About Us

Welcome to Willow Glen UMC Family

At WGUMC, we are Christian without apology, but we are open when it comes to theology. Yes, we love the Bible, but we read it to begin a conversation, not to end one. So you don’t have to check your brain at the door. Bring your questions with you. We don’t have all the answers, but we are getting to know the One who does. We hope you will join us on the journey.

There are a few things we don’t have to debate:

  • Every person is a child of God. God loves you and we welcome you, no matter what label society has slapped on you.
  • No one is without the need of or beyond the reach of God’s grace—absolutely no one.
  • Grace comes to us in Jesus Christ, the One whose life, death and resurrection makes God real for us.  
  • And the Holy Spirit is the One who shows us how to love and how to live so that we can make God real for others.

Because our own families don’t always work for us, the church must be the family where God’s grace can work through us. Whatever is going on at WGUMC, you will find children, youth, and adults engaged in it. No matter your age, you can find a place and a purpose here. Other churches talk about family. We do it.

There are only two things we really have to do in life: love God and love our neighbor. In addition to weekly worship, Bible studies, and small groups, there are abundant opportunities for hands-on, hearts-in mission and service in Willow Glen and around the globe. If you want God to change your life, help us change the world.

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

For more information about the history and beliefs of the United Methodist Church, visit http://www.umc.org.

Meet our Staff

Rev. Jay Parr

Rev. Jay Parr

Senior Pastor

Office: 408-294-9796, ext 4                                                                                                                                                                      E-Mail: jay@wgumc.org

As a life-long Methodist, I left a 25-year career in tech sales to attend seminary and become a minister. My education is varied, which includes a BA in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, an MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and a Masters of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Although I have been in the Bay Area for 26 years, my roots are from Texas.  You will still hear some of my southern drawl and I have not found a replacement for the phrase “Y’all”. Btw, did you know that the plural of ‘Y’all’ is “All Y’all”.  Unfortunately, that is as good as my jokes get!  My best friend is my wife Bridget, and we have four young adult children. My favorite sport is golf, although I must inform you that my last name says nothing about my golf game.

When it comes to church, I absolutely love the church!  Church is a place to be filled with God’s love and then share that love with all. It is important to note that all means all! Yes, we are all God’s children, with no exception.  God celebrates all of our differences, as each of us are a unique miracle from God.  Also, I love doing ministry together so that we can be the church Christ calls us to be – a thriving and flourishing church that is ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world’.   And I love the Methodist slogan “open hearts, open minds, and open doors”, as this is a wonderful guide for our church ministries.

Rev. Susan Smith

Rev. Susan Smith


Office: 408-294-9796, ext 5
E-Mail: susan@wgumc.org

For Susan, children are the most important people in the church. They’re not just the church of the future; they’re the church of now! For this reason, Susan is committed to providing a place where children and families can grow together in their faith, experiencing God’s presence in their lives and learning to respond to that incredible love.

On Sunday mornings, you’ll find Susan sharing stories with the children, singing and dancing with them, participating in Sunday School projects, or just sitting with children to hear about their lives.

Susan shares her life with her husband Stephen (a high school history teacher) and her son Casey. Outside of work, she enjoys knitting, baking, biking, and being a mom. She also loves to spend time with her friends and family for whom she feels truly blessed.

Lisa Jacobs

Lisa Jacobs


E-Mail: Lisa3cyouth@gmail.com


Lisa Jacobs is the Joint Youth Director and the Fitness Ministry Director for Willow Glen. Lisa’s desire to be a Youth Pastor started when she was 16 and she has pursued that passion ever since. She worked in the Episcopal church, the Free Methodist Church and the Urban ministry program at Westmont College. She graduated from Westmont College in 2002 with a major in Religious Studies and an emphasis in Urban Ministry.She has been working as the Joint Youth Director for 10 years and loves serving, working with and getting to know the in’s and outs of young people. Everyone always asks if she will soon study to be a pastor of adults and Lisa’s response is this; “I believe that the young people are one of the most important parts of a congregation. Churches need relevant, affirming programs that help point teenagers towards God. Youth ministry is essential to the life of any church and my desire is to help facilitate that growth wherever God leads me. I can never imagine myself working with anyone but teenagers!”

Michael Cala

Michael Cala

Organist and Director of Music Ministries

E-Mail: michael@wgumc.org 

I’m a fourth generation San Jose native. I started playing the organ at my childhood church when I was 13 years old and have been playing regularly since then. From 1976 to 1980, I was a staff organist for Pizza and Pipes. I have been an active member of the San Jose Chapter of the American Guild of Organists for over 40 years having served as Dean, Sub-Dean twice for each. I have been with my partner Jim for 25 years and we have a five year old Scotty named Frankie. I look forward to being part of the WGUMC family for many years. 

Erika Engebretson

Erika Engebretson

Office-Facilities Manager / Bookkeeper

Office: 408-294-9796, ext 2
E-Mail: erika@wgumc.org

I am Willow Glen born and raised and have lived in the neighborhood almost my whole life. Working at WGUMC and being in the neighborhood feels kind of like coming home after a long career in public accounting. I truly enjoy working with the WGUMC members and others in the community.
When not working, you’ll likely find me out for a run.