Rev. Erika Gara

14Lead Minister
Rev. Erika Gara
 
Rev. Erika Gara is the lead/teaching pastor of Hope United Methodist Church. Gara a native Californian, grew up in Lancaster and Huntington Beach. She previously served as Associate Pastor at Garden Grove UMC and as Senior Pastor at St. Paul’s UMC, in Redondo Beach. Rev. Erika received her B.A. in Religious Studies from California State University, Long Beach in 1995. Her theological education took her to the East Coast, where in 1998 she received her Master of Divinity degree from Boston University School of Theology. At Boston University, she received awards for her contribution to community life and for excellence in liturgy and Bible. Rev. Erika’s passions and gifts for ministry are in worship and preaching, using technology in worship, youth ministries, spiritual discipline, caring for the poor, people with HIV/AIDS, and working with special needs families. Rev. Erika was also a Lewis Fellow in Church Leadership out of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C. Rev. Erika is most excited about finding ways that faith and everyday life intersect.
Rev. Erika is married to Joel, an elementary school teacher in Redondo Beach. Joel is an outdoor photographer, musician, and athlete when not teaching. Joel is a big fan of the Anaheim Angels and loves soccer. His mom was a United Methodist minister and his dad is a retired Annual Conference Treasurer. Joel and Rev. Erika have two daughters, Kat and Emily. Rev. Erika is an avid baseball fan, loves to read, cook, and laugh. She especially enjoys popular culture and the work of Brené Brown.