Pastor Rick was appointed to the United Methodist Church of Webster on July 1, 2015. It was a homecoming of sorts because he grew up in Rochester and graduated from John Marshall High School. At 15, Rick accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior after attending a Young Life camp in the Adirondacks.
After graduating from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, Rick returned to Rochester to serve as a youth pastor with Young Life and later with Aldersgate UMC. Youth ministry didn’t always pay the bills, so Rick often worked additional jobs teaching, coaching and at WWWG Radio.
In 1995, he moved to Wilmore, Kentucky to attend Asbury Theological Seminary. He was then hired by Rev. Jim Buskirk to be the youth pastor at First UMC in Tulsa, Oklahoma – the fifth largest United Methodist church in the country. Rick was invited back to Kentucky to be the Festival Director of Ichthus – the original Christian music festival. After leading the 2000-2002 festivals, he answered the call to ordained ministry and returned to New York State.
Rick served in Jamestown, NY for the ten years prior to coming to Webster. He loves playing tennis, cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers and vacationing on beaches. He was an extra in the movie “Seabiscuit,” co-wrote a book for youth leaders called Creative Events for Youth Ministry or How to Swallow a Live Goldfish, and has traveled to all 50 states. At UMC Webster, he enjoys participating in the drama ministry, but is primarily focused on preaching the gospel, setting the vision and guiding the church in the mission “Love God, Love Others, Serve Jesus.”
Feel free to contact Pastor Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth and Family Pastor
Wendy has lived most of her life in Webster and feels a strong commitment to the community. She and her husband Dan have been active members of UMC Webster for many years.
Wendy had a powerful encounter with Christ as a young child. She always believed that He had placed a call on her life, but struggled with how to answer it. When she began serving as a youth volunteer she knew she had finally found her passion and the answer she was looking for.
Wendy serves as Youth and Family Pastor. She teaches our SALT Sunday School for teens in 6th-12 grade, leads our Switch Youth Group, oversees Christian Ed for Children Pre-K-5th grade and leads Confirmation Class.
She loves teaching and working with students, and is focused on helping them to lead Christ-centered lives. She loves that she is able to serve alongside her husband Dan, and in partnership with Topher Holt, who leads youth worship. Working together we are able to provide students in youth ministry with unique opportunities to develop into Christian leaders through music, drama, teaching, small group discussion and serving.
“I understand many of the difficulties parents and kids face today, because I’m not just the youth leader, I’m also raising my own children. I know how tough it can be to stand against cultural influences for both parents and kids. I also see how wonderful this current generation of youth is, and how much hope they bring to this world.” Wendy and Dan are raising their twins, Ryan and Rachael, college freshmen, their son Kyle, high school, and daughter, Katie, in middle school.
You may contact Pastor Wendy at: email@example.com
Information about Switch Youth Group may be found here: https://www.instagram.com/switch_youth_group/
Pastoral Care and Visitation Pastor
Karen grew up in Webster and has a special love for this community, its people and an even greater love for God. She is a half-time pastor. Her primary responsibilities are in the areas of pastoral care, visitation, women’s bible studies, retreats, the GriefShare and Prepare/Enrich marriage relationship groups.
Pastor Karen (DeWitte) Gibson holds a Master of Science Degree in Christian Counseling (Philadelphia Biblical University — now Cairn University) as well as a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Management (Eastern University).
“I love to see people energized and renewed through the explicit work of the Holy Spirit in restoring lives to their highest potential in Jesus Christ. Whether it is through the women’s bible studies, retreats, pastoral counseling, GriefShare group, hospital or home visits, there are endless opportunities to connect with God in a meaningful and powerful way through His Word and His promised Spirit. The best way to reach me is to call Faith at the church office at 585-265-9720. I look forward to meeting you!”
Contact Karen at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contemporary Service Worship Leader
Topher grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. He’s a “son of a preacher man,” so his earliest memories have him sitting on his mother’s lap in church. Pastor Bob Holt, his father, was a wonderful example of what it means to be a Christ follower as well as professional musician. It was both his mother and father who imparted to him the love of music and God’s love.
After graduating from Elim Bible Institute, Topher and his wife, Heather, began their ministerial career as co-worship leaders at a Church Plant on Monroe Ave in Rochester, NY and served for a little over a year before they threw all caution to the wind and joined Push Physical Theatre, a Christ centered performing arts company. They traveled and performed nationally with the company for almost a decade before co-founding a brick and mortar business local to Rochester, NY. Topher is now a traveling storyteller, Musician, inspirational teacher and integrative arts specialist. His family has always been rooted in a local church, but before coming to UMCW, Topher spent a lot of time traveling from church to church leading worship and sharing the Gospel through the songs the Lord wrote on his heart. Topher and Heather now often co-lead the worship music at UMCW. They are passionate about raising up the worshiper in each and every one of God’s children. They are raising their three children as musicians and Christ followers as well.
Feel free to contact Topher at: email@example.com