Grace Church Community is part of the worldwide United Methodist Church. As such, we align with the mission of the global UMC to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, as set forth by Jesus Christ in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
We carry out our Mission by living out our Vision:
The Grace Church Community is an inclusive community that is passionately following Jesus Christ.
Pastor Scott has been serving United Methodist Churches in New Jersey since 1996, most recently in the beach community of Bay Head, where he was the Senior Pastor for eleven years. In worship, Pastor Scott enjoys preaching and connecting God’s word with people in a practical, relevant way, and singing God’s praises in both traditional hymns and contemporary music styles. He has served on numerous District and Conference teams over the years, including the District Committee on Ministry and the Conference Youth Ministry Team.
A graduate of Monmouth University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Pastor Scott, along with his wife Karen and children Jason and Ryan (and Sammy the Chocolate Lab), enjoy spending quality family time together in God’s service.
Bridget Wendell is beginning her first appointment as Associate Pastor at Grace UMC. She recently graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary. While in seminary, Bridget worked with the Institute for Youth Ministry and completed an internship program in Washington, DC to learn about the impact of faith on politics. Bridget is passionate about education, discipleship and mission. Prior to entering seminary, Bridget was a high school Spanish teacher for 5 years, teaching in schools in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in Spanish and has a Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish. She loves working with youth and seeing God at work in the lives of all people, young and old.
Bridget is looking forward to her upcoming wedding to Brendan Galvin, a UMC pastor in Passaic in August 2018. She has a lab-pit mix named Duke, and in her free time, she enjoys horseback riding, participating in triathlons, and hiking.
Director of Christian Education
Chris Cauda grew up in Ocean Township, New Jersey, graduated from Montclair State with a B.A. in Arts and Sciences – as a Physical Ed. and Health Teacher and taught for 32 years.
She has been Director of Christian Ed. Ministries at Grace for the past 25 years; the Sunday School, Education Committee, Primary Club and Junior Club (fellowship groups) are her primary
Charlie has been involved in music ministry for over twenty years as an organist/accompanist as well as director of music. He has worked extensively with choirs and comes to Grace United Methodist with over eight years’ experience leading a praise band. Charlie has also been a public/private school vocal music teacher for the past twenty-one years. He received his undergraduate degree in music education from William Paterson University and he recently completed his MA in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University Newark. He is currently the vocal jazz Director/Coordinator of the North Jersey Region I Vocal Jazz. A few of his professional credits include working with the Colorado Springs Big Band as well as the New Jersey Pops Big Band. Charlie was accompanist for the local singing group, Bella Voce’ for ten years.
Charlie and his wife Debbi have been married for fifteen years and have two daughters. They both have a deep faith in Jesus Christ and try to make Him the cornerstone of their marriage and home. Debbi has been very involved in leading small group ministry/Bible study as well as Christian education. They reside in Pompton Plains with their three adopted border collies.
Director of Music
Kevin Cummines, Music Director for Grace Church, is a resident of Jersey City, originally from Southern New Jersey. He currently teaches as an adjunct instructor at Saint Peter’s University, where he formerly served as Performing Arts Coordinator and Artistic Director of their Roy Irving Theatre. A composer and theater writer by trade, he holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Rutgers University-Camden, and the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University. His original compositions have premiered internationally, and his most recent commission was a featured work on the Albany classical label. Like so many at Grace, he is committed to service: he never misses an AIDSWalk, and is privileged to have served as a volunteer, advocate and speaker for a number of public health and policy organizations, particularly on matters affecting the LGBTQ community. He is the son of two life-long church musicians, and the proud father of a very wonderful little girl.
Director of Nursery School
Amy has been the Associate Director of Grace Nursery School since 2001. Before starting her position here at Grace she was an elementary school teacher for ten years; teaching a variety of ages/grades in the Bergen county area.
As the Associate Director, Amy is mostly involved in the day-to-day running of the Nursery School. However, she is also involved with planning new programs that will help Grace grow. For example, the new Music, Mommy and Me Program for 9 month olds to 30 month olds, the new enrichment program for current students and extending the summer camp program.
What Amy loves most about Grace is that it is a well rounded pre-school. Introducing students to age appropriate academics, social development, physical development such as large and small motor skills and emotional development. Seeing the children grow, learn and discover new things every day is why Amy loves her job.
Lori Vanderaa is the Office Manager for Grace UMC. Lori has been with the church for almost 2 years in this capacity and has over 20 years experience as an administrative assistant for various companies. She is a graduate of Eastern Christian High School, HoHoKus Business School (Eastwick College) and Bergen Community College Adult Education Program.
Lori is married to Kevin and has 2 cats. In Lori’s spare time, she enjoys being part of the music ministry here at Grace. She also enjoys knitting and scrapbooking.
“In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans:12:5
Grace United Methodist Church was the outgrowth of a Mission Sunday School organized by a group of sixteen men, who called themselves the Union Praying Band, so named because they came from several different Methodist churches in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. They started meeting in 1863, and became known throughout the Passaic-Bergen County area for good works they performed for people in need.
On May 21, 1868, they determined to set up their Sunday School in the North Ward of Paterson. The only rooms they could find were in an old paint shop that stood on High Street, and that, with a newly constructed chapel added on to it, became the first permanent meeting place for the new organization called the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church.
On May 1, 1871, the Trustees purchased property on the corner of Water and Albion Streets, running through to High Street, and the paint shop property. The chapel was incorporated into a new church structure that seated 650 persons and was completed in 1873. On May 2, 1880, the church burned, and was replaced by a new building that was dedicated on October 3, 1880.
The next major calamity to strike the congregation was the Great Passaic River Flood of 1902, which virtually destroyed the sanctuary. Water was five feet deep in the church and the Sunday School. Grace Church was rebuilt in 1903, and the congregation continued to serve God and the community of Paterson from that third sanctuary on Water Street until October, 1961 when urban renewal required the land on which the church was built.
Relocating to Wyckoff, the congregation first worshipped in the Sicomac Community Association Building, formerly a one room schoolhouse on Sicomac Avenue. A seven acre tract was purchased in 1962 and plans developed for a new edifice to be built in several stages. The congregation held the first Worship Service in the present sanctuary on the Sunday after Labor Day in 1964. A Cloister and partial education building was also completed. The latest addition was a wing for Church School and Music Ministries, completed in 1988.
The congregation, whose membership had shrunk from a high-water mark of 760 members in the 1890’s to fewer than 100 members who moved with it to Wyckoff, grew by leaps and bounds in its new quarters, and now numbers just over 400 members. An active program of worship, education, and fellowship opportunities is carried on all year. Having roots in Paterson, Grace UMC maintains connection to those roots through our work with sister ministries in Paterson–CAMP YDP program for children and youth, the CUMAC-ECHO United Methodist Community Organization, and Habitat for Humanity. We also work with the homeless ministry of Family Promise, based in Hackensack; and to overseas mission projects such as support of Sunday Schools in Ethiopia, among many other projects at home and abroad.
Grace Church is actively visioning for its ministry and mission in the twenty-first century, with emphasis on continuing church growth, expanding youth ministry and creating a warm and caring fellowship where Grace Church members and friends are in ministry to one another.