Your Pastoral Staff
Rev. John Elford
Rev. John Elford has served as the Senior Pastor at St. John’s UMC in Corpus Christi, John Wesley UMC in Victoria and as Associate Pastor and Director of Music at First UMC in San Angelo. He has also served as a classroom teacher in San Angelo and McAllen, Texas. He was born April 11, 1956 in Toronto, Canada. He is married to Rev. Linda Seaman Elford, who served as the Pastor at Crestview UMC in Austin and attended UUMC years ago. The Elfords have two children – Chris and Lauren.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 216 Email
Rev. Lisa Blaylock
Before arriving at UUMC, Rev. Lisa Blaylock served churches in Garfield and Denton. She brings a wealth of experience in pastoral and congregational care, adult education and worship planning. As Associate Pastor at UUMC, Lisa’s responsibilities include adult education and teaching, worship leadership, occasional preaching, and pastoral care. Lisa holds a Masters in Divinity from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology and a BA in psychology from New Mexico State University. Lisa and her husband, Jeff, have two adult children.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 217 Email
Rev. Heather Green
Associate Pastor to Children & Families
Heather Green has previously served as a Hospice Chaplain and Spiritual Advisor for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. She holds a Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a BA and Teaching Certificate from Schreiner University. Heather grew up in the Hill country and has a passion for spiritual formation in children and youth and walking with parents on this journey. She is married to her husband Shelton Green and they have two small children, Everly Grace and Sutton Handley.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 213 Email
Campus, Young Adult, and Senior Adult Ministries
Megan Otto comes to UUMC from Topeka, Kan., where she served as Campus Minister for Ichtus Campus Ministry at Washburn University and the Associate Pastor for First UMC. Megan oversees weekly Bible studies and small groups, provides pastoral care and leads worship for UUMC’s Campus Ministry. Megan has been on staff at UUMC since 2014, serving as our Director of Campus and Young Adult Ministries and will now also serve our senior adults, doing pastoral care and visiting congregants at assisted living centers and hospitals. She holds a Masters in Divinity from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and a BA in history from Southwestern College. Megan is an avid sports fan who enjoys talking to people about the crazy places that God shows up in our lives.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 223 Email
Dr. Jolene Webster
Director of Music Ministries
Dr. Jolene Webster directs the Music Ministries at UUMC including the Sanctuary Choir, Cantamus Youth Choir and UUMC Orchestra. She also oversees the Children’s Choir Program, Student Assistant Choral Scholarship Program, Vocal and Instrumental Music, as well as Music in Worship. Dr. Webster has served professionally in Texas Music Education since 1989 and as Director of Music Ministries in several churches across four states. She holds a Doctor of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance, a Bachelor of Sacred Music Degree, and a Bachelor of Religious Education Degree. Additionally, Dr. Webster is also a Seminary graduate and is a commissioned and installed ELCA rostered Minister of Word and Service. She holds a Lifetime All-Level Music Texas Teaching Certification from Texas Education Agency.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 220 Email
The Rest of the Team
Arely Sanchez graduated from University of North Texas with a BS in Criminal Justice. Her role at the office and helps all staff and church members in any way that she can. She is very passionate about indoor rock climbing and music. Her favorite music artists are Tori Kelly and Selena Quintanilla.
Gail Williford serves as the Hospitality Coordinator here at church working with all visitors. A retired elder from St. Paul’s UMC in Houston, Gail was active there in spiritual formation, women’s ministries, congregational care, and evangelism. Her move to the Austin area reunited her with her two grown children. She loves hearing people’s life journeys and engaging in one-on-one conversations. Fascinated by children of all ages, Gail has long been drawn to a quote from former U.N. Secretary General and mystic Dag Hammarskjold: “if only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.”
Finance & Operations Manager/Wedding Coordinator
UUMC member Cindy Reeves joined the staff in August of 2010, and has also been our Wedding Coordinator since her own wedding here in 2008. She is responsible for all things financial for both the church and the Early Childhood Center (ECC), as well as everything related to the church campus itself.
Cindy enjoys volunteering with various organizations, planning weddings and events and attending UT football games.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 224 Email
Director of Communications
Chad Jones helps handle all things communications. He is married and has two wonderful children, Olivia and Huckleberry. In his spare time you’ll find him working in his work shop.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 212 Email
Worship Music Assistant
Cynthia DePrang leads Sunday School music for two year olds through First Graders from 9:45 to 10 am each week, and she directs the Wesley Choir and Sixth Grade leaders during our worship services. Cynthia comes to us with a wealth of experience as an elementary school music teacher, choir member and choir leader.
(512) 478-9387 ext. 221 Email
Joining UUMC and the church choir in 1996, Jan Reed finds working behind the scenes in the church office fascinating as she manages the church database, membership reports, and the church calendar. She also assists in the preparation of worship services. Jan leads the Centering Prayer group that meets at UUMC on Sunday mornings. When she’s not at church, she serves as a commissioned facilitator for Centering Prayer workshops around town and edits the monthly e-newsletter for Heart of Texas Contemplative Outreach. Her husband, Jim, is a retired video editor and her daughter, Lily, is a graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles. Jan holds a degree in Music from UT and has sung in the chorus of the Austin Lyric Opera.
Originally from Guatemala, Hugo Gonzalez has been on staff at UUMC for more than 10 years. He says his work background is “a little bit of everything,” including construction work, preparing food at Bob’s Barbeque in Round Rock and even washing dishes. His homemade chicken soup is, quite simply, the best we’ve ever tasted. Hugo enjoys working in the church environment. His philosophy: “I like to be happy all the time. I take pride in everything I do, even cleaning restrooms. I still have to do it anyway, so I might as well enjoy it.”
Lisa Allen helps make the church shine! She keeps the facility clean and welcoming, and she prepares rooms and meeting spaces for guests and members. Her work is a key part of the hospitality that University UMC offers to all.
Thomas Azar is our organist. Thomas, a native of Texas, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Texas in El Paso. He earned his Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and his Graduate Diploma in Piano Performance at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Thomas maintains a full studio of pupils and composes commercial music with his brother, Jeffrey Azar for their band “Demi the Daredevil.”