Rev. Paul Ortiz, Pastor (he/him/él)
As a child, Paul was heavily influenced by his Cuban, immigrant abuelita (grandmother) who was a Pentecostal church planter and ordained minister. However, like many people, he left the church due to the exclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons. He returned to the faith and to his call to pastoral ministry after experiencing radically inclusive, new expressions of United Methodist churches. After attending Garrett-Evangelical Theological seminary, where he completed a Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies, and serving in church planting for several years in Chicago, Paul is thrilled to live in Seattle and pastor University Gathering as they move toward the creation of something new. When not churching it up, Paul loves print-making, drinking coffee, reading theology, riding his bike, and spending quality time with his partner Kim and child Kai.
Ben Fowler, Worship Leader (he/him/his)
Ben is excited to be joining the staff at U Gathering as a Worship Leader. His experience in the church is vast and varied and has at times been a bit rocky. Coming out late in life presented some challenges to his personal life and faith and he’s grateful to be joining a community that celebrates LGBTQIA+ people and where it’s ok to ask questions, doubt, and not have things all figured out.
Ben lives in Seattle with his partner, Grant. He has four amazing kids that he absolutely adores; they live with their mom nearby.
Ben grew up playing music of all kinds and went to the University of Washington where he majored in clarinet performance and orchestral studies. He still plays a lot of music and has been getting into his roots and learning the Irish flute.
He loves to be outside and feels fortunate to live in such a beautiful area with access to all kinds of recreational pursuits. He grew up skiing and wakeboarding and likes to hike and camp. His latest hobby...sewing.
Leo DeDios, Children's Minister (she/he/they)
Leo has a diverse and versatile background in ministry, from being a worship leader to pastoring an independent church in the Latinx community. As a faith leader, she was able to serve many Latinx families and at the same time plant several Spanish-speaking churches around the Pacific Northwest. As a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, she has a deep love for God and passion for social justice and serving people. Along with ministry, she loves spending time with her family. Together with her partner, Clara, she has three beautiful children of which the oldest has a disability. As a family they have witnessed God’s hand over their lives. Leo also has interest and gifts in playing various instruments, video production and project management. She is excited to utilize her gifts for ministering to children and families and the new thing that God is doing at University Temple.
Brian Hutchison, Administrative Assistant (he/him/his)
Brian joined the University Gathering staff in 2016. He is also the pastor of Emerald City Metropolitan Community Church.
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