Linda Holbrook, Senior Pastor
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Our journeys in life should never be by ourselves. We were all designed to be part of a caring community where we can receive support and encouragement and that occasional hug when we need it.
Part of Pastor Linda’s passion in life is making sure that people get connected with a community. In our world of more text and less talk, of more remote communications and fewer deep relationships, it is really good to know that somewhere there are people who care for you.
Rev. Holbrook is a second career pastor so she identifies with people who weren’t in church their entire lives. She started her adult life in the corporate world, then left the corporate world and enrolled in seminary at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas. She graduated in 2005 and served churches in Texas before she moved to California in 2011.
Linda moved to California because her husband, Richard Schramm, had been living here for 28 years. They married in 2005 (in Kona United Methodist church in Hawaii) and they had commuted between Texas and California. In 2011 it was time to end the commute and live in one place. Since moving here, Pastor Linda has served at Valley Faith United Methodist Church in Sunnyvale, and been a part of the leadership team for Readiness 360. She was appointed to First Church as of July 2014.
Prior to going to seminary Linda was a consultant and help companies with visioning and strategic planning, team building, individual coaching, leadership training, and conflict resolution. She has transferred the skills she learned to the churches she has served. Linda knows that it takes a team of people to be effective in business, and in church, and also in life (everyone needs a community).
As a certified Spiritual Director Pastor Linda enjoys listening to, and walking with others on their spiritual journeys. Her hobbies include hiking, travel (she completed a visit to all 50 states in 2012 with a cruise to Alaska), reading, getting to know new people, and jigsaw puzzles. Her passions in church include worship design and preaching, pastoral care, and mission.
Linda says, “If you are new to the area or just need to new friend, please call and find out about the caring community called Palo Alto First.”
Beth Cademartori, Associate Pastor
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Church has always been a major part of my life. My Dad was an organist, and some of my earliest memories of church are Saturdays spent in the pews, coloring while hymns rolled out of that huge, old organ and swirled around me. The church has always been a place where I felt safe and loved. It was where I had friends through those awkward, lonely teen years, and my church family—which extends well beyond the walls of any one church building—has helped me figure out and then live into the me that God dreams me to be. I am excited to be receiving my first appointment as a pastor, and am eager to discover what new things God has in store for me at my new home: First Palo Alto UMC.
So, a little bit about me. I was born in San Francisco and grew up here in the Bay Area. I am a graduate of San Mateo High School, and attended Ohio Wesleyan University where I double majored in Astrophysics and Pre-Theology. While some found the combination counterintuitive, I didn’t; I’ve always seen elegance in the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of physics, a whisper of the divine.
After college, I served as a UMC missionary for a little over two years in the Kingdom of Tonga. During my time there I lived and worked at Queen Salote College, an all-girls Wesleyan secondary school in the capital city of Nuku’alofa, teaching science and mathematics. In those years I grew into my calling and laid claim to the talents I have been gifted with: my passion for mission and cross-cultural ministry, my connection with kids and youth, my interest in discipleship, and most of all my desire to be a servant of God and equip others to do so as well. It took me a couple more years, but I finally figured out there was a label for all of that: pastor.
I am excited and humbled to be joining in ministry with all of you at First Palo Alto UMC as one of your pastors. I look forward to hearing your stories and creating new ones, as we seek the intersection between God’s story and our own.
Pastor Beth was appointed to First Church Palo Alto in June 2015.
Mark Shaull, Director of Music
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Mark Andrew Shaull has been Director of Music at First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto since 1995. Prior to coming to Palo Alto he held Director of Music positions at Bethel Lutheran Church of Cupertino and Immanuel Lutheran Church of Los Altos. He is currently in his 36th year of music ministry. He holds a B.A. degree from San Jose State University, where he has completed graduate studies.
Mark has been Director of Choral Activities and Performing Department Coordinator at Los Altos High School since 1984. In addition to directing The Main Street Singers and five other choral ensembles on campus, he leads an active department with yearly performances of major works, musicals and numerous choral festivals. Under his direction Los Altos High School choral ensembles have achieved a truly international reputation, having completed concert travel to 47 countries spanning six continents.
Diane Keller, Organist
Diane is a native of Tucson, AZ. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Organ Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University.
Her musical career has included serving as a Guest Organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle from 1994-2012, teaching piano and organ lessons both privately and in groups, and teaching preschool music classes.
As an active member of the American Guild of Organists she has served on the board of the San Jose Chapter for many years including serving as Dean from 2011-2013.
Diane and her husband have lived in the Bay Area since 1999 and are the parents of three children. Diane joined us as organist in January 2015.
Angela Mosqueda, Administrative and Facilities Manager
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Jerry Johnson, Concert Coordinator
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Jerry Johnson is our Concert Coordinator. She worked with conducted the children’s and youth choirs from 1997-2009. Jerry has been teaching music since the age of 14, when she accepted her first piano students. She continued teaching piano and conducting children’s choirs while attending Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, and later earned a masters degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. As a professional singer, she has sung with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, New York City’s Collegiate Chorale, the Early Music Players of New Jersey, and the West Bay Opera.
Now retired, Jerry taught music in the Palo Alto Schools, and enjoyed the opportunity to sing with elementary, middle and high school students. One of her greatest joys is attending concerts and opera. She is the parent of four grown children and grandparent of nine.
Jessica Holmes, Wedding Coordinator
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If you are interested in having your wedding at our church, please contact our Wedding Coordinator Jessica Holmes. She will be happy to provide you with information about our facilities, rates, give you a tour, etc. You can also check out the wedding section of our website. Thank you!
Chanler Haden, Events Coordinator
Charlotte Cutkosky, Office Assistant and Webmistress
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Charlotte grew up as a member of First Palo Alto and now works as the church office assistant and manages our website and social media pages. If you have a question about this website or our social media, feel free to email her or message us on Facebook or Twitter.
Conrado Basco, Weekday Custodian
Conrado Basco is the church’s full-time day custodian. He lives in Sunnyvale with his wife, Florentina, sister-in-law, and one of his children. Conrado is from La Union, which is located in the northern part of the Philippines. He has been in the United States since 1996 and has a variety of occupational experience. He comes to us from Notre Dame High School where he was the custodian for five years. He is the father of 10 children and the grandfather of four, who live in various places around the world including Wisconsin, Qatar, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In his spare time, Conrado enjoys shopping.
Rev. Robert Olmstead, Senior Pastor Emeritus
The Rev. Bob Olmstead was the Senior Pastor for the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto from 1993 until he retired in 2003.
Prior to coming to Palo Alto he held pastorates in Reno, Nevada and in Oakland, Windsor and Santa Rosa, California. Rev. Olmstead graduated in 1961 from the University of Rochester with an honors degree in English Literature. He continued his graduate study at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley from which he graduated in 1965. Books remain a major joy for him, especially American fiction and historical biographies
During his extensive career, Rev. Olmstead marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., chaired the first Board of Directors of Home Hospice in Sonoma County and helped develop a homeless shelter in Reno.
Rev. Olmstead’s wife, Carol, is retired from a career teaching college mathematics. They have four grown children and four grandchildren.
In honor of his long, dedicated service to the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, the Church Conference voted in January 2006 to name him Senior Pastor Emeritus.
Rev. Douglas Norris, Senior Pastor Emeritus
Rev. Doug Norris has served two pastorates at First Church. From 1969 to 1974, he was appointed here as the Associate Pastor, and from 1983 until 1993, he was appointed as our Senior Minister. The Rev. Norris is Senior Pastor Emeritus at First Church.
In addition to his appointments in California, Rev. Norris has served in Minnesota, Texas, Illinois, Japan and Australia. He graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, where he studied philosophy and religion. Rev. Norris received his Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.
Rev. Doug Norris and his wife, Eleanor, have three sons and eight grandchildren. He enjoys travel, spending time with his grandchildren and music. The Rev. Norris is an acclaimed vocalist and occasionally weaves music into his sermons.
You can read Rev. Norris’s recent sermons at www.dougnorris.com.
David Parsons, Organist Emeritus
David Parsons served as our organist for 17 years until he moved out of the area in July 2004. In honor of his long, dedicated service to the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, and his loving care and upkeep of the Merritt Speidel Memorial Organ, David was named Organist Emeritus on July 25, 2004. This is only the third time that an Emeritus title has been given to someone in the 100+ year history of First Palo Alto.
David Parsons is a graduate of Princeton, Northwestern and Cambridge Universities, and of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Illinois). A native of Pennsylvania, David started piano study at age six and began studying the organ at age thirteen with Charles T. Maclary at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Other organ teachers have included Carl Weinrich (Princeton University), Richard Enright (Northwestern University) and the late Peter le Huray (St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge). He has taught at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, and at the New College, Berkeley. He has also worked as an organ builder, and has supervised the extensive restoration efforts of the organs of the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto.
David has made a specialty of composing and compiling classical scores for the great silent films. He became the Organist at FUMCPA in September 1987. He works in San Jose at Adobe Systems Incorporated, where he produces digital typefaces. He has concertized widely throughout Britain, Barbados, and the USA, and he has played in services and recitals in such English cathedrals as Wells, Salisbury, Ely, Southwark, and Winchester.
David was responsible for playing organ for all worship services of the church where the organ is required, and for accompanying the choirs in all rehearsals and services. The church’s active schedule of weddings kept him busy on most Saturdays. David was also responsible for the care of all keyboard instruments in the church.
During the course of the years 2000 and 2001, David was on leave of absence from FUMCPA, working in Barbados, where he continued his tasks in the Adobe Type Department and served as Honorary Assistant Organist at St. Michael’s Cathedral (Anglican) in Bridgetown, Barabados.