Rev. Gary Chidester was born on a U.S. Air Force military base in rural Louisiana to devout Catholic parents. At a young age, he had many spiritual experiences and was an altar boy for seven years. He went to high school in Japan, at a U.S. Air Force installation, and graduated in June 1972. His experiences there with Buddhism and oriental philosophy became harmonized with his Roman Catholic views.
Gary met the Unification church in 1973 when he was 18 years old and became the first person to join the church in Arkansas. After living in Miami for 27 years, they moved to Orlando Florida in 2013. Gary received the Marriage Blessing with Maria Pia Salvati from Latina, Italy on True Parents Birthday in 1987 in Korea. They have three children.
Over the years, Gary has served as a State leader for FFWPU USA in Mississippi Delaware and Alabama. He attended Southern Connecticut State College whilst holding Home Church in Connecticut and starting a CARP chapter there. He went to the Unification Theological Seminary and was hand-picked by True Father (while True Father was at Danbury) to attend the special third year Divinity program, graduating in 1986.Rev. Chidester went on to serve in the Philippines under RYS.
In October 1986, he was assigned the role of FFWPU USA state leader of Alabama. In January 1987, he was called by True Father to be in the special political mission of ACC as Florida state director for FFWPU USA. From 1993 to 1999 Rev. Chidester was AFC State Director, and from 1999 to 2006 he was Vice Regional Director under Rev. Dae Hee Hong. Gary became the new acting Regional Director after Rev. Hong until the two southern regions (Atlanta and Miami) were put together as the new District 5. He remained as state leader, and then became state pastor until August 12, 2012.
Rev. Chidester served as District Council chair until he was voted in as the new district pastor representative for District 5 in 2014.