Pastors and Staff

Beth Snarr

Samantha Cowan


Ordained Deacon

Pastor Beth is a native Floridian who has been in ministry for over 20 years. She’s a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Elementary Education and a Masters of Divinity from Duke University.  A few of her favorite things are: her family, friends, going to the movies, live theatre performances, FSU football, and, of course, Jesus! 
Pastor Sam is new to Gainesville and First UMC, having just moved here from the Boston area although Jacksonville is home! She’s the Recruitment Specialist at Partnership for Strong Families and joins us at First UMC as a part of the United Methodist clergy connection as an Ordained Deacon. Sam is married to Nelson (who is the pastor at First UMC High Springs) and recently added a daughter, Cameron, to their family. 

Michael Ekbladh

Music Director

Michael holds a Masters degree in Music-Conducting from Texas Christian University and has pursued a Masters in Sacred Music from Southern Methodist University. 

Lorin Winters

FUMPERS Preschool Director

Lorin is a graduate of University of Florida with a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and a mother of three. Lorin has over 15 years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field. She is also a United Methodist Association of Preschools (UMAP) Board Member at Large.

Janet Rocap

Linda Madden

Adult Ministries Coordinator
& Office Manager

Finance Manager

Janet has been an active First UMC member for several years. She has many years administrative experience in the non-profit sector, including Director of Adult Ministries at Genesis UMC in Cary, NC. A Boston-area native, her interests are history, reading, and family time with husband Carl, two dogs, and 3 rescue cats.
Linda was born in Chicago but grew up in Orlando. She received her accounting degree from St Leo's University and is married with two grown children. Linda is an avid reader of murder mysteries, and when not reading, loves to spend time with her husband and family, including her dog, Gideon and cat, Spencer. 

Larry Resch

Director of Communications

Larry and his wife, Cheryl, grew up in Maryland and recently relocated to Florida to escape the cold and dreary winters “up North”. Larry feels that his previous employment and ministry tech work in Maryland was God’s way of preparing him for his ministry here at First UMC. 

Tony Taylor

Facilities Manager

Tony is the longest-serving staff member here at First UMC and is the "font of all knowledge" for the campus.