Our Ministry Team
Senior Pastor - Richard Thompson
Richard came to First Church, Bakersfield in 2005 from Palo Alto, California (Bay Area) where he was pastor at Wesley Church for nine years. He brings to First Church energy and enthusiasm for reaching people with the saving power of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Believing that God calls all people, from all walks of life, Richard encourages growth in Christian spiritual maturity. His passion is for all people to sense God’s call on their life and to help them to know Jesus on a deep level and to live out His call. He is a strong preacher and has gifts of teaching, exhortation, and hospitality.Richard has a B.A. from the University of Montana, an MDiv. from Pacific School of Religion, and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. Richard and his wife, ‘Ofa Halatanu, have been married for over thirty years, and they have two wonderful adult children.
Worship and Music Ministries Director - Andrew Irvin
Andrew came to Bakersfield from the Chicago area where he was Pastor or Worship and Music Ministries at a nondenominational church in the near West suburbs. Prior to that, he grew up, worked, and ministered in his home state of Ohio. He is a 1989 graduate of The Ohio State University where he was a voice major with choral music emphasis. Andrew has taught music in two Christian schools and ministered as a pastor in three churches prior to coming to FUMC in July of 2007. Andrew loves Jesus and people, loves seeing children, youth, and adults grow in their relationships with Christ and discover and enjoy using the talents and gifts God has given them in any context, and particularly the context of worship and music. Andrew and his wife Christina have two young adult daughters and a son in elementary school. Andrew attended seminary at the Moody Theological School in Chicago, IL.
Office and Administrative Staff
Director of Administrative Services - Julie Vawter
Office Assistant - Leslie Koehler
Treasurer - GiGi Dunn
Finance Secretary - Karen Wetzel
Campus Host - Rick McDonald
Facility Staff - Hector Lopez Jr.
Preschool Director - Julie Elsberry
Pastoral Assistant - Marti Ingalls
Music and Worship Staff
Worship Assistant - Beren Canlas
Audio Coordinator - James Dethlefson
Organist and Sonshine Singers Director - Rebecca Spickler
Pianist - Char Gaines
Handbell Choir Director - Ashley Kersten
Chancel Choir Director - Kathleen Schaffer
Family Ministry Staff
Children's Ministry Assistant - Peggy Cundiff