We believe it is our mission to equip and assist families in laying spiritual foundations and to assist each and every person in the goal of creating a ministry resource center by equipping and empowering people for missional outreach, with an emphasis on training, mentoring, and involvement children and youth.
“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—”
CEDAR BAYOU GRACE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH STAFF
281-427-4754 Ext. 110
The Staff Parish Relations Committee of Cedar Bayou Grace UMC announces that Mr. Chad McElveen has been chosen for the position of Director of Youth Ministries beginning November 1, 2012. He brings over six years’ experience as a youth director most recently in Fairfield, Texas. Just scan the Facebook page for Fairfield’s youth group and you’ll see the energy, planning and faith Chad brings to ministry.
Chad graduated in December of 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. While devoting long hours to the theatre department, Chad managed to also be actively involved in The United Methodist Wesley Foundation (including Worship Chairman) and the SFA swim team. He participated and led Bible studies for the Transitions College Ministry at FUMC in Lufkin, his home church. Most importantly for us, Chad worked successfully as youth director, part-time, at FUMC in Diboll, Texas.
Since early in 2010 Chad has worked full-time in youth ministry at FUMC in Fairfield. While there he lists his duties as:
• Teach, minister and interact with students from 6th to 12th grade
• Lead Sunday school lessons, MYF worship and Bible Studies
• Organize mission trips, community services, church camps and events
• Established Student Leadership Team, Youth Praise Band, & Puppet/Drama Ministry
• Manage budget and produce fundraisers
• Participate in community services and events
• Lay reader and speaker for Sunday morning worship services
• Operate youth website, Facebook page/group and Twitter account
• Run projection and sound board during Sunday worship service
Chad attended the youth ministry certification training at SMU and the Leadership Institute at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Chad participated in UMARMY from youth participant to various adult leader roles. He worked at district camp, for D-Now weekends as a group leader and speaker, in VBS many times, and as a flight leader/speaker for Chrysalis, the youth version of Walk to Emmaus.
Chad and his wife Sable spent a Saturday afternoon and Sunday here with us at Cedar Bayou Grace UMC. The youth found him to be funny, interested in them as individuals and able to relate to them. They said he was able to use games and words to make spiritual lessons clear. About youth ministry, Chad writes, “I am a strong believer that the church is a great place where students can gather to have fun, grow in their faith and be prepared for whatever may happen to them in life.”
Andrea Metzger, Director of Lay Ministries
281-427-4754 Ext. 103
Since October of 2006 I have served CBGUMC as the Director of Lay Ministries. My areas of responsibility are Evangelism, Pastoral Care and Adult Education.
Ministry for me began at a very young age since my family was very involved in the church. I spent many years volunteering in various types of ministry but I was always a Sunday School Teacher. More than 20 years ago I was offered a staff position at my parish church. During these last 20 plus years in pastoral ministry I have served on the staff of four different parishes. I have experience serving as director of many different areas of ministry including youth ministry, children and family ministry, adult education, pastoral care and coordination of lay ministry. Also I served as part of the staff for the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston – Houston with the responsibility of overseeing the training for lay ministers throughout the diocese. But my most challenging and rewarding ministry was the two years I served as the Pastoral Minister at Covenant House Texas which is a homeless shelter for youth. Each of my positions has been rewarding and unique. In each position I have grown in my own faith life as I hope I have helped people grow closer to God.
I studied theology at the University of St. Thomas working towards a Masters in Theological Studies. I also participated in a three year program and was certified as a Spiritual Director by the Cenacle Retreat House. In addition I took a unit in Clinical Pastoral Education serving as part of the chaplain’s program at St. Luke’s Hospital in the medical center and studied Grief Ministry at the Institute of Religion. In addition I have attended institutes where I was certified as a Director of Christian Education and a Minister to Adult Learners. Learning is one of my passions because the more knowledge and skills I have the more I have to offer.
I grew up in New Jersey where I graduated from Seton Hall University and taught high school English for a few years before getting married and starting a family. We moved to Texas in April of 1977 living for over two years in Richardson, Texas and then moving to the Houston area in January of 1980.
God has blessed me with four wonderful children – 3 sons and a daughter who are now grown and married and through them I have received the blessing of ten grandchildren (so far).
I am a voracious reader. I especially love murder mysteries and always have my nose in a book. I also love to go to movies and the theater. I have also been a member of Toastmasters International becoming a Certified Toastmaster and even winning a speech contest or two. But the vast majority of my free time is spent being a cheerleader for my grandchildren’s sports events.
I am excited about being on the staff of Cedar Bayou Grace. I feel very grateful to God for calling me to this position at Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church.
281.427.4754 Ext. 103
281.427.4754 Ext. 106
Email Children’s Director
Elizabeth Wallace, Communications Director/Administrative Assistant
281.427.4754 Ext. 102
I have lived in Baytown all my life and I am a life-long member of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church. Being on staff here at CBGUMC holds a very special meaning to me. My grandmother, Margaret Durham, was the first financial secretary Cedar Bayou had and sat in the very office that is now mine. I became part of the CBGUMC staff in July of 2007. I have a B.S. in Psychology from University of Houston – Clear Lake, and I am a currently in the process of completing my Master’s in counseling and development from Lamar University.
My husband, Robbie, and I have been married for 12 years and we have a little girl. I also enjoy scrapbooking and curling up with a good book when time permits.
My responsibilities include all areas of communication as well as general office duties. I love getting to interact with all of the members of our congregation on a daily basis.
I was born and raised in Baytown and have been a member of Grace UMC since 1974 when my children started at Noah’s Ark and am now a proud member of Cedar Bayou Grace UMC. I became a staff member at Grace in 1999 as Financial & Business Manager.
My husband, Les and I have been married since 1996 and between us, we have 9 children and 20 grandchildren (5 of which are his great-grandchildren). I am also Secretary of the Baytown Lions Club where I have been a member since 2000. My hobbies are having fun with my grandchildren and baking.
I have been a member of Cedar Bayou Grace UMC since 1976. My husband, Willie, grew up here, and we have raised our children, Paul and Jan here. Now our grandchildren attend as well.
I retired from my accounting practice in 1997. In 1998, I began filling in as the financial secretary at Cedar Bayou Grace while the staff parish committee searched for a permanent employee. After working here 9 ½ years, I retired again in 2008.
I assist our current business administrator, Carol Leskovjan, as requested...
Hello, I am Amy Shugart. I have been a member of Cedar Bayou Grace since 1978 when my parents joined. As a child I have fond memories of years of Sunday School, singing in the children’s choir, church camp and many Vacation Bible Schools. My husband, Kirk and I were married here, and now as a mother to Sydney, Seth and Samuel I love volunteering so that my children and others can create many memories in a loving and FUN Christian environment.
Since 2001 I have had various job titles at the church from Program Secretary to Director of Children’s Ministries but now, so that I can be with my three children more I am the Wedding Coordinator. This includes scheduling weddings, answering any questions regarding the facilities, ceremony and our policies and procedures. I am also present to assist the pastor with the rehearsal and ceremony. Weddings are such an exciting time in the life of a couple; I enjoy being part of that joy. Please call me at 713-416-1374 or email me at email@example.com for available dates or more information about weddings at Cedar Bayou Grace.
I am a lifelong member of CBGUMC and a former Day School student! A product of Goose Creek schools, I graduated from Lee High School in 1990.
I graduated from UHCL with a bachelor’s degree in Education with specializations in reading and English. I am lifetime certified to teach grades 1 through 8. I have my Early Childhood certification as well as a Gifted and Talented endorsement certificate.
I taught in Goose Creek for 13 years before becoming Day School director.
I have been married for 11 years to Craig Contreras, a Baytown firefighter, and we have two children, Bryce and Madi.
I have been a Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church member for 10 years and the nursery coordinator for 5 years. I really like caring for the children. It is fun to love and care for them. It is even more of a joy to watch them grow up from babies to little people. I also like working with the great staff we have in the nursery. As part of my position at Cedar Bayou Grace, I staff the nursery and toddler room for each Sunday. I also provide childcare workers for weekday meetings and family nights.
In the past, I have been very involved with the youth program at Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church. I have served on the Youth Council, attended Big House, UM Army, and chaperoned many events.
I attended college at Sam Houston State University, University of Houston and University of Houston Clear Lake. All accumulating with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing, a Career and Technology certification, Business certification, Driver’s Education certification and a Master’s of Arts with emphasis in Education.
I am originally from Henderson, Texas but have lived in Baytown since 1978. I have two daughters, Heather and Hailey. I have a wonderful grandson named Christopher. I enjoy visiting with my daughters when they come home, playing with and keeping Christopher, going to the lake and traveling.
Please stop by the church nursery and check us out!
For the nearly eleven years that I have been employed at Cedar Bayou Grace UMC I have cleaned, did light maintenance and plumbing and whatever else that needed to be done to keep the church safe and clean. I also open up the Day School and set up rooms for meetings and other events. My job is pretty nice because most of the time I have the freedom to work at my own pace in an environment where I can comfortably communicate with my co-workers. I also like to know that the church members and associates can be comfortable while attending to their jobs or worship services.
I was raised in Hankamer, Texas. and so far in my life I have been a Cub Scout, been able to travel and live in Europe, live in four different states, attend Lee College and Howard Payne University (Brownwood, Texas) ride in an air balloon, learn to swim (in a gully) and met a president. Who knows what I will get to do next!
In the meantime, I have been married for almost nine years to my wife, who is a custodian at Barber Hill Independent School District. She just finished cosmetology school and is preparing to take her state board test. She loves home interior design and cooking. She is pretty creative. I have two sons and together we love to play basketball and watch a lot of sports!
Janet Hall, Organist and Pianist
Robin Dunn, Organist & Pianist
Since 1986, I have been serving as organist/director in Houston area churches including Webster Presbyterian, Epworth-Parker UMC, and Alvin Lutheran, ELCA. In 2004, I became the organist of Grace United Methodist Church while concurrently serving as organist/choirmaster of Trinity Episcopal Church. Trinity tired of sharing me with Grace, and in 2009 asked me to choose between the two churches. So I chose Grace!
I recently completed a Master of Music degree in organ performance from the Moores School of Music, University of Houston. My major keyboard instructors include Nancy Weems, Dr. Robert Jones, and the internationally acclaimed concert organist Dr. Robert Bates. My conducting instructors include Dr.s Charles Hausmann and Betsy Weber (choral) and Eddie Green (instrumental).
In addition to my duties as organist, I am the music teacher for Golden Acres Elementary School in Pasadena ISD where I direct a children’s choir and handbell ensemble. My professional organizations include the American Guild of Organists, Texas Music Educators Association, and the Gulf Coast Orff association, where I have held the office of president. I also sing with the Houston Symphony Chorus and am looking forward to expanding my YouTube site to include more than one video!
PRIOR STAFF & SUPPORT PERSONNEL
I have been the Director of Music and Fine Arts at CBGUMC since July, 2004. My past job titles have included director of music, children’s choir director, organist, music teacher, accompanist, and music director for local theater productions. I have worked in Conroe ISD, Alief ISD, and at the Kincade School, in Houston.
I am a past-president of the Houston Chapter Choristers Guild, and am currently a member of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Choristers Guild, the American Choral Directors Association, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. I currently serve on the Board of Directors and the Strategic Planning Committee of the Texas Conference Choir Clinic, and am the treasurer of the San Jacinto Federated Music Club. I am also published in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Women, and Who’s Who in the World.
My educational background includes the Indiana University School of Music, Our Lady of the Lake University, and the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. I have finished Music Certification studies, and will soon be working towards a Masters in Theology. I am a Certified Candidate for Ordained Ministry, and hope to be ordained as a Deacon in Full Connection.
I am originally from Kansas City, Missouri, but moved to Texas in 1982. My husband, Doug, is employed as an inventory control specialist for Home Depot, but can be found at the church many days of the week, where he teaches the confirmation class, sings in the Chancel Choir, directs the Cedar Bayou Grace Players, and serves as the Bayou Brigade bus driver. We have two sons, a daughter, their spouses, five grandchildren, and two dogs. Our lives are very full, but I still get a chance to participate in some of my favorite hobbies, which include reading and playing with the grandchildren.
Jennifer Stone, Director, Children’s Day Out
Substitute for CDO in 1998 and 1999.
Teacher from August 2000 – May 2008
Director – November 2008 – October 2012
My name is Jennifer Stone. I have lived in Baytown most of my life and been a member of CBGUMC for the last 15 years. I have worked as a teacher for Children’s Day Out for 7 years and been the Director of CDO for the past 1 ½ years.
I have been involved with Children’s Council, VBS, Summer Serve, Bayou Bunch, Bayou Bits, Stephen’s Ministry, and Church Council.
I have two daughters, Emily, 10 years, and Allyson, 5 years. We enjoy playing games, reading, and camping and fishing together.
Tina Bravo – Director of Children’s Ministries (served summer of 2011 through summer of 2012)
I grew up Alvin, Texas, but have lived in Baytown for the past 17 years. I married the love of my life, Gene Bravo, in April of 1996. We have two of God’s most precious gifts; Brannon who is 12, and Cameron who is 9. Brannon is our very talented musician, and Cameron…well, he is our avid penguin collector.
We first came to CBGUMC when our oldest child began the Day School program. Our youngest also attended the program and that is when I began working in the Children’s Day Out program. After my first year with CDO, I also volunteered with Day School. I continued in the CDO program after our youngest went on to kindergarten. Then, we were all affected by hurricane Ike and both children’s programs were moved to other churches in the area. I, however, did not follow either program.
In 2009, I was contacted about applying for a teaching position within the Day School. I was very reluctant and hesitant because I was getting comfortable at “just” being a mom. As I received more calls about applying for the position, the more I felt God was leading me back to CBGUMC. I was hired as a teacher for the 2009-1010 school year. Little did I know that this was just my first step to where God had plans in placing me.
Now, in 2011, nearing the end of my second year teaching for Day School, I overheard the need for a Children’s Ministry Director in the church. I mentioned my interest to a few people who encouraged me to apply for the position. At first, I really doubted my abilities and qualifications for the position. After all, I am “just” a pre school teacher. Talk of the director position kept finding its way back to me and I continued to ignore it. Until I received a text message from a very sweet friend expressing to me how she prayed for someone to fill the director’s position and each time she prayed, my name would weigh on her heart. Finally, I realized that God had been talking to me all along and since I wasn’t listening, He decided to talk through someone else. For me to ignore His call any longer would have been a detriment to my faith. I needed to take that first step (again) in being obedient.
So, here I am. Continuing my walk with God and helping children begin and continue theirs. I feel so blessed to have been led to this position as Director of Children’s and Family Ministries at CBGUMC. I want to inspire children to grow in their relationship with God. I want them to learn God’s word, learn the incredible faith stories of the Bible, feel His love, grace, and mercy…but most importantly, I want them to KNOW God. My desire for the children of CBGUMC is to encounter the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, know Him early, and love Him for the rest of their lives!
Dani Lamb, Director of Youth Ministries (served CBGUMC 2010 and part of 2011)
I have been a member of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church since 1998. The people and ministries of Cedar Bayou Grace are an integral part of my faith journey. I have been blessed to serve on staff at CBGUMC since August of 2001. My passions in ministry are discipling children and youth of all ages, teaching them God’s Word and helping them draw closer to God through their faith journey.
I was born in Iowa Falls, Iowa and moved to Baytown at an early age. I attended Travis Elementary, Baytown Junior High and Robert E. Lee High School. I continued my education at Lee College and later the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where I majored in Special Education with a minor in English. I received my Bachelor of Science from UHCL in December of 1997.
In 2001, I was named the Director of Children’s Ministry at Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church and served in that ministry until June of 2010. I led the Mini-Methodists, taught children’s Sunday school, directed the children’s choir, coordinated acolytes, planned Vacation Bible School and served on the Noah’s Ark Board of Ministries. I love helping children grow in their faith!
In 2007, Donald McCandless and I became Directors of Youth Ministries at Cedar Bayou Grace. We make a great team and have a passion for sharing our faith, teaching God’s Word and encouraging the youth in their faith journeys. We love watching the youth grow in their faith!
I began my public school teaching career in 1998 as a special education teacher at Harlem Elementary School. After three years, I became a district-wide Special Education Behavior Specialist for Goose Creek CISD. I have served in that capacity since 2001.
Throughout my life, I have received tremendous support from my family. My loving parents, Gary and Adele Bruns, raised me in a Christian home and guided me in my faith journey. My mom was one of the heroes of my faith and courageously battled cancer, and is now in the Church Triumphant. My family and I are avid supporters of Relay for Life. My dad is a very active member of CBGUMC. My husband is Jim Lamb. Jim is an operator at Magellan, Inc. in Houston. Our children are Forest and Corbin Hayes & Lauren, Colton and Maci Lamb. Our family takes an active role in the ministries of CBGUMC and you will see them everywhere.
Gloria Epperson, Financial Office
My name is Gloria Epperson, and I am currently assisting Sharon Fowler with the Financial Secretary duties on a part time, temporary basis. I have been a member of Cedar Bayou Grace UMC for the past 18 years.
My husband, Bo, and I have been married for 21 years, and we have three children, Amy, Jenny, and Ryan.
Over the past years, I have served on the Day School/CDO Council, Finance Council, Children’s Council and Youth Council. I have also directed the Cherub Choir for 4 years.
Donald McCandless, Director of Youth Ministries & Associate Director of Music Ministries (served CBGUMC 2010 through summer of 2012)
I have been a member of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church since 1976. The people and ministries of Cedar Bayou Grace have been an integral part of my faith journey my entire life. I have been blessed to serve on staff at CBGUMC since February of 2001. My passions in ministry are worship, teaching God’s Word and discipling youth.
I was born and raised in Baytown, Texas. I am a product of Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District, where I attended Crockett Elementary, Bowie Elementary, Cedar Bayou Junior High and Robert E. Lee High School. I received an Associate of Science in Music from Lee College and was the highest-ranking graduate. I received my Bachelor of Music from the University of Houston Moores School of Music in 1998, where I studied conducting with Eddie Green and was the top graduate of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication.
I have served as the Director of Celebration Singers since 2001. I became only the second director in the choir’s long history, after Merle Epperson asked me to pray about serving in this ministry. As a junior high and high school student, I sang with the choir under Merle’s direction. The group goes on an annual choir tour in the summer, presenting a dramatic musical at different churches, retirement facilities and other venues. Each year I enjoy developing the musical concept, writing the script and creating devotional curriculum for choir tour. Recently, I organized a 35th Anniversary Reunion for the Celebration Singers.
In 2007, Dani Lamb and I became Directors of Youth Ministries at Cedar Bayou Grace. We make a great team and have a passion for sharing our faith, teaching God’s Word and encouraging the youth in their faith journeys. We love watching the youth grow in their faith!
In 2010, I was named Associate Director of Music at Cedar Bayou Grace, having previously served as Director of Music while at the Pruett Street Campus. I have a passion for worship music and enjoy singing and working with the adult sanctuary choir. I am excited about serving together with Paula Harrison as we lead the music and worship arts ministries at Cedar Bayou Grace.
I began my public school teaching career in 1998 as Assistant Band Director at Space Center Intermediate School in Clear Creek ISD. In the summer of 2000, I was named Director of Bands at Space Center. Symphonic Band has been named a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors and has advanced to the state finals in the Texas Music Educators Association honor band competition.
Jeff Miles, Co-Director of Youth (served CBGUMC summer of 2011 into summer of 2012)
My name is Jeff Miles. I am 36 yrs young. I was born and raised in Baytown, TX. I received all my education locally. I attended Stephen F. Austin Elementary, Cedar Bayou Jr. High, and Ross S. Sterling High School. From the time I arrived in this world I was playing some kind of sport. Often two or more at the same time. I grew up playing soccer, baseball, basketball, basically anything with a ball, except for football, which is ironic as you will see. Boy, was I a little squirt back then though! I have always had the greatest support from my family and friends in my athletics. If it wasn’t for mom and dad driving me to all my practices and games, none of it would have ever been possible. Man, did we have some long hot Saturday afternoons!! I will fast forward to high school where I concentrated on soccer and football. After graduating in 1993, I left to play football at Arizona Western in Yuma, AZ. You want to talk about a hot place. I remember 2 a-days in 118 degrees. After a year and a half there, I transferred to Boise State University, and the climate was thankfully much cooler there; yes! I played on the blue field! Since then I have moved around some. We spent time in Idaho and Alabama. But, over the years, I managed to make my way back to Baytown. I am married to Libby Miles. You may know her from GCCISD, where she worked at SFA for 5 yrs. Now you can find her at Starbucks on Garth across from Target (please be nice in ordering your coffees and frappuccinos!). She is very close to finishing her degree at University of Houston. She is studying primary education and Spanish, which she is fluent in. I have a remarkably beautiful 15 year old daughter named Morgan. She is in the 10th grade at Ross S. Sterling HS. She is in the band and a very talented clarinet player. We love to hang out and just be totally silly with each other. The more you get to know us, the easier it will be to believe just how silly we can be at times. Now moving on to my church background. I grew up in a youth group here in a local Baptist church. I was always very involved with the youth and choir programs. Having a good youth group to be a part of was so great. Once I made my way back to Baytown, I become involved with CBGUMC. It was actually through my daughter that I became involved here. She was confirmed in this church, and spent some time here in the youth and choir as well. Shortly after arriving, I became very involved with the youth and many other groups here at the church. I attended my Walk to Emmaus through CBG. I also attended SMU Perkins for certification in youth ministry. For those that may not have heard of the SMU program, it is a 5 year program that upon completion an official certificate for youth ministry is earned. For the past year I have been at Crosby UMC as a youth intern. There I was able to further my knowledge and experience, not only in youth ministry, but in the entire work of the church. As some of you may know, I am also in a local Christian band called Closed on Sunday (feel free to check us out on FB!) We have had some great opportunities to play not only here at Cedar Bayou Grace UMC, but also many other great places, ranging from greater Houston churches to women’s retreats. One thing we are particularly proud of is our involvement in creating an event here in Baytown called “Uprising”. This is a city wide youth worship, where we bring God back into the schools! We had some great feedback through this event. Yet, we have also had our mountains to climb. We are still grinding it out though. Some things just don’t come as easy as others. That is part of growing in Faith! That brings me to the present I guess. God is so great, and He has brought me back full circle to my home! I am very excited to be back and can’t wait to get started and continue to build a strong youth group here. I hope to bring some great new things, as well as satisfy the tradition of the church. I look forward to seeing everyone I knew when I left, as well as getting to know the ones I don’t know at the moment. I was called to youth ministry, and will do anything and everything I can to help them to succeed as Christians as well as young adults. Ultimately, they are the future of our church. God bless.