Side Menu

Ministers, Staff & Board of Trustees


Dr. David Bruner

Senior Minister & Spiritual Director
408-294-1828 x113
davidbruner [at]
Dr. David Bruner is the Spiritual Leader at Center for Spiritual Living, San Jose. Adored by his congregation, he has an “everyday kind of guy” style combined with an irreverent sense of humor. He is a compelling, charismatic speaker known and loved for his practical, often unorthodox approach to spirituality.

Dr. David has left a mark of friendliness and service in each position he has occupied on his journey from Practitioner through Ministerial School to assistant minister in North Hollywood to GEMs Manager, and now in San Jose. David is a visionary leader; creative, passionate, authentic and above all, a people person. He is very well known in our denomination’s community and he is committed to Religious Science and the people who love it. He lives his ministry and walks the talk. Being called to the greater Bay Area to serve as Spiritual Leader of Center for Spiritual Living, San Jose is the fulfillment of his lifelong dream.

Rev. Susan Overland

Associate Minister
408-294-1828 x115
revsusan [at]
Rev. Susan walked into the Center in May of 2001 and began a journey of profound personal transformation. She obtained her M.A. in Consciousness studies in 2011 and, as our Associate Minister, she is dedicated to inspiring transformation and possibility in the lives of others. Whether as speaker, facilitator, director, teacher, her passionate, quick-witted and straightforward point of view gives new perspective to living the Science of Mind and Spirit.

Rev. Susan has built quite the resume at the Center in her journey from attendee to member to Practitioner to Minister. Every area of operations has felt her influence, i.e., Business Operations, Programs, Education, etc. In addition, her creativity brings to us numerous summer programs, roasts, toasts, and thank you concerts. Prior to her call to ministry, Rev. Susan had a thriving career at Hewlett-Packard and, along the way, collected numerous awards for her theater work from New York to California.
Rev. Marcia Bencala

Rev. Marcia Bencala

Staff Minister
marciabencala [at]
Rev. Toni Cormier

Rev. Toni Cormier

Staff Minister
tonicormier [at]
“My call to ministry,” notes Rev. Toni, “began with a need to know more about God.” As she traveled the spiritual path known as Science of Mind, it was a momentous discovery that the God “up there” resided quite comfortably within her! Her realization that she has dominion in her own life made her fall in love with this life transforming philosophy.

Her career is in hospice work where she is a bereavement and spiritual care counselor. She brings this expertise in our Center where oversees the Saying Goodbye (End of Life) Ministry. As such, she creates a sacred space for people to discuss the taboo topics of death and dying.
Rev. Michelle Jordon

Rev. Michelle Jordan

Staff Minister
michellejordan [at]
Rev. Michelle is an extraordinary singer, musician, actress, storyteller and muse. She is also known for being a spiritual counselor, teacher, facilitator and role model. On stage, she is known as Queen Michelle.

Exercising amazing strength, beauty and depth of spirit, Michelle draws forth the same from the Global Heart Choir which she directs. She has led the Music Ministry since 2013. Whether an individual musician or a group or Michelle herself, they use the incredible power of sound to open our hearts and let our soul shift.
Rev. Franklin Privette

Rev. Franklin Privette

Staff Minister
franklinprivette [at]
Rev. Franklin recently returned to our Center after serving for five years as a staff minister at the Music City Center for Spiritual Living in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to that, CSLSJ had been his spiritual home since 1985. He served our center in various capacities including ten years as a Licensed Practitioner before becoming a minister.

A former farmer, Naval Officer, scientist, property manager and high school Biology teacher, Rev. Franklin is now retired. At our center he enjoys supporting our licensed Practitioners, facilitating classes and spiritual counseling.
Rev. Maureen Ross

Rev. Maureen Ross

Staff Minister
maureenross [at]
Becoming as an RScP and, subsequently, a minister allowed Rev. Maureen to weave together a platform based on compassion, bereavement and end-of-life counseling, life changes, and spirituality for the whole of our lives. Ministry creates a beautiful connection within the community, she says, as we show up for each other in these very real lives, in this startling and sometimes heart-breaking world, heart to heart.

She brings to ministry 15 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist specializing trauma, grief and loss, family growth, and tools and practice for respectful and genuine communication. In Compassionate Care she coordinates and officiates End-of-Life/ Celebrations of Life, Weddings, Child Blessings and Animal Blessings. She also teaches spiritual care and counseling at the local level to ministerial students, interns and students of psychology, and health care professionals.


Jennifer Bick

Jennifer Bick

Youth and Family
jenniferbick [at]
Jenn was brought up with a unique mixture of spiritual practices, i.e., traditional Catholicism with psychic practices/beliefs sprinkled on the top. In 1989, “new thought” entered the picture, leading to her licensing as a Practitioner in 2011 and embracing her second stint as Youth Director.
Jenn loves the growth and development of the Youth Program and is excited about the opportunities it is creating for her to be in service to the whole community. Although there are many aspects to the Youth & Family programs, she is most passionate about (1) sharing our spiritual practices with our youngest members and building relationships for our families through events and programs that serve and include them.

Raquel Watjen

Director of Business Operations
raquelwatjen [at]
Raquel has been a member of Center for Spiritual Living, San José since the mid-1990’s. Anyone that knows her can see that Raquel’s life *is* her spirituality, and her spirituality *is* her life.

She started working at the Center in January of 2018. Raquel spent 25 years in the high tech industry at companies like 3Com, Google and Apple. She brings expertise in management, marketing, finance, legal and event management. She’s also a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer and her passion is to work with families to create harmony and workability.

Aurieona Astara

Finance Admin
bookkeeping [at]
Aurieona has been attending CSL San Jose since 1989 and has a deep commitment to living a workable life through spiritual practice.

She recently earned her Associates of Arts degree while studying Music and has over 20 years of administrative experience, including her role as the Executive Assistant to the president of West Valley College.

As the Financial Admin at CSL San Jose, Aurie endeavors to fulfill this role with excellence and welcomes the opportunity to interact. When not at work, her greatest joys are dance and singing.
David Gomez

David Gomez

Maintenance/GardeningProviding maintenance and gardening that is fueled by love, David has the most longevity as a staff member. Arriving in 1979, he has been a steady and trustworthy presence at the Center.
Petra Gerda Paul

Petra Gerda Paul

Giftshop ManagerThe smiling face and warm hugs that greet you in the Gift Shop belong to Petra, the Gift Shop Manager. Within hours of arriving at our Center in 2012, Petra was taking classes and volunteering. Her life has been one of service whether as a foster parent or as the caregiver to a husband with Alzheimer’s.

Born in Germany, she worked as an RN in Obstetrics, surgery and neurosurgery prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 1965. Currently, she hugs, greets, and chats with visitors to the Bookstore/Gift Shop.


David Field

David Field

Chair, Board of Trustees
davidfield [at]
David and his wife, Karol, began attending The Center in 2012 and quickly fell in love with the community! He has been volunteering on the Concierge team for most of that time and volunteered for our Values Based Organization Assessment before joining the Board of Trustees in 2015. That same year, he launched a project to enhance both the impact and the experience for our Volunteers as the Board began working on our inaugural strategic plan. A frequent volunteer for our annual fall fundraisers, he has also been a strong advocate for our community barbeque tradition since its inception in 2016!
A man of diverse talents, David has fused together work as restaurant manager, community college instructor, software marketing specialist, research analyst, and mediator into project management for the development team at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. He enjoys gatherings with friends and family, hiking, camping, volunteering, the view from mountain tops, reading, historical simulation games, and periodically exercising his mixology skills for the right occasion!
Susan James

Dr. Susan James

Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees
susanjames [at]
Dr. Susan began her CSL journey in 1984 at the Washington D.C. Center for Spiritual Living (then called United Church of Religious Science) As a former commercial property manager; she brings expertise in finance, management, and marketing to the board.

Blending business acumen with her current career as a psychotherapist, Dr. Susan provides sensitivity, compassion and a dedication to be of service to others.
Susanne Mulcahy

Susanne Mulcahy

Treasurer, Board of Trustees
susannemulcahy [at]

Susanne brings the best of nonprofit and business wisdom. She is committed to valuing and utilizing all of our resources as effectively as possible. As a result, she sees that we co-create an organization that lives, breathes and exemplifies the Global Heart Vision with a World that Works for Everyone.

Susanne brings a background of 25+ years as a nonprofit professional. Previous to joining the non-profit sector, she was in banking. Currently, as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), she has a Coaching and Consulting practice focused on Executive/Leadership Coaching and Nonprofit Consulting.
Girish Ahuja

Girish Ahuja

Secretary, Board of Trustees
girishahuja [at]
Girish is deeply honored to be selected to serve on the Board of Trustees. He is a professional accountant with wide international experience and wishes to use his business knowledge and experience to serve this community.
Dr. David Bruner

Dr. David Bruner

Member at Large, Board of Trustees, Senior Minister & Spiritual Director
408-294-1828 x11
davidbruner [at]
As the Senior Minister & Spiritual Director, Dr. David is an ongoing member of the Board of Trustees. He functions not only as a voting member but as a historian to assure that there is a continuity of vision and accountability on the part of the Board.

Aparna Shute

Member at Large, Board of Trustees
aparnashute [at]
Aparna is passionate about leveraging her business management skills to create mutually beneficial partnerships between the nonprofit and business sectors to improve the overall quality of life of their shared communities and create a world that works for everyone. She has volunteered at various community-based nonprofits to understand how her skills and passion might align for the betterment of the community. She has learned that balancing empathy and compassion with efficiency and effectiveness is challenging for nonprofits. She has also learned that nonprofits are often focused solely on providing services and do not have the resources to invest in capacity building or creating partnerships. She has gained valuable insights and knowledge by volunteering and has product and project management skills which she believes would be useful in creating systems to facilitate increased collaboration and partnerships.
Les Lindop

Les Lindop

Member at Large, Board of Trustees
leslindop [at]
Les brings a wide and varied background to the Board of Trustees. Although he is deeply honored to be elected, his desire is to serve his spiritual community during his tenure.