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  • Rev. Lamar C. Oliver
    Rev. Lamar C. Oliver
    Pastor

    Rev. Lamar C. Oliver was appointed pastor of FUMC-DeRidder on July 1, 2015, beginning his 16th year of full-time ministry.


    A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Rev. Oliver is a life-long United Methodist whose family roots in the tradition go back several generations. Some of his earliest and most influential memories are from his family’s deep involvement in the ministries of the church. This pattern continued after his family moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where he served in leadership on the congregational, district, and conference levels.


    Choosing to move back to Louisiana for college, Rev. Oliver pursued the Bachelor of Science degree at Louisiana Tech, majoring in Accounting. As part of his undergraduate experience, he spent the summer of 1996 in Rome, studying international business and Italian culture. Among myriad activities he was involved with in Ruston was the Wesley Foundation, the UMC’s campus ministry at Louisiana Tech, where he pursued further the call to vocational ministry he first discerned while in high school. Immediately after college, he spent a year on staff at the Wesley Foundation, serving as a ministry intern in full-time campus ministry.


    Following his year at the Wesley Foundation, he was invited to serve as a supply pastor for the Cotton Valley and Sarepta United Methodist Churches in Webster Parish, LA.


    Rev. Oliver studied for the Master of Divinity degree at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY, graduating in May of 2002. In his time living in Wilmore, he gained experience working in local church and institutional ministry settings. He was ordained an Elder and elected into Full Connection to the Louisiana Annual Conference at their June, 2005 session.


    In addition to the Cotton Valley-Sarepta charge prior to his seminary days, Rev. Oliver has served the Raymond-Elton charge, as associate pastor at First UMC (Pineville), Pharr Chapel UMC in Morgan City, and (on an interim basis) in a cross-cultural setting as supply preacher for St. Peter UMC in Jeanerette, LA.  He came to FUMC-DeRidder, after four years as the Senior Pastor at North Cross UMC in Madisonville, LA.


    Currently, he serves on the Executive Committee of Louisiana Conference Board of Ordained Ministry as chair of the Division of Local Pastors and Associate Members, vice-chair of the Conference Commission on Equitable Compensation, treasurer of the Beauregard Area Ministerial Alliance, secretary of the board for God’s Food Box (a local ecumenical food pantry,) and is active in the DeRidder Lions Club. He is past chair of the Acadiana District Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of Uskichitto Retreat Center, and served as a Spiritual Director for Louisiana United Methodist Cursillos #127, #148, & #156.


    Rev. Oliver and his wife, Erin, a native of western New York State, were married in July of 2001. They met while they were both students at Asbury. She is also an ordained Elder within the conference who, due to health issues, has been on a personal leave of absence since June of 2011. Their immediate family consists of their infant daughter, Anna Catherine Oliver, Shiloh (a lab/shepherd purebred mix,) and Mew (a purebred Maine coon feline.)


    His personal interests include reading on a wide range of topics, fine dining, studying & debating current events, golfing (if you could call it that), travel, and, most recently, photography.


    A blog of his writings from his time in Morgan City can be found at midweekmessage.blogspot.com. He has recently started blogging again at lamaroliver.com and is looking forward to developing this more in the near future.

  • Ashley Carpenter
    Ashley Carpenter
    Director of Children's, Youth, & Family Ministries

    Ashley Carpenter has had the honor of being a military spouse for the past 18 years, raising three children Zachary, Lucas, and Grace with her husband Jeff Carpenter. Ashley and her family have lived in many different place. Most recently Ashley and her family have made their final military move to settle here in DeRidder from Fairbanks, Alaska. Ashley describes her family as,“living and breathing soccer with a side of dance for Grace.”

     

    Ashley was a stay at home mom when her children were younger and during that time she acquired a Bachelors degree in Business Management with a concentration in Accounting. Once all of her children were school age, she reentered the workforce working mostly in offices but found it unfulfilling. Ashley then discovered she truly enjoyed being involved with the development of children while becoming heavily involved with the children and youth ministry at her church. This lead her to pursue employment substitute teaching at the local district and eventually becoming a longterm substitute 5th grade teacher at a local Christian school. Ashley found that after teaching two years, working with children was what she loved to do the most, but at the time returning to school to pursue a teaching degree was not possible. Upon moving to Alaska, Ashley still found a way to be a positive impact for the children of her community as the lead secretary for the elementary school on post.

     

    While moving to DeRidder, Ashley hoped and prayed for a similar opportunity and found this position at FUMC DeRidder as the Director of Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry to be indication that, “God apparently had bigger plans for me.” Ashley says, “I am truly honored to have the opportunity to help educate and develop our youth again, and most importantly an opportunity to help them develop their faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  • John Schwarze
    John Schwarze
    Director of Music Ministries

    John Calvin Schwarze was reared in Beauregard Parish and attended DeRidder schools through the 7th grade. After graduating from Belaire High School in Baton Rouge, John returned to Beauregard Parish and earned a Bachelor of Music Education in vocal music from McNeese State University in Lake Charles in 1996. At McNeese State, he showed an aptitude for music history and conducting. In 1995, John was named undergraduate assistant conductor of all the McNeese State choirs and studied conducting under Dr. James Dunaway. After six years teaching music at Western Heights Elementary School in Westlake, Louisiana, John enrolled at Louisiana State University as a graduate student in prestigious choral conducting program. He was one of eight students who had come from all over the country to study under Dr. Kenneth Fulton. After earning a Master of Music in choral conducting from LSU in 2004, John taught at the middle school level in Harlingen, Texas and San Antonio, Texas. In 2009, he was brought in to start a choir program at historic St. Gerard Catholic High School in San Antonio. When he left the school to relocate back to Beauregard Parish, the St. Gerard Chamber Choir numbered thirty-eight sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Moving back to Beauregard Parish in December 2013, John taught a year at Lake Charles College Prep before taking his present position at Pine Wood Elementary School and DeRidder Junior High School in 2015. His goal ultimately is to revive the dormant choral music program at DeRidder High School.

     

    John’s service to the Lord in music ministry has included time at Texas Avenue Baptist Church in DeRidder, First Christian Church in Harlingen, Texas, and most recently, Temple Baptist Church in DeQuincy. Having attended Redeemer Lutheran Church in DeRidder for most of his childhood, John is knowledgeable in traditional hymnody. Every now and then, he would attend Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in DeRidder with his grandparents, exposing him to Southern Gospel songs and hymns. He is just as comfortable in the music of the Gaither’s as he is in the music of Bach. His favorite hymn is “I Love to Tell the Story”.

     

    John is also a composer. He cites Austrian composer, Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), as a major influence on his compositional style. Mary Allen played one of John’s organ pieces on Easter Sunday, which was extracted from one of his choral works, Psalm 2 (“Why do the heathen rage…?). Soon the FUMC Choir will sing another of his works, “Kneel at the Cross”, a setting of an old Southern Gospel text. John has also written hymn arrangements for two violins and organ, as well as other works.

     

    John lives in rural Beauregard Parish with his dog, Vada, and two cats, Buster and Laila. He is thrilled to be the new Director of Music Ministries at FUMC and invites you to serve as a member of the choir. The more the merrier. Contact him at if you are interested.

  • Judy Kay
    Judy Kay
    Director Emeritus of Music Ministry

    Judy Kay, who has served our Chancel Choir Director for over 40 years, holds the Bachelor of Music from the University of Texas at Austin, the Master of Music Education from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, and a Plus 30 Certification in Special Education Gifted on the elementary level. Before getting married and moving to DeRidder, she taught elementary vocal music in Houston, as well as in Edinburgh, Scotland. In her 33-year career outside of the church, she taught vocal music on both the elementary and secondary levels throughout Beauregard Parish; Judy also taught Special Education Gifted on the elementary level in DeRidder. She and her husband, Stuart, have two grown sons (Geoffrey and David) and two grandchildren.

  • Camille Winningham
    Camille Winningham
    Administrative Assistant

    Camille Winningham joined our team as the Church Administrative Assistant on July 27, 2017 and has been a attending the First United Methodist Church of DeRidder since she moved to DeRidder with her family in June of 2016. Camille is a Baton Rouge native and has a Bachelor of Art in Philosophy with a concentration in Religious Studies and Psychology from Louisiana State University.     

     

    Upon graduating from college in 2009, Camille practiced substance abuse counseling in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  She began her career in the mental health field long before her graduation as a mental health technician at a Baton Rouge hospital and shift supervisor at a Phoenix, AZ  residential substance abuse treatment center.  She has also had extensive experience in administration for the human resources department for a large corporation and the office management for a small real estate firm. 

      

    In 2009, Camille married Ryan Winningham, an engineer and native to Houston, TX.  They moved to DeRidder when Ryan accepted a position at PCA. DeRidder was just the kind of community they were looking for to raise their two sons, Thomas and Liam. Ryan and Camille found FUMC while looking for a Pre-school for their son Thomas at Methodist Children's Learning Center, and although they were not looking for a church, they felt drawn to the fellowship of FUMC. Although, Camille and Ryan left the security and community of their extended family being near by, they have not missed it since finding FUMC. Camille says, “First United Methodit Church of DeRidder has been the keystone of the community we have dreamed of and built here in DeRidder.”

 



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