Chesterton United Methodist Church

Our Staff

Shannon Stringer, Senior Pastor


God of Hope. Any hope the Christian has comes from God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Hope cannot be conjured up by human effort; it is God's gift by his Spirit.

Romans 15:13

I'm Shannon Stringer and it is my privilege to be the lead pastor here at Chesterton United Methodist Church.  My husband Dave and I moved to Indiana from California and raised our two sons while serving churches in Fort Wayne and Hammond.  Dave is an instructional design contractor and works with companies in both Indiana and Illinois. Currently we live here in Chesterton with my mom, Marie, and our two ridiculous dogs.  Trust me, if you met them, you would agree they are ridiculous.  Every church has a special call from God, a unique way about them and a unique way to respond to God's presence.  Chesterton UMC's call is about caring for their neighbors and making a difference in this community.  I love that about our church.  I hope you love it, too.  Because I believe that together we absolutely can make a difference.


Jason Torres, Associate Pastor


Never Stop Learning and Enhancing Your Faith.

Although I am a new Associate Pastor, for many years I have felt the calling to lead people to understanding their faith and their purpose in this world.  My personal journey to find God's calling in my life is supported through daily devotions and connecting with others who are searching.  In all this I am graciously supported by my loving wife Sara and our great kids, Isabel and Lucas.  When not working full-time in Chicago or serving others, I enjoy tossing around a football and golfing at least twice per season.  


JoAnn Cundiff, Administrative Assistant


Helping Others in Their Ministry to God and the Church.

In 1994 with my husband Don and four children we moved back to my home town of Chesterton. Shortly after our move we began attending Chesterton United Methodist Church.  The children are now grown and we are blessed with seven grandchildren. Since 2007, I have brought my gift of attention to detail to my role as the church's Administrative Assistant.  It has been a blessing to serve our thriving congregation.  When not at church we may be at a movie, playing games, or practicing our new hobby, ballroom dancing.


Bill Woods, Music Director


Praise ye the Lord.  Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

Psalm 149

Bill Woods is my name; music ministry is my game.  For 13 years I have had the pleasure of providing music at Chesterton United Methodist Church.  Prior to coming to CUMC I  served 8 years at Michigan City UMC and 5 years in Michigan at Chapel Hill UMC. In 8th grade God called me on my journey as a band and choir director and then called me again my senior year to my service with church musicians.  I have been blessed ever since.  It is incredible to work with CUMC's band 434 South, as well as the very talented Chancel Choir.  From year to year I have seen the impact that God has on our congregation through music.  My wife of 20 years, Angela and my daughter and son, Katelyn and Christopher have been a blessing throughout my faith and musical journeys


Liz Lahaie, Children's Ministry Director


To Love Every Child in the Spirit of Our Lord.

As Children's Ministry Director, my purpose is to love every child and their family in the spirit of our Lord and lead them to love God and others.  Having served in children's ministry for over 10 years, I have been blessed since 2014 to partner with Chesterton United Methodist Church in service to the children and their families. My husband Brian and I enjoy spending time together with our three amazing children, Kelly, Kara and Joshua, who keep us on our toes.


Mandi Givens, Youth Ministry Director


To Give Youth a Place to Feel Love and Accepted While Growing in Their Faith.

For 12 years I have been involved in teaching children about the loving Jesus.  While I enjoy teaching children of all ages, my passion is engaging with all youth at CUMC and  in our community. I genuinely enjoy my time spent with them.


As Youth Director I feel it is my responsibility to teach the youth about showing kindness to others and giving back to our community. My goal is for them to be able to go off into the world having a strong foundation in their faith and a passion for making the world a better place. I love being a part of CUMC both in my work and other activities offered to the congregation. When I am not with the youth, I cherish spending time with my husband Jason and three children Cole, Aundrea, and Lucy.


Karen Alexander, Preschool Director

 

Joy in Watching Children's Excitement as they Learn.

 

I have been teaching preschool children for 12 years and the Chesterton United Methodist Church Preschool Director for 9 of those years.  Prior to coming to CUMC , I taught 1st grade for 6 years and 7th grade for 7 years in Illinois.  My husband Dennis works in Chicago and we have two boys James and Daniel.  I discovered CUMC in 2003 volunteering  with the Mom's Morning Out program my youngest son, Daniel was attending. Each preschool child becomes as special to me as my own.     

I hold them, wipe their tears, praise and laugh with them. When not with the preschool children, I am on the road traveling, enjoying my family, and perhaps at a Notre Dame baseball game.


Deborah Beard, Treasurer


Desire to Serve Others to the Best of My Ability.


As church treasurer for the last 8 years I have been given the opportunity to serve CUMC through my love for numbers and organization.  I have many hobbies; reading, needlework, quilting and extreme sports.  Most enjoyable is time spent with my husband Gary, and children Scott and Rachel.  


Don Cundiff, Building Manager/Custodian

 

Serve Wholeheartedly as if you were Serving the Lord,

Not People.

 

Realizing that even though God is all knowing and everywhere, working and volunteering in the church is a continual reminder of whom I really serve.  After retiring from a technology career in Chicago and owning a hobby shop in town, I have found working for CUMC the most rewarding job of all.  When not at church, I enjoy spending time with my family, the outdoors and dance lessons.