Hi. I’m Joe Ginder. Susie and I have been married since 1976. We’ve known each other since we were eight years old living in Anderson, Indiana. We have three kids: Laura (married to Vanrith You), Ben (married to Monica), and Sam (married to Frances). Laura and Vanrith have two children, Kylie and Ashlyn, and are expecting a third – so I’m getting used to having words with “grand” in them apply to me in affectionate (and somewhat scary) new ways. And then there is the little one Sam and Frances are expecting at about the same time!
Here’s a [old] picture of my family on Christmas Day, 2009. That’s me in the cool Cincinnati Reds hat. (The one with the uncool auto-darkening glasses.) I’m a recorded Friends minister. I know, Quakers are supposed to look like that other guy (Captain Ahab, aka my cousin-in-law Bill), but I’m unconventional. Susie is in front of me, and the others are sort of significant-otherly paired up. Since I’m pastor at Long Beach Friends Church, some people decide to call me “pastor Joe”. That’s OK but not my preference; “Joe” works best for me. I’m holding Kylie. We’re best buds. (About the hat… Growing up in Indiana, I was a Reds fan back in their glory years. They need support right now (though last year wasn’t so bad); and I was in Cincinnati for the CCDA conference in 2009 where such hats are available in abundance.)
Professionally, I’ve spent most of my life as a computer scientist, focusing on software tools for Artificial Intelligence applications. (To those in the know, yes, that makes me a Lisper, even though I learned OOP using Simula.) My education was at Indiana University and Carnegie-Mellon University (grad school), both in Computer Science. At IU, I worked with Dan Friedman and Doug Hofstadter. At CMU, I worked on Common Lisp with Guy Steele and Scott Fahlman. My professional career has been nearly all with small start-up companies, starting with the first workstation company (3RCC) (does anyone even remember “workstations” these days?) and eventually continuing in Los Angeles with Inference, Brightware, and Mindbox, in management and as a senior techie. My technology expertise is in implementing tools for object-oriented programming, rule-based expert systems, and case-based reasoning. As a manager, I’ve built several departments from nothing to dozens of people and taken products from imagination to successful commercial release: hard and rewarding work, but often difficult to combine with serious church leadership ministry!
I was called to ministry while a freshman in college. God steered me away from transferring to a Christian school and toward a Computer Science major. Eventually (1986), he called Susie and me to move to Long Beach, CA, to ministry with Long Beach Friends Church, even though I always used to say I’d never live in the LA area. God knew what he was doing with the CS major and CMU, I was able to work full-time as a “tent-maker” in Los Angeles to support our family while we worked at LBFC to help establish a thriving community of Christians in the inner-city of Long Beach. LBFC called me as pastor in 1996, and I dropped to part-time work outside the church. The economy and the aftermath of the acquisition of Mindbox by a large software conglomerate combined to end my job there a couple of years ago, just as ministry was really growing and the time demands intensified. God’s timing is perfect; he provided us with over 20 years of tent-making income in a great series of varied and interesting roles at Inference-Brightware-MindBox here on the west coast. Susie and I have been incredibly blessed to raise our kids in the community here at LBFC, witnessing first-hand as God forms a people to proclaim his praise in our neighborhood. Many of our church members are Cambodian, so we’ve been very involved in mission work in Cambodia also. (I’ve been to Cambodia more than 10 times now; I sort of stopped counting.)
LBFC also works closely with Inner City Ministries and Fred Newkirk with an extensive ministry to homeless and very low-income people in Long Beach. The church is multi-ethnic and (as of 2010) our strength is in our young adult generation, with a baby boom underway. Susie and I once stayed at one of those bed and breakfast places where the hosts ask you questions at mealtime to get conversation going. We were asked what we would change about our lives if we won the lottery. We looked at each other and answered, “Nothing!” God is good and we are exceedingly glad to be where he is working and has called us to be. Susie is now Executive Director of Fiscal Services at Long Beach Unified School District, a stressful job in these economic times.
Both Susie and I were part of Orthodox Friends churches growing up. My mother’s family has been Quaker since the time of George Fox. I learned to think like a Quaker from my grandfather, Albert Pike, and from my uncle, Joseph Pike. Susie’s parents became Quakers as young adults. So we’re pretty at home with Friends, though Friends in Indiana were influenced by the holiness movement, and growing up in Church of God, Anderson country surely left its beneficial impact on our lives. In college and while living in Pittsburgh, our church was not Quaker and our close Christian friends were from a variety of church backgrounds. God used this time to both grow in us an appreciation for the larger Christian family and confirm to us that we are “at home” with Friends. We’re glad to be a part of the Friends branch of God’s larger family of Christians. LBFC is a part of Evangelical Friends Church Southwest, a region of EFI.
Update 2011-05-01. Here’s a couple of new photos. I still have the uncool auto-darkening glasses, but the grandgirls are changing by the minute. Still attached, though. Cap’n Ahab wasn’t available for this picture, and neither was Santa. Thanks, Stephanie, for helping with the camera and for not eating all the pie.
That same day, we got a little creative with the windows, doors and people of our house. Be sure and check out the bay windows on the left side of the house. Click on the picture for the full treatment.
Or see our new family home page; thanks, Monica!
Update 2018-01-18. Time flies! (And fruit flies like a banana…) There are two more grandchildren. I mean, as of, er, ….over three years ago. But I did manage to get new glasses that don’t auto-darken.
Update 2020-02-22. Big changes. We sold the house and are temporarily ensconced in our granddaughter’s bedroom, still in Long Beach, while we find a new place to land nearby. Family grows and adjusts to new conditions, and we are blessed.