Pastors & Staff

Brent Swanson

Lead Pastor

Brent has been serving as the senior pastor of CPC since April 2021.  He earned his BA degree from UCLA and his MDiv from Yale Divinity School.  He is passionate about teaching the Bible and helping lead the church to love and serve the city. Originally from Long Beach, CA, Brent loves to surf, read, and play music. He is married to Anita, and they have four wonderful boys: Samuel, Luke, Jude, Micah. 

Dave McGurk

Associate Pastor

Dave was called into the ministry at 17 years old. He has faithfully served CPC since 1991 focusing on Adult and Senior Ministries as well as Mission and the work of the Deacons. He is passionate about coming alongside others in their faith journey, teaching, missions, sharing God’s word and building Christian community. 

Zachary Pitcher

Director of Administration and Ministry

Zachary has been serving as the director of Administration and Ministry since 2022. He attended Grove City College and obtained a Master’s from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He married his wife Abbey Mae in 2018. In their spare time they enjoy playing board games, traveling, cooking, running, and exploring places in Merced.

Seth Beardsley 

Director of Student Ministries

Seth grew up in Merced, but after completing his undergraduate studies at CSU Stanislaus in 2012, he began working as the youth director at Centerville Presbyterian Church in Fremont, CA. He and Jenessa were married in 2018 and Seth then moved to DC  to be with his wife and finish seminary. He completed his Masters of Ministry and Leadership from Western Seminary in 2019, while also working with youth at National Community Church in Alexandria, VA. Now he’s back in his hometown! His hobbies include playing basketball, watching the Giants, Warriors, and Niners, eating at fun places and watching Survivor with Jenessa, playing board games, and spending time with his friends and family.

Elspeth Beardsley

Director of Children & Family Ministry

Elspeth has lived in Merced and attended CPC since she was born. Elspeth graduated from UC Merced in December 2019, where she received her Bachelors in Language Studies, focusing on Spanish. In her spare time, Elspeth enjoys playing music on the piano and violin, drinking caramel iced coffee from Starbucks, and spending time with her friends, nephews, nieces, and siblings. 

Leah St. Pierre

Director of Family Formation

Leah has lived in Merced and attended CPC since 2016. She and her husband, Matt, moved to Merced from San Francisco after several years of campus ministry, followed by five years serving vulnerable children and the communities surrounding them through non-profit work. She goes by "Mommy" to three interesting, fun, and beloved children - Mason, Lucy, and Levi - and spends most of the week adventuring with them and homeschooling. As a mother and as a person who cares deeply about the well-being of families and children in general, Leah brings enthusiasm and conviction to lead CPC into serving, nurturing, and walking with families to greater wholeness, kingdom-centered living and to a deeper connection with one another and God. She believes so much in God's desire to work through families and in the significant opportunity CPC has to be a part of shaping the next generation to be those who follow Christ into meaningful service to the world.    

Denise Rallis

Director of Classic Worship

Denise has spent 20 years in full or part time Music Ministry. Ministry is her passion. She loves coaching and helping others become successful in their music endeavors. 

Joanna Whitmyre 

 Communications Assistant

Joanna was born in Santa Clara and raised in Merced. She has an associates degree in Art from Merced College and hopes to pursue a Bachelors degree in Media Communications. In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her fiancé Austin, and their dog Bailey. 

Xavier Alva


Xavier has been doing custodial work for almost a decade and is always willing to lend a hand. When not working, he enjoys his collector's items, spending time with his wife Annie, and joking around with his friends. 

Isaiah Davis

Student Ministries / Worship Intern

Isaiah is in his first year at Merced College where he hopes to get a music degree. When he is not at school he spends his time at work, playing with his golden retriever, Molly or playing instruments around the house.