Rev. Fred Steinberg was born in San Diego, California and grew up in Escondido. Fred attended San Diego State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. After his graduation he attended Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where he received his Master of Divinity degree. After graduating from Perkins in 1987, Fred served as Associate Pastor at Central UMC in Phoenix, AZ for two years. His primary responsibilities at Central included Evangelism and Youth Ministry. In 1989, Fred was appointed to serve at Velda Rose UMC in Mesa where his primary duties included Education and Youth. After serving as Associate Pastor at Velda Rose U.M.C. for eight years, Fred was appointed in 1997 as Senior Pastor of Gold Canyon UMC Since the building of the congregation’s first building in 1997, the church has grown to a worship attendance of 450 during the summer and about 1,800 during the winter visitor season. Fred and Beth Steinberg were married in 1982 and have one son, Tim, who graduated from Arizona State University.
Associate Pastor – Katharine Keller
Katharine and her husband, Pastor Julius Keller, moved to Arizona 11 years ago to start a church in Gilbert. Julius is now serving as Senior Pastor in North Phoenix and Katharine is on staff at Gold Canyon UMC. Katharine has been serving as a Christian Education Director since 1988 in Presbyterian and Methodist congregations in Ohio. Currently her ministerial passion, besides adult and children’s education, includes hospitality and outreach within the church, as well as to the community. Katharine also serves as Chair of the Camp and Retreat Ministry of the Desert Southwest Conference. Her past leadership roles in Gilbert included Community Assistance with Gilbert Fire and the Gilbert Leadership Program. She loves to travel, hike and photograph and seek out adventure. She and Julius have six children and eleven grandchildren.
Rev. Gary Capen was born in Boston, MA and grew up in Natick, MA. He served three years in the U.S. Army, a year of which was in Vietnam (68-69). On discharge from the military in 1970 he attended Bangor Theological Seminary in Bangor Maine. Upon completion of his work for his Master of Divinity he finished his undergraduate work at The University of Maine – Orono and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development and Social Services. As a member of the Maine Annual Conference UMC he served churches in Winterport and Ellingwood Corner; Surry, Ellsworth, and Franklin UMC; Richmond/Dresden UMC; Fort Fairfield Federated Church UMC/UCC; Boothbay Harbor UMC; South Portland UMC and Stoughton UMC. Throughout his career the churches he served were smaller rural churches mostly in Maine. After being officially appointed to GCUMC in February 2023, Gary has worked in Congregational Care. Gary serves in this capacity from September 15 to May 15, and during the summer months Gary and Dian live in Boothbay, Maine where he assists with the ministry of Boothbay Harbor UMC. Gary and Dian were married July 7, 1985, and between them they have five grown children and 7 grandchildren.
Preaching Associate – Dr. David W. Worley
Dr. David W. Worley spent twenty five years in pastoral ministry in both Maine and Illinois while also completing his Bible and theological education. His ministry encompassed a wide range of experience including preaching, teaching, pastoral care, Christian education, music and weekly TV and radio broadcasts. In the early 1990s he returned to graduate school to earn his PhD and thereafter begin a fifteen year career as a university professor where he eventually became a department head. He is grateful for the opportunity to join the staff at GCUMC and to dedicate his time to congregational care.
Director of Youth Ministries – Valerie Hammons
It is such an honor to be working with our youth, young people, and families. I am blessed to be part of this ministry. Encouraging young people has always been an important part of my life and I believe this is a great opportunity to continue my work serving God.
Hi! My name is Valerie Hammons, I am the new Youth Director here at Gold Canyon. I was born in Kansas City (Go Chiefs!) but have lived in Tucson since I was one year old. I am the proud mother of two adult daughters and the best two grandsons ever. My fur baby is a 75 lb. German Shepherd named Cheyenne. I also raise tortoises: desert and giant sulcatas!
Mountains are my favorite and all the beauty our desert has to offer is just amazing. Two years ago, I bought a house south of Florence and I now get to enjoy the mountains every single day!! My new favorite hobby is taking family and Cheyenne out on my 4X4 and enjoying God’s masterpiece.
I was raised as a “Bus Baptist” and know all the songs that go along with long church bus rides. I am thrilled to be able to share the joy of missions, camp, bible stories, and the Love of God with the youth here. Spending a week in Florida with over 3,000 Methodist Youth this summer was a super highlight. I also got to spend time at the Ignite Leadership Institute in Kansas City with my new Gold Canyon co-workers. What an amazing week that was! God is good! All the time!
Come check out our Youth Program! I can’t wait to get to know you and learn more about your journey and what God has in store for YOU!
Ian was born and grew up around St. Louis, Missouri. After studying several musical instruments from a young age, Ian attended Truman State University in Missouri where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Following his time at Truman, Ian attended Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas where he studied organ, harpsichord, and choral conducting with Dr. Susan Marchant and received a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance. Ian then proceeded to the University of Kansas where he studied organ with Dr. James Higdon, improvisation with Dr. Kevin Vogt, and choral conducting with Dr. Michael Bauer, earning a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Church Music in May of 2019. During his time at the University of Kansas, Ian traveled abroad to Europe where he performed in Italy and the Netherlands. He also participated in masterclasses with organists such as Thierry Escaich & Ben van Oosten. Ian also participated in the American Guild of Organists’ National Pedagogy Conference in 2017, working with the Notre Dame Cathedral Organists Olivier Latry, Philippe Lefebvre, and Vincent Dubois. In 2019, Ian completed a doctoral project and lecture recital on organ registration of American composers in the late 19th century. In addition to being an in-demand recitalist and chamber musician, Ian is also an experienced church musician and director, having worked in a number of denominations over the past decade. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and the Guild of Carilloneurs in North America (GCNA). In his free-time, Ian likes the outdoors, gaming, and reading. Ian is excited and thankful for the opportunity to serve and lead the music ministries at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church.
Associate Director of Music – David Ballard
David was born in Marion, Indiana. His family moved to eastern PA, where David attended Millersville University and met his wife, Carol. David graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University. David then worked for Bulova Technologies in Lancaster, PA and was transferred to the Phoenix area in 1997. He now works for Ricoh USA in Tempe as a Senior Billing Associate. After volunteering as a drummer for many months at Gold Canyon UMC, David became the leader of the Uncommon Grace Praise Team. He also directed the Children’s Choir, several children’s musicals, and Joyful Noise, a contemporary, women’s and teen choir. Since approximately 2004, David has served as Associate Director of Music, leading Uncommon Grace at the Praise Service and One in the Spirit at the 4pm Gospel Service. David and Carol have two children and one grandchild.
Assistant Director of Special Music – Cynthia Hoff
Before moving to the Southwest, Cynthia was a Vocal Performance student at Oberlin Conservatory. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Grand Canyon University and holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance Pedagogy at Arizona State University. Her performances include various roles in Lyric Opera and Musical Theatre. Among her repertoire, as the soprano soloist, is the Bach Magnificat, Rutter Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria and the Mozart Coronation Mass. She has performed in prestigious choirs that have toured the United States and Europe with whom she has soloed in Carnegie Hall, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Cynthia has sung the National Anthem at Chase Ball Park, composed and recorded two original songs, as well as a full length CD of inspiring hymns. Recent awards include, First Place in the 2010 United Methodist Southwestern Regional Conference, “Got Talent” Contest and 2nd place National Winner in the American Mothers Association Vocal Competition in 2006. She has also performed sacred and patriotic concerts in various community events, including during a recent trip to the Ukraine. Cynthia is an active sacred soloist performing throughout the valley and beyond. She also sings soprano as a member of the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and the Gold Canyon United Methodist Chancel Choir, where she is also the Assistant Director of Special Music. She is a member and currently on the board as past President for the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, (NATS). Cynthia joined the Chandler Gilbert Community College Music Department as Adjunct Music Faculty in the spring of 2007 in addition to her private studio in Mesa. Cynthia’s students have been NATS Winners, Arizona Regional and All State Choir participants. Several of her students continue on with vocal pursuits at the college level and have performed leading roles in local community musical theater.