Church Staff [L to R]: Philip Butler (Director of Youth Ministry), Livingstone Zan (Sexton), Connie Millsap (Minister of Hospitality & Discipleship), Steven Vredenburgh (Communications Coordinator), Sandra Olewine (Pastor), Gregory Norton (Minister of Music & Communications), Maggie Audley (Office Manager), Aaron Shows (Organist), Timothy Sun (Business Manager)
Rev. Sandra K. Olewine
Born in Maryland and raised in California, Rev. Sandra Olewine (Sandy) is a graduate of the University of California, Davis (BS) and the Claremont School of Theology (M.Div / ABD).
Sandy served two congregations, First UMC in Fontana and Holman UMC in Los Angeles, before accepting a call to work overseas. For 10 years she served as The United Methodist Church’s Liaison to Jerusalem through the General Board of Global Ministries. During those years she received numerous awards recognizing her work for peace and justice.
In 2006, Sandy was sent to downtown Long Beach to start a ministry, The Neighborhood (La Vecindad), an urban ministry with the poor in downtown Long Beach that has been recognized for its innovative community-based ministry. She was appointed to Santee United Methodist Church on September 1, 2011 and began her current appointment at First UMC, Pasadena, on July 1, 2014.
Sandy loves to read, go to movies, and hike in the mountains. She took up running (some might call it ambling) upon returning to the US and at age 50 completed four marathons and almost 20 half-marathons! She is an avid photographer, loves Peanut M&Ms (well, anything chocolate, really) and is a Steelers fan. She has one nephew, Jared. He and his wife, Carol, live in El Cajon and work in San Diego.
Rev. Gregory Norton
Minister of Music and Communications
A native of Redlands, (Calif.), Greg has spent more than thirty years serving churches in Colorado and Southern California, most recently at Westwood UMC in Los Angeles.
Greg is also the Music Director of The Claremont Chorale, an independent community chorus based in Claremont that he has lead since 1993. He holds degrees in conducting from Chapman University and the University of Southern California, the Colleague Diploma from the American Guild of Organists and attended the Iliff School of Theology in Denver.
Greg lives in Altadena with his husband, Paul Floyd. Paul is the son and grandson of Methodist clergy and is an active layperson at First Church. Having spent over two decades coaching opera singers at LA Opera and in Santa Fe, among other places, Paul now teaches at Chapman University and spends the summers at music festivals. He is an avid outdoorsman, and when not seated at the piano he can be found riding his surfboard or his road bike or hiking.
Minister of Hospitality and Discipleship
Connie Millsap participated in this congregation as a layperson in the early 90s. Moving to Texas, she entered the Perkins School of Theology, earning her Master of Divinity in 2000.
Connie served as the Executive Associate at a large suburban church, but most of her ministry has been as a pastor of urban churches which were struggling with who they were as the “church” in communities that had hanged dramatically over the years and the churches’ membership had decreased significantly. Each church was in a “survival” mode and had turned inward. Her ministry was to help the church to turn towards God and God’s mission for them in their particular place and time. Connie typifies her ministry as spiritual catalyst and missional collaborator.
She is currently completing a Doctor of Ministry degree in ‘Christian Hospitality and Holy Wholeness’ at Perkins School of Theology. She was in the design phase of her project when our church leadership was designing our Strategic Vision process in the fall. Our hope to create Christian hospitality as part of the DNA of the congregation aligned with her thesis for her DMin. She was able to rewrite her project description, making FUMC the primary focal point for her research. Connie will be working with the Navigation team and the Ministry Areas to assist us as we consider what it means to have a DNA of Christian hospitality, working to help us make that dream a reality.
Connie is an avid gardener, and when she has her hands in the dirt, pulling weeds, or planting seeds, she describes that as a soul tending time of prayer, filled with the possibilities of what can be.