Pastoral Staff

Our leadership team recognizes the authority of God, and realizes that we are shepherds who serve under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We desire to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. Our passion and goal is to equip the congregation of American Lutheran Church of Sun City for the work of the ministry until we all attain maturity in the fullness of Christ.

Gary E. Benson

Senior Pastor

As the primary teaching pastor, Pastor Gary E. Benson has a passion for God’s Word and the community of Sun City. Pastor Benson is a graduate of Augsburg College and Luther Seminary. After serving 35 years in congregations in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, he moved to the Valley of the Sun in 2008. As Senior Pastor of American Lutheran Church of Sun City, his primary responsibilities include preaching, teaching, planning and coordinating the ministry team. 

Living here allows Pastor Benson to enjoy year-round motorcycle riding, golfing, photography, and music. His wife, Sara, is a retired teacher and they have two children and one grandchild. Also, as you may hear from time to time, “Auggie” is their wonderful K9 who is always anxious to be on the church campus greeting people.


Ellis E. "BUD" Eskritt

Lead Pastor of Care Ministry

Pastor Eskritt, better known as Pastor Bud, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1961. Prior to entering seminary, he served four years in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman. He went on to attend Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary in Minnesota and was ordained in 1965. Pastor Bud retired in 1997 from serving churches in Illinois and Minnesota. He then served as Transitional Pastor for eight churches in the Valley until 2008 when he joined the ALC staff. He is passionate about social and care ministry.


Charles T. Paulson

Pastor of Outreach Ministry

Pastor Charles T. “Chuck” Paulson attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Most of his ministry prior to ALC was in California. After official retirement in 1997, he served several interims, but mainly with American Lutheran Church, where he has served since 2002. He is responsible for visiting prospective members and inviting them to be a part of our American Lutheran Church community.


Gary R. Ulrich

Pastor of Care Ministry

Gary Ulrich has served for over 32 years in child welfare ministries of the church. These ministries focus on youth and family. He also served rural congregations in part-time and supportive roles in Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio. Upon his retirement in 2012, Pastor Ulrich moved to Sun City and became a faithful member of ALC. He joined the pastoral staff in 2013.


Pastor Gary R. Garvey

Visitation Pastor

Pastor Gary R. Garvey is pedigreed from Concordia College, Moorhead Minnesota and Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. Since 2009, he has served several interims in churches in the northwest Minnesota Synod and co-led two 10-day missionary trips to Ecuador, caring for abandoned and abused children and mentoring Concordia student future missionaries. He has also fed and clothed the hungry in the Mid East. Pastor Garvey is excited to join with the family and staff of American Lutheran Church. His training includes: Clinical Pastoral Education at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul Minnesota, and 3-years Senior Chaplain at Keesler Regional Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi.  He served for 34 years internationally - initially with the Marines, then 27 amazing pastoral years with the Air Force Chaplain Corps. His family includes his wife Dianne, their three sons, and two granddaughters.


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