“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1) The Lord truly is my shepherd and He has worked hard to get me where I am today. He has had to use his rod and staff on me more than once!
I live in Wesleyville with my wife, Kristin. We have a blended family of 6 adult children, my 2 (Amanda and Jacquie), her 3 (Steven, Caitlin, and Gerry), and 1 (Anthony) that moved in for a while and just chose to stay. We have 13 grandchildren: Owen, Ellie, Audriana, Andrew, Karley, Bryndis, Marlene, Walter, Cindy, Gabby, Gabriel, Rebekah, and Lydia. I am also “Daddy” to a number of furry creatures, mostly rescues.
I was born and raised in Erie and Harborcreek, PA, I am the fourth of five children, with two older brothers, an older sister, and a younger brother. My parents divorced when I was young. I lived with my mother but looked forward to fishing with my father on weekends. I was personally responsible for a lot of my mother’s grey hair. I spent a lot of time hunting and fishing with friends. I attended Harborcreek High School and participated in track, cross country, chorus, and a few school musicals. I graduated in 1977.
I worked for 33 ½ years as custodial/maintenance at Harborcreek School District. Whether it was setting up for a track meet, cleaning up after a band competition, or just keeping the classrooms clean for the teachers and students, I worked hard at what I did. When I was not at the School District, I was working with contractors, giving me experience to fix/build many things, as long as I don’t have to use a wrench! I decided that I would go back to school as an adult and considered teaching.
After a lot of mistakes, I returned to college at Edinboro University as an adult. I started majoring in secondary science but actually graduated with a BA in psychology. I completed all the class work and a six week field experience program at Warren State Hospital for my MA in clinical psychology. My thesis work was on PTSD but I was unable to complete my MA before Edinboro closed the program. My education led to some positions in drug and alcohol rehab programs. I didn’t get the MA but I got the education that I use regularly as a parent, grandparent, and pastor.
My faith journey actually started at Faith Lutheran when I was in Boy Scouts. The troop was sponsored by the church. I chose to become baptized. Pastor Wertz actually thought I would make a good minister and I laughed. I guess he has the last laugh as I sit here thinking about my parishioners at New Hope Presbyterian. I ran away from my faith for a while until a friend asked me to attend Lawrence Park Methodist. I worked as a custodian at the church for a while and really got to know the pastors. They redirected me and I started lay speaking courses with the Methodist church. I led a few youth mission trips. I eventually met my friend and now wife, Kristin. Kristin and I were married in July 2002. We are truly a ministry team.
Kristin and I started attending Belle Valley Presbyterian in 2002 after an Easter sunrise service. We found that there were a lot of people that we knew. I started working on the classes for the CRE (Certified Ruling Elder) program at Dubuque Theological Seminary. I completed the classes and was on the pulpit supply list, serving at a variety of churches in Erie, Crawford, and Venango counties. In 2021, I started serving occasionally at New Hope Presbyterian. In Dec 2021, I was offered a six month part-time interim pastor position. In May 2022, I was commissioned as an interim pastor for New Hope. I look forward to the experiences we will have together. I hope to inspire the congregation to share God’s love in this hurting world.
When I am not preaching, I enjoy spending time with my wife and family. Kristin and I take the dogs for walks or explore interesting new places. I like camping and hiking. I love to read. My favorite authors are Clive Cussler, Dean Kuntz, and Stephen King. I can be found hunting or fishing when I get the rare opportunities.
Pamela Gildersleeve is the mother of twin daughters, Megan and Michelle and one son, Joshua. Pam and her husband Frank are the proud grandparents of 9 grandchildren. She graduated from Strong Vincent High School and attained her Associate Degree in Business Administration at Gannon University. She has worked as an administrative assistant for over 20 years at various locations including LCBA, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and Trinity UM Church. She is a life-long member of St. John’s Lutheran Church. Pam and Frank enjoy upgrading and remodeling their home, cooking, camping and traveling.