Rev. Paul Werner
Prior to coming to St. Andrew UCC, Paul served as the designated pastor of Trinity Congregational UCC in Winter Haven and an assistant pastor at First United Church of Tampa. He is originally from the New York metro area.
Paul taught Spanish and ESL (English as a Second Language) to middle school, high school, and college students for 19 years. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, a Master of Arts in Foreign Language Education (Spanish), and a graduate certificate in Applied Linguistics from the University of South Florida, and he earned his Master of Divinity from the Florida Center for Theological Studies (which has since merged into St. Thomas University in Miami). While in seminary, he was twice awarded the UCC’s William R. Johnson Scholarship, which is a competitive seminary scholarship for openly LGBT ministerial candidates in the UCC. He was ordained at First United Church of Tampa in 2013.
One thing that makes Paul “tick” is his passion for social and economic justice. He believes that the poor, oppressed, marginalized, and vulnerable are especially loved by God, and that we are to emulate the actions and teachings of Jesus to work for justice and peace for all people and end the sin of systemic injustice. Paul is interested in how churches can express a progressive Christian faith with prophetic voices and actions to promote justice, peace, equality, and liberation for all.
Paul lives with two cats who know they are in charge.
Director of Music Ministry
Bruce has lived in the Sarasota area for three years. He started playing for his home church, Sardis United Methodist Church, when he was in the 7th grade. As a sophomore in high school, he accepted a position at First Christian Church in New Martinsville, West Virginia, and his father had to drive him to rehearsal and services.
Music and music ministry are a big part of Bruce’s life. He taught music in New Martinsville, West Virginia, for 38 years. Bruce also served as an organist and director of music at Sisterville Presbyterian Church for 35 years and director of music at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in New Martinsville for 22 years.
Bruce has been very active in the Sarasota area as an accompanist and is the Interim Artistic Director of Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota. He enjoys swimming and cooking and is learning to quilt.
Peggy is the Moderator of our Church Council for the 2018-2019 church year. She has a long family history with St. Andrew UCC, as her father, mother, and aunt joined the church in the early 1970s. Peggy’s father was active on the Board of Finance, Chair of the Building Committee for the present sanctuary, and Moderator in 1984-1985. They all sang in the choir and joined in the active social life of the church. Visiting Florida often, Peggy and her three sisters would also sing in the choir. After moving to Florida from New York in 1996, she worked at Venice Regional Bayfront Health for 20 years and attended St. Andrew UCC with her mother and aunt, all singing in the choir. Peggy served as Clerk from 2015 to 2018.
Nancy previously served as the Moderator of our Church Council for the 2017-2018 church year, and currently she serves as our Past Moderator on our Council. Nancy’s mission is to keep the St. Andrew UCC community involved in important peace and justice issues. She is married to George, who serves on our Board of Trustees and our Board of Missions and Outreach. Nancy and George grew up in the Sarasota area, and they retired in Sarasota after a career in the United States Air Force. They have been married for 42 years and have a large family in the local area as well as throughout Florida. Nancy and George love the St. Andrew UCC family because of its generous and welcoming spirit.
Brianne (“Bri”) is from Arizona, and she moved to Florida to be closer to her family and to the water. She enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, kayaking, biking, or just relaxing on the beach. Her previous experience includes management and operations experience in the retail, medical, and culinary industries. Bri enjoys pairing administrative and organizational duties, and she has a heart for social justice in the church.–
Bob has been our sexton since leaving his job as a cook at Plymouth Harbor in 2014. He is married to Bob Langlais (our previous Moderator) and they live in Venice with their two dogs, Baxter (a cocker spaniel) and Bailey (a westie).
Bob and Bob keep busy by riding their bikes along the Legacy Trail, kayaking on the Intracoastal Waterway, working out at the local gym, and simply walking their two dogs.
The Bobs found their way to St. Andrew UCC after they moved to Sarasota from Massachusetts in 2011. It was while they were buying their home that they met Claudia, a member of the church who was the seller’s agent. She suggested that they look into St. Andrew UCC. The rest is history!
Gary has been part of the St. Andrew UCC financial team for the past 15 years. After receiving an electronic engineering degree from the University of Minnesota and an Army tour in Hawaii, he spent a career in the semiconductor/microchip business. This provided an opportunity to live in Egypt, Spain, Malaysia, and the Philippines. After his wife died, he drove from Silicon Valley, California, to Sarasota with his two cats, Cleo and Neffie.
Rev. Paul Binder – in loving memory
Paul grew up in Seattle. With his wife, Peg, Paul moved to Sarasota in 1982. He was called to be the Pastor of St. Andrew UCC and he retired in 1996 as Pastor Emeritus. Paul graduated from Purdue with a degree in electrical engineering and he worked for General Electric for 14 years. He resigned to enter Eden Seminary in St. Louis, accompanied by Peg and their 3 children, ages 2, 4, and 6. He was ordained in Indiana in 1967 and earned his Doctorate in Ministry in 1989 from Eden. Paul served as co-chair of our Board of Missions and Outreach. He found St. Andrew UCC an inviting, caring people, particularly because it is Open and Affirming, strong in social justice and compassion ministries, and committed to more fully living the faith in all of life. Paul was an active member of the Academy of Parish Clergy.