David Gira – Senior Pastor
Hi, my name is David, and I am privileged to serve as Orange UMC’s Senior Pastor! I began here in June 2016. (If you’re new to our church, don’t worry; so am I!)
I love the United Methodist Church. For me the best part is our emphasis on grace; that is God’s unconditional, unearned, undeserved, unlimited, unstoppable love for you and me. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), and anything worthwhile that we hope to accomplish will be by God’s grace. I also believe God’s grace finds us no matter what.
Orange UMC is a great and special church. Founded in 1832, Orange UMC has been blessed with a long, rich history. Its deep roots continue to nourish our community of faith and the surrounding areas, even reaching as far as Africa. We have amazing people here, devoted followers of Jesus. We have a huge variety of opportunities to get involved. You can grow close to God and other people here.
This is my 15th year of pastoral ministry. Prior to arriving here, I served multiple churches in North Carolina: Concord UMC in Eli Whitney, Haymount UMC in Fayetteville, and most recently Wakefield UMC in Raleigh.
I graduated from Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC in 2005. Yes, I do root for the Blue Devils! But I support the Tarheels! My undergraduate degree is from Appalachian State University. Go Mountaineers!
As far as personal interests, I love coffee, especially the cappuccinos at Café Driade in Chapel Hill. I love music, listening and playing. I play the guitar, sing, and I even wrote songs once upon a time. I love to read, learn, watch movies, cook occasionally, and spend time with my family. We really enjoy the restaurants in Chapel Hill.
I am married with kids. Amy and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary June 21, 2017! Wow!! We have 3 children: Caleb (12), Hannah (15), and Marcie (17). God has blessed us with a great family, great friends, and a great church. I hope to see you soon.
Wallace Johnson – Associate Pastor
of Spiritual Formation and Discipleship
Wallace has a great love for connecting people to experience God in very real ways. He is passionate about helping people become aware of the ways in which God is already working ina their lives and how they may respond to this mysterious love from our Father.
Wallace grew up in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. He moved to North Carolina to pursue a degree in social work from Campbell University. After serving several United Methodist camps throughout college, he felt God’s unquestionable calling to pursue vocational ministry in the United Methodist Church. He followed this call from God to Duke University for divinity school. He has had ministry experiences in multiple churches, camps, non-profits, and a hospital chaplaincy. Wallace was brought on board with the Orange United Methodist team in the summer of 2014.
Wallace and his wife, Ashley, were married in May of 2013 at their Alma Mater, Campbell University. Wallace, Ashley and Boss (the boxer dog) now live in Chapel Hill down the street from Orange UMC. They enjoy their weekly date night with the ambitious goal of trying all of the many restaurants in Chapel Hill.
When not hanging out in the office at Orange, Wallace can be found running through Carolina North, biking downtown in search of new friends and frozen yogurt, reading in one of Chapel Hill’s coffee shops, or relaxing on the couch with Ashley, catching up on the current Netflix obsession.email Wallace
Brad Inman – Associate Pastor
of Youth and Congregational Life
Brad was born and raised in Sylvania, OH, near Toledo. He attended Miami University (OH), where he first felt called into youth ministry during his freshman year. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Comparative Religion, he attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary near Boston. While earning his Master of Arts in Religion with a focus on youth ministry, he worked for Compass, a Christian leadership development program for high schoolers across the nation.
After graduating and serving a church in Michigan, Brad came to Orange UMC in the summer of 2013. Brad is passionate about helping students build an authentic relationship with Jesus that affects the way that they think and act in their everyday lives. His favorite thing about youth ministry is helping students ask the tough questions of themselves and of God. In his spare time, Brad loves playing and following sports (Go Pacers!), watching movies (he owns over 300 DVDs!), and cooking (hasn’t lost a finger yet!).email Brad
Diana Backus – Director
of Children’s Ministry & Preschool
Diana Backus, who has been involved at OrangeUMC really for her entire life, is the director of the preschool at Orange and
also serves as director of children’s ministries.
She grew up in Chapel Hill and is a graduate of Louisburg College and then of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington,
with a degree in early childhood education.
Diana says that one of her passions is to listen to the children in both preschool and the church’s children’s ministries and to help
them grow, learning about the world around them. Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious.
She and her husband Dave enjoy spending time with their three adult children and she also enjoys movies, theatre and walking
their two dogs!
Derek Breshears – Director of Music
Derek was born in San Diego, where he lived until high school graduation. In 1982, he moved to Los Angeles, where he majored in music at the University of Southern California. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in music, he worked as a freelance musician playing keyboards and percussion, and serving as musical director for numerous shows in Los Angeles and around the United States. He also played and sang in various ensembles in Taiwan and Japan. Among the highlights of his career are stints with the Los Angeles Lakers band, 1984 Olympic Opening Ceremonies All-American Band, Statue of Liberty All-American Band, and multiple performances for President Reagan’s second inaugural celebration in Washington, D.C. He has composed and arranged music for countless live productions, and has done work for film and television as well.
In 1999, he moved to North Carolina and began graduate studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He earned his Master of Arts in Teaching Music degree in 2002, and began teaching instrumental music at Southern Alamance Middle School the same year. He currently holds this position.
He has been Director of Music at Orange United Methodist Church since 2006. He counts this position among the greatest blessings in his life.
He is married to Stacey, and they have five children between them: Aidan, Miles, Kailey, Aidan and Levi.email Derek
Sheila Eldred – Finance Secretary
Sheila was born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Greenville, SC. She graduated from Clemson University with a BS in Administrative Management and a minor in psychology. While there, she worked for The Tiger newspaper, sang in several choirs and belonged to the Honorary Music Fraternity. After school, she went into the travel industry and worked in Florida, Texas, Iowa and South Carolina before settling in Chapel Hill.
Sheila and her husband, Tim, became members of Orange in 1996 and she joined the staff in January 2002. She loves college football season and has learned to accept basketball season. She also spends a great deal of time at DSI Comedy Theater in Carrboro watching her daughter, Sarah, perform improv.email Sheila