Rev. Neal Neuenschwander
Pastor, Head of Staff
Neal came to First Pres in
October 2004, and he blesses us with great preaching, challenging
leadership, and sensitive caring.
Neal sees himself
filling four primary roles in the church. As a leader,
he works to build a common vision, strong teams, and specific
measurable goals. As a preacher, "I love to mobilize
God's people to reach great ends. I emphasize practical
applications, but I also cherish deep analysis of the original
biblical text, and I often translate key words from the Hebrew or
Greek. I enjoy success stories, and my favorite illustrations
describe people who overcame great obstacles in order to achieve."
As a coach, he suggests ideas that have worked in other
places, while respecting unique needs. To gain this wide
perspective, he has interviewed leaders of outstanding churches,
as well as attending major conferences on leadership and church
systems. As a caregiver, he shares Christ's compassion
through counseling, visitation, and correspondence. He writes, "
I love learning people's stories and honoring their contributions
to Christ's work within and beyond the church."
Above all, Neal seeks to show that "the love of Christ is real.
When you're sick, it brings food to the door. When you're
bruised, it brings tenderness. When you're confused, it brings
truth. When you're stuck, it brings freedom. When you're
discouraged, it brings hope."
Lay Minister of Visitation
Rupert spent 30 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, eventually reaching the rank of captain. He commanded two ships, a destroyer and a radar picket. During this period, he also developed a strong faith in Jesus Christ and a desire to share this faith with others. Following his service in the Navy, Rupert worked briefly in the private sector. Then, he served as our Business Manager for 10 years. During retirement, Rupert has devoted his efforts to pastoral care and spiritual development, visiting the sick, calling on visitors, teaching Bible Studies, and leading our Wednesday night prayer group.
Director of Discipleship and Outreach Ministries
Erik has a great passion for helping people grow their faith in Christ. He and his wife have led small groups since they met while leading one in college. He has organzied many other activities that help people come closer to God and experience the Spirit--through worship, study, sharing, and service. In his spare time, he is a program manager in aerospace safety, helping to prevent failed rockets from landing on our heads.
Office Communications Coordinator
Kristin is our Office Communications Coordinator. If you call the church
office, she is the friendly lady who will get you the information or help
you need. She creates the weekly power point and bulletins for our Sunday
Services. Her passion is photography and she has a book available called
“God Must Be From Pedro, Because This Place Looks Like Heaven”, which is
filled with San Pedro Photography and Inspirations from her own personal
life journey. She also enjoys cooking and watching her two sons, Benjamin
and Samuel, play baseball and guitar. Kristin is a lifelong resident of
San Pedro and has been married to her husband, Jerry, for 20 years.
handles the cold hard cash: she records the church's income
and pays the bills (on time!). She reports on the status of
the church's finances, providing regular reports to the
Session, as well as sending out giving summaries to
Music & Worship Staff
Director of Music
Allan orchestrates all the music ministries.
He directs the Chancel Choir (the adult choir), in diverse
styles of music ranging from Renaissance to modern. He
is also a nationally-known composer and
choral music, travelling around the western U.S. as a
Contemporary Music Coordinator
Insuk Park has been accompanying churches since she was 15. Born in Korea, where she first began piano and organ lessons, she earned a Master’s degree in Organ at Kazan State Conservatory in Russia, and later played organ in Italy. She and her husband came to the US thirteen years ago and she has served as church organist most recently at First Presbyterian in Torrance. Insuk makes her home in Torrance with her husband, two daughters and a cat.
Susan Lansing Weller
Chapel Bells Director
Susan is a musician and educator who finds joy and inspiration in her work. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude at California State University in Northridge and her Teaching credential at California State University in Dominguez Hills. Susan has been performing and teaching in Santa Barbara, New York, and Los Angeles for several years. She has been working in church music for over 20 years, and she seeks to serve God in all her interactions with friends, family, and everyone that she meets in life.
Tech Systems Manager (interim)
Youth and Children's Music Staff
Director of Youth & Children's Choirs
Emily Anderson started the children's choirs at First Presbyterian Church two decades ago. She recently returned after a seven year absence and still has the knack for having fun with kids of all ages while teaching them about faith and music. She places the emphasis on musical fun, teaching; morals, biblical stories and scripture.
Student Ministries Staff
Randi Bender and Todd Walter
Randi Bender is a life-long member of First Pres, where she was active in the children's choirs and the youth group of our church. After graduating from college at Fresno State, she took an accounting job in Central California, where she met her husband, Todd Walter. Todd is a native of Washington state. Eventually, Randi brought him to Southern California, where both continued in the accounting field. After reconnecting with our church through the Alpha program in 2006, they volunteered for several youth projects, eventually joining our staff.
Children's Education Staff
Children's Ministries Coordinator
Toddler Room Coordinator
Sharon McLachlan grew up her in San Pedro, where she attended Dana Middle School and San Pedro High. She joined our church in 2005 (after visiting for several years), and soon became involved in ministry to kids. Her smiling face is a welcome sight to many children in our church.