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Meet Our Leadership

"Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God."

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Pete Ward - Pastor

After a 25-year career working in Corporate America in downtown Chicago, I followed the call of God and became a Licensed Local Pastor. In 2016, I became an Associate Member of the Indiana Conference.  I am currently serving as pastor at the Woodmar United Methodist Church in Hammond Indiana and as Chair of the Fellowship of Associate Members and Licensed Local Pastors of the Indiana Conference.

I began my ministry as an Associate Pastor at Hammond First and served there from 2003 – 2008. In 2008 I became the Senior Pastor at Whiting United Methodist Church. In 2010 Whiting became a two point charge with Hammond Hyde Park UMC and I served as the Senior Pastor until 2017 when I became the Senior Pastor at Hebron UMC. I served as the senor Pastor at Hebron UMC until 2022 when I elected to retire as an appointed Pastor in the United Methodist Church.

However God had other plans and on March 1st, 2023 I was appointed as the Senior Pastor at the Woodmar United Methodist Church in Hammond, Indiana.

As I look back at my career I am reminded of a quote in the movie “Mr. Holland Opus” as actor Richard Dreyfuss talks about how he became a teacher: “I went into this gig kicking and screaming and now it’s the only thing I want to do.” Following my call to become a pastor was one of the best decision I ever made. Yes, there are times when I’ve questioned my call. But there is no greater feeling than the feeling you get when congregational members or total strangers trust you enough to be totally honest with you, asking for your help in dealing with situations in which they feel totally lost. And when you can help them understand how God is walking with them in that moment of their pain, you once again experience the joy of accepting the call.

I am married to my wife Lora and together we have two wonderful daughters, Carrie and Sarah.  

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David Bieschke - Choir Director

David has been involved in music and keyboard since the age of 7. His interest was sparked by the pianos and organs at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and by those on display at the local Sears store. During his childhood, he took lessons at home. In high school, David studied pipe organ at Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago and at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Musical College. He also sang in choir throughout high school and college.

He attended Roosevelt University’s Chicago Musical College, Indiana University Bloomington, and St. Olaf College, majoring in music, in addition to earning a bachelor and master’s degree in social work.

He was the organist/choir director at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Hammond for several years and later joined the Woodmar family as the organist. David lives with his fur baby, Chessie, a 16-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever. He enjoys family, friends, flying, and food.

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Debbie Mangerson - Bookkeeper

Debbie Mangerson started at Woodmar United Methodist Church in April 2018 as the bookkeeper. Before that, Debbie worked for one employer from age 17 until she retired 38 years later in 2015! She was the Human Resource Director at Hammond Group Inc., starting at the bottom and working her way up with accounting, payroll and benefit administration. Debbie is a Hammond native, born and raised in “da region”. She is married to Bill and has one daughter, Brianna.

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Nancy Tatum - Office Manager

Nancy Tatum has been at Woodmar UMC for the past 7 years. She came out of her second retirement to join the staff on a part time basis. Her excuse is to keep her brain active! Prior to coming to Woodmar, Nancy served as a volunteer, then employee at New Horizons United Methodist Church in Anderson, IN for 12 years. She handled the bookkeeping and served as Communications Director. She retired from there to return to “da region” to be closer to her family. She resides in Ogden Dunes where she loves walking her furbaby, Toni, and enjoying the natural beauty of her surroundings.

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Karianne Padilla -
Director Community Preschool & Childcare

Karianne Padilla is theDirector at Community Preschool and Childcare. Karianne joined the team at CP&CC in 2018. She has an associate degree in Early Childhood Education and will be graduating with her bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education in the Fall of 2022. Karianne enjoys seeing others smile, providing support to others, and giving back to her community.

Pete Ward
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