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 particularly 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 is single and lives with two cats who know they are in charge.
Director of Music Ministry
Bruce has lived in the Sarasota area for two 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.
Nancy is the Moderator of our Church Council for the 2017-2018 church year. 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.
Linda Lee Miska
As the Administrative Assistant and all-around front desk person, Linda Lee is privileged to see many faces of members, friends, and visitors to St. Andrew UCC.
Linda Lee publishes our weekly worship bulletins and monthly newsletter, schedules the master calendar, and does data entry for our financial intake. Her main task is to support the Pastor in his ministry at St. Andrew UCC. On occasion, Linda Lee substitutes as our Choir Director and Musician, having been an Organist and Minister of Music for 45 years.
Originally a Connecticut Yankee, Linda Lee has lived in the Sarasota area for 25 years and has had a second home in the Florida Keys. A cradle-born Episcopalian, she is a licensed Subdeacon and Lay Eucharist Minister for Church of the Redeemer in downtown Sarasota. Linda Lee loves scuba diving, although she misses the snow. She is addicted to puppies and also rides a Harley!
Linda Lee has been engaged to Rick for one year, and they are planning a May 2018 wedding in the Keys with a honeymoon in Switzerland.
Nancy is our bookkeeper extraordinaire, and she is also our poster-maker and calendar keeper-upper.
She was born and raised in Rhode Island and attended Oglethorpe University in Georgia, where she met her husband, David. They moved back to Rhode Island to own and operate a manufacturing company that made lift stations and water booster stations. They retired to Sarasota in 2008. Nancy often tells people that she has always been a Floridian, but she was in the wrong place for over 50 years. She and David joined St. Andrew UCC in 2009, after having been members of a UCC church in Rhode Island for 20 years. Nancy and David have two daughters and a grandson.
Nancy enjoys creating posters, announcements, and booklets for church projects, so if you need something, please see Nancy for your excellent creation!
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 Marbella 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.
Sara’s full name is Sarasota’s Dream. She was born in Deltona, Florida, in 2014 and was adopted by Nancy and David Speed on July 4, 2014. Sara has been coming to St. Andrew UCC since she was three months old.
Sara’s duties at St. Andrew UCC include greeting members, friends, and visitors who come to the office. She likes to be scratched under her chin and her favorite games are keep-away and tugging her toys with her friends. Sara loves to inspect the entire church office building with (or without) her mother’s permission. She also likes it when someone gives her a treat from Linda Lee’s hidden treat drawer! She will even do tricks for a treat! So, if you are at the church on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays, come by and say hello.
Ed has a background in sales, marketing, and advertising, but his main passion is writing. He started when he was in Vietnam, composing mostly poetry, which led to songs and then prose. He has been writing about disability ever since he came to accept his own some 38 years ago. Ed has published more than 100 articles, poems, songs, and a book about the disability experience. He is married to Cindy and they have two children and two young grandchildren.
Like the Beatles sang all those years ago, Ed believes: “All you need is love, love / love is all you need.”–
Rev. Paul Binder
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. A co-chair of the Board of Missions and Outreach, Paul 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 enjoys reading and writing book reviews for clergy, writing articles on pastoral/congregational life, is an active member of the Academy of Parish Clergy, and is currently writing his extended memoirs.––