Pastor Doug Widger, Lead Shepherd

Pastor Doug has served churches full time for the past 35+ years. His experiences include youth ministry, family ministry, mission outreach and pastoral care. He and wife Karen were married in 1985 and have two adult children. Karen’s ministry is to pre-school children in a Lutheran School in Fort Worth. Sarah (daughter) and her husband Stephen live in the greater Houston area where they are raising Jonathan (born in 2019). Joshua (son) lives in the College Station area, having recently graduated from Texas A&M.

Doug loves to share God’s word through teaching and messages, and he delights in seeing the Holy Spirit bring new life to real people. One of his life verses is from 1 Corinthians 1:23a, “but we preach Christ crucified…”  If you get to know him you will likely hear some of his “go to” phrases such as, “We are a broken people, helping heal what is broken” or “You are more sinful than you want to admit, and a thousand times more loved than you dare imagine.” 

Doug likes drinking coffee and meeting new people. Give him a shout!

Read Pastor Doug’s blog: click here

Pastor Steve Roth, Community Care

Steve Roth had the honor of pastoring Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Queens, NY, for 32 years. After living in New York for most of his life, he and his wife, Alison, moved to Cedar Hill, Texas in 2017. Eventually the Lord led them to Grace Lutheran Church, where they now continue their ministry in a part time role. Steve and Alison have two wonderful children, Matthew and Jennifer.

Steve’s greatest joy in the ministry is watching how Jesus Christ changes and matures people in the Church. It’s humbling to play a role in that process. One of his “life” verses is Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Read Pastor Steve’s blog: click here

Dr. Serena Pace, Director of Ministries

Having grown up around the world, Serena calls Texas HOME. She is married to Mike and has one very active son. Her family enjoys fishing together. She has served churches in Virginia, Texas and Missouri, as well as Concordia University – Texas and on the mission field in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has served the church as a DCE since 1997 and began serving Grace in 2013.

She has always been excited about that ‘A-ha!’ moment that happens in spiritual formation and enjoys equipping God’s people in living out their faith and sharing the Gospel message. Proverbs 3:5-6 holds significance to Serena, as it serves as a reminder to place all trust and dependence on the Lord. “(5) Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (6) in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Oh… and she’s a Longhorn! Hook ‘Em!

Jennifer Chavez, Director of Early Education

Jennifer has served as the director of Grace Lutheran Early Education (GLEE) since 2015. Having attended preschool at Grace as a four-year-old, she understands how important it is for teachers to pour the love of Christ into the hearts of children. Her teachers at Grace were able to plant seeds in her that would one day lead her back to Grace to teach in the classroom before eventually becoming the director. Jennifer is passionate about being able to provide hands on, age appropriate learning opportunities to children in a safe and loving environment.

She has spent the last 19 years with her husband, Richard, chasing after their five children, who all attended GLEE for preschool. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelors of Science. She looks forward to finding new, fun ways of bringing the love of Christ to the teachers and families at Grace Lutheran and GLEE.  One of her favorite verses to share is Matthew 19:14 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Cynthia Jackson, Director of Operations

Cynthia came to GLC in April of 2019. She formerly served as the Financial Secretary for Fossil Creek Community Church in Fort Worth for almost 27 years before joining our staff. She has one daughter, Margo Elise Jackson, married to Ben Pearson, and they live in Fort Worth. In her free time, Cynthia loves to hike, travel, read, enjoy art and spend quality time with friends and family.

Cynthia now serves as Director of Operations, managing financial duties, plus overseeing communications and HR affairs of the church. She also continues to act in a supporting role “behind the scenes” in preparation for worship services. Her favorite aspect of partnering at Grace is developing relationships with its wonderful members. Having grown up in church, she is still daily learning what it means to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, leaning heavily on scriptures like this one – Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Jenna Del Cristo, Discipleship/Small Groups/Communications Coordinator

Jenna first came to GLC as a timpanist for some special services in 2017. Little did she know that she would go on to become much more involved in years to come! She studied Music/Audio Engineering at UTA, and taught music for 6 years before joining our staff full-time. She has been married to Richie for 4 years, and enjoys crafting, watching movies, and spending time outdoors. She also plays keys and sings in local bands, like Cherry Mantis and Fooligan!

Jenna loves nothing more than witnessing God change lives and being used as an instrument in His plans. Having come to faith later in life, she holds strongly to verses like Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Mark Oxner, IT Systems & Support Admin

Mark has been in the Information Technology Support field for decades. After being in the corporate world for his whole career, he brought his skills and experience to GLC in late 2010. He describes his job as, “Doing my best to keep technology out of the way, even though it’s practically required in our society.” He strives to get the most out of technology without wasting anything. Both he and his wife Kristin (m. 1998) are interested in Texas and American history. They travel to historic places as much as they can and “collect” historical markers. Geocaching is another hobby. Favorite verse: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” –1 Peter 2:1

William Land, Worship Director

Will is a multi-instrumentalist, having studied percussion performance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music. After graduating with an audio engineering degree from UTA, Will has worked professionally as an arranger, audio engineer, keyboardist, bassist, and drummer. Will has served as our organist since June of 2019, and as of September 2022 as the Worship Director.

His favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Richie Del Cristo, Jr., Director of Young Adults/Music Assistant

Richie Del Cristo, Jr. came to Grace Lutheran Church in February of 2019 after graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington with his Bachelor’s in Music with a Vocal Music Education emphasis. He is passionate about enabling others to become “life-long learners” in music and in their faith. He is excited to share God’s love to all people. You will consistently find Richie participating in choir and bells, or with helping lead the congregation on Sunday mornings.

Richie also enjoys spending time snowboarding, playing games, and flying (he recently obtained his instrument rating!). His favorite past-time is connecting with others over their favorite beverage or food and learning more about their lives. One of his favorite scriptures, Philippians 4:6-7, reminds him of the peace and joy that Jesus provides: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Red Hoar, Technical Director (Sound and Live Stream Production)

Red has been associated with Grace Lutheran Church since 1992 when he and his beautiful bride Susan were married in the Sanctuary. After 10 years on US Naval Submarines, they transferred their membership in 2000 back to Grace. He has taught Sunday school (Remember Kidmo?) and been on many kid retreats. He served two tours as a board member, where he fought hard to bring the UTA Student Center to Grace. He has been a big part of the Media Ministry, converting the system over from Arlington-Telecable and video cassettes, to a fully digital audio and video system. He helped bring in the sanctuary video screens and the live streaming of church services.

Red is the Software Development Program Manager for a local game simulation company. He loves to volunteer and with wife Susan and kids Jacob, Ryan and Rachel, has been a part of the Arlington Life Shelter for 21 years. He helps run the Ham Radio system for the City of Arlington. His favorite bible verses are Isaiah 56:12 and Psalm 150.