Grace exists to gather the convinced and unconvinced into community, where we grow as Jesus does His work of forgiving and renewing, so that we go out to live for a story bigger than ourselves.
Gathering takes place through Sunday worship, community groups, and events, as well as a variety of other venues. The Christian life is a community project. Even if you’re not yet a Christian, gathering with other Christians is vital—as belonging often happens before believing.
The work of Jesus takes place as we worship, pray, cry, serve, love, help, celebrate, and encourage one another. By His Spirit, we are transformed, becoming more like what God intended humanity to be. The road to sanctification may be long, but we’re called to walk it together.
We are blessed to be a blessing, which means that followers of Jesus are to be “in the world, not of the world, but for the world.” God’s ultimate goal is to one day make all things new, but He also wants us to bring the hope of new creation into the here and now.
Grace Pres was established in 2000, desiring to be a community centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ and committed to His mission. In 2010, Grace launched a second site in the San Jose area and continued as a multi-site church until November of 2018, when that second site became its own congregation, Grace South Bay. In April 2022, we began worshiping at our new ministry home on N. California Ave in Palo Alto. Grace is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America.
There are many layers of leadership at Grace, including pastors, elders, and diaconal mercy team members, as well as numerous lay volunteers who play absolutely vital roles in serving and leading us with their gifts. In addition, we have full-time and part-time staff who are characterized by a spirit of cooperation and mutual support for the sake of fulfilling our mission.
Before joining Grace Staff at the end of 2019, Grace had previously worked as a government liaison with oil and gas equipment companies. She also spent several years in Human Resources specializing in talent attraction. Attracting humans to God's Kingdom has been her most fulfilling job to date.
Grace values ministering to the littlest ones in our midst because of two deep convictions- that each child has an eternal soul, and that our period of influence with the kids is limited. She has been involved with children's ministry ever since her teens and has volunteered with Young Life back in the day when she could pass as "cool". Grace also currently serves as the Children's Supervisor for the Bible Study Fellowship Class in San Mateo, overseeing the preschool program there. She relishes being the Games Director for her local AWANA club and has thought of many ways to tire kids out on a weeknight.
On the weekends, you'll find Grace cheering for whichever Little League team her sons are on, or heading out with her husband and three children (Ethan, Eva and Evan) for hikes. If you're (un)lucky, you might also catch the whole family dancing to Meghan Trainor or belting out a Disney soundtrack in their living room.
In 2020 they moved to Palo Alto for James to carry out his post-doctorate at Stanford. Annabel writes stories for fun in hopes that they will make people laugh, connect with the reader, and be a sliding door into a new perspective. She joined the Grace Pres team in 2023 in the communications role. Her mission is to ensure our congregation feels truly at home, establishing effective communications and fostering a welcoming atmosphere within our church community.
When she is not at Church, you can find her climbing up rock walls, pitching a tent in the Santa Cruz mountains, or splashing in fountains with her family.
Alongside her role at Grace, Kathy is pursuing a Master’s of Counseling degree with Westminster Online Learning. Her favorite ways to unwind are laughing, hiking and spending time with family and friends, but especially with her one-year-old grandson.
David also loves finding new places to eat, cycling, college football, snow skiing, live music, and great coffee – especially when these things are shared with others. His heart is for Grace to always feel like a place where you are “free to struggle” instead of “struggling to be free.”
Iron likes to spend time with his family, learn obscure facts, and follow his beloved New York Yankees. He is married to his wife Grace, and they have one daughter, Charlotte.
Some of her favorite activities are walking her dog Milly while chatting with a girlfriend, spending an entire day cooking in the kitchen, sitting at the beach for hours doing absolutely nothing, making vacation memories with her daughters and sons-in-law, and babysitting her grandson, Kai.
In 2021, Ben moved to the Bay Area to join Grace as an assistant pastor and quickly realized why it’s called the “Best Coast.” In his free time, Ben loves spending time with people in any capacity, running, hiking, all things related to games and sports (particularly volleyball, football, and baseball), playing the piano, and exploring different foods and cultures.
After not growing up as a Christian, she found Jesus in 2017 while attending Grace, and is so thankful for the sweet way God pursued her through the welcoming community of this church. For the last five years, she has volunteered as a 2nd/3rd grade leader for GraceKids. As the Elementary Coordinator, she is excited to use her teaching experience to continue to serve the little ones of our church, and hopes Sundays can be a time where each kid feels God’s love and the hope that the gospel brings us! Some of her favorite activities include taking long walks, baking new treats for family and friends, reading at a coffee shop, and watching an absurd amount of cooking shows. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband Hunter and their daughter Hannah.
After working for RUF for five years, Jess came on staff at Grace in May 2018 to serve as the Director of Creative Arts and Congregational Care and interim Worship Director, or affectionately known as the Director of Colors and Feelings. She currently coordinates our worship team and crafts our Sunday services by choosing songs, Scripture readings and prayers that complement the preaching of the Word.
When she’s not making music, Jess loves listening to music — discovering new artists and going to see her favorites live. She loves hosting movie nights and trying out new recipes on her dinner guests. She is also a part of the Crossfit community and likes to lift heavy things.