Pastors & Staff
J. Manny Santiago, Pastor
I am a fourth-generation American Baptist (ABC-USA) who grew up in a coffee farm in the town of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. While growing up, I always thought that only women could be pastors, since my church had a woman pastor and the Regional Executive of my denomination at the time was also a woman! This makes for very interesting conversation starters…
I graduated from a science and math boarding school in Puerto Rico. After some time trying to figure out what to major in, I finished with a B.A. in Sociology and some extra credits in Spanish Grammar from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez.
After coming out as a queer Latino, I left the church for a while and moved to New York City where I worked with a nonprofit organization. I moved back to Puerto Rico and came back to the church through the Metropolitan Community Churches. After serving a mission post of this denomination, I was admitted to the awesomest seminary in the world, Andover Newton Theological School. For some unknown reasons, the ABC-USA welcomed me back and I was ordained by the First Baptist Church in Newton Centre, MA. I finished my M. Div. at Andover Newton, specializing in Global Christianity, Cross-Cultural and Interfaith Ministries later that year. God has granted me the chance to work with American Baptist and United Methodist congregations around the USA.
There are many things that I enjoy, but there are four that are my passions: reading, traveling, cooking, and working for justice. Almost every time I travel is to do some social justice work – although, I call it “vacation.” I have worked with students in El Salvador, peasants in Nicaragua, women in Venezuela, LGBT indigenous people in Panamá, children in Costa Rica, religious people in Cuba, the Navajo Nation in Arizona… Right now, I live in the University District in Seattle with my husband Ferneli and our kitty, Susa.
You can check out my blog at sociotheology.com
Margaret Paynton, Music Minister
I began my tenure as Organist of University Baptist Church August 1, 1976, while still a student at the University of Washington. I graduated with double Bachelor degrees, one in Organ Performance and the other in Music Education, holding a Washington state teaching certificate in Elementary Music Education. The UW Music School was where I met my husband Jim, and we were married in 1975.
In 1983, I began a second career teaching elementary music while continuing my work at UBC.
Over the years, I have been privileged to work with a number of gifted and exceptional Choir Directors, and several times, I stepped in to fill the gap between Directors. I have also been blessed to work alongside several Pastors, with an increasing sense of collegiality in the creation of worship experiences.
It is not customary for a church musician to join the church membership of his/her employ, but I made the decision early on that UBC was and is my church home. I have been embraced by the congregation through celebrating my accomplishments and mourning with me at times of personal loss. In 2005, I served as Moderator, and in 2008 assumed the duties of Choir Director as well as Organist.
The congregation that has nurtured me since 1975 has also called me to Ministry. In 2009, I decided to pursue Local Ordination in the American Baptist Churches. I was ordained on June 27, 2010.
I also receive much support from my family, which has grown to include two children, a daughter-in-law and son-in-law. Mary and Tracy, and Matt and Diane all enjoy the beauty of God’s creation with us through spending time on our boat, another member of family, as it were. We have owned Maranee, an all mahogany 1940 Chris Craft, since 1989.
Carolyn R. Bolton, Office & Communications Manager
I joined the staff at University Baptist Church in October 2013, almost one year to the day of having moved to Seattle (from Salem, Oregon) to very purposefully embark upon the second half of my life. An empty-nester since my two children, Andrew and Kimberly, had ventured into the adult world to fashion lives and families of their own, I was for the first time free to imagine and create the day-to-day life experience I wanted. Seattle was clearly the “where”, and I was blessed to discover that UBC is most certainly the “what”.
Born and raised in Southern Idaho, I left for Oregon to attend Corban University & Graduate School (formerly Western Baptist College) in Salem, Oregon. I graduated magna cum laude with a BA in music and communications, plus all Corban graduates complete a minor in theology as part of mandatory curriculum requirements for this Christ-centered private liberal arts college. Salem became my home for the next several decades, as it was there that I raised my children as a single mother since they were ages 4 and 5.
I have worked in the nonprofit world for the past 20 years, focused on public relations, communication, program management, training, fundraising and grant writing. The organizations in which I worked served range from services to at-risk teens, low income elderly and Native American small business owners -- to securing job training, job coaching and job placement for adults with disabilities. I also spent in state government as a public policy mediator, helped launch the Salem Business Journal as its editor, and served as executive director of a nonprofit community mediation center where I funded and launched a culturally-appropriate mediation program for Spanish-speaking Hispanic-Latino members of the community.
I live with my cat Dusty in a small studio apartment that is perfect for me in every way – including the fact that in a 100+ year old building that is merely a 10-minute walk down 15th from UBC! This was exactly my vision when I relocated to Seattle. My non-UBC hours are spent writing book reviews for several publishing houses, cooking wonderful soups and ethnic dishes from scratch, walking in the Ravenna Ravine and other lovely urban green spaces with my camera in hand. I love Seattle’s wealth of art, museum, live theatre and music choices, and am an avid film aficionado.
It brings me much happiness to support UBC’s ministry in the community. It feels like I have come “home”.