United Methodist Church of Thousand Oaks
Monday, December 22, 2014

Staff

 
Reverend Steve Peralta   Senior Pastor
 
           
  
Pastor Steve arrived at UMCTO in July of 2006 to serve as pastor. A product of Anaheim, California, he was first ordained in 1998, and holds a B.A. of English from Humboldt State University and a M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary. He often says that God “dragged me kicking and screaming into the ministry.” He is equally comfortable singing modern worship songs or traditional hymns from the past. He enjoys the mysterious presence of God in silence and chant and believes that ministry is a work of the entire church body: all Christians are called to ministry.
 
When he isn’t busy pastoring, Pastor Steve enjoys keeping his body on the move: running, cycling, backpacking and mountaineering, snowboarding, and international traveling. His non-active interests include reading, loud music (both listening and making), and eating really, really good food.
 
  
 
 
Pastor Pablo Róvere   Pastor of Hispanic Ministry
 
Pastor Pablo Daniel Róvere was born in Chacabuco, Argentina.  He was baptized and grew up in the Methodist Church of Argentina, attending Sunday School and youth group.  In the year 2000, he was chosen to represent the Methodist youth of Argentina at the Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches of Latin America in Sao Paolo, Brazil.  It was there that he felt God calling him particularly to the ministry.  In 2001, he started seminary in Buenos Aires (ISEDET) and during that time, met and fell in love with his wife Michelle, a volunteer from the United States.  They have two beautiful children; Trinity, 5-years old and Lucas, 2-years old, who he says are "the light of our lives."  He believe that "God is a God of grace, who gives to us freely.  God is the source of all love, justice and peace.  God is in every moment of everyday life, in challenges and restful moments.  God can do anything."
Pastor Pablo has served congregations in Bahia Blanca, Argentina as well as Tucson, AZ and Los Angeles, CA before coming to UMCTO as Pastor of Hispanic Ministry.  During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching soccer, fixing things and working with wood.
     
     
Gabe Salazar    Director of Worship
 

Gabriel Salazar, Director of Worship, was born in Houston, Texas, the eldest of six children.  No one else in his family is musically inclined he says, but he must have had a musical ancestor somewhere because from high school on, he knew music would be his future career.  So, after high school, Gabe moved to Phoenix, Arizona to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music at Grand Canyon University; then traveled to the eastern U.S. where he completed a Masters Degree in Music Performance from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. 

 

At both colleges, Gabe was active in vocal performance.  While at Grand Canyon U., Gabe formed The New Life Singers in 2010. This group is now Grand Canyon University's  premiere traveling performing group.  He successfully facilitated and executed over 400 performances for The New Life Singers across the western United States for over 3 years. He also produced and managed The New Life Singers very first album, "Captivate".  While at Lee U., Gabe was a member of the Lee University Singers, performing around the U.S. and abroad; and for three years he was Director of Second Edition, a small vocal group that performed throughout the U.S. every summer.

Returning to Grand Canyon University to work toward an MBA, in 2013, Gabe was named Grand Canyon University College of Fine Arts and Production Faculty Member of the Year.

Gabe has used his vocal and musical training as a worship leader or musician for several churches, including Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago; First United Methodist Church of Phoenix, Arizona; as well as Bethany Bible Church in Phoenix. 

 

He is affiliated with American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and is a Board Member of the Arizona District Metropolitan National Opera Council.  In his spare time, Gabe enjoys running marathons, and is currently training for an upcoming race in Hawaii! 

 

 

 

 
   
Connie Jones   Director of Christian Formation
 
  
 

Connie Jones, birth name – Constance Anne Swartout – joined our staff January of 1991. Connie has a great love for people of all ages which is felt in all the ministries she serves.

Connie presently oversees our Family Ministries, Small Group Ministries, all Adult Education and Spiritual growth programs, Puppet Ministry – “Hands for Christ” and Stephen Ministries which includes being a Stephen Leader and Minister.  Connie is a California native but has lived in Kansas and Missouri for brief periods of time.  She deeply loves her six grown children, Natalie, Ruupak, Adam, Amber, Autumn and Abel as well as her grandchildren, Heather, Shannon, Tyelor and Ashley.

Connie received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Christian Leadership from Azusa Pacific in 2001.  Connie claims she has been a Methodist since she was in the womb.  She began serving in the Christian Education field of the United Methodist Church after a heart warming experience in 1982.  She loves to read and has an insatiable quest for learning especially in the Biblical and Spiritual realm of studies.  She also is a lover of outdoor life through gardening, hiking, beaches and water skiing at Lake Naciemento.

Connie affirms the mission statement of this church: “Changing the World through Jesus Christ” and welcomes the opportunity to help you “Make Your Faith Real.

     
     
May Simonds   Office Administrator
 
 
 
 

May Simonds was born in Farmington, Maine, the third of four children of a Methodist Preacher's Kid.  The family moved to Alaska in 1967, and she grew up skiing, hiking, fishing, camping and generally, enjoying life in the Last Frontier. 

She attended college at Oregon State University, and married high school sweetheart Michael, on July 26, 1978 at First United Methodist Church (on the Parkstrip) in Anchorage.  Michael is a corporate pilot with close to four decades of professional piloting and more than 20,000 accident-free hours in the cockpit. Naturally, next to Methodism, aviation has been a dominant life theme and area of interest.  May and Michael have two daughters, Eden, an artist living in Seattle, WA; and Monica, who is attending art school in Chicago. 

May has been a member of UMCTO since 1994, and office administrator since January, 2011.  

     
     
    Director of Youth Ministry
     
 
     
     
Diana Rainer
  Assistant Program Administrator
   
     
     
Mitch Schrader
   Facility Manager
 

Although Mitch was born in Indiana, he moved to Thousand Oaks in 1961, so has called California home for over 50 years now.  In fact, his first residence was on Whitecliff Road, just around the corner from the church, and he has had a close association with UMCTO since joining in the early 70’s.  Mitch and his wife, Debbie, are owners of a handmade toy company, Imagination Depot, creating charming, old-fashioned wooden toy trains that they sell online, and at arts & crafts shows locally and as far away as Kentucky. 

They have three grown children; Lisa, and twins, Candace and Miranda.  Mitch likes to tell people that he “knows a little about a lot of things”, and this hands-on aptitude, whether crafting wooden train engines or repairing a broken faucet, are what make him the perfect Facility Manager.