Ministry Staff

Andries Coetzee - Pastor

Andries Coetzee

Pastor

Andries “Dries” Coetzee started his ministry at UPC in January 2018. Dries was born in South Africa, here he attended school and seminary before coming to the U.S. in 1998. Dries’ love of all people in the human family, and his passionate advocacy for a just world informs his life and ministry and led him to UPC. Before his call to UPC, he served churches in Houston, Bloomington, MN, and Wooster, OH. Dries and his wife Beth are the parents of five children, and became grandparents in 2017. With relatives and children spread out between two continents and three American states, they value any precious time spent with family. The couple enjoys sharing meals with family and friends, and time together cooking, gardening, traveling, and jogging.

Contact Dries here.

 “I am privileged and humbled to serve UPC as pastor. It is a tremendous gift to be part of a community of faith who values you for who you are and treasures all people as beloved children of God. With the many opportunities to build a more compassionate world, there is a place for everyone at UPC.”

Anastasia Bernal

Administrative Assistant

Prior to joining the staff of UPC, Anastasia worked at AT&T and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Economics. She joined UPC as a child with her family, Allan, Maureen and Elizabeth Nowotny in 1975. She is married to Lupe and they have a daughter, Isabella, and triplet sons, Adrian, Brandon, and Christopher.

“I enjoy working at UPC because it’s my second home. I grew up at UPC, went through confirmation, participated in the Youth Group, sang with the Celebration Singers, was a Deacon and an Elder, served on and chaired the Membership & Evangelism Committee, and chaired the Alternative Gift Market. I sang with the Adult Choir and played with the Handbell Choir. It is wonderful to now see my children growing up in the same church and doing the same things.”

Todd McGraw - DCYM

Todd McGraw

Director of Children and Youth Ministries

Todd is passionate about guiding youth and children, building their self-confidence, and encouraging them to explore their faith. He holds a Master of Divinity from the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. Prior to UPC, he worked as a youth pastor for Trinity United Methodist Church in Denton and an interim youth pastor for Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas. Before seminary, he served at Basilica of the Sacred Heart as a jail chaplain. Todd also has experience as a Senior Analyst with Duff & Phelps, LLC before changing career paths into ministry. He is a contributor to a book published in 2017, “Rainbow in the Word: LGBTQ Christians’ Biblical Memoirs.”  Todd is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he was a member of the UGA swim team.

“Ever since I can remember, I have always loved working with youth and children. In working with our young people, it is important to convey God’s unconditional love. Being openly gay, I have aspired to work for a church that is inclusive to all of God’s children, and include as part of my ministry at University Presbyterian Church outreach to LGBTQIA+ individuals.”

Cindi Catlin Gaskins

Director of University Presbyterian Children’s Center

Cindi joined the Children’s Center in 1982 as a teacher; and has served as its director since 1989. She teaches as an adjunct faculty in the Early Childhood Studies department at San Antonio College, and is the author of two books on toddler curriculum. She is also a frequent presenter at workshops for early childhood conferences. Cindi earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with specialization in child development from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree inEarly Childhood Education from University of Texas at San Antonio. Since 2010, she has also served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) peer coordinator and volunteer for children removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect in Bexar County.

“My role as the director of the Children’s Center gives me a way to provide and advocate for high-quality early learning and care for all young children and their families.”

Dhawn Martin

SoL Center Director

Raised in San Antonio, Dhawn joined the SoL Center after teaching classes covering theology, philosophy, and civic engagement at St. Mary’s University and then Hanover College. Right out of Wellesley College, Dhawn worked on a research project at the Kennedy School of Government, analyzing election politics. From that moment on, Dhawn was hooked on a life-long quest to examine the intersections of faith and politics. She has an M.Div. from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Drew University. She has published in print and online media, such as Religion Dispatches.

“I am passionate about the life of the mind and of faith, and so the work of the SoL Center, past and future, resonates with my deepest convictions. I am privileged and blessed to be a part not only of the SoL community, but also the community of UPC.”

Music Staff

Keith Martinez, Director of Choral Music for UPC

Keith Martinez

Director of Choral Music

Keith feels called to fulfill UPC’s mission to facilitate “music which engages people spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.” Since graduating from UTSA, Keith has excelled in choral directing at the high school level.  He has taught at John Marshall High School as an Assistant Director since 2015. Among his choral-director colleagues, he was elected to the prestigious office of Region XXIX Vocal Chair, May 2017-present.   Keith has served in various church music positions.  Between 2014 and 2016, he worked as Choir Director at St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Catholic Church, San Antonio.  There he led music in worship and selected anthems that fit the liturgical season. At First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, he has worked eight years as a singer and Assistant Director, leading rehearsals and substituting in the Director’s absence.   

Mary Lowder

Organist

Mary relocated to San Antonio in August 2014 from Charlotte, NC where she was organist at First Baptist Church of Mount Holly for 15 years. She is the accompanist for the UTSA Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and numerous voice and instrumental students. Mary is the accompanist for the advanced ensembles of the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio and the San Antonio Mastersingers, and frequently plays keyboard in the orchestra for musical theater productions at the Public Theater of San Antonio and the Woodlawn Theatre.

“I really enjoy being organist at UPC. Since my arrival, the congregation, choir and staff have embraced me and I feel like I’m part of the family. I am truly blessed to be part of the music ministry at UPC.”

Maggie Sorrel

Children's Choir Director

Maggie Sorrell received her degree in Music Education in August 2017 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Prior to coming to UPC, she was the assistant director of the St. Brigid’s children’s choir and the director of the St. Brigid’s Legacy Handbell Choir.

“UPC is such a warm and welcoming environment. The congregation and staff are so incredibly wonderful and embody what it means to be a Christian! I love working with the children here and seeing them connect to God through the love of music!”

Leroy Sebesta - Music Administrative Assistant

Leroy Sebesta

Music Administrative Assistant

Leroy has been a member of UPC since 1980. He graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, with a BS in music. Then he spent the next thirty years working in the Federal Civil Service at Kelly AFB, TX. Leroy has three daughters and three grandsons who he visits every chance he gets.

“I really enjoy working with the UPC music program. Choir members are great friends and our music leadership is outstanding.”

Operational Staff

Allan-Catlin-Facility-and-Event-Steward

Allan Catlin

Facility & Event Steward

Supporting our hospitality ministry and providing custodial support on Sunday mornings, Allan serves an important role as UPC extends its welcome to new members, friends and visitors. Allan, son of UPCC Director Cindi Catlin Gaskins, is a long time member of UPC and an alumnus of the Children’s Center. Allan is working towards a second degree in civil engineering at UTSA to complement his degree in water resources from Texas State University. When not working at UPC, doing updates to the UPCC playgrounds or in classes at UTSA, Allan enjoys working at the Canyon Lake Marina or fishing.

 

Frank Villalpando

Custodian

Previously, Frank’s employment includes Culligan, Toyota, and JaniKing. He is also a U.S. Navy veteran. Born and raised in San Antonio, his personal Interests include playing basketball and pool, swimming, and attending family gatherings.

“I enjoy working at UPC because everyone is so friendly.”