Sam Gyorfi, Lead Pastor: Sam is from Redwood City, California and is a graduate of Wheaton College and Denver Seminary. He and Jenna met while they were both competing on the Wheaton College swim team. Recently the Gyorfis have been living in Zurich, Switzerland, where Sam pastored an English-speaking international church in the city. They have two children, Berg and Lina.
Sam will begin his ministry at Grace on September 5.
Why Relationships Matter To Me: Ever since I became a believer as a teenager, the church has been a home for me no matter where I was geographically or otherwise. I want all people who walk into the doors of a church to know they are loved and can feel at home. One of my favorite quotes is from author Jean Vanier, “To love someone is to show to them their beauty, their worth and their importance.” My story and the story of my family is one of restoration, forgiveness, and new life in Jesus through this kind of love. It is because of this love I have found that I enjoy working together with people to build up individuals and families to a place of bold faith that grows from generation to generation. My hope as a pastor is to walk alongside people and families inside and outside of the church to help them see their beauty, worth, and importance in the eyes of our heavenly father.
Brian Brinkley, Youth and Young Adults Pastor: Brian is originally from Dallas, Texas, but has spent most of his life here in Tucson. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Religious Studies and has his Master’s Degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Brian has three children who attend Grace, where he enjoys building relationships with students and their parents to develop life-long disciples of Christ. Brian loves college sports and is a huge fan of the Arizona Wildcats!
Why Relationships Matter To Me: Relationships matter because they point us towards Jesus. Through living life together, we become the very hands and feet of Jesus to our community. Building relationships with students, their parents, and our surrounding community is a foundational element of how I live out my faith.
Sue Montanez, Connections Director: Originally from the Bay area in California, Sue moved first to Evergreen, Colorado, and then to Tucson in 2006. She’s been at Grace since early 2013 and is delighted to serve as the Connections Director, helping people at Grace get connected into the life of the church, whether they’re new to Grace or have been coming for a while. Sue is a lucky mom and “gwamma” who loves boating, cooking, reading, her family, and Jesus!
Why Relationships Matter To Me: Relationships hold us; they stretch and grow us; they soften us and toughen us at the same time. When a relationship breaks, our hearts hurt, and when relationships are going well, we can be bowled over by unabashed, pure joy. I’m certain we’re wired to be connected with each other, to love and support each other, and to learn how to navigate when things aren’t right. When I live into that, when I’m really present and together with others, my own life is that much richer, and I feel that much closer to Jesus. That makes me so much more thankful for all His children, my family.
Lucy Hill, Children's Ministry Director: Lucy was born and raised in Farmington, New Mexico, and moved to Tucson with her family in 2001 from Corpus Christi, Texas. She and her husband, Andy, have 3 children. She shares the Children’s Ministry Director position with her sister, Melanie Irwin, and loves using her tools as a teacher and the unique gifts God has given her to share Jesus with the children and families at Grace.
Why Relationships Matter To Me: Relationships were designed by God. He did not create us to navigate this world alone. Scripture teaches us that we are stronger together (Ecclesiastes 4:12), and Scripture encourages us to spur each other on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
Melanie Irwin, Children's Ministry Director: Melanie and her husband, Kent, came to Grace in 2005 from San Jose, California. She is the proud mother of her crazy fun and adventurous daughter, Stevie, who serves in the U.S. Army. Melanie serves as the Children’s Ministry Director with her sister, Lucy Hill, and she feels blessed to be able to share Jesus with all the children who come to Grace. Melanie enjoys playing tennis, snuggling her dog, Tia, visiting Stevie, and going on adventures with Kent.
Why Relationships Matter To Me: I believe that being in relationship with one another is the way Jesus wants us to live. Life is so rich when we are relating with each other. People will lift us up, dust us off, and send us on our way as we help one another through our best and worst days. We have so much to offer when we allow ourselves to love one another. Ultimately, "Love Conquers All", so we will always err on the side of LOVE.
Janette Henson, Worship Director: Janette has been working in ministry for over 20 years; moving from Youth Ministry to Worship Ministry about 10 years ago. She has always enjoyed music ministry; learning to play guitar in high school and working now to learn kit drums. Beyond music, Janette works to follow the Spirit’s leading as we add creativity and spontaneity to worship at Grace. Janette was raised in Tucson and spent several years in the Seattle area. She and her husband, Tim, have three children: Rachel, Sam, and Joe.
Why Relationships Matter To Me: One of the many ways God touches our lives is through the people we come in contact with on a daily basis. There is amazing grace and love that grows in each of us when we see one another, all people, as children of a mighty God. We begin to love the way God calls us to love and we see glimpses of heaven here on Earth.
Tracye Jones, Church Administrator: Tracye has served in various capacities in the church office for many years. Whether she is working as a receptionist, the administrator, or any other position, she considers working in the house of the Lord a badge of honor not to be taken lightly. Tracye and her husband Andrew have four adult children ranging in age from 25 to 39 years. They also have four grandchildren ages 3 to 18 years. She enjoys traveling, photography, playing video games, watching sunrise and sunsets, and playing board games at family gatherings.
Why relationships matter to me: Creation beautifully displays God’s power and design. When it came to mankind, God made him in His own image. Genesis 2:18 states, “…It is not good for man to be alone.” God was not referring to Adam but humanity. God started what He wants us to finish. We weren’t made for isolation, we were built for relationship to strengthen, be compassionate, loving and kind, forgiving one another. It’s a phenomenal work and He trusts us with it.