The members of our staff want to get to know you and partner with you in a growing faith and through experiences that equip you for the ministry to which Christ has called you.

Rev. Deborah “Deb” Stowers

3 Pastor Deb StowersLead Follower of Christ (Senior Pastor)

I like to think that I am a kid and express “childlike qualities which open me to receive the (reign) of God.” Quoting, Wes Seeliger’s book, One Inch from the Fence, “Kids believe the impossible – are curious – have an underdeveloped sense of danger – don’t know limits – crave adventure and excitement – are impatient and demanding. They are enraged by injustice. And last, but not least, they won’t take no for an answer.”

“It is precisely these childlike qualities which move us to follow a man – a teacher, a Savior – who set the world on fire.” I, Pastor Deborah Stowers of the First United Methodist Church, declare that I am like the Queen of Hearts who told Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the Looking Glass – able to “believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast!” I believe in impossible things because I, like the Queen of Hearts, have faithfully practiced. I am curious, unlimited, adventurous, excited, – often impatient – frequently demanding, intolerant of injustice and, totally, unwilling to take “no” for an answer.

I am also convinced that the church of Christ is robust. The church of Christ will survive. The church must change and adapt to the emerging culture. What the form of Christ’s church will be, I don’t know; but I am anxious to find out. Why not join with me, all of us – as children of God – believers in awesome, miraculous things. Not a nay-sayer among us and receive the “impossible” things of the kingdom of God?

My favorite scripture is Romans 8:35-39closeRomans 8:35-39 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
closeRomans 8:35-39closeRomans 8:35-39 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
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A favorite Hymn is “The Servant Song”
“Brother, Sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.”

Pastor Luann Benge

benge-luann n Co-Lead Follower (Associate Pastor)

I believe that we experience God in many ways. Our relationship with God is personal and yet that relationship inspires us to reach out and connect with others. My desire is to assist others in deepening their relationship with God as well as their connection to others through prayer, ministry, and service.

I am a graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University with a degree in Christian Studies. I will begin working on a Master of Divinity degree at Asbury Theological Seminary in September 2016. My husband, Carl, and I live in Morning Sun with our daughters, Sarah and Lydia. We enjoy going on bike rides, playing in the park, going to the movies, and just spending time with each other.

My favorite bible verse is Isaiah 41:10closeIsaiah 41:10 10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 41:10closeIsaiah 41:10 10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
and my favorite hymns are “Gift of Love” and “My Tribute.”

Joan Rodgers

Joan RodgersDirector of Lay Ministries
I believe that life is about relationships and my position is to support people in developing their relationship with God, themselves, and in service to others.

My husband is Dave Rodgers. We have three sons, two wonderful daughter-in-laws and two precious grandsons and two precious granddaughters. We are blessed to live near extended family. I have always been active in church, and while salvation is not achieved through church, the fellowship with others, worship with others and the support of church family give me strength to live as God wants me to.

Two of my favorite songs (I have many): Pass It On and My Tribute

Favorite Scripture (changes with the need!) My parents have been instrumental in my spiritual growth so their favorites abide with me Isaiah 41:10closeIsaiah 41:10 10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 41:10closeIsaiah 41:10 10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
and Revelations 3:20closeRevelation 3:20 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (ESV) closeRevelation 3:20closeRevelation 3:20 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (ESV) 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (ESV) , and I also like Philippines 2:10-11.

Jean Evans

Office Administrator
I have held several different positions since starting part time in December 1984. Financial Secretary was the first, then added Membership Secretary, and now full time Office Administrator along with the financial responsibilities. I have enjoyed working here and look forward to another couple of years before retirement.

I have three married children and three granddaughters that I enjoy visiting and taking care of when the opportunity arises. If I have a free minute in the summer you can find me in the garden and biking when I can.

My favorite scripture is John 3:16closeJohn 3:16 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV) closeJohn 3:16closeJohn 3:16 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV) and favorite hymn is “Hymn of Promise” with Christmas hymns a very close second.

Chuck Ring

RING-CHUCK
I am in charge of cleaning and maintaining the facilities at First United Methodist Church. Besides the routine cleaning and maintenance, I also set up rooms for special meetings and dinners that use the church building.

Mark Kimzey

Choir Director

I was raised in New Virginia, IA and graduated from Interstate 35 Comm. High School. I received a Bachelor of Music degree from Iowa Wesleyan College and a diploma from Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Wheeling, IL. I am primarily responsible for the Chancel Choir, but periodically serve in other capacities for all the music ministries of the church. I am active in many other activities of the church also.
Full time, I am the owner and funeral director of the Kimzey Funeral Home, a half block south of the church. Mark is involved in the Evening Rotary Club and the Mt. Pleasant Masonic Lodge. Quite contrary to the calm role of a choir director, my hobby is that of being a referee and judge of amateur boxing. A former amateur boxer myself, I also serve as the Secretary-Treasurer of Iowa Amateur Boxing.
I am married to Linda (nee Begalske). We have 2 children – Rebekah, an assistant athletic trainer at Simpson College and Aaron, a student Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL.

My favorite scriptures are Matthew 25:31-46closeMatthew 25:31-46 The Final Judgment 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (ESV) closeMatthew 25:31-46closeMatthew 25:31-46 The Final Judgment 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (ESV) The Final Judgment 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (ESV) and James 2:14-26closeJames 2:14-26 Faith Without Works Is Dead 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (ESV) closeJames 2:14-26closeJames 2:14-26 Faith Without Works Is Dead 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (ESV) Faith Without Works Is Dead 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (ESV)

Jerry Lalaga

Organist
I assumed the position of full time organist Nov 28, 2010. I was born on the Polynesian island of American Samoa. I graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College May, 2011 with my degree in Music Education. Some of my favorite things are art, music, and playing golf and tennis.
My favorite hymn “It is Well with My Soul.”