Our Team

Get to know our leadership at Ithaca First

John Sotero

Lead 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. John is a history buff and roots for the Stealers and the Mets! Don’t worry, we still love him.

They enjoy their date nights, traveling, and seeing their families and grandchildren. He and his wife enjoy watching shows, musicals, and won’t say no to red velvet cupcakes, Harry & David oranges, or milk chocolate Hershey kisses. 

They have 3 adults children John Paul, Jennifer, and David. And they have two granddaughters and a grandson who are their pride and joy and you will often see him with his dog Prancer.

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Jenny Rodgers

Pastor / Connections and Creative Arts

Jenny and Matt 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 currently serves as our Connections and Creative Arts Pastor at Ithaca First.

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, be creative, and have fun. Jenny is a Bills fan by default because of her husband, and roots for the Yankees and Syracuse Orange! 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.

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Cliff Ostrander

Pastor / Youth and Discipleship

Cliff and his Sara are the newest to Ithaca First Church.  They have been attending since beginning of 2018. Cliff and his wife Sara have been married for 14 years and have two children, Brooke who is 11 and William who is 7. He enjoys the great outdoors, has a contracting business, and enjoys restoring vehicles and has a special passion for the mini cooper. But his main passion other than his wife is loving and serving the Lord. He is a credentialed minister and has served ministered for the past 10 years in various churches and has served as a Youth Pastor at his previous Church.  
He enjoys date nights, finding new places to eat, riding his motorcycle, and enjoying time with family and friends. If you see him, ask his who his favorite team is and where he last ate. He loves people and has a heart to see them grow in their relationship with Christ.

Duane Baker

Pastor / Men's Ministry

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.

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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.

On her days off you will see often see her with a Panera coffee and her forever date “John.” She and John love Friday dates nights, traveling the world, but most importantly seeing her family and grandchildren. 

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