Let's get to know each other... We'll go first.




Our Leadership Team

The staff here at Bee Creek UMC is comprised of men and women who love, care, and pray for every single person in the church. If you have any questions for any of our staff, feel free to reach out.

  • Laura Heikes - Lead Pastor      

    Laura felt the call to ministry in college. It's been a wild ride: from working with migrant workers and learning how to preach in Spanish, to ministry in West Texas, then along the fast-growing I-35 Corridor, and now on the shores of Lake Travis.  Laura loves to look for what God is doing next. She's certain God isn't confined in the walls of the church, but is on the move in our communities...leaving signs of love for us if we just listen and look. 


    Laura is married to Kevin (an RN at Baylor Scott and White) and they have three kids. This family loves the outdoors, basketball, raising rabbits for 4H, and the beauty of the creeks and rivers in Central Texas. Laura's style fits well with who we are as a church: warm, friendly, and invitational. Laura is passionate about preaching and teaching in ways that help us apply God's word to our lives. 

  • Matt Cardona - Discipleship Pastor  

    Matt became aware of his call to ministry when he was in elementary school, and since then he has been focused on discovering God’s movement in his life and the lives of those around him. Matt became a United Methodist in 2009 when he accepted the position of Music Director at St. Mark UMC. During his tenure at St. Mark, Matt accepted an invitation to work for the Austin District Office of the UMC. It was his work there in multiple capacities that eventually led him to help form and lead the district initiative known as FreeStore Austin – A direct service that provides clothing and household goods to those in need. Matt then accepted a position at Covenant UMC as their Worship Leader/Student Pastor and chose to simultaneously, attend Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master’s of Divinity in May 2019.

    Matt is married to Shawna Cardona, a softball/volleyball coach and a special education inclusion teacher for the public school system of Texas. They have two AMAZING children: Abel and Emilia. Abel is six years old and is fascinated by the world around him. Emilia is four years old and brings life to every space she enters. The Cardonas' love spending time together, and they love eating.

    Matt loves reading, walking, and authentic conversation. He is a multi-instrument musician, a vocalist, and enjoys making music with others. Matt has a passion for walking with others as they discover God’s presence in their lives, and he's excited to continue this work at Bee Creek.

  • Linnea Falk - Operations Manager  

    Linnea grew up in Big Spring, Texas.  She moved to San Marcos to attend SWT in the early 90's.  After college Linnea quickly made her home in Austin and has been in Spicewood since 1998.  Linnea has been an active member of our church since 2006 and joined our staff in 2014 when her son entered kindergarten.  Linnea was a stay at home mom for ten years and we were blessed when she re-entered the workforce and became our Operations Manager!  Linnea has a daughter in the seventh grade and has been married to her husband, Anthony since 2003.  Linnea and her husband own a family business Falk Construction, and live close to the church.  She is very involved in her children's activities, serves as a children's Sunday school teacher and volunteers with our youth program,  She is a member of our Hospital Visitation Team and a Stephen Minister.  Linnea and her family love the lake life, live music and living in the hill country.

  • Sue Bienkowski - Outreach & Recreation Director 

    Sue is a native New Yorker who made her way to Austin in 2010. In N.Y. she worked as  a social worker for United Cerebral Palsy for 17 years. Her husband, Steve and two beautiful daughters settled in Briarcliff in 2013. She has spent the last 9 years as a fitness instructor at the World of Tennis and Golds gym helping individuals with their health needs and fitness goals.



    Sue and her husband Steve found BCUMC shortly after their move to Briarcliff, and fell in love with the giving spirit of the church. One of Sue's favorite quotes is: " The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." They began volunteering with Partners in Hope, Helping Hands, and Bee Creek's Early Response and Rebuild teams. In 2016, Sue became the lead for the Early Response Team at BCUMC.   Sue and her family love the outdoors. They enjoy camping, boating, hiking, biking, and spending time with their hairy child "Layla".  Sue feels truly blessed to be a part of the Bee Creek family.

  • Brandi Young - Bee Loved Preschool Director

    Brandi grew up in Seabrook, Texas. She moved to Austin in 1991 to attend college and never left. Brandi graduated from The University of Texas with a Liberal Arts degree in Psychology. She received her Montessori Certification to teach children ages 2 to 6 years old in 2008. Brandi has worked as the preschool director for Bee Loved for eight years. Brandi and her husband Paul own Fricano's Deli in Austin near UT campus. She's also the proud mother of two wonderful boys. 

  • Kaleigh Welch - Youth Director

    Kaleigh graduated from Texas A&M in May (WHOOP!) and is excited to make Spicewood her home! She felt the call to youth ministry in high school through volunteering as a middle school girls small group leader, and her passion took off from there! At her church, Bethany UMC in Austin, she served in her youth group in many ways, and continued pursuing ministry in college, once as a youth summer intern at Cityview Bible Church in Round Rock, and as a camp counselor at Carolina Creek Christian Camps in Huntsville. Kaleigh also was a member of Kappa Phi Beta Christian Sisterhood throughout her years at Texas A&M, which is a Christian women’s organization for college women to grow closer to each other in community while pursuing the Lord. Kappa Phi was one of Kaleigh’s favorite parts of college, and she served as Chaplain and President during her time in the organization. 


    Kaleigh is at Bee Creek through the CYMT Graduate Residency program, and is so excited to serve as Youth Director, while simultaneously earning her Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Seminary. She loves pets (especially cats and Betta fish!), playing ukulele, Marvel movies (and movies in general), and cooking. Gig ‘Em! 

  • Ryan Jewert - Children's Director 

    Ryan was born and raised in Pflugerville, Texas. While attending a summer camp his 8th grade year, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and devoted his life to serving Christ. His degree is in Biblical Counseling with an emphasis on youth ministry. Ryan worked at Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center for the past 4 summers because of his love of youth and children’s ministry. It is there that Ryan met his beautiful and talented wife, Laurel, who works for the camp as the Director of Public Relations. They have two pets, a puppy named Riley and a kitten named Minnie. Ryan is thrilled God has placed him in this church and looks forward to the wonderful things God has in store.

  • Karen Hoffman - Financial Specialist

    Karen brings over 25 years of experience in banking to work at Bee Creek. She and her husband, Gary, own the Paleface Feed and Garden Supply store which keeps her busy when she's not working at the church. Karen and Gary have one son, Jason, who  lives in the Austin area. Karen's knowledge and experience are an asset for BCUMC and we are happy to have her on the team. 

  • Laura Slinkard - Administrative Assistant

    Laura has an extensive background in administrative and front office work. She’s been married to her husband Phil, a corporate attorney, for over 30 years. Laura has three children - Haley and Will, twins, who are both married, and living in Austin and Dallas, respectively, and her youngest son, Adam, who is now with our Lord in Heaven. Laura enjoys interacting with the people of BCUMC, and working behind the scenes to support the ministries of the church.

  • Catie Franklin - Administrative Assistant

    Catie has spent her career as a self-employed business owner with her husband, Christopher.  Those adventures took them from Austin to Dallas, Atlanta, Florida, Colorado and now back home to Briarcliff.   She has been a member of our church since 2003.  Now that she has returned home and life has slowed down somewhat, she is joining our team!  We are very excited to have her!

  • Tim Barglsey- Buildings & Grounds Supervisor

    Tim is 62 years old and a true "Native Austinite" born and raised here in Austin, Texas.  Tim has been married to his wife, Elaine for 33 years and worked for TXDOT for 30 years.   He is retired and spends his time with family, riding motorcycles and playing music.  Tim loves helping people in need and sharing life in God's wonderful light.  Here is one of Tim's favorite bible verses:


    Colossians 3

    "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

  • Jim Echels - Music Coordinator

    Jim delights in his role at Bee Creek UMC as Music Coordinator and Generally Loud Person. Prior to working as a worship guy, he worked in the non-profit sector crunching all kinds of numbers, proving that God often has plans for us other than our own. Jim came to worship leading in a roundabout way, beginning by playing whatever instrument was around, the louder the better. Eventually churches asked him to sing more so that their services would be a little quieter. He prefers acoustic drums, analog keyboards, lefty guitars, and as few computers being involved in the musical process as possible. He also prefers his beverages, whether they are coffee, tea or water, to be served in large enough containers to be affected by lunar tidal patterns. Sometimes he enjoys speaking about himself in the third person, which is the only way in which he is similar to an NFL caliber wide receiver. Jim and Beth (his extraordinarily smart, beautiful and patient Aggie meteorologist wife) were married in 2001. He is currently in a friendly competition with his daughter Amelia (b. 2006) to see who can sing the loudest. He is losing. He is also trying to decide whether to teach his son Joshua (b. 2011) traditional or matched grip first. When he’s not leading worship or caring for his family, Jim can be found playing drums for numerous artists in the Austin music scene, including the Belle Sounds & Candace Bellamy.

  • Ron Reed - Gym Monitor

    Ron spent 20 years in the military serving the citizens of this great country. He currently works tirelessly serving the children of Texas as an employee of the Texas Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division. Ron also serves others outside of the workplace as a member of Bee Creek United Methodist Church (BCMUC). His years of public service coupled now with being a member of BCUMC and attending the Walk to Emmaus, helped him re-establish his priorities in life, with God first and foremost on that list. Today, he can truly say that becoming a servant of God has made serving others a little easier and a more worthwhile, lifelong endeavor.


    Ron has a master’s degree in Public Administration from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Midwestern State University (MSU), with a major in Criminal Justice and minor in Military Science. He also has an Associate Degree in Real Estate from Austin Community College. It is his pleasure to serve you.

  • Gustavo Bianchi - Pianist 

    Dr. Gustavo Bianchi has enjoyed a distinguished international career, having performed in halls across the US, South America, and Asia. His long list of honors and awards includes prizes at the Sidney Wright Piano Accompanying Competition (first prize, 2003), the prestigious Bartok and Kabalevsky International Piano Competition (first prize, 1998), and the Florida Young Chang Artist Competition (first prize, 1998) to name a few. He also received a Pre-emptive Fellowship to attend University of Texas at Austin.

     

    As a soloist and chamber musician, he has studied with and has been coached by renowned artists and pedagogues including Anton Nel, Menahem Pressler, José Feghali, Randall Hodgkinson, Leonard Mastrogiacomo, Sergei Schepkin, and Yara Bernette. In addition, his first piano teacher, Nadia Soledade, was a student of Alfred Cortot. Cortot studied at the Paris Convervatoire under Emile Descombes (a pupil of the famous composer, Frederic Chopin). He has studied piano pedagogy with Sophia Gilmson, Martha Hilley, Victoria McArthur, and Faina Bryanskaya.

     

    Dr. Bianchi was a teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin from 2003 to 2005. Upon graduation, he was hired as an adjunct faculty for the Butler school of Music in the capacity of collaborative pianist. Since then he has performed and taught masterclasses for several universities and cultural organizations in the USA, from California to Pennsylvania. He served as Vice president of the ADMTA from 2011 to 2014 and has been on the board of the Mika Hasler Young Artist Competition Foundation since its inception in 2012. In 2014, Dr. Bianchi performed several concerts and masterclasses in Beijing, Xi'an, and Hangzhou, China, and last year he was invited to be a faculty member of the Burgos International Music festival in Spain. 

     

    Dr. Bianchi earned his doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his master's and bachelor's degrees from Florida State University. He also attended the pre-college music program at the New England Conservatory, as well as the Longy School of Music in Boston. He currently works in Austin where he is a highly sought-out pianist, collaborative artist, and teacher. He is also the pianist at Bee Creek United Methodist Church since 2005.

  • Celeste Reid, BSN, RN, BC - Wesley Nurse

    Celeste Reid is a board certified faith community nurse. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. She is married and has two grown children. As the wife of a soldier she has moved around the globe and with the retirement of her husband is now glad to call Texas home. She appreciates all of creation and celebrates our similarities and differences alike. She prays to practice something she has learned: Love is an Action.

  • Shelly Wilkerson - Nursery Assistant 

    Shelly was born and raised in California. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston. Shelly also has her Associate degree in Early Childhood Development. Shelly recently moved to Austin from Houston where she was a Kindergarten/Pre-K teacher for over 20 years. Shelly is happy to bring her knowledge to the children at Bee Loved Preschool during the week and to our nursery on Sundays.

  • Aleyda Easley - Nursery Assistant 

    Aleyda grew up in Edinburg, Texas.  She moved to Austin in 2004 to attend the University of Texas at Austin.  Graduating with an Applied Learning and Development degree with a focus in Special Education, Aleyda has worked as a teacher for the Del Valle ISD school district for eight years.  Aleyda and her husband (Gilbert), two children (Eli, 7; and Seth, 5) moved to Spicewood two years ago.  She enjoys traveling and attending basketball games with her family.