Rock Harbor staff

Meet the staff who serve our Rock Harbor family with God-given grace, talent, energy and creativity!

  • Randy Ponder, Lead Pastor

    Pastor Randy was raised in Huntington Beach and received Christ as his Savior when he was 10 years old. He moved up to the Central Coast for college and graduated from Cal Poly in 1983. That summer, Randy moved to Morro Bay and met his lovely wife Tami. They have been married since 1984 and have three wonderful sons, three precious daughters-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren: Mary Sunshine, Reef Ezekiel and Nyah Brooklyn.

    Randy was a youth pastor for 11 years in Temecula, and Randy & Tami both served at a church they planted in Temecula for 7 years before moving back to Morro Bay in January of 2008 to become part of this church family. Randy loves to travel to spread the saving message of Jesus. Randy’s travels have taken him to Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Israel, Fiji and the Philippines. Randy’s passions include people, the Word of God, missions and athletics, and he is an avid fan of the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings and Rams!

    email - facebook

  • John Pallanes, Associate Pastor

    John was born and raised in California, moving to Morro Bay in 2010. He and his wife, Diane, have a blended family of four beautiful daughters. John rededicated his life to Christ in 2006 and is passionate about living out 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” John loves his family, being a grandpa, and being of service to the Lord and his church family as God “transforms him” (Romans 12:2)!

    email - facebook

  • Phil Sillas, Worship Director

    Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Phil is a veteran of the Christian music industry, a Dove Award winning producer and songwriter, as well as former VP of Maranatha! Music and former A&R Director for Song Discovery/Worship Leader Magazine. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in San Luis Obispo since 2014. Their son, Andre, attends college at UC Davis. Phil’s passions for music and worship community have found a perfect home at Rock Harbor. When he’s not serving at Rock Harbor, Phil enjoys cooking, looking busy at the gym and continuing his profession as a songwriter/producer.

    email - facebook

  • Diane Pallanes, Children's Director

    Diane was born in Washington DC, and gave her life to Jesus at the age of 10. After she retired from a 30-year teaching career, Diane was blessed to be able to live out a dream to move to Morro Bay with her husband, Associate Pastor John. It was here that she discovered Rock Harbor Christian Fellowship in 2009 and began teaching the ‘Special Friends’ Sunday School class in 2012. Children with special needs have always held an important place in Diane’s heart and career. She wants all the children of Rock Harbor to know that each one of them was created especially by God, that God loves them passionately, and that Jesus wants to be their friend and Savior forever. Diane loves being a mom and a grandma!

    Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

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  • Jesse & rylie Cabral, youth directors

    Jesse and Rylie were both born in San Diego, California, raised in Christian homes and accepted Christ for themselves at a young age. Rylie moved to Morro Bay in 2005, while Jesse stayed in San Diego. The two finally met for the first time while attending San Diego State University in 2014. They had each been serving in youth ministry separately, and continued to serve together as they courted and later married in 2016. They graduated in 2017 and moved to Morro Bay, where Jesse began his career as a civil engineer and Rylie stayed home to raise their two beautiful kids. God has continued to develop Jesse and Rylie’s passion and love for youth ministry as they have served with the Rock Harbor youth. When he’s not working, Jesse can be found surfing at the Rock, while Rylie enjoys spending time with her friends and family.

    Jesse: email - facebook

    Rylie: email - facebook

  • Cyndy Fee, Finance Director

    Cyndy was born and raised in California, and became a Christian when she was 7 years old. She married her husband, Tom, and the couple established their household in San Diego. There, Cyndy gave birth to two beautiful girls, Rylie and Dylanne, before the family relocated to Morro Bay in 2005.

    Cyndy works as a bookkeeper in San Luis Obispo and, when she's not working or serving Rock Harbor as our Finance Director, she enjoys sailing, running and knitting.

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  • Mike Phillips, COMMUNICATIONS Director

    Mike was born in Fresno and raised in Visalia, where he gave his life to Christ at the age of 7. He began DJing for a contemporary Christian music radio station while in high school – a ministry that continued for over 30 years, including a long and rewarding stint on the Central Coast's K-Life 89.3 FM. He met his wife, Karen, at the wedding of a mutual friend, and the two had their own wedding in 1984. Daughter Lindsay was born in 1991, son Matt followed in 1994, and daughter Madeline was adopted in China in 2007. Mike and Karen have been active in youth ministry, and Mike also oversees the church’s video, website and mobile app ministries. He is excited about all God is doing at Rock Harbor, and is enjoying the adventure of serving Him!

    email - facebook


    Rene was born in Germany, raised in Huntington Beach, and gave her life to Christ at the age of seven. In college, she served as a summer missionary for two summers, in 2011 went to Cameroon, West Africa, on business missions, and also volunteered for a few years with a high school church youth group in Folsom. She moved to Morro Bay from the Sacramento area in 2015 when her husband, Tim, was transferred to Camp San Luis Obispo. Rene's background is in the corporate business arena managing company-provided employee retirement and health benefits. In addition to serving as RHCF's office manager, she writes and edits curriculum for the California Cadet Corps and has a small business sewing and selling fabric creations. In her spare time, Rene enjoys sewing, gardening, bike riding, and cooking international foods.

    email - facebook

Rock Harbor Executive Board


Phil and his wife, Susie, purchased a vacation home in Morro Bay in 2007 and started attending Rock Harbor whenever they were in town on the weekend. After Phil's retirement from the Kern County Fire Department in 2009, they moved to the area full time. Phil and Susie have a blended family of four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. The Castles moved to Atascadero in 2011, where they enjoy life harvesting walnuts and a supply of fresh eggs from their flock of chickens. Rock Harbor remains their church home. Phil and Susie enjoy serving together as Rock Harbor's Missions Directors, in the Children's Ministry, with Samaritan's Purse and other ministries, as well as leading an adult Sunday school class at Rock Harbor. Phil has also been called to serve on several short term mission trips with both Rock Harbor and Lifewater International in Asia and Africa. Phil enjoys hiking, yard work and traveling with Susie.



Al and his wife, Jennie, have lived in the Morro Bay-Los Osos area since 2011 and started attending Rock Harbor at that time. They decided to retire to Los Osos after living for almost 36 years in the Sacramento-Davis area. Before retiring, Al worked at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. Al and Jennie have two daughters: one living with her husband in the Bay Area, and the other living in Pasadena with her husband and two children. Al has served as the leader of a Sunday adult group and a mid-week small group at Rock Harbor, and also served as an elder at FBC church in Davis and as a deacon at EFC church in Sacramento. 



Dawn and her husband, Joe, settled in Los Osos in 2008 after relocating from various cities and states. She was a barber in La Crescenta, CA, homeschooled their two daughters in Redmond, OR, attended college in Redlands, CA, and landed on the Central Coast working as a Business Analyst. Both Dawn and Joe have worked in children’s ministry and have hosted and led home Bible studies, and feel blessed to have found a home at Rock Harbor. In her spare time, Dawn enjoys sailing, gardening and tending to her chickens.



Irene and her husband, Bert Tibbetts, moved to Morro Bay in 2014 and RHCF soon became their church home. Irene prepares the Dig Deeper resource on our website. She also authors a blogspot, Love-Healing-Hope. Bert studies with the Solid Rock Martial Arts ministry at RHCF and serves as a volunteer for the SeaLife Stewards and Morro Bay National Estuary Program.

Irene grew up in the Central Valley, working in the fields until age 18 when she left for college. Raised as a Catholic, she renewed her relationship with the Lord in 1996. She and Bert have shared their spiritual walk since then. During those years, the two have lived in California, Cayman Islands and Florida. She, Bert and their two Bengals love calling the coast “home.”

Irene (pronounced ee-rèn-eh) enjoys writing, reading, employment coaching and interior decorating. Her greatest passions are giving and serving others.



Click to view a chart illustrating Rock Harbor's organizational structure.