Meet Our People

As the Body of Christ in our Community, we seek to serve as the Heart of Apache Junction.

Sharon Pajak



Bio: Our pastor, Rev. Sharon Pajak, was born and raised in Mesa, and is a life-long United Methodist. Her parents were charter members of Grace UMC in Mesa, where she went to Sunday school, VBS, youth group, choirs and so much more.

It was while participating at First UMC that Pastor Sharon first experienced her call into ministry. Following high school, Pastor Sharon received her undergraduate degree from Grand Canyon College, and went to seminary at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. She has served in 6 appointments since being ordained in 1990, most recently as the senior pastor of Griffith United Methodist Church in Las Vegas, NV.

Al, her husband, is a Professional Development Facilitator at the Arizona Science Center. He is also a distance runner. Elizabeth, their daughter, loves to read and is technology nut, and brings joy to the people she meets.

Cynthia Norris

Administrative Assistant


Bio: Cynthia came to us with 20 years of administrative experience and has been at Desert Chapel since 2004.  She came from California with her husband Tim and enjoys people, traveling, golf and the outdoors.



Alice Wagaman

Bell Choir Director


Bio: Alice came from Martinsville, IN to Desert Chapel in 1990 with her husband Pat. First introduced to hand bells in early 1970’s, she played in her church’s choir for 10 years. After coming to Arizona, she played with the Mesa Ringers Community Hand Bell Choir from 1991 to 2000.  In 2003, after playing in the Desert Chapel Choir, she became the Hand Bell Director. 

Derek Bates

Choir Director


Biro:  Derek Bates comes to us from Glendale, AZ. He is a Music Educator here in the Valley of the Sun. He moved to Arizona from Minnesota where he complete his Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Operatic Vocal Performance, as well as a minor in Christian Studies. He has not taken God’s call to be in the music ministry lightly and works hard every week to provide the congregation with a meaningful worship experience.