• Jon Sarlea, Elder

    Jon Sarlea is one of our Elders at GFCC. He was raised going to Catholic church until he was 17, when his mother sadly passed away. Jon walked away from his faith for a time, until he met his wife, Mindy. They were invited to the First Christian Church of Lansing, where Jon eventually became a Sunday School teacher, trustee, and elder.  

    Jon is excited about serving as an elder at GFCC because he wants to see the church grow. He longs to see people grow in their faith and become Christians that have a firm understanding of their faith and what ideas are Biblical and what are false.

    Jon is married to Mindy and they have one daughter, Leilani, who is a freshman at Purdue. One of the highlights of Jon’s life was baptizing his daughter during a service. He has served his community as a Hammond police officer since 2006.

  • Jeff Blaesing, deacon of hospitality

    Jeff began his hospitality experience when he ran a Bed & Breakfast in North Carolina. Taking care of customers and ensuring their stay was wonderful was his job daily. Jeff moved on to running various restaurants dealing with customer service and restaurant roll-outs. Aside from company directives, Jeff planned meals, hired employees & dealt with hospitality daily. Jeff joined a plumbing company in NWI in 2007, and rose to the ranks of Operation Manger of the company. Jeff handles all company calls, service and accounting.

  • Brenda Baker, deaconess of the gfcc ministry center of new elliott

    Hi everyone!  My name is Brenda Baker.  I was born and raised in the Hammond/Calumet City area.  I have one son, Bryan, his wife Christina, and three beautiful grandchildren, who are my life.  I retired from NIPSCO/NiSource in 2010 after 39 years of service.  I retired again from Crown Point Community School Corp. in June of 2020.  I graduated from Purdue Calumet (now Northwest) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision in 2003.

    I started attending GFCC in March 3 years ago.  Prior to that I attended Suncrest Christian Church in St. John.  At Suncrest I was very involved with Children’s Ministry.  After attending GFCC for several months, I decided I was missing serving at my church, so became involved in child care at GFCC.  While still working, I continuously saw the need for volunteers during the day, during the week, at the Ministry Center.  I new that after I retired (once again) that my heart would take me there.  When the Pandemic closed the schools and churches, but not the Ministry Center, I immediately became involved.  God led me there with my heart full of wanting to help.  On the day that we were informed that the Deaconess of the Ministry Center was leaving immediately, God led me to say yes to the challenge of keeping that Ministry going.  So since then, a team of absolutely awesome volunteers and myself are determined in our hearts and with Gods help, to continue feeding hungry people in our area.  Believe me, it has been a challenge, but loving (almost) every minute of it.  I am proud to be a volunteer for such a great Ministry, and will continue to be so as long as my old body, and our glorious God, will let me.

    Some Facts about me:

    • I was 40 years old when I started college, and 50 years old when I graduated.

    • I have retired twice, and work harder now than ever.

    • My son and his family are the most important people in my life, and that is my most enjoyable time, every minute I get to spend with them.

    • I also love dogs, but purposely keep moving in to places that don’t allow pets because my life is too busy to care properly for one, so I just enjoy other people’s pets.  (If you ever need a pet sitter, I’d love to!)

    • I tend to get a bit edgy when I’m stressed.  Just ask my volunteers.  So sorry peeps.

    • I really, really, really dislike mustard, lemon/lime, roast beef.

  • Jerri Burriss, Deaconess of Global missions

    Jerri Burriss is the Deaconess of Global Missions. Jerri became a Christian in 1962 at the Cedar Lake Church of Christ. She joined the First Christian Church of Dyer in 1978 and served on the missions team there from 1980 until the church closed in 2017. She was the head of the missions team from 2007 to 2017. She has a true passion for missions. She has served on the missions team here at GFCC since 2019, which is the same year she became a member here.

    Jerri worked in HR at Inland Steel for 32 years until her retirement in 2002. She

    then went to work for the American Cancer Society and as a property manager

    for AHEPA (a non-profit home for low-income seniors) until she retired for real in


    While having no children of her own, she has “stolen” lots of her friends’ kids. :)

  • Brandon Rukes, Interim Finance Director

    Brandon Rukes is our Associate Pastor and Interim Finance Director in 2021. He graduated with a degree in Accounting & Finance and brings previous work experience to this role. 

  • James Sopher, Trustee

    My name is James Sopher. I have been married to my wife Nicole Sopher almost 25 years. She was born and raised here at GFCC which led me to being here today. We live in Griffith. We have 3 children, our boys are in their early 20’s and our daughter is 8 years old. I have been a member of GFCC for over 25 years. I have been involved in the sound ministry for most of those years and also served as Sr High youth sponsors, and Deacon of the property ministry in the past. My current role is serving as a trustee.

  • melissa breedon ramos, translation director

    Melissa Breeden Ramos, who leads the Spanish translation and interpreting ministry at GFCC, was baptized into Christ and has been member of the church since 2003.  Her language and cultural experiences from a very young age led her to continuously pray for an opportunity to put her skills into service.  In 2020, her prayers were answered and GFCC en Español began to take shape.


    A lifelong NWI resident, Melissa lives with her 3 children in Schererville.  She works for Purdue University Northwest as an Administrative Assistant/Compliance Monitor and occasionally does legal and medical interpreting for private clients as a side project.  She has a passion for international travel and mission trips to disadvantaged areas of the world.  She has traveled extensively in Central America: Mexico (studying, working, and leisure), Guatemala (where she has extended family and has spent the most time), Honduras, and El Salvador, and has also been to Poland, The Netherlands, and the UK.


    Other passions and hobbies include music, running, and binge watching TV from the 1990’s. 

    Melissa can be reached at melramos77@gmail.com.

  • Melissa rothchild, leader of elder-berries ministry

    My name is Melissa Rothchild. I live in Griffith. I am married and have 3 grown sons. I am a two time cancer survivor. I have been a member of GFCC since 2004. I have been the ministry leader for the Elder-berries since 2005.

  • Denise Kelley, Leader Of Women's Ministry

    Hi my name is Denise Kelley. I have been married to my husband Dennis for 39 and 1/2 years. I have two grown children and two grandchildren who bring great joy to your life. We have been attending GFCC since 2012. I love a good cup of coffee and visiting with friends. I enjoy listening to all types of music, and watching old movies. Being a part of this wonderful church family has helped to love God deeper, and to share him with others. I have been the Women’s ministry leader for the last 7 years.