William Chou, Pastor

Pastor WilliamI am William Chou, and I get to pastor this awesome church!

I am Taiwanese by ancestry. I was born in a Christian family and my grandmother was a major influence in my life. To me, her simple but unswerving faith in Jesus Christ is strong evidence that even an illiterate woman can do proud feminine theology!

I came to the United States in 1984, to be reunited with my family who came several years earlier, and to pursue my advanced studies in Computer Science. Two years later, I started working as a software engineer.

The involvement in those years with several Taiwanese-American Christian churches in the Bay Area and the continuing discernment of God’s call led to my enrollment in Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley where I received my M.Div. degree. My strong interest in Biblical Studies, especially the Hebrew Bible, gave impetus to my doctoral studies at Graduate Theological Union in the next few years.

My ministry with The United Methodist Church officially started in 2000, though the relationship actually can be traced back to 1990. I was ordained a full-connection elder in 2007.

I believe everyone could use more good friends in their lives. My best friend is Jesus, and I am still trying to get to know him better. I hope that is what happens to you too when we come together for worship each week.

Here at the First UMC, we celebrate God’s grace with classical as well as contemporary music. We preach the Bible because we believe it contains the divine truth whereby all other truth is tested. And in a typical Wesleyan manner, we also believe that the revealed biblical truth is illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason.

It is my hope that the First UMC is a place where you can connect with others who share similar struggles, make new friends who share similar joys, and together serve God and God’s people. These are at the core of our ministries.

Just visit the rest of the website, then visit us, and plug-in to the heartbeat of the church so that you will experience the fullness of God!

Your friend,

Pastor William
Mobile: 510-685-9562


Brent Peterson, Music Director and Organist

Music Director and Organist

Brent has been at First UMC since 2004.  He has served as pianist, organist, or director, at various churches and denominations, almost every Sunday since 1971.  In addition to church work, he has significant choral experience with civic groups including Arizona Opera, Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and locally, Santa Clara Chorale.  Brent received his music degree from Grand Canyon College.

Brent’s wife Rachel is a frequent soloist at First UMC, and his younger son Joshua has played guitar for us.  Brent’s adult son Tom is also a church musician, Director of Music at Christ Church of the Ascension Episcopal in Phoenix, and adjunct music faculty member at Phoenix College.