Pastor Thom's Bio

Rev. Thom Shafer has served as senior pastor at Cypress Lake UMC since 2013. The child of missionaries, he spent part of his childhood in Cuba and Uruguay. He earned his undergraduate degree from Florida Southern College and his masters from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. He has served at churches in South Miami, Temple Terrace, Coral Gables, and was the District Superintendent of the Jacksonville district. In 2011 he returned to his alma mater as Florida Southern College’s Associate Vice President for Advancement. Pastor Thom has served on the boards of numerous church and community organizations, including his current tenure on the Bethune-Cookman University Board of Trustees. You may not know that he played the drums in a jazz band and rigged stage lighting for rock and roll shows before answering his call to ministry. He and his wife Karen have two adult children, Amanda (son-in-law Fredy Rodriguez) and Daniel, all of whom are educational professionals.

The Reverend Robert S. Bledsoe

Associate Pastor

Pastor Robert's Bio

Pastor Robert Bledsoe is a native of Ocala who earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Florida Southern College. He continued onto Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC where he earned his Masters of Divinity. Prior to his appointment to Cypress Lake in July 2017, he interned at churches of all different sizes in Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina. Robert also worked as a chaplain in the oncology unit at Duke Hospital as well as an intern at World Relief Durham, a refugee resettlement agency. James, the half-brother of Jesus, stands out as one of his favorite Biblical characters because of his wisdom, strength, and discernment. Robert loves to golf, barbecue, play tennis, and fish, and he is passionate about the Duke Blue Devils and the Florida Gators. He and his wife Jessica (a Florida Southern graduate now serving as a clinical therapist) are “parents” to a Wheaton Terrier/Poodle mix named George.

Pastor Joe Wingard

Contemporary Worship & Congregational Care

Pastor Joe's Bio

Pastor Joe Wingard leads worship at the 9:30 contemporary service, and is also our pastor for congregational care. He and his team visit people in the hospital and those who can no longer attend worship; he’s also the lead staff member for our Stephen Ministry. If you’re looking for a good meal, Joe is an excellent person to ask for a recommendation. (The staff at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop know him particularly well!) In his free time, he enjoys fishing and cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Joe earned his bachelor’s degree from Troy State University and his master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Gayle have three sons, Sterling, Chase, and Vaughn, and a daughter-in-law, Anna.

Bronwyn Bedient

Director of Communications

Karen Shafer

Director of Music & Traditional Worship

Samantha Didio

Director of Children’s Ministry

Christina Shelbourne

Assistant Director of Children’s Ministries

Tara Balducci

Play Day Teacher

Amanda Blacketer

Director of Youth Ministry

Sarah Tucker

Assistant to the Youth Director

Heather Singleton

Director, Bright Beginnings Early School

Carol Clem

Administrative Assistant

Donna Brady

Finance Secretary

Cyndy Cook

Church Administrator

Reggie Germain

Director of Productions

Brent Saitta

Technical Director

Tom Sholtis

Facilities Superintendent

Lay Leadership

Church Council Members-At-Large

  • Sharon Dill
  • Vicki Hanselman
  • Gary Trippe
  • Roland Palmer
  • Gerald Simmerman
  • Susie Ulbrich
  • Judy Carlson
  • Janet McVay
  • Chris Riching
  • Julie Riching
  • Debbie Van Horn
  • John Van Horn
  • Angie Zavoico
  • Peter Boigeol
  • Eric Eason
  • Melissa Eason
  • Molly Gill
  • Zach Gill
  • Alex Glamyan
  • Alan Hawthorne
  • Tyler Horn
  • Kayla Lisa
  • Beth Martz
  • Jill Palmer
  • Yancey Palmer
  • Melissa Winter