Laurel Mathewson was born and raised in Oregon, but found her way to the San Francisco bay area to attend Stanford University. While there, she also found a passion for the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice; the cultural and spiritual implications of landscape; and a life partner (her now-husband, Colin). Before seminary at the University of the South (Sewanee), Laurel worked as a research assistant, an editorial assistant at Sojourners, and a campus missioner at UCSD. Although she began to explore the possibility of ordained ministry while attending an Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., Laurel was confirmed, sponsored for ordination, and ordained a priest at St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego, where she led formation from 2013-16. In October 2016, the Mathewsons moved across Balboa Park to begin a new adventure with St. Luke's in North Park. Laurel is passionate about teaching and preaching the ever-surprising love of God, parenting her two young children, trees, well-made cookies, and inspiring writing (which she aspires to create, sometimes and some days). You can reach her on Facebook or by email.
The Rev. Colin Mathewson graduated from Valhalla High School in East County, San Diego and Stanford University with a degree in Urban Studies. He's since served as a campaign manager, community organizer, press assistant, executive assistant, foundation program officer, and as a volunteer in El Salvador before starting seminary in 2010. He and his wife Laurel graduated from The School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee in 2013 and served together as deacons and priests at St. Paul's Cathedral until becoming vicars-in-charge at St. Luke’s Episcopal in North Park. He also serves as a part-time pastor at St Matthews in National City. He and Laurel have two kids who keep them busy and laughing, and Colin enjoys sports, cooking, eating, and reading. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, email, or cell: 619-977-8173. Check out a recent article in the San Diego Reader here.
Amani Ago, Co-Director for Children, Youth, and Family Ministries
My name is Amani Ago; I was born in Juba, South Sudan, and left South Sudan at the age of six-month-old to North Sudan due to the Civil War. I moved to Egypt in 1998, then moved to the United States of America in 1999. June of 2012, I graduated from Concorde Career College as a Medical Billing and Coding. I am a mother of three unique, loving, and carrying children -John (9), Joseph (6), and Joanna Apiou (2). My interests and hobbies are cooking (to be more pacific Sudanese), hair braiding, walking (long-distance running), and volunteering to work in the community to bring people together. My passion in life, being true to myself, learning something new while having an adventure, and most importantly, giving back to the community.
Click here to email Amani.
Ruth Japtok, Administrator and Business Developer
Ruth Japtok grew up in Kampala, Uganda. After high school, she moved to Germany where she studied Nutrition Science and graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree. Thereafter she moved to the U.S. She and her husband Martin have lived in various places in Southern
California before settling in San Diego. After working in the Nutrition field, Ruth has had various positions in research, worked as a nurse, and has been a small business owner. Before joining St. Luke’s as Operations and Enterprise Minister, she was employed at UCSD in cancer research. Ruth enjoys Arts and crafts, cooking and traveling when possible. During her free time, she explores San Diego, enjoying its weather, neighborhoods, and natural environment, its cultural attractions, diverse populations and rich variety of foods. She particularly likes walking with Martin and Schnipsel – their furry, happy four-legged friend. Click here to email Ruth.
Joseph Jok, Development Director
Joseph is a professional interpreter, fluent in five languages, and holds an MA in International Relations from Alliant International University. He is an active leader and networker among the local Sudanese community in San Diego and the diaspora. He is passionate about helping refugees succeed in the US and has been serving refugees and immigrants for the past twenty years in different capacities. Click here to email Joseph.
Michael Mawien, Senior Warden and Bookkeeper
Michael was born and raised in Khartoum, Sudan. After high school he went to Syria as an exchange student to study Economics and Political Science at Damascus University. While there he became a very active student against the civil war in South Sudan and in the Blue Nile, Nuba Mountain, and Darfur regions of Sudan. Because of threats received in response to that activism, he received political asylum and resettlement in Dallas, Texas in 2002. He has since lived in Virginia and Washington D.C. before moving to San Diego in 2004. Michael has a degree in Business Administration from Southern University and a MBA from Independence University. He has held various positions in the financial industry including Wells Fargo Bank and Farmers Insurance Corporate, and he is currently an insurance agency owner at PIA Select. His hobbies include sports, spending time with his kids, listening to gospel music, going to the beach, and traveling. Click here to email Michael.
Fargin Neim, Development Associate
Fargin is a long time congregant who spent much of her upbringing in the states. She graduated from the School Creative and Performing Arts high school in San Diego, studying creative writing and storytelling. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Computer Science and hopes to bridge both passions to create something wonderful and useful. Click here to email Fargin.
Amy Reams, Co-Director for Children, Youth, and Family Ministries
Amy is a Southern California native with a background in theater design and photography. After some time in New York City studying set design at NYU, she and her husband Paul moved to San Diego and started a photography business. She continues to love taking pictures.
Matrida Taleshiwe, Music Director
Click here to email Matrida.