About Us

Our Minister and Staff

Who We Are

Our Minister and Staff

Rev. Ian W. Riddell

Lead Minister

Rev. Ian W. Riddell became lead minister in July 2021 after he joined us as our Assistant Minister in September 2020. Before relocating to the Coachella Valley with his husband, Mark, he served as Minister of Music and Worship Arts at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego and as Developmental Minister for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Las Vegas. He was ordained in August of 2012 after graduating from Meadville Lombard Theological School.

Before entering full-time ministry, Rev. Ian served three Unitarian Universalist congregations as Music Director. He was an academic editor, a director of LGBT community choruses, and a public school teacher.

His ministry and his spiritual and ethical life grow from the prophet Micah’s admonition to do justice, be steadfastly faithful, and to move humbly through the world and from Ursula Le Guin’s affirmation that love has to be made new, every day.

Rev. Dr. Don Stouder

Affiliated Community Minister

Rev. Dr. Don Stouder is a career hospital and hospice chaplain and medical ethicist, and has served UUCOD in various capacities since moving to the desert in the summer of 2017 with his husband Tim. He currently serves as our Affiliated Community Minister, a common designation for UU ministers called to serve in roles beyond the congregation.

As chaplain and grief counselor, Rev. Don served in hospital trauma centers in the San Diego area as well as working with organ donor families. While in San Diego, he served as Affiliate Community Minister at Summit UU Fellowship since 1996. Here in the valley, his focus has turned to hospice patients and their families.

Before being ordained in 1993, Rev. Don was an EMT-Paramedic in his home state of New Jersey as well as California after moving here in 1985. Rev. Don is the author of four books and several research articles, and loves photography, aviation, sailing, good wine and road trips, and holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the Graduate Theological Foundation.

Pamela Bibo

Church Administrator

Pamela Bibo is a Wisconsin native who transplanted to California. Pam began her career as an Office Administrator in 1993 and has 12 years of experience working for non-profits.

In addition to being an office management guru she has also worked as a childbirth educator and is currently working on her certification to become a doula and birth advocate to ensure all birthing families have a voice and receive equitable healthcare. Pam is excited to continue her career with UUCOD and is looking forward to helping nurture the communities of the Coachella Valley.

Pam’s greatest achievement is raising her six children. She enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the desert.

Vanessa Ament

Choir Director

Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament is a singer/songwriter/vocal arranger and has been a professional musician since her first professional performance right after high school with Shirley Jones, Ron Hussman, and Randy Sparks and the Backporch Majority. An almost life-long Unitarian-Universalist, Vanessa received her M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry and has been in various leadership roles in UU since 1981.

After a 25-year career as a Foley artist in major films and television, Vanessa wrote the book, The Foley Grail, which led her to pursue a Ph.D. in Communications and Moving Image Studies.

After decades of singing in choirs, musical theater, and jazz clubs, Vanessa increased her directing of both choral and small vocal groups. Vanessa’s passions are spiritual growth, music, theater, film, education…and baseball (Go, Dodgers!). Born in Glendale, Vanessa is over the moon to be back in California and to be living “in this peaceful and spiritually deep place; the desert,” Presently, Vanessa sings in several choirs, performs at various clubs in southern California, and is writing a musical with her son, who lives in New York City.

To find out more about her interests and talents, visit vanessathemeament.com