Our leaders


Pastor Ralph Cotten


Pastor Ralph moved from Western Pennsylvania to Florida on August 24th of 2012. Ralph is thrilled and blessed to have a new life in Florida.

Our pastor is a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Humanities - focusing on music, religion and psychology. He attended the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio for two years, and then transferred to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. Ralph has been a pastor in the U.M. Church since he was just 19 years old. He has served congregations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kansas. He brings 32 years of experience to his work at Alva UM Church. Ralph has two adult children, Sheldon and Bronwyn, both living in Pennsylvania. In June of 2015 he married Theresa Michalski in a beautiful wedding celebration. Theresa and her two sons, Kevin and Gabriel have brought much joy to Pastor Ralph’s life. Kevin is a college student and Gabriel is in High School.  Ralph, Theresa and Gabriel live in the church parsonage in Alva.

Ralph brings to Alva a deep love of music and ministry. He plays several musical instruments and uses those talents at Alva UMC. He believes that the church exists to love God and share God's love with others. In a sermon series in the Fall of 2012, Ralph challenged the congregation to become "fishers of men" following the commandment of Jesus to His disciples. Since that time, as members of the church have actively engaged in inviting others to "come to church", amazing things have happened. The church received 41 new members in 2013 and is showing wonderful signs of growth, faithfulness, and life. Ralph gives all the glory to God for His faithfulness to bless our efforts, and he will tell you that the Alva U.M. Church continues to be a wonderful church to lead because of the great love and vision of our church family.  Those who visit here usually end up staying and connecting with God and one another in wonderful ways. 





Randy and Lori Bright - Nursery Worker

Randy and his wife Lori, run the nursery and help with the children's ministry. They are faithful and loving servants.


Bill and Gail Baker

Bill is the minister for the Lambs Chapel. They have their services at 4pm every Saturday in the fellowship hall. This service is for special needs adults. Any questions please see Bill or his wife Gail


Kathy Pilkington

Lead Lay leader.


Harold and Mary Baxley

They run the video and audio team for 11 am service.


Joey the cat "senior associate pastor"

Joey felt the call to live at Alva UMC and has never left. So he has become the associate pastor. Now he has moved up the ranks and become senior associate pastor.

Ciara Ashley Howard

Ciara is our Youth Pastor. She brings a deep love of God and our youth, and is educated as a public school teacher. Ciara has created a special facebook page called "Amplify at Alva" to provide information about youth events, activities and blessings.