Contact Us

  • Phone: (956) 686-3784
  • Email: 
  • Church Address:
    4200 N. McColl Rd. McAllen, TX. 78504


Service Times

  • Sunday: 8:30am, 9:00am, 11:00am

Our Staff

Pastoral Staff

Profile image of Ricky Sanderford

Ricky Sanderford

Senior Pastor


Ricky has served since 2009 as our senior pastor. Ricky received his Master of Divinity in 1988 from Perkins School of Theology at SMU and a Doctorate of Ministry in 2011 from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.  Ricky and his wife Kay have three children and seven grandchildren.  Having grown up on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Ricky has a great appreciation of God's beauty and goodness in creation and finds rest and rejuvenation in a variety of outdoor activities.

This is an exciting and vibrant place to serve God.  Everywhere I turn I encounter God's blessings.  God has a call upon this church family to do mighty things for His kingdom.  I'm humbled to serve God and the people of God in this time and place.

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Robert Perales

Associate Pastor

Facebook: Rev. Robert A. Perales
Twitter: @pastorperales

Robert A. Perales is a native of the Rio Grande Valley who has had the exciting privilege of serving FUMC McAllen since January of 2014. He is pursuing ordination as an elder in The United Methodist Church and is set to be ordained as an Elder in the Rio Texas Conference in June 2017. Robert earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Southern Methodist University in May of 2009 and his Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology in December of 2013. Prior to beginning his work at First UMC McAllen, Robert worked as the Youth Director at Axe Memorial UMC in Garland, TX and as an intern with the SMU Wesley Foundation, a United Methodist campus ministry for students at SMU. Robert and his wife Tanya, also from the Rio Grande Valley, have been married seven years and are looking forward to growing their family now that they are close to home.

"Nothing excites me more than working to bring about the changes God desires in the hearts of people and the communities they are a part of. FUMC McAllen is a place where I am blessed to be a part of that work, and I look forward to my continued time doing God's amazing work in this community." 

Ministerial Staff

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Veronica Dillon

Director of Youth Ministries

Twitter: @DillonVero

 Veronica Dillon is ... a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher. But what she truly enjoys being  is a follower of Christ. She was born in Mexico, grew up in Texas, and has lived in Arizona and Colorado. She has traveled several times to Costa Rica on mission trips and has been given the opportunity to translate for others. She has learned to stay flexible through the unpredictable things life throws daily. She is currently enjoying teaching the Youth Ministry about God's truth and is having a blast planning & hosting Bible studies, serving opportunities, camps, and events for them, too! 

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

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Lee Ann Clemons

Director of Children's /Discipleship Ministries


Lee Ann Clemons has quite a varied background with FUMC McAllen, beginning when her parents joined this church in 1967 after moving to McAllen. She had the privilege of growing up with this church family, attending Sunday School and Vacation Bible School here as a child and going to MYF and on choir trips as a teen. Following her completion of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education at UT Austin and a short time in Houston, she and her husband, Gary, moved back to McAllen and chose to call FUMC home for their growing family including three children, Jeremy, Nicole and Shay. During her children’s younger years she enjoyed volunteering in their church activities and establishing strong friendships with the young adult Sunday School class.  In recent years, she has been on staff at First Church as a Day School teacher, Director of Infant and Toddler Ministries and secretary. At this time she is Director of Children’s and Discipleship Ministry.

 I hope through my ministry at FUMC McAllen to encourage others to seek God and His purposes for their lives and to encourage them in opportunities for learning and growth in Biblical knowledge, the Christian tradition, and United Methodism.  I hope to foster in others a deeper understanding of Christian love, a desire to reach out to those in need and an openness to share their faith experiences.

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Susan Hellums

Border Area Mission Coordinator


Susan Hellums has been a member of FUMC since 1988.  She is a graduate of Trinity University and University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and has a teaching certificate from UTPA.  Her husband Tom is a Consultant for Wilson/National Oilwell Supply.  

  It is a blessing to serve in God's mission with this family of faith, as He leads us into a deeper relationship with Him and each other.  The willingness to serve, and the many outreach ministries of our church exemplify our member’s desire to share the love of Christ, not only in our own community but far-reaching as well.  It is my prayer that we allow God to lead us to reach out and be God's people in the ways He calls us.

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Carlos Alfaro

Motet Choir Director


Carlos came to McAllen from Mexico City when he was 12.  He attended McAllen High School and the University of Texas - Pan Am where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor's in Music Education.  He joined the Motet Choir in the fall of 1993, and was an active member of the McFirst Praise Team back when they sang at the Saturday night services.  He served as Motet Choir Director from May 2005 through November 2006.  He went back to singing in the back row of the choir until he got his beat back and returned to directing in June 2010.  He taught 18 years as Assistant Choir Director for McAllen ISD, and he currently serves as Head Choir Director at Donna High School.  He is married to Stephnie Champion-Alfaro and they share their lives in the love of Christ with their six- year old daughter, Ella.

I am extremely blessed to have been able to worship God at FUMC McAllen for the last 21 years. The extended family I have the privilege of serving here has always been caring and supportive. I look forward to continuing serving my Lord, and my church family through the beauty of music.

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Perla Rivera

Wesley Nurse


Perla Rivera was born in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico, and moved to the Rio Grande Valley with her parents and siblings at the age of three. She grew up traveling with her parents to Mexico every summer, since her father was an evangelist, and learned to love and serve Jesus at a very young age.  She went to school mostly in Donna, however she attended high school in McAllen.  After completing high school, she then studied and graduated from The University of Texas-Pan American in December 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and immediately began working at Mission Regional Medical Center.  After a year, she moved to Tropical Texas Behavioral Health to do psychiatric nursing for a year and a half. In the late summer of 2008, the Lord called her to do the 220 internship program at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 10 months.  She had the opportunity to serve communities and young people in the schools within the cities of Baker and Baton Rouge, and was also able to do a mission trip to Venezuela; it was a life-changing experience, a time where her character was formed, and a new passion and fire was ignited to serve the Lord.  Upon her return to the Rio Grande Valley, she began working at the Behavioral Hospital at Renaissance, and worked there for about 6 years along with working full-time in her church’s youth and praise and worship ministry.  In that time, she met and married her husband Sergio Rivera and has been married now for 5 years.  They have been blessed with 2 children, Abraham Matthew Rivera and Danyelle Grace Rivera.  As of May 18, 2015, she started working for Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM), and immediately knew that this was more than a wonderful job opportunity; it is the Lord’s calling for her life.

 I am overwhelmed at the privilege of working at FUMC McAllen with the congregation, staff, health ministry team and the community that surrounds us addressing physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual needs.  I desire to make an impact in people’s lives and truly live out and accomplish the mission of MHM of “Serving Humanity to Honor God.”

Perla Rivera, RN, is a Wesley Nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM). MHM’s Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least served through education, health promotion and collaboration with individual and community in achieving improved wellness through self-empowerment. Learn more at www.mhm.org.


Administrative Staff

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Charlene Simmons

Business and Financial Administrator


Charlene Simmons Garcia joined the FUMC staff as Church Financial Secretary in April 2012. In May of 2017, Charlene accepted the new position of Business and Financial Administrator, taking on additional responsibilities in the church.  She has studied Computer Information Systems and General Business at UT Pan Am, in Edinburg, TX. Charlene is married to Asencion (Chon) Garcia, Jr., she has a daughter, Michelle Nicole Simmons and 2 sons, Blake Aaron Simmons and Drake Garcia.  Also part of Charlene and Chon's family are their loving pets:  Bruce, Chico, and Woody.

My goals for FUMC are to assist the staff in organizing, budgeting and fulfilling the church needs.

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Roland Pecina

Facilities Manager


Roland Pecina grew up in the valley.  Although he has just become a member at FUMC McAllen, he has been a big part of a lot of the mission work done with FUMC. He has been serving as Construction Coordinator for Faith Communities for Disaster Recovery for seven years.  He has also been a part of several mission trips to Pittsburg, PA.

I am honored to be here at FUMC McAllen.  I look forward in seeing where GOD leads us as a church.  I pray that we will continue to be the light of the world.

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Debbra Stolley

Office Administrator


Debbra has been a member of FUMC for many years. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Minnesota State University. She & her husband Roger are members of the Motet Choir and Friendship Sunday School Class. 

I feel blessed that, on many occasions, I am the first person to meet perspective members.  I'm also privileged to work with our FUMC staff and our many members who faithfully serve our church.  My goals are to use each day as an opportunity to be welcoming and help people feel at home and a part of our church community.  Also, by overseeing the many aspects of daily church business, I feel that I can contribute to helping our church be efficient and well organized.

Dayschool Staff

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Jenny Bizzell

FUMC Dayschool Director


Jennifer Bizzell joined the staff of First United Methodist Church, McAllen as the secretary for the Day School in October of 2007. In September of 2015 she was offered the position of Interim Day School Director, which she graciously accepted. Before coming onto the staff at FUMC, she worked as a teller supervisor for 10 years.

“I take much pride in my work. Every morning that I see those children’s smiling faces, my heart is filled with joy and excitement over the ministry we are able to offer this church and community.”

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Ginette Robbins

Assistant to the Director


Ginette was born and raised in Mission, TX. After spending several years in the McAllen community, working for locally owned family businesses Ginette, married her true love and moved to California. Eventually, her husband’s work took them to Arizona where they had a beautiful baby girl who they count as a miracle and center of their world.

After sixteen years away, they found their way back to their family and friends in Texas. Now married over twenty years with a teenaged daughter, they are able to call the Valley home again. Over two years ago their family’s world was turned upside-down when their daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Thru prayers and trust in the Lord she is managing well.

After readjusting to life in the Valley, Ginette wanted to work with children again and found herself at the FUMC Day School where she has been since September 2015.

“Every morning when I come to work and see all those little smiling faces, I am honored to say I work at FUMC Day School. For me it’s not work, it more like spending time with family.”

Custodial Staff

Erasmo Saenz


Sylvia Gomez