Meet Pastor Jenny Lind Larsen
With 20 plus years in ministry, Pastor Jenny brings enthusiasm, empathy, and energy to FIRST UNITED Methodist Church. With a Masters in Youth and Family Ministry from Luther Seminary as well as a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary, outreach and racial/gender equity through the arts are her passions. With an undergrad degree in music, Pastor Jenny also hopes to continue growing the already strong music program at FIRST UNITED and to incorporate more events with Sunny Hill Preschool.
Pastor Jenny is mother to Serenae Conyers (spouse - CJ) and Grayson Levine (spouse - Mary) as well as Nana’ to Camila Conyers who is 3 1/2. Jenny loves playing cello in the Eastside Metro Symphony as well as watching sports, enjoying the outdoors, and travelling. She looks forward to living near her kids in Texas upon retirement.
Meet Leesa Leevy
Leesa Levy joined our congregation in 2022. She is FIRST UNITED's Music Director. She chooses, teaches and directs the music for our traditional ensemble, the Chancel Choir, and our praise band, Open Circle. She also assists our pastor in any music needed for our worship services. Leesa is also serving as the chairperson of our Worship Committee.
Leesa holds a BS in music education, MM in vocal performance and pedagogy and a
DMA in vocal performance and literature. She served as Director of Choirs (2019-2022) and Voice Instructor (2013-2022) at Wilkes University, PA and Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Voice at Valley City State University in North Dakota (1999-2012). From 1989 through 1999, Levy resided in Germany where she taught music for the Department of Defense School System, voice at the Franz Groethe Schule, Weiden, and directed several German/American church and community choirs. Prior to her work in Germany, Levy taught secondary music for the Allegany School System, NY. Levy has performed as a soprano soloist in numerous recital and concert venues in Germany and the US.
Leesa enjoys gardening, reading up on science news (especially astronomical), reading science fiction, watching good British detective stories on TV, and spending time with friends and family.
Meet Ruthann Ritchie
Ruthann joined the FIRST UNITED family as the Accompanist/Organist in January of 2024. She is a talented and delightful lifelong musician, and a joy to be around.
She has three children and five grandchildren that she adores. She enjoys any adventure in the water, especially swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
Ruthann holds degrees in music from University of Evansville in Indiana, the University of Colorado in Boulder, and Augsburg College in Minneapolis. She is an accomplished director, organist, and pianist. She particularly enjoys playing the harp as well as applying her training and experience as a music therapist
Meet Kathy Hartman
Our congregation has been blessed to have Kathy Hartman as a member since 1983. She currently serves as Hand Bell Director following retirement as Organist and Accompanist at the end of 2023. She leads the bell choir in preparing music for church services. Her degree in music Education has been put to good use.
She and her husband Greg, also a music major, make quite a dynamic duo.
After growing up in Minot ND she moved to Minnesota in 1969. She taught in public schools for three years and has been a full time private piano teacher for many years.
She and Greg love to play pickle ball, and Kathy enjoys reading, knitting and puzzles.
Meet Denice Kroening
We are excited to welcome and introduce our new office administrator, Denice Kroening. She will greet you and assist you as you enter First United during office hours.
Her kindness and willingness to learn shone throughout her interview and we were impressed with her accounting background and experience organizing and updating information.
She is a long time member of The Grove Methodist Church in Woodbury, so she has a solid understanding of the philosophy of the Methodist Church.
More information about her will be upcoming as she settles into her new duties.
Meet Bruce Clark
Bruce Clark was one of the people who answered the call to assist with the contemporary worship service more than 30 years ago. He has been involved and assisted in the various upgrades of the audio-visual system. Bruce is now the Tech Team Leader and enjoys training people in on the use of the soundboard, cameras, and the computer used to project the order of worship. Most people will look at our AV system and say it is too complicated for me to learn how to run it. Bruce’s comment is: "If you know how to use a computer, you can operate the computer and projector; once you learn how to control one camera or one soundboard channel, you can operate all three cameras and all the audio channels on the sound board." The Tech Team encourages everyone, who has an interest in knowing how the various systems work, to stop by after worship service and talk to us.
Meet Pasty Bellman
Patsy was born and raised in Stillwater. She has spent much of her life working with young people in a Christian setting including camping, leading mission trips and as Youth Director in this church for a number of years. She now is in charge of our Children’s Ministry, which we call Faith Formation.
Teaching and working with children has been, and still is, her passion; her degree in Elementary Education was put to use as a teacher and substitute teacher.
Camping and traveling are her favorite past-times along with reading, gardening and board games.
Meet Ben Jackson
Ben is Chair of the Administrative Council. He and his wife Diane moved to Stillwater in 2004 and joined FIRST UNITED in 2005. He retired from work as a mechanical engineer in the power generation industry in 2017. He and Diane have one daughter and two grandchildren. In addition to leading the Administrative Council Ben manages the FIRST UNITED Scrip Program and is President of the United Methodist Men.