Our Team

Get to know our leadership at Ithaca First

John Sotero

Lead Pastor

Pastor John is devoted to seeing the local church thrive and standing boldly for the cause of Christ. From week to week, he speaks life-giving messages that are changing the landscape of ‘church’ by challenging generations to rise up and live life fully in Christ. His wife Patti leads the Children’s Ministries. They have been married for 35 years and have ministered together ever since. They have 3 adults children John Paul, Jennifer, and David. And they have two granddaughters who are their pride and joy!


Jenny Rodgers

Pastor / Connections and Creative Arts

Jenny and Matt just celebrated their 21 year anniversary in October. Both grew up in the church and were serving in various roles at the churches they attended. Her husband Matt is a business professor and she was a music instructor. Jenny was also the Women’s Director and lead the Connections Ministry in her previous church in Ohio.  In the summer of 2015, they moved to Ithaca with their family.  She is a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God.

She currently serves as our Connection and Creative Arts Pastor at Ithaca First. Jenny has an infectious love for life, a deep love for people, and a passion for the house of God. Her passion is to build and connect the people in the local church with the community to have a radical and unquenchable thirst for the Kingdom of God. Her heart is to lead and reach people to develop their full God-given potential and purpose.

Besides serving at the church, she enjoys cooking (a lot). So there is a lot of entertaining going on. She enjoys seeing her family thrive and be creative and have fun. She loves date nights and going out to the local restaurants and enjoying a good movie or time with friends. The Rodgers house-hold also has a golden-doodle name Emmi. Life is full, fast, and sometimes furious. There is no better place to be than the present. She will never say no to coffee, some good conversation, or traveling.


David Winters

Pastor / Student Ministries and Youth

David graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Landscape Architecture.  He went to Elim Bible Institute because he had a strong desire to fully serve the Lord.  There he met his future bride Dolores.  They have been married 17 years and have a 16 year old son David Jr.  They have been at Ithaca First since 2000 and have been serving faithfully. He has served as Men’s Ministry leader, Children’s Oasis Ministries, Care Pastor, and lead the Prayer Ministry.  He has been on staff since 2009 and now serves as the Student Ministries Pastor.  His heart is to see young people released to serve the Lord outside the church and see a community connect with the local church. What moves his heart is to let others know how much God cares and loves them.
He enjoys all types of sports but especially volleyball.  He loves bringing encouragement to those around him and gets energized when he sees the body of Christ working together.  His favorite food is Asian cuisine (probably due to the fact he went to several missions trips there), and loves trying anything home-made from the kitchen.


Duane Baker

Pastor / Men's Discipleship

Saved by the Grace of his Lord and savior Jesus Christ on July  19th 2001 on a Walk to Emaus weekend. Duane did his ministerial training with the Church of God and Christ and is ordained by Full Gospel Churches International. He has served here at the Ithaca First assembly of God now for three years as our Men’s Discipleship Leader. Duane also serves as the division 1 Chaplain for JAMA racing ministries, covering the OSCA drag racing series in Cayuga Ontario Canada, where he also races his beautiful 56 Chevy. Plus he is the assistant spiritual director for the central New York Via De Christo movement ,he also does services at Titus Towers and teaches classes at Renovation House. For fun Duane drives school bus for Newfield Central school and enjoys working with the children. He and his wife Lisa have been married for 33 year, and have two son that are both married and have blessed them with two granddaughters with two grandsons on the way. Pastor Duane has a strong love for the Lord and a desire to see people grow in there walk with the Lord and become Disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ.


Patti Sotero

Director of Children's Church

Patti Sotero has served with her husband in ministry since 1982. she has served as Women’s Ministry Director, Christian Education Director, Bible Quiz coordinator, and most recently serving as Children’s Church Minister. For 23 years Patti has served as the Children’s Church Minister overseeing our weekly ministry to our children from ages 5 through 12. She also coordinates our annual Christmas Program and the children participate in various special services throughout the year. The children and families of First Assembly are truly blessed to have Patti serving in this capacity because of the unique giftings and talents she brings to the ministry. Patti Sotero has been involved in education for over 25 years teaching every grade level from Pre-K through 6th grade. She has been an Elementary School Principal since 2005 and in 2008 was Nationally recognized for her work as a Principal by being awarded The National Blue Ribbon School Award for Academic Excellence by the National Department of Education in Washington DC.  With all that she has accomplished in the Education field, to the children of First Assembly she will always be affectionately known as “Miss Patti” who loves and cares for each of them deeply and they know that.


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