I’m Erik and I’ve served as the pastor of Live Oak Church of the Brethren since February 2016. I am originally from Indianapolis, IN. A city boy at heart, I moved to the Live Oak area after being called to serve as pastor for this congregation. My call and movement into pastoral ministry has been very much a journey.
Originally believing I wanted to be a youth minister, in seminary, I discovered my call was not to youth ministry, but to pastoral ministry as I found my passion was for preaching and planning/leading worship. I joined the Church of the Brethren in February 2013 and then graduated from Bethany Theological Seminary in May 2013 with my master’s degree. I received my bachelor’s degree, majoring in Christian Ministry, in 2008, from Anderson University (Anderson, IN). It was at AU where I first learned about the Church of the Brethren and its peace witness, which is what ultimately led me to attending Bethany and joining the Church of the Brethren. Between graduating from seminary and becoming a pastor, I worked in food service, substitute teaching, and customer service. During my time at Live Oak, my love and passion for pastoral ministry has only grown and deepened, enjoying time spent with our older members, listening to their stories and memories, learning from their wisdom and experience, as well as the variety of things pastors do. I also serve on our district’s policy board and ministry commission.
My vision for the church is for it be the church, to actually follow and live out the teachings of Jesus and continue his work to establish God’s kindom on earth, to be a community of love and compassion, a community that is inclusive, expansive, welcoming open, and affirming. To be a people that stands and speaks against the forces of evil, empire, injustice, and oppression. To be a church that brings good news to the poor, release to the captives, sight to the blind, and liberation to the oppressed. To be a people that work for justice, practice kindness, and are humble. To be a community that loosens the bonds of injustice, that feeds the hungry and provides shelter for the homeless and provide for all in need what they need. My vision for the church is that as much as it is a house of worship and fellowship, it would be just as much a shelter and refuge for people in need of a safe place. My vision is that people who walk through our doors would feel free to be their whole selves and never have to hide any part of who they are. My vision is that people would know that here, in this place, they are accepted and affirmed and never have to fear being rejected and excluded. My hope is that we all would work together to make such a vision a reality.
I presently serve as the Board Chair for Live Oak Church of the Brethren. As board chair, I am a servant to the congregation, preside overboard meetings, and encourage and work with individuals for the good of our church and community.
I was reared on a small farm in Paradise, California. I have worked since I was 14 to earn school money. I am an avid reader, have been a secretary and bookkeeper, and after completing college at 40, I became a full time Primary School Teacher in the Live Oak Unified School District. I also have a Reading Specialist Certificate and an Administrative Credential.
It was while teaching that I met several teachers who attended the Live Oak Church of the Brethren. One special teacher asked me continually to visit her church. I had reasons to doubt the difference of this church over other churches I had previously experienced. But this teacher never gave up. She asked me for 13 years before my husband and I decided to attend one time.
Well, we have now attended Live Oak Church of the Brethren for over 25 years. We love this congregation; it is our spiritual family. Here, there is kindness, inclusion, and a sharing of our lives and deaths. Here, we uphold the way of Jesus the Christ and walk together to help people see his Kingdom on earth.
We found a safe place; a place where it was okay to ask the hard questions. And our journey was/is our journey, a place to learn and grow in personal and spiritual ways.
I have learned to listen to the voice of God (the Holy Spirit) to guide me and help others.
Steve and I will stay here and hopefully continue to serve in any way we can. And we welcome anyone who needs or wants a place to feel safe to learn and worship as we have.
Peace and Blessings,
I am looking forward to meeting you.
I am Beverley Brandt, moderator of Live Oak Church of the Brethren. I have been a member of the church since moving to Live Oak in 2000. I have served in many different leadership roles: board chair, stewardship chair, and adult Sunday school teacher.
My entire life has been spent in teaching school and church work. It is a joy to fellowship with a church where everyone is like a close family. We celebrate our joy in knowing Jesus as our older brother. His life is our assurance of God’s love in this life and our future life.