Eric was born and raised in California. He enjoyed growing up in a smaller farming community outside of Fresno with his parents and sister. Eric had formative experiences at camp and in his church’s youth group that led others to see in him the potential for pastoral ministry. It took him some time to come around to the idea, but now he would not trade the joys of being pastor for anything. Eric earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy with a minor in Classical Studies from Fresno State, graduating summa cum laude. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving several awards for leadership and preaching. Eric has found that the relationships formed during each of these waypoints on his journey continue to hold the most enduring significance. He enjoys the opportunities ministry presents for building relationships that grow into communities of belonging, love, and service.
Eric has served Cedar Heights Community Presbyterian Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa as an Associate Pastor since July of 2010. He has twice served as Acting Head of Staff in the last two years during CHCPC’s own time of pastoral transition. His ministry at CHCPC has encompassed many aspects of congregational life. He has led faith formation opportunities for people of all ages, worked with the Deacons to provide pastoral care, assisted the congregation in efforts to care for neighbors in need, supported the stewardship and finance team in budget preparation and fundraising, and regularly preached and led worship. Eric also enjoys serving the larger church as a member and moderator of his presbytery’s Committee on Preparation for Ministry and as a reader for ordination exams taken by those preparing for ministry. Eric is keen on working collaboratively. He likes finding ways for people and groups to combine strengths in order to accomplish the good and wonderful things God intends for us.
Eric is married to Jessica, who is also a native of California, born and raised in Fresno. She is a high school Social Studies teacher. Eric and Jessica have two children. Kendall is an active 4-year-old with a lively imagination who has never met a stranger. Evan is a bright-eyed ten-month-old full of smiles and curiosity. Cody, their Labrador retriever, rounds out the bunch. Together the Sunderlands enjoy getting outdoors (they are incredibly glad to be near the mountains again!), rooting for the San Francisco Giants baseball team or Fresno State Bulldogs, baking cookies, and going on family coffee dates (Kendall prefers chocolate milk to the coffee her parents drink). Eric--the grandson of a librarian--continues to nurture a love of reading, being particularly fond of fantasy literature and family trips to the library. Eric is almost always up for a pick-up basketball game or a run on the trails. He and his family are excited to join the Westminster Presbyterian Church family and discover ways to be involved in the wider community of Fort Collins.