Lead Pastor - Rod Suess
Ten years ago, I was unexpectedly called to come back to the church where I grew up to serve as Vinewood’s lead pastor. I originally had no intention of becoming a pastor and actually laughed at the pastor who suggested that might be something in my future. Instead, I had dreamed of being an artist for Disney, but eventually discovered that God’s gifting was in a different direction. Along the way I met a young woman named Janeen, pursued her, and eventually convinced her to marry me. Next to my decision to follow Jesus, it’s been the best decision in my life. God has blessed us with three children, Melanie, Emily and Nathan, and then added a son-in-law, Lawrence, for good measure. They are a constant source of joy.
Janeen always wanted to be a missionary, something that had to be talked through before our marriage could proceed. After serving two and a half years in the Palau Islands, and more nudges from the Holy Spirit, I went to seminary, then pastored a multi-cultural, multi-congregational church in Fresno for thirteen years. I love to read and have been greatly influenced by the writing of C.S. Lewis, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, and many others. I also love to read history and a good mystery, and of course, I squeeze in Dr. Seuss whenever I get a chance. The name speaks for itself.
Over all these years God has been teaching me what it means to live with Him, stay focused on Jesus, and be transformed to be like Him. It’s a work in progress, but the ultimate completion is guaranteed (Philippians 1:6).
Pastor of Worship and Student Ministries - Cameron Davis
Pastor of Care & Visitation - Dwight Friesen
Hello, my name is Dwight Friesen, I am the Minister of Pastoral Care here at Vinewood and serve part time. At the time of our retirement Shirley and I chose to move to Lodi to be closer to our children. I still was interested in working part time, and Vinewood was looking for an Associate Pastor. After several conversations with Pastor Rod, we both concluded God was opening a door of opportunity. I have now served Vinewood for six years, and have been in pastoral ministry for twenty-five plus years.
Shirley and I thoroughly enjoy our family of twelve. Our oldest son Myron, his wife, Genista, and their three boys live in Christchurch, New Zealand. Our son Brad, his wife, Tiffany, and their three girls live here in the Lodi area. Both are employed in the Lodi Unified School District.
Reading is a pastime that provides much pleasure, inspiration and instruction. Dallas Willard is one of many well respected authors I appreciate. His book The Divine Conspiracy probably tops my list. When a free day comes around in which I could do anything, reading in a beautiful outdoor environment would be a frequent choice.
Children and Family Ministry Director - Jill Welsh
I have served in Children's Ministry for over 12 years and worked with children in general for as long as I can remember. Children have always held a special place in my heart. I also enjoy walking alongside and encouraging young adults, both single and married, as we explore together what it means to deepen our relationships with Jesus. Being called to Vinewood has been an unexpected joy and I look forward to the journey ahead.
My husband John and I have two children, Corey and Katie. Corey is married to our wonderful daughter in-law Jonalin and we now have a grandson named Grady. The three of them reside in Sacramento. Our daughter Katie is a recent graduate of the University of Houston and currently works at Forge for Families in Houston. They all are our pride and joy.
I love hanging out with my family and friends, sipping tea, making my grandson laugh, going to the beach and relaxing with a good book.
Preschool Co Director /Teacher- Debi Hyzdu
I have served as Co-Director and Teacher at Vinewood Preschool for the past 23 years. In October of 2013 I also became the the Children's Ministry Director at Vinewood Church. I have a passion for children and their families which makes which makes my job joyful! I enjoy watching the children respond to the Biblical teaching presented to them by our wonderful Teachers.
Office Manager - Maria Kelly
Elders - Michael Pontius, Bryan Hyzdu, Larry Shinn, Matt Meyer, Derrell Kelso and Scott Hudson