The River CRC Staff Members

  • Interests: I love music, all types. I listen to classic rock, contemporary Christian, classical, just about anything. I can’t say I’m a fan of Country Music—sorry. I love to read novels and am a big fan of war history from most of the conflicts of the last 100 years. If we don’t understand history, we’re doomed to repeat it. I love to find fun places to eat. I like local places that have a hometown feel. Savarino’s sandwich shop is my new favorite. I like to watch sports, hang out with other families, and although I’m a little ashamed to say it, I like to go the beach. I didn’t used to, but Kristin, my lovely wife, has conned me into going enough times that I like it. I love learning and one of my favorite things is being able to integrate new things that I’m learning about God’s incredible creation into my sermons. 

    Bio: Scott has been married to Kristin since the mid-90s and they are still deeply in love. They have 3 children; Katie, Kamryn and Troy who enrich their lives greatly. Scott has served churches in Visalia and Hayward, CA and came to The River in 2010. He loves watching youth sports, reading, and recently he got back into wood-working on his days off. He is passionate about preaching God’s Word and desires people to not only come to know Jesus as their Savior, but also growing in their understanding of what it means to serve them in their own unique context.

  • Mario Perez

    Pastor of faith formation

    Interests: When he isn’t studying for his Masters Program, Mario enjoys fishing, eating good food, hanging out with family and friends, and being outside.


    About: A native to Southern California, Mario was born and raised in the Chino/Ontario. An alumni of California Baptist University, Mario has served at the River Church since 2012 starting as an intern and stepping  into the role as  the full time youth director in September of 2015. Mario has a passion for student ministries and spends much of his time meeting with and investing into the lives of students. He is currently studying at Calvin Theological Seminary for his Masters of Divinity through the distance program, with the hopes to be ordained in the near future. 


    Interests:  Spending time with family and friends, driving back and forth to Grants Pass, OR to see his daughter, going to Michigan to see family, working on the house and yard,  traveling, studying the Bible, doing jig-saw puzzles, playing solitaire, and surfing the internet to learn new things.

    Bio:  Rick and Gladys have been married since 1974.  They were both raised in West Michigan, Gladys in Allendale; Rick in Grand Rapids.  They have two children: Derrick, with his wife Rosy, in Rancho Cucamonga, CA and Mindy, with her husband Bryson, in Grants Pass, OR.  They have five grandchildren and a foster grandchild.  They moved to Redlands and began attending The River in 2020.  Rick and Gladys served Lincoln Avenue Community Church (RCA) in Pomona, CA for 29 years.  Before that, they were in Dorr, MI for six years where planted Open Door Reformed Church.  They also interned at First Reformed in Zeeland, MI during seminary and Rick served as Director of Education and Outreach at Third Reformed in Grand Rapids, their home church.  Gladys was a schoolteacher.  She taught Kindergarten and first grade for most of her 30-year career.  She retired in 2018.  Rick earned his Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI and his Bachelor of Religious Education degree from Reformed Bible College, (now Kuyper College) in Grand Rapids, MI.  

  • Jeff Mercer

    Director of worship

    Interests:  When I am not throwing myself into music (i.e. learning / composing / writing / teaching / performing / editing / etc), I enjoy traveling up to Mammoth and skiing with my family, and we always enjoy visiting family from all over North America.  A personal joy of mine is being able to take my giant dog Mozart (Great Dane) on car rides around town.  Mozart loves car rides.  

    Bio: Jeff has been married to his wife Carmen since 2007.  Together, they have 2 beautiful daughters: Elise(2010) & Olivia(2012)  A born and raised Redlands local, Jeff began ministry here at the River Church where he served as the Assistant Worship Director from 2003-2013 before accepting a position as the Music Director at Redeemer Presbyterian in Newport Beach from 2013-2020.  In 2020 God in all of His providence brought Jeff back to the River.  Jeff plans on using his 12 years as a music educator and 17 years as a worship director to help encourage people, and point them to Jesus!

  • Rachel Peters

    Director of Operations and communications

    Interests: Spending time with my friends and family, going on trips, the beach, National Parks, crafting, cooking, DIY projects, being able to go to sports games with my family, Legos, finding new TV shows, board games, playing with my kids, and shopping for baby clothes.

    Bio: Rachel has been a member of The River for her whole life. She has been involved since a young age with Children's Ministry and Youth Ministry. She has also been apart of working with SERVE, Hands of Mercy, and Lugonia Elementary outreaches. Rachel graduated from California Baptist University with her Bachelors in Communication Arts, and soon after married Nathan. She and Nathan have 2 kiddos Bryant (2) and Ellison (9 months) and love each day watching them develop and grow. 

  • Debbie Bueerman

    Director of Outreach and support

    Interests: First, I love reading God’s word. I want my life to have purpose and I get such joy and receive such wisdom and daily strength through my quiet time with Him.   Many people don’t know that I enjoy shopping at thrift stores, especially looking for that one great find.  When possible, I also like spending time with my friends at the spa.


    Bio: Debbie has been an active member of The River Church since 1987.  She is a full-time wife to Don and mother to Mikal (age 14). Debbie also has two adult children who live in the Inland Empire.  Debbie has worked at The River for over 12 years.  She started as the Director of Women’s Ministry and in 2007 became the Director of Adult Education.  A few years back, Debbie accepted the position of Director of Outreach and Support and enjoys meeting new people in the community. 

  • Rebecca Triemstra

    director of children's ministries

    Interests: Finding new places to enjoy with my family. Designing, building, and finishing furniture. Spending time with my friends. Taking mini vacations. Doing projects I find on Pinterest (I'm not ashamed to admit that I love it and my ). Sewing. Painting.

    Bio: Becca is married to Nate, a High School English teacher at Arrowhead Christian Academy. They have 3 children, Jonas, Norah, and Miles. She was a youth director at another church before becoming the Director of Children's Ministries at The River in February of 2013. She has been blessed with being part of a ministry on a part time basis so that she can be home with their kids and enjoy watching them becoming the little people they are. It also allows her to support her husband Nate during basketball season when he's coaching the varsity girls' team at ACA.

  • Karen Verhoeven

    Connection Coordinator

    Interests: Time with the family is always #1! I enjoy our cross country road trips, cheering at my kids' football and volleyball games, a captiving book, and eating authentic Mexican food. I enjoy working with children and substitute teaching in the Redlands schools. Good days include coffee, making connections with new people, phone calls with my parents, and relaxing in the backyard, aka the "Verhoeven Pavilion."

    Bio: Karen was born and raised a farm girl from Iowa. James and Karen met at Dordt College in NW Iowa and married in 1989. They moved to James' hometown of Redlands and Karen continued teaching in the area. They have been a part of The River since that move, active in all areas of ministry. Previously, Karen served on The River staff as the Children's Ministry Director for 7 years. Karen recognizes that her life is full and blessed with a supportive, yet crazy husband, two college sons, Alexander and Benjamin, a high school daughter Abby, and loyal dog Nala. 

  • Don Morris

    Tech Coordinator

    Interests: I'm a geek by choice; I got my first computer, a TRS-80, in 1978 and I am an unashamed Apple fanboy. I'm also a musician by training; I started with the clarinet in fourth grade and later added the saxophone and oboe. I am a father by God's grace and I love spending time with my boys.

    Bio: Don studied Music (vocal emphasis) at Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College and has participated in worship ministry since 1980. For over 30 years, he was involved in IT support and consulting in his own business, and he currently works with business owners, entrepreneurs, and top salespeople to grow their networks and increase the lifetime value of their clients. Cara and Don have been married since 2006 and have two sons, Ethan and Finley.