625 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

fax 650.323.3923


Meet Our Pastors

Linda Holbrook, Senior Pastor

Pastor Linda and Richard Holbrook of First Church Palo AltoPastor Linda Holbrook 650-323-6167 x101

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.

Click here to read and listen to the sermons Pastor Linda has preached at First Palo Alto.

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.”

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Shijung Shim, Associate Pastor

Pastor Shijung Shim of First Church Palo Alto Pastor Shijung 650-323-6167 x102

Pastor Shijung comes to Palo Alto from the Green Korean United Methodist Church in Fremont, CA. She was appointed to First Church Palo Alto effective July 1, 2015.

Her heart for ministry lies within pastoral care. For Shijung, the essence of pastoral care is to journey with her neighbors to seek the individual and communal purposes that God has planned for each individual and to gently restore them to the intentions of God and Jesus Christ for their lives. She is reminded of the verse, “The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5, NIV).

Shijung’s first-hand experience in ministry actually began as a pastor’s kid in Seattle, WA. As a younger-generation Korean American, her role as a “PK” was to support her parents, who are first-generation immigrant pastors, and at the same time to connect with her friends. This meant creating a welcoming place so that everyone—despite their generational and cultural differences—could come together to worship God because we are all children of God!

She responded to the calling of ministry as a pastor gradually through her eight years at Green Korean United Methodist Church in Fremont, CA. Shijung found a genuine sense of joy identifying and witnessing various ways the Holy Spirit guided each individual and also Green KUMC. As a result she envisioned that this is something that she would like to do for the rest of her life.

Pastor Shim is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. She has a master’s degree in pastoral care and counseling from Yonsei University in South Korea and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington. With her background as a Korean American, Shijung enjoys Korean American spiritual practices such as fervent prayer, especially when visiting a prayer mountain. She also enjoys driving in the rain and sipping a good cup of latte with her favorite companion—which can be a book or a friend.

Click here to read and listen to the sermons Pastor Shijung has preached at First Palo Alto.

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Beth Cademartori, Associate Pastor

Pastor Beth Cademartori of First Church Palo Alto

Here is Beth's introduction of herself.

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

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Rev. Robert Olmstead, Senior Pastor Emeritus

BobOlmstead126134.jpgThe 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.

Click here to read and listen to some of the sermons Bob has preached at First Palo Alto.

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Rev. Douglas Norris, Senior Pastor Emeritus

DougNorris126133.jpgRev. 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.

Click here to read and listen to some of the sermons Doug has preached at First Palo Alto.

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Join us in worship this Sunday:

8:45 am – Upstream (a casual service)

10:45 am – Traditional Service (with choir and organ)

1:00 pm – Tongan language worship service

2:00 pm – Fijian language worship service

Can't make it to church? Watch our 10:45 am service online.