Parish Staff

Interim Pastor

Pastor Tom Slater

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   I grew up in Northeastern New Jersey about ½ hour out of New York City.  I went to Concordia College in Bronxville, New York and majored in History.  I attended the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa. from 1981-1985.  I did Internship at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Pa.  I met my wife Sherry in Gettysburg and we were married in July of 1983. 

   Our first call in ministry was to Christ Lutheran in Loganville, Pa. from 1985-1991.  We were then called to Faith Lutheran in Jacksonville, Fl. from 1991-1996.  We, then, were called to Christus Victor in Naples, Fl. from 1996-2022 until I retired.  I became the Interim Pastor at Christ Lutheran, Cape Coral in 2023.  My wife, Sherry, and I now live in Magnolia Landing in North Fort Myers and we are both excited to be in ministry with the faithful at Messiah Lutheran.  It’s an honor to be in Christ’s service with you all through this time of transition.

Director of Music

Deacon John L. Renfroe

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ELCA Rostered Deacon

John Renfroe is the director of music and organist at Messiah. He leads the Chancel Choir, the Messiah Motet Ensemble, the SonRise Singers and the Evensong Ensemble. He also supervises the Christian Education programs, Youth Ministries, and visitations to the homebound. John graduated from Stetson University with a degree in organ performance as a church music major with a minor in music theory and composition. He is very active in community and synod music events. John and his wife Darlene live in Cape Coral. His daughter Courtney graduated from Stetson University and now teaches English in Busan, South Korea. His son John David obtained his B.Mus. from Florida State University and his M.Mus. from the University of South Florida. He currently lives in Chicago, IL where he coordinates IT and Ticketing/Reservations with the Chicago Lyric Opera.

Parish Administrator

Scott VanBaaren

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A native of New Jersey, Scott has lived in Florida since 2003 and he has been a member of MLC since 2008. Scott began serving Messiah Lutheran Church as Parish Administrator in January of 2017. He brings a wealth of experience in Church Administration to the parish office having served in various parish and Christian college offices for over ten years. He obtained an A.A. degree with a specialization in Liberal Arts from Ocean County College in 2000 followed in 2002 by a B.A. in Religious Studies with a minor in Philosophy from Felician University, both in New Jersey.  He has completed coursework toward a Master's Degree in Religious Education and spent the final two years of his college career in College Seminary while discerning a call to the priesthood. He and Al currently reside in North Fort Myers FL.

Scott was commissioned as a Synod Parish Deacon in the Florida Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in November of 2019. With the departure of Pastor Richard Leseganich in January of 2024, Scott is on the inactive list of Synod Parish Deacons. The service of a Synod Parish Deacon may be reinstituted by a future called pastor.

Director, Handbell Choir

Judith King

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Judith King serves as director of handbell music at Messiah Lutheran Church. Originally from Vermont, Judith is a member of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringing, has rung handbells for over 30 years and was a charter member of the Southwest Florida Handbell Ensemble. In 2013 Judith attended the International Handbell Symposium in Liverpool, Great Britain. While in England she participated in ringing at a tower bell rehearsal at St. Michael's Anglican Church in Garston. Earlier this year Judith traveled throughout Ireland and Scotland visiting several cathedrals, some with handbell choirs and/or tower bell choirs. She had the privilege of accompanying the bell ringers in the tower at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland to toll the bells for Sunday services. While in central Scotland she participated in a handbell rehearsal in Dunkeld and attended the Dunblane Cathedral ringers handbell concert featuring their three versatile advanced choirs. Judith plays tenor drum for the Harp and Thistle Bagpipe Band from Naples, Florida, which placed first in the state of Florida 2015 Highland Games. Judith also plays mountain dulcimer and is a member of the Southwest Florida Dulcimer club. Judith enjoys reading, English Country dancing, Contra dancing and has achieved the three levels of the Florida Master Naturalist program.

Director, Kids Connection ELC

Carmen Orozco

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Ms. Carmen has been the director of Kid's Connection since 2007, and before that was assistant director for 3 years.  She has a Bachelor's Degree in psychology and sociology, and an associate's degree in Human Services and Early Childhood Development.

Ms. Carmen is married and has three children and six grandchildren.