Dr. Bruce Peffer – Pastor
The Rev. Dr. Bruce A. Peffer was born in Battle Creek, Iowa to Harold and Delores
Peffer, the 4 th of 5 sons. He lived in Reseda, California for several years and then
moved back to Iowa, where he finished his Elementary and Secondary education.
Dr. Peffer graduated with a B.A. degree in Social Work/Sociology from Concordia
College, Seward, Nebraska in 1982. He received the M.Div. degree from Concordia
Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri in 1986, spending his year of Vicarage at Zion
Lutheran Church in Clark, New Jersey. Later, he earned the D.Min. degree in
Evangelism and Mission from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2001. His
Final Doctoral Project was entitled: “Worship Evangelism Within a Lutheran Context.”
Pastor Peffer was ordained into the ministry of the LC-MS in June, 1986 and served in
his first Call in the ministry as Asst. Pastor of St. John Lutheran Church and School in
Staten Island, New York from 1986 to 1990. Pastor Peffer then went through a year of
Chaplaincy training (Clinical Pastoral Education) from 1990 to 1991, 3 months at
Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey, and a 9-month residency at the University of
Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. He became a Board Certified Chaplain
and Fellow in The College of Chaplains, Inc. in 1994. Dr. Peffer served as a Chaplain
at Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital in Gonzales, Texas from 1991 to 1995.
In 1995 Dr. Peffer accepted the call to become Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San
Marcos, Texas, where he served until 2003. He then accepted a Call to become the
Campus Pastor and Asst. Professor of Theology at Concordia University Texas, Austin,
Texas, where he served until the end of 2015.
Pastor Bruce has developed a special relationship with Holy Trinity Institute, a Lutheran
Children’s home in Moreira, Brazil, which provides a safe family environment, and
meets the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of children who come
from difficult situations, often involving neglect and/or abuse. Pastor Bruce has been
leading mission trips to the Institute over the past 7 years, taking college students to do
some special project for the Institute, leading devotions and just loving the children.
Pastor Bruce has sponsored several Godsons at the Institute over the years and is
presently supporting 3 teenage boys, Felipe, Fernando and Rodrigo. He stills stays in
touch with 2 former Godsons who had to leave the Institute. He enjoys doing mission
projects at the Institute, visiting his Godsons and his many other friends throughout
Pastor Bruce is single but enjoys the company of his two affectionate Red Abyssinian
cats, Dylan and Marley. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading
literature, watching sports, going to live musical performances and playing his guitars.
Gail Weinrich – Office Administrator
Where would we be without Gail? She’s been keeping things running smoothly for nearly six years now. Gail and her husband Bob are members at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church here in Downey.
Angela & Aletheia Teague – Organists
We are blessed to have two extremely talented young organists. Coming from a very musical family,
these multi-instrumentalists lead the traditional side of our blended service, midweek services, funerals,
and our highly anticipated annual Christmas concert. Aletheia and Angela Teague have been serving at
Messiah since 2012. Angela is 20 years old, and in addition to her work at Messiah, she attends Santa
Ana College and works part time as a personal assistant. Aletheia is 18 years old is currently finishing
high school. Aletheia also holds a part time position as organist of her home church in Anaheim.
Richard Schmieg – Contemporary Worship & Youth Leader
Richard Schmieg is our San Diego-born contemporary worship leader, elder, and middle/high/college
youth director. A man with many interests, Richard is also a signed composer and songwriter, an
aspiring Spanish teacher, and a soon-to- be husband who has been serving at Messiah since 2010.
Richard has been leading worship since 2008, and has accompanied and led our many youth retreats,
overnighters, and VBS since he arrived at Messiah. Working with music and youth are two of the most
emotive forces in his life, and Messiah has given him a place to call home and thrive. Our newest
elder, Richard has also been enjoying participating even more in the worship services as well as
serving the congregation in other ways. He received his B.A. in Comparative Religions with a minor in
Christian Studies from CSU Fullerton in 2011 and is currently working towards the start of a credential to
teach high school Spanish.