016

Betty Thomson: October 2016

Ben Urias: November 2016

Tyrus Wong: December 2016

Evelyn Conning: January 2017

Diane Alamillo: May 2017

Joanne Hodges: August 2017

SHPC Endowments and Trusts (founded by dedicated members to provide modest yet steady interest income to our ministry)

Marguerite Brydegaard Trust: October 1985

Laura Barker-Andy Crone Trust: April 2011




Clerk of Session: Rose Kukla (2018-2019)

Elders (listed according to service term end):

Mary Ann Haggerty, John Henken, Armand Kohut, Rhona Lopez-Nath, and Shirlen Montana (Class of 2019)

Derek Tabone and Ellen Fishburn  (Class of 2020)

Bonnie Lemus, Lisa Strawn, and Dianne Travis (Class of 2021)

Presbytery of San Fernando Commissioners representing SHPC for 2018-2019: Rhona Lopez Nath and Derek Tabone

Commissioned Ruling Elder: Jerry North

SHPC Corporate Officers 2018-2019, formally managing our non-profit 501(c)(3) status compliance:

President – Ellen Fishburn

Vice-President – Mary Ann Haggerty

Secretary – Rose Kukla

Treasurer – Dave Farrand.


2018-2019 Session Ministry Area Leadership Assignments:

Clerk of Session  – Rose Kukla


SHPC Clerk of Session for 2018-2019, seen above: Rose Kukla

Worship & Music – Mary Ann Haggerty and Bonnie Lemus


SHPC Worship & Music Elders for 2018-2019 seen above, L to R: Mary Ann Haggerty and Bonnie Lemus

Administration/Finance/Personnel – Ellen Fishburn and Derek Tabone


SHPC Administration/Finance/Personnel Elders for 2018-2019 seen above, L to R: Ellen Fishburn and Derek Tabone

Buildings and Grounds – Armand Kohut


SHPC Buildings & Grounds Elder for 2018-2019, seen above: Armand Kohut

Christian Education – John Henken and Lisa Strawn


SHPC Christian Education Elders for 2018-2019 seen above, L to R: Lisa Strawn and John Henken

Congregational Care – Shirlen Montana


SHPC Congregational Care Elder for 2018-2019, seen above: Shirlen Montana

Mission and Outreach – Rhona Lopez Nath and Dianne Travis


SHPC Mission & Outreach Elders for 2018-2019, seen above, L to R: Dianne Travis and Rhona Lopez Nath

*As of March 2018, there are still Two (2) Vacant Elder Positions: 1 for Congregational Care, and 1 for Buildings & Grounds. Nominations are welcome.*

*Elders will also be designated as the main points of contact for their respective Care Groups of SHPC members and attenders, so that even if/when emergencies come up outside of Sundays, the SHPC family can still provide timely aid and fellowship directly to one another.*



  • SHPC refreshes its roster of Elders yearly, with the Session forming an Elder Nominating Committee (composed largely of active, Non-Elder SHPC members) that discerningly invites, encourages, and counsels potential SHPC adult leaders to be considered for Election into the Session. 
  • Other interested SHPC members can directly present themselves as Elder candidates to the Elder Nominating Committee too, for serious consideration.
  • Candidates for open Elder positions are voted on during a scheduled and announced Congregational Meeting every December.
  • Newly elected Elders join the other existing Elders in Session on the January afterwards, meeting 1x/Month after a scheduled Sunday Morning service in the SHPC Parlor for a working potluck lunch, with Elders taking volunteer turns to provide various parts of the meal.
  • Each SHPC Elder is also given his or her own labeled Correspondence Box inside the SHPC Church Office, to help any Elder keep track of any documentation needed to aid in fulfilling assigned Elder duties.
  • The SHPC Elder post is a volunteer position, given that SHPC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. As with any non-profit volunteer position, the volunteer can deduct, for individual yearly income tax filing purposes, the suitably tracked monetary amount representing given resources to this volunteer position, such as one’s travel time and fuel consumption, monies spent on providing potluck meals, use of home office supplies and/or lent or donated technology, tools, and the like to help fulfill projects tasks, and the like.
  • SHPC has modest, interest-earning, and dedicated funds that can supplement the costs of fulfilling ministry tasks, including: the Deacons’ Fund for Congregational Care (which is replenished through optional giving envelopes available year-round to SHPC members/attenders/guests), donor member-named trusts for Christian Education, Buildings & Grounds, Mission & Outreach, Worship & Music, and other concerns – as specified by past members who had either bequeathed or set up these modest accounts for particular ongoing SHPC growth and maintenance needs.
  • However, given inflation and rising costs of living, property maintenance, and other tasks over time, SHPC Elders also have the shared responsibility to be responsible stewards of existing and future sources of much-needed program funds, such as: creative fund-raising, updated cost-saving measures, gathering appropriate in-kind donations, and the like.
  • Ministry area assignments, Care Group assignments, Presbytery of San Fernando Commissioner representation, and 501(c)(3) Corporate Officer assignments are discussed and determined on a yearly basis by the SHPC Session Members under the guidance of our Teaching Elder, the Head Pastor.
  • SHPC Elders work together to develop, maintain, and enhance projects and programs that sustainably contribute to various aspects of SHPC ministry. 
  • A SHPC Elder typically serves a 3-year term, although in certain circumstances (ex. to fill an unexpected vacancy, etc.), 1-year terms may also be pursued.


*In Presbyterian church governance, a Session is typically made of a diverse lay leadership group of Ruling Elders (assisted by 1 record-keeping Clerk of Session) who are elected by the congregation to help nurture the church in cooperation with its Teaching Elder, the Head Pastor.*


“As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to share in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships.”