Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson

firstunitedrevbernicepjaRev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson has been pastor of First United Church of Tampa for seven years. She is an activist on behalf of human and civil rights, women’s rights, and has been an advocate for peace with justice and ecumenism around the world, including serving as president of the North American region of the World Council of Churches for nine years. She just finished her term as co-president of HOPE (Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality) and still chairs its Criminal Justice Committee.  Serving on the UCC national staff for nearly two decades, Pastor Bernice was the founding Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries and one of five officers of the denomination. She also served as Executive Director of the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. Prior to that, she served as the director of the Bishop Tutu Southern African Refugee Scholarship Fund, where she was also the Archbishop’s U.S. representative. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., she is a graduate of Wilson College and holds master’s degrees from the Columbia University School of Journalism and Union Theological Seminary and received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from Defiance College and the Florida Center for Theological Studies. Pastor Bernice is married to Dr. Franklyn Jackson, a retired school administrator, for nearly 25 years.

Rev. Fernando Bernard Dávila
Pastor Asistente para Comunidades Hispanas
Assistant Pastor for Hispanic Communities

firstunitedfernando2El Revdo. Fernando Bernard nació en Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Obtuvo un Bachillerato en Ciencias Sociales por la Universidad de Puerto Rico, una Maestría en Consejería de la Universidad de Phoenix y una Maestría en Artes en Religión del Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico. En su carrera ministerial, Pastor Fernando trabajó como líder y clero en la primera iglesia de puertas abiertas a la comunidad LGBT fundada en Puerto Rico. También fundó una iglesia incluyente no denominacional en Manatí, Puerto Rico, brindando así un espacio seguro e inclusivo para personas LGBT y amigos de fuera de la zona metropolitana. Además, trabajó para promover espacios de diálogo para las comunidades LGBT en ámbitos académicos, como la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Seminario Evangélico y la Asociación de Consejeros Profesionales de Puerto Rico. En octubre de 2015, recibió el aval “Privilege of Call” con la UCC siendo reconocido como un ministro ordenado de la Iglesia Unida de Cristo. Pastor Fernando tiene un fuerte llamado a trabajar con las comunidades hispanas para desarrollar nuevos ministerios que atiendan las necesidades particulares de la población hispana de la UCC, y sirve como pastor en el Ministerio Hispano en nuestra iglesia. Este ministerio progresivo e incluyente trata de llevar a las personas que han sido marginados en diversas formas a un encuentro con el Dios de amor inclusivo.

Rev. Fernando Bernard was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master of Arts in counseling from the University of Phoenix, and a Master of Arts in Religion from the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico. In his ministry career, Pastor Fernando worked as a leader and as clergy in the first church founded in Puerto Rico that opened its doors to the LGBT community. He also founded an inclusive non-denominational church in Manatí, Puerto Rico, that provides a safe and inclusive space for LGBT folks and friends from outside of the metropolitan area. He also worked to promote places for dialogue for the LGBT community in academic circles, such as the University of Puerto Rico, the Evangelical Seminary, and the Association of Professional Counselors of Puerto Rico. In October 2015, he was granted “Privilege of Call” in the UCC, recognizing him as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Pastor Fernando has a strong call to work with Hispanic communities to develop new ministeries to meet the particular needs of the Hispanic population in the UCC, and he serves as the pastor of the Hispanic Ministry at our church. This progressive and inclusive ministry brings together people who have been marginalized for whatever reason for an encounter with our loving and inclusvie God.

Michael Cain
Licensed Minister

firstunitedmcain2Michael is licensed for ministry by the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ. He currently assists with the church’s 20s/30s Group.
 Michael has worked with young people for over 30 years, most recently as a regional youth minister with the Florida Conference of the UCC.

Fernando López Gutiérrez
Director Musical y Pianista
Musical Director and Pianist
fernandolopgut2Fernando López es originario de Sonora, México. Aunque sus estudios musicales han sido enfocados mayormente en la música occidental, Fernando no se ha limitado a explorar e incluso dominar diversos estilos. Actualmente se dedica a la ejecución de su instrumento tanto como solista como acompañante, así como también a la enseñanza, contando con un amplio número de alumnos. Fernando es graduado de la Escuela de Música de la Universidad de Arizona y más recientemente de la Universidad del Sur de Florida, en donde recibió su Maestría en Música.

Fernando López is originally from Sonora, Mexico. Although his musical studies have focused primarily on Western music, he has not kept himself from exploring and mastering various styles. Currently he works not only as a soloist, but also as an accompanist and a teacher for a large number of students. Fernando graduated from the School of Music at the Univeristy of Arizona and recently graduated from the Univerisity of South Florida, where he received his Master of Music degree. 

Darlene Hopkins
Administrative Assistant

Darlene is a native of Tampa and has been our Administrative Assistant for three years. She is a proud grandmother of five and enjoys traveling.

Jorge Cerdas

firstunitedjorge25Jorge is a native of Costa Rica and he has been our Custodian for four years. He is meticulous and takes excellent care of our facilities.