First United Methodist Church of Denton, TX

 

FUMC Staff

Reverend Don Lee

Rev. Don Lee
Lead Pastor
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 226
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Don Lee was born in Los Angeles, and raised in Whittier, California. He attended college in Bartlesville Wesleyan College in Oklahoma (now Texas Wesleyan University). Originally an art major, he felt a call to ministry and received a B.S. in Theology. His first job was as the youth director of East Cross UMC in Bartlesville. Don received his Master of Divinity while at SMU Perkins School of Theology. He’s been married to his wife Susan for 27 years. She currently teaches in Lewisville ISD. They have two children, Clari, currently a student at UNT and Chris, a student of Marcus H.S. Newly appointed to First UMC Denton, he has served pastoral appointments at First UMC Lewisville, Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton, First UMC Richardson, and First UMC Pilot Point. Don has a passion for scripture, archaeology, and a genuine love for Christ and his Church. Don enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, reading, watching his son play football, and walking his dog, Taz.

 

Deana Ferguson

Rev. Deana Ferguson
Associate Pastor / Children and Youth
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 228
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Deana, our own home-grown pastor at First UMC- Denton, followed her faith journey at this church from adolescence to present day, developing a passion for its ministries. Joining our staff as a Children’s Director in 2002, she moved into a Program Director position in 2009. Now a Local Licensed pastor and appointed to 1st Denton in July of 2010, Deana plans to continue her education through Perkin’s Course of Study. She serves the church by supporting Children’s Ministries as staff liaison; and in February 2012, she began her tenure as Youth Pastor. She oversees our preschool daycare and elementary after school care programs. Deana is now serving on the Hope, Inc. Board and has served on the Apple Tree Board for Interfaith Ministries of Denton County. Deana considers herself blessed because her parents, her daughter and son-in-law, and her grandson are members of this church.

 

John Kendzie

Rev. Jon Kendzie
Associate Pastor
Phone: 940.382.5478 x223
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Jon comes from Copeville UMC in eastern Collin County where he has served as senior pastor, dedicated to engaging the local community into disciple-making relationships. At Copeville, where 35% of the community is Hispanic, Jon strove to expand the church’s inclusiveness through programs designed to reach the Hispanic community members.

Prior to Copeville, Jon served at Elm Ridge UMC in Savannah, TX, where his most notable achievement was to double worship attendance.

Before starting his second career as a pastor, Jon was a member at FUMC McKinney, where he served for five years as a Stephen Minister and Adult Discipleship lay-leader. His previous career in IT and telecom is marked by 16 years with Verizon and culminated in a position as a senior executive at Verso Technologies, when he realized his calling to ministry.

Jon is currently working toward his Master of Divinity degree at SMU Perkins School of Theology. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from The American University in Washington, D.C. with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in German Studies. He also holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, AZ. He served for six years as an adjunct professor of Global Business, Marketing, Management and Organizational Behavior.

He currently lives in McKinney with his wife of 21 years, Patty, and their children, Austin (18) and Jakob (14). Austin graduated from McKinney North HS this year, and is heading to college at Stephen F. Austin University in the fall. Jakob will be a high school sophomore, and enjoys FFA and playing trombone in the band.

 

Alan Heath

Alan Heath
Business Administrator
Phone: 940.382.5478 x229
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Alan Heath has been named as our new Church Business Administrator, according to Nancy Murphy-Chadwick, Chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee. Alan has a wealth of experience serving corporate leadership roles and more recently leading both church and faith-based non-profit organizations.

Prior to joining the staff at FUMC-Denton, Alan served for two years as CEO of UMR Communications Inc., parent company of the United Methodist Reporter. He also served five years as executive director of First United Methodist Church of McKinney. FUMC-McKinney has many similarities to our church. Both are downtown, congregations of similar size in worship attendance and benefit from the significant population growth of their communities. And both build on rich traditions while growing in ministry and service to their respective communities.

"I feel so blessed to have been chosen to serve FUMC-Denton. I have visited with the pastoral and administrative staff and sense a deep level of commitment to ministry and a strong bond of interdependence and teamwork. This is a welcome environment in which to grow and serve," Alan said.
Alan spent 25 years at Taylor Publishing Co., in Dallas, ultimately serving as vice president of communications and vice president of collegiate sales, and also held executive sales and marketing positions.

He earned an undergraduate degree from Ambassador University in Big Sandy, Texas, and a master of arts from Texas A&M-Commerce and doctoral work in journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He taught journalism and English at Ambassador from 1971 to 1978.

He has been a member of Kavanaugh UMC in Greenville, Texas, for more than 30 years, serving in a variety of lay leadership positions. Alan and his wife, Carole Ann, have two grown children and four grandchildren

 

John Priddy

John Priddy
Director of Worship and Music
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 242
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Conductor, pianist, stage director and composer John Priddy has served as Director of Music & Worship at First UMC-Denton since July, 2001. He is the conductor of the congregation’s Chancel Choir, Credo Youth Choir, Men’s Ensemble and Chamber Singers as well as FUMC’s renowned Big Band - Foo McBubba.

He holds degrees in music and German from Texas Tech and Indiana University. He also did post graduate work at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, Germany, as a stipend recipient of the German Academic Exchange Service. While at Indiana University he was the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including twice being awarded the $10,000 Elsie Sweeney Scholarship. He received grants from the Indiana Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts to support a Chamber Opera program he established within the university as well as a fellowship from the Indiana University Foundation which underwrote a private master class with Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
John made his European conducting debut with the Harlem Opera Ensemble in 1985 in Switzerland followed by performances throughout Europe, including appearances in Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Brussels, Monte Carlo and Lyons. Between 1988 and 1996 John worked in the opera houses of Germany conducting and stage directing a broad repertoire of opera, musicals and ballet.

Returning to the United States, John served as arranger, music director, producer and musician in several theaters in Branson, Missouri, including work with Bobby Vinton and Japanese violinist Shoji Tabuchi.

John has composed several major choral works including Passion – Seven Lasting Words and Hodie. Grace, Love and Dirty Socks, a children’s sacred theater piece written in collaboration with his wife, Jean Wilkinson Priddy, was performed in Denton in 2004. A full-length musical Dreams received its premiere in Germany in 2006. His conducting credits include performances with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, The Abilene Philharmonic, the Lubbock Symphony and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. An active arranger, his Civil War Trilogy for baritone and orchestra was recently performed by the Danville Symphony Orchestra.

In Denton, John has worked frequently with the Music Theater of Denton as a stage director and conductor including productions of Sweeney Todd, Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story and Cabaret.

John is the proud father of a daughter, Gillian. When not making music, John enjoys landscaping, carpentry, cooking and computers.

 

Martha Ware

Martha Ware
Director of Marketing and Communications
Phone: 940.382.5478
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Martha is married to Mark, a marketing professional from Michigan who has previously been a music minister for Vineyard Fellowship of Dallas and has a wonderful 25 year old daughter, Camilla, who is a third year medical student in Nevada. She also lives with her two super cute dogs Phoebe and Gibbs.

She has been working in Marketing and Management for over 20 years, business strategy, marketing planning and social media are some of her passions.

Before working for the online division of the Neiman Marcus Group, Martha was a Marketing Retail Executive at Perception Lab, Manager for the Miami International Merchandise Mart, and a producer for TVB and CNTi (two Brazilian television
 stations).

With a multi-cultural background (Martha is originally from Brazil) and a passion for   helping others, Martha has also worked as a Certified Supreme Court Mediator in Florida.

She loves traveling, sports, music and languages, and she absolutely loves the ocean!

 

Gail Warren

Gail Warren
Administrative Assistant / Office Manager
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 244
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Gail has plenty of experience meeting new people due to the fact that she was forever “the new kid” growing up. Her family moved twelve times before she finished high school which allowed her to experience new places and different cultures. She’s lived in Denton since 1992, and that seems like such a long time in one place! Her family joined First UMC-Denton in November of 2001.

You can find her in the main office each day juggling church calendar issues, maintaining the membership database, working on reports and statistics and helping those who enter the church doors each day.

 

 

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Sueann Albert
Administrative Worship Assistant
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 246
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Sueann serves as the Pastors’ Assistant and her duties include preparing the Prayers of the People list each week, finding the readers for the Call to Worship each Sunday, coordinating the flowers and Communion bread, and assisting Gail Warren and our wonderful pastors with various duties.

Her family consists of husband, Donald, son Kevin, and daughter Dorian. Time away from work finds her working crossword puzzles, reading, and walking her two rescue dogs, Bella and Zoey. She served on the PTSA Board and volunteered at Guyer High School (Go Wildcats!) through May/June 2011 and is an Honorary Lifetime PTA Member. Sueann has been a member at First UMC-Denton since 2002 and has been active in the youth ministry, television ministry, the receptionist group, VBS, as well as serving on various committees and boards throughout the church.

 

Sherri Jones

Sherry Miears
Bookkeeper
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 245
email Sherri Miears

Sherry was born and raised in Dallas, where her parents and sister still live. After attending Stephen F. Austin State University, she married the son of a preacher and had two wonderful daughters. The desire to raise the girls in a small country town led the family to Aubrey, where Sherry put her creativity to work in the renovation of an old farmhouse and the purchase of a small diner. Her cooking skills led her, in 2001, to First UMC-Denton as Food Service Manager. Five years later, everything learned from serving as a vice president for an investment firm (pre-children, of course) was put to use when she became the Financial Assistant for the church. Currently serving in this same capacity, Sherry enjoys spending time away from work gardening with her delightful, energetic grandson. Sometimes, though, she wouldn't mind some of that time being spent quietly working a crossword, listening to blues music or snooping around an antiques shop. And, just to rev things up a bit, she loves to shoot pool and ride motorcycles!

 

Delores Hettler

Delores Hettler
Librarian
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 225
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Delores and husband, Terry, moved to Denton in 1996 from Houston, after Terry’s early retirement from Amoco Production after 28 years and being transferred many times (Monahans, Odessa and Houston, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Chicago, Illinois.) Delores retired from Gibson Greeting Company where she had worked as a greeting card merchandiser for almost 10 years. The Hettlers have two daughters and 1 grandson.

Delores was a stay-at-home mom when the girls were small and then worked as a teacher’s aide in a private school when living in Tulsa. She volunteered in the school libraries and became the volunteer Librarian of their church in Houston. She volunteered in the First UMC-Denton church library and became the part-time Librarian after Betty Eddy retired from that position in 2008 and has served in that position for 3 years.

The Hettlers are also ushers for the 11:00 worship service and members of the Bungalow Sunday School Class. She also volunteers for RSVP and United Way.

 

Martha Segundo

Martha Segundo
Facilities Manager
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 239
email Martha Segundo

Martha, with her 12 years of service here at First UMC-Denton, knows all the nooks, crannies, and cracks to be found. Her knowledge and careful attention to the facilities and to the members of the congregation along with her commitment to learning elevated her to the job of Facilities Manager a few years ago. While working at the church, Martha became a US citizen in July 2004 and in 2008 earned a certification in HVAC. During 2010-2011, Martha attended the various classes offered in a Certification Program by the National Association of Church Facilities Managers (NACFM) and wrote a paper concerning the operations here at First UMC-Denton. She became a Certified Church Facilities Manager (CCFM) in the spring of 2011 and is one of only two women with this designation across the United States. Her primary responsibility at the church now is the management of the custodial personnel who keep the building clean and ready for use by our church and community members. Her schedule often varies, but she is most likely to be found at the church between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm during the work week, Monday-Friday.

Martha came to the United States from Mexico and now lives in Sanger, Tx. Her family consists of her husband, one son, two daughters, one son-in-law, and one granddaughter.

 

Kay Jennings

Kay Jennings
Children’s Day Out Director
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 236
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Kay began working at First UMC-Denton in August of 1974 as a teacher of 3-4 year-olds in the then twice-a-week preschool program. When the program moved to the Fellowship Building and extended to a program of 5-mornings per week program, Kay became the Director of Children’s Day Out. Kay is a graduate of UNT, with a degree in education.

She loves working with young children and watching them grow and learn according to their individual possibilities. Children are a gift from God, and she feels blessed to have been and continue to be a part of so many young lives.

Kay’s family consists of a husband of 45+years, two adult children, and 3 grand dogs.

 

Chanel Denham

Chanel Knott
FunStop AfterSchool Director
Phone: 940.382.5478 x 237
email Chanel Knott

Chanel came to Denton via League City and Nacogdoches,Texas, after attending Stephen F. Austin State University. With her degree in Child & Family Services, (minor in Early Childhood Education), in hand, she moved to Denton, where her family grew to include two children, Maddie and Clayton.

She originally began her work at First UMC-Denton as a teacher of 2-year-olds in the Children’s Day Out program, then took on the church’s Childcare Director’s position. In July 2009, Chanel became the Director of Fun Stop After School Care program for elementary-aged children. She also serves as Co-Director of the Children’s Day Out program, where her role is to train staff, evaluate lesson plans and assist the Director, Kay Jennings, in the supervision of staff.

Church work wasn’t in her plans, but God took over. Now, she can’t imagine her life any other way and feels blessed to be in a place where it is ok to share God’s love with co-workers, staff and most importantly – our world’s next generation. She recently attended the Walk to Emmaus and her journey there confirmed that this is exactly what God intended for her to do with her life. She returned full of ideas on how we can teach our young, future leaders the meaning of grace and the importance of spreading God’s love through mission work and every day acts of kindness.

 

Brandi Southwell

Brandi Southwell
Children’s Coordinator
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Brandi was born and raised in Lewisville, and has been an active member of FUMC Lewisville her entire life. She graduated high school in 1997 - a fighting farmer and proud of it!  She attended classes at UNT for two years as a music education major. Due to advancements in hierarchy at Cinemark Theaters, she took a promising career path over finishing school. After 14 years of service it became clear that God had different plans for her. She resigned her position at Cinemark and shortly after found Funstop. In two lightning fast years, she has discovered that FUMC Denton’s children ministry is exactly where she is supposed to be. 

She loves to read and be outside. She has two nieces, Jade & Jordyn who remain a constant source of inspiration. She also has two fur babies, Charlie & Suzy Q. Most importantly, she loves God and his children….each and every one of you!

Karen Anderson-Lain

Karen Anderson-Lain
Children and Youth Administrative Assistanr

 

Karen has joined the FUMC Denton staff as the part-time Administrative Assistant for Children and Youth. She is excited to have the opportunity to serve our church community in our children and youth programs and feels blessed to be joining such a great community.”

Karen and her family became members of FUMC Denton in October 2012. Karen and her husband, Dr. Brian Lain, have two children, Aidan and Kaia. She also serves on the Children’s Ministry Council.

Karen is a former full-time faculty member at the University of North Texas in the Communication Studies department. She continues to teach for UNT part-time. Karen earned her BA in English Literature and Speech Communication from Washburn University in Topeka, KS; MA in Communication Studies from Texas Tech University; and her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas.

Reaghen Brewer

Reaghen Brewer
Youth Intern
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Raeghen grew up in Allen, TX where her church home was FUMC Allen. She attends University of North Texas where she is majoring in History. She plans to go to Seminary after UNT. She has been called into ministry and hopes to be a youth minister or a pastor someday. One of Raeghen’s biggest passions is mission work. She has a very special place in her heart for House of Hope in Puerta Lempira, Honduras, which is also her favorite place in the world. Raeghen played competitive softball for fifteen years, and attended East Texas Baptist University to play softball, but was injured and had to stop playing. She now coaches softball when she can. Raeghen loves spending time watching baseball, hanging out outside with her two dogs, camping, and being with her friends and family.

Dale Peters

S. Andrew Lloyd
Organist
email S. Andrew Lloyd

First UMC-Denton welcomed Andy as the new organist at the 8:30 and 11:00 am worship services on March 6, 2011. Andy is currently a student at the University of North Texas as a doctoral candidate in Organ Performance. He has played the organ for over 20 years and received his previous education in Organ Performance at Brigham Young University and the University of Kansas. He is currently a guest organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle and regularly performs recitals there. Andy is an active composer and recently had an anthem performed by First Presbyterian in Fort Worth. Andy is happily married and is the father of two little girls. He and his family moved to Texas last summer and love being here. Andy is excited to be a part of and serve our congregation.

Andy blogs and shares his music at lloydmusic.wordpress.com.


Jett Cheek

Jett Cheek
Children’s Choir Director
email Jett Cheek

Jett is a product of West Texas – specifically Floydada and Lubbock – relocating to the North Texas area to attend the University of North Texas.

He graduated from UNT in 1992 with a degree in jazz arranging. Along the way, he met and married Nancy, with whom he has shared over 25 years of marriage and two daughters, Hannah and Rebekah.

Jett has played the piano since he was in 2nd grade, and he frequently accompanies instrumental and vocal soloists in performance venues. He passes on his musical knowledge to private piano, guitar, and brass students.

Since childhood, Jett sensed a calling to ministry but has never had an opportunity to pursue a formal education toward full-time ministry. He has a special interest in helping children grow in their faith; and since music is such a big part of his life, being involved with Children's Choirs (first as accompanist and now as director) is a natural fit. On Wednesday evenings during the school year, Jett can be found in the children’s choir room working with our Cherub, Chorister, and Challenger Children’s Choirs (ages 4-years through 5th graders).

In his church life before Children’s Choirs, Jett spent time in lay leadership – serving on the Adult Education and Spiritual Life Committee, as a Sunday School teacher for children and youth, a VBS volunteer, and a vocal ensemble director of Men’s Ensemble and Measure by Measure (a female vocal group).

Jett takes his talents out into the community through Musical Theatre (as rehearsal pianist and pit musician) and by accompanying school band, orchestra and vocal students at competitions, playing keyboards and singing in the Christian progressive rock band: Supernal Endgame.

Jett’s day job since 1992 has been at Pender's Music Company.

 

Kay Jennings

Matthew Dittman
Credo Choir Director
email Matthew Dittman

Matthew graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Music Education in 2012.

While pursuing his degree, he was active in the Men's Chorus, Cougar Marching and Concert Bands, and two acapella groups: Men of Moores and Bob's Your Uncle (which he directed). Matthew is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma, Texas Music Educators Association, and Texas Choral Directors Association. He is currently a Music Specialist at Hobbs Williams Elementary School in Grand Prairie ISD.

Matthew is married to Kelly Dittman, a middle school band director also in the Grand Prairie ISD.


 

Carol Lynn Mizell

Carol Lynn Mizell
Handbell Choir Director
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Carol Lynn is the Conductor of the Handbell Choirs at First United Methodist Church, Denton, and is a long-time member of the First UMC-Denton Chancel Choir and Chamber Choir. She is the Band Director at Strickland Middle School in Denton and has also conducted the Denton Community Band since 1978. She holds B.M.E. & M.M.E. degrees from the University of North Texas and has done extensive post-graduate work at UNT.

Carol Lynn is a Charter Member of Concert Bells of Fort Worth, an auditioned community handbell choir in the Metroplex. She currently serves as a Ringer and was
co-conductor of CBFW for two years and on their Christmas Favorites CD. She hosted the Denton Area Bell Jam for several years and served as Mass Ringing Conductor. Carol Lynn has rung since 2002 with Distinctly Bronze, an international event for advanced Handbell ringers and rang with the Dream Team at Pinnacle, 2004, an event for Community Handbell groups. She has served as Handbell Clinician for area and national festivals including the National Seminar of the AGEHR (American Guild of English Handbell Ringers), the Music and Arts Camp of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Mo Ranch. Carol Lynn was the AGEHR Area V Festival Conductor in October, 2008, where her winning composition of the Area V Composition Contest, Fiesta con Campanillas, was premiered, and Festival Mass Ringing Conductor for the CORD (Central Oklahoma Ringers & Directors) Festival in November, 2008. She was also the Conductor for the HEB Handbell Festival in Hurst in February, 2009, and composed the commissioned work for the Festival: I Sing the Mighty Power of God.

An active participant in community arts, Carol Lynn was a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Denton Arts Council for 9 years, served as Treasurer, served as President (1986‑87), and was the recipient of GDAC’s Community Arts Recognition Award (CARA) in 1989. She served as Associate Director and Mass Conductor of the Denton Festival of Carols for thirteen years.

Carol Lynn holds membership in Texas Music Educators Association, American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, and Sigma Alpha Iota. She serves on the Handbell Committee of The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. Carol Lynn is a published composer and an oboist. She and her husband, Bob, have two daughters, Michelle Corazao and Jennifer Bollinger, and sons-in-law Marc Corazao and Bob Bollinger, and a grandson, Ian Corazao, born in 2011.

 

 

David Rowland

David Rowland
Connection Worship Service Leader

email David Rowland

David Rowland serves as leader of our Connection Worship Service. David has a music education degree from UNT where he studied voice with Juanita Peters. David has served as a elementary music teacher at McNair Elementary here in Denton for ten years. There he directs the McNair Commander Choir, a group he founded and which has been featured on the ‘Good Morning Texas Show.’

He is currently the fine arts council representative for elementary music teachers for Denton ISD. He has been active in Denton’s Community Theater groups as a performer, music director and orchestra musician, and he has appeared on PBS as a soloist with TCC. He has lead praise and worship in several congregations in the area.

 

 

Martha Ware

Chris Morphew
Young Adult Ministry Lead
Phone: 940.597.3511
email Chris Morphew

Christopher Morphew is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics and a minor in Italian. He is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Linguistics, with some of his coursework targeted towards a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate. He currently works on the University campus in the Intensive English Language Institute as a supplemental lab instructor.

Chris started playing guitar during his freshman year of college and has pursued this passion without end. He began singing at the Denton Wesley Foundation on UNT’s campus during the spring of 2010. He continued to play guitar and sing, which eventually led him to become the Band Director in the fall of 2012. As Band Director, he led the Wesley foundation in their Tuesday evening services and other various events such as retreats and mission trips. He also led the band across the state leading worship for ROTC Mission camps.

One of his greatest joys is to travel and experience different things the world has to offer. He loves to try different foods especially different sushi rolls. In his spare time he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and cuddles his half yorkie, half schnauzer Bella. Chris also enjoys learning as many languages as possible, but mostly focuses on Italian because he believes it is the best language around.

Chris is very excited to begin the new adventure at FUMC Denton, and to help this thriving community continue to grow and prosper in spiritual faith.