Reverend Christopher Berry is a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, fly-fisher, photographer, pastor, linguist/philologist, teacher, mentor, and linguistic archaeologist. He is the Interim Bridge Pastor for Trinity following Pastor Mark Tweitmeyer’s retirement. He will remain with our faith community until a new, permanent pastor is called.
Pastor Berry has been under call to the Sierra Pacific Synod as an intentional interim pastor, serving congregations in Pleasanton, Oakland, Vancouver, WA, and Granite Bay, CA. He served two terms on the national board of the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors. He served as the Lutheran Campus Pastor at Western Washington University for 21 years. There he also served as the Director of the Shalom Center, an interfaith religious center at Western, and was on the faculty of the Counseling, Health and Wellness Department. He has served as pastor in congregations in Illinois and Florida.
His doctoral work was in Ancient Semitic Languages at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago where he specialized in Ancient Syriac, Aramaic, Ugarit and Hebrew. He has been named as a visiting scholar, visiting professor or fellow at various universities and research centers throughout the world, including Hebrew University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, University of Nice, University of Ontario, and the Smithsonian Institute and Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C..
His previous work has included translations of Genesis 1-11 with an emphasis on the creation narratives. He has conducted extensive research and lecturing on the topic of the misuse of sacred texts to perpetuate sexism in Western society. His translations and commentary on sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity as they purportedly relate to same-gender relationships are used all over the world by those who support inclusivity in the church. His most recent work has centered around the “Q” source to the synoptic gospels and a new translation of the Sermon on the Mount as well as serving on numerous peer review committees.
Since 2002 he has served in various capacities in working to end violence among young people as a senior fellow and lead instructor for organizations. His work, along with others, has been instrumental in working to end bullying and harassment among young people. This work has been nation-wide in its scope and is the basis of many non-profits in their working with young people. He also has been a tireless advocate and trainer in diversity training, boundaries workshops and conflict resolution work in church groups, classrooms and businesses.
One of his current passions combines his work in linguistics with his love of backpacking and photography as he and two other scholars explore links between Ancestral Puebloans in the Southwestern United States and civilizations in the Ancient Near East.
He loves to fish, especially with his four sons. He is an accomplished fly-fishing rod builder. For over twenty-five years he was a soccer referee, referee instructor and mentor, and referee assessor.