Pastor Gary & Sherry Eldred
Having been born and raised in north central Pennsylvania, Pastor Gary Eldred graduated from Penn State University in 1972. For seven years he served with Campus Crusade for Christ doing personal evangelism and discipleship training at three different colleges. During this time, Pastor Gary met fellow Campus Crusade minister Sherry Willetts and they married in 1976. In 1979, he accepted a position with the Brethren in Christ Church and served in pastorates in Pennsylvania and Florida.
Moving to the Atlanta, GA area in 1988, Pastor Gary attended the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, while serving two rural United Methodist churches. Graduating in 1992, he entered the ordained ministry and returned to Florida where he has pastored in Citra, Lochloosa, Sparr, Ocklawaha and High Springs before coming to Faith Church in July 2008.
Pastor Gary and his wife Sherry, a teacher, have two children, Elizabeth and Philip. Elizabeth is married to James Dykes, and they have a son, Matthew.
Deb Johnson and husband Bob moved to Bradenton, FL from Parsippany, NJ in 2009 after retiring from Goldman Sachs as Financial Counseling Admin. She has 2 grown children, Heather and Rob. Deb and Bob are active members of First Presbyterian of Bradenton, and enjoy sailing in Tampa Bay.
Director of Childrens Ministries
Linda has been the Director of Children’s Ministries at Faith since 2014. She and her husband, Karl, have been members at Faith since 2011. Her duties include working with the Sunday School teachers to ensure that the children each week will learn about Jesus’ teachings in a fun, loving, and memorable way. Since our children are getting older, she has now developed a Sunday School class for 5th -8th graders. This class spends one Sunday a month attending the church service and taking part, such as reading scripture, ushering, and taking communion with their families.
Linda is also responsible for other activities with the children such as the Sunday morning children’s message, children’s choir, directing the VBS every summer, and special Christmas and Easter programs during the holiday seasons. The children especially like other fun events such as roller skating, campfires, movie night, baking cookies, and spring carnival.
Our children are encouraged to invite friends to come enjoy Sunday School and other activities with them. We frequently see new faces; visitors are always welcome!
Linda and Karl moved here from Wisconsin in 2007 where she was a full-time elementary teacher. Now she enjoys subbing in the Manatee School District when not working at the church.
Contact Linda at: lindah.faithumc@yahoo,com
Larry came to Faith UMC as Facility Director in April 2016. He is a long time resident of Bradenton, enjoys carpentry, and fishing with his wife, Susan and young sons, Memphis and Colton.
Mr. Craig Ramberger, a native of Harrisburg, PA, has conducted public school choirs for 35 years, and church choirs for 25 years. He holds a B.S. in Vocal and Instrumental Music Education from Messiah College, Grantham, PA, and an M.M. in Choral Conducting from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. While at C.S.U., he was inducted into the National Music Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda. He also has extensive training in Drama and Theatre, and has taught, produced, directed, and performed extensively in dramas, musicals, and opera.
Under Mr. Ramberger’s direction, choirs have consistently received Superior and Sweepstakes awards in Colorado and Texas Concert and Sightreading Contests. He has adjudicated numerous Solo and Ensemble Festivals throughout Colorado, and in Texas District, Region, Area, and All-State auditions. Choir members have received numerous Superior ratings at Region and State Solo and Ensemble Contests, and choirs received Best in Class and Overall Outstanding Choir trophies in competitions in Colorado Springs, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.
He has been nominated twice as a finalist in the Colorado Teacher of the Year program. He has also appeared in five editions of Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers. In 2005, he was nominated and inducted into the National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teachers. In 2007, into the Biltmore Who’s Who, and in 2010, he received the Super Scorpion Achievement Award at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs.
He participates in professional associations including the American Choral Directors Association, the Music Educators National Conference, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Director’s Association, Colorado Choral Director’s Association, Colorado Music Educators Association, and the National Education Association. In 1986 he represented the state of Colorado in the Rotary International Professional Group Study Exchange in Bavaria, Germany. He has performed as a tenor soloist in many capacities throughout the state of Colorado.
In addition to directing the Chancel and Hand Chime choirs at Faith United Methodist Church in Bradenton, he is looking forward to working with his professional music partner and accompanist from Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mr. Brandon Kouri. Everyone at Faith Church has been so friendly, helpful, and welcoming. He is looking forward to developing a fine, comprehensive musical program at the church.
Brandon moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Tampa, Florida. As a Colorado native, he has enjoyed playing piano at several churches at the foot of Pike’s Peak, including Sacred Heart Chapel in Penrose Main Hospital, and East United Methodist Church near the Olympic Training Center. Brandon has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance and Minors in harpsichord, organ, and French from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previously, he has served as piano accompanist for the choir program at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs for four years. He has also enjoyed playing for musical productions and accompanying students for local Solo and Ensemble festivals.
Community Outreach Director
Justin has established a new faith-based organization called High On Jesus. The “High on Jesus” main goal is to help people to not only be sober but to have true joy, true peace, and to be successful in anything they want to do in life through seeking Jesus and the help of the 12 Steps program. High On Jesus currently meets in downtown Bradenton on Wednesday nights and on the east side of Bradenton on Friday nights. (see Events for details). Justin says, “I take my calling very seriously, and I dedicate countless hours to organizing and executing all of this because I have lived it and I know what it takes to be successful. Wherever I go, I strive to provide people with tools that may be put into play immediately to achieve life change. I give them the information, I attempt to give them motivation, I direct them to people who will provide accountability, and then I let God do the rest. I also give them a guarantee. My guarantee to anyone is that, if you TRULY put Jesus first, as well as sobriety through the 12 Steps, every single day of your life, you can’t lose!”
What can we do to spread the Good News for the 167 hours each week that we are not in worship together? Karl’s prior experience in community theater, and radio & television broadcasting combined with his skills in desktop publishing, computer programming, video making, photography and web design have prepared him for this role.