Church Staff List
Rev. Nancy Lynn
Contact Nancy Lynn
Nancy grew up in a family with deep United Methodist roots, but like a lot of people, she drifted away from church as a young adult. When she felt God nudging her to come back, she spent a lot of time visiting and learning about other denominations. That is when Nancy chose United Methodism because she loves the emphasis on growing in faith and serving others. Before following her call to ordained ministry, she taught high school English, English as a Second Language in Switzerland, and Composition at a local community college. Nancy also stayed home with her child until they started school. She first came to FUMC as the associate pastor in 2010 and was appointed lead pastor in 2018. Nancy loves this congregation and feels grateful every day to serve a church that is so vital, healthy, and joy-filled! More than anything, she believes the church should be a place of hope – hope for today and hope for the future – for all of God’s people. Nancy’s passions in ministry include preaching, teaching, community-building, and social justice. She has one college-aged child, Emmett, three cats and a dog named Turtle.
Rev. Shonagh Taruza
Deacon of Social Justice and Community Relations; Assistant Pastor
Contact Shonagh Taruza
Shonagh joined FUMC staff in July 2020. Prior to that she worked as a hospital chaplain. Shonagh is passionate about social justice, and in particular racial justice, diversity, and equality. In her spare time Shonagh loves to paint and also read (and often has three books on the go: one audiobook, one for light reading, and one non-fiction or educational book). She also really enjoys gardening and has way too many houseplants. When the weather forces her indoors, she loves to crochet or knit while listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
Rev. Tim Kobler
Chaplain of Wesley Foundation Campus Ministries
Contact Tim Kobler
Tim has been serving as the Chaplain of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Michigan for two years. He felt God’s call early on in his undergraduate studies, with a desire to serve in higher education and campus ministry. He has served in collegiate ministry for 18 years, including as the Director and Chaplain of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 2008-2018 and the Chaplain at Emory & Henry College from 2002-2008. Tim received a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 1991 and graduated in 1988 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a degree in Music Education with a vocal emphasis. He is a native of Marion, Illinois. His many hobbies include an avid love of music, weightlifting, hiking, cooking, and travel. Tim has also been a beekeeper for more than 20 years.
Director of Adult Faith Formation and Adult Small Group Ministry
Contact Debbie Houghton
Debbie has been the Director of Adult Faith Formation since January 2012, and is a self-confessed Disciple Bible Study junkie! She loves to search out and lead different curriculums for adult education classes that enrich each participant’s faith journey. She has also attended the Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation from 2018-2020, and is working on her United Methodist certificate in Christian Education – both of these experiences have contributed to her desire to help others with their own spiritual formation. Reading, traveling, and spending time with her family are favorite activities in her free time. Debbie has been married to Bill for over 30 years, has two amazing sons and a daughter-in-law, and has been a member of FUMC for over 30 years.
Minister of Congregational Care
Contact Amy Kennedy
Amy joined FUMC staff in May 2015. Prior to joining staff here, she worked as a hospice nurse. Amy brings a passion for listening and accompanying folks through hard times and for finding the ways God meets us outside of church. She moved to Michigan in 2002 with her husband, Bob, who is a chemistry professor at UM. They have two sons, Adam and Spencer, who are making homes for themselves in Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia. Amy loves tennis, biking and walks in the woods. She also loves a good book and conversations over coffee.
Co-Director of Youth Ministries
Contact Wendy Everett
Wendy has been a member of FUMC since 1993 and an employee since 2000. A lifelong Michigan resident and graduate of Michigan Technological University, she employs her skills to design and publish communications of all shapes and sizes and mediums. As the owner/graphic designer/chief cook and bottle washer for Publitech, a business she launched in 1993, she specializes in newsletter design and production. When she isn’t catering to her feline friends, Shadow and Sweet Pea, she might be found rubber stamping greeting cards, reading at the library, playing games with her niece and nephew, or off on a mission trip to Zeba, Kenya, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, or Colombia.
Co-Director of Children’s Ministries
Contact Robin Bursch
Robin lives in Ann Arbor with her husband Eric and four children, Bailey, Liam, Lila and Grayson. She grew up in Lake Orion, Michigan, and attended the First United Methodist Church there during her childhood. Robin moved to Ann Arbor for her undergraduate degree and fell in love with the city. She has been a member at FUMC for over 10 years and has a passion for making every child feel welcomed and known in our church family. Robin enjoys hiking, running, reading and meditation in her free time.
Other Program Staff
Director of Communications
Contact Jessica Allison
Jessica has been the Director of Communications since 2020. In her role, she directs and coordinates messaging both within the church community and with the external community. Prior to her position at FUMC, she worked in nonprofit communications for 8 years. Jessica is a graduate of Michigan State University. She and her husband, Peter, have a daughter, Grace, and a Boston Terrier named Winnie.
Director of Worship Development
Contact Carole DeHart
Carole has been the Director of Worship Development since 2020. Prior to that she chaired a revived and adapted Worship Planning and Design Team. Carole has been a member at FUMC Ann Arbor since 1978 and has held various roles within the church since then, including Director of Children’s Music Ministries. Carole was approved by the Heritage district and Michigan Area Conference of the UMC as a Certified Lay Speaker in early 2021.
Church ministry remains her passion but her focus and direction is continually evolving. Carole is married to Peter; a lifelong member of Ann Arbor FUMC. They have two adult daughters; Jennifer & Stefanie, and share their home with a delightful retriever companion, Luna. Away from FUMC Carole enjoys family, time with friends, board games, camping, time at the little cabin up north, travel, and is the accompanist for Plymouth-Canton Educational Park choir program.
Interim Director of Chancel Choir
Contact Bryan Ijames
Bryan Ijames, a native of NC, taught secondary choral music education for six years in Florida. Five years of which at Park Vista Community High School as the Director of Choral Activities. This fall, Ijames begins his second year of doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. In June 2020, he completed a Master of Music Education degree at Mississippi State University after completing a Master of Music degree: Choral Conducting at Eastern Kentucky University in 2014. Ijames holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree: Music from High Point University, 2012. In High Point, he was the Artistic Director of the Genesis Gospel Choir. Outside of teaching, Ijames was the Associate Conductor of The Ebony Chorale of the Palm Beaches and was a singing member of Expressivo, a semi-professional choral ensemble. He has performed as a tenor soloist many times with collegiate and community orchestras and has held church positions as either conductor or singer since 2009. Ijames is an active member of ACDA, NANM, NAfME.
Naki Sung Kripfgans
Minister of Music: Organist and Director of Music and Media
Contact Naki Sung Kripfgans
Hailed by Diapason magazine for her virtuosity and musicality, international concert organist/collaborative pianist, competition winner, competition judge and recording artist, Dr. Naki Sung Kripfgans has concertized regionally and internationally, including Japan, Germany, Russia, and South Korea. Naki received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Liturgical, Church, and Synagogue Music and a master’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Northern Iowa. During her studies, Naki received numerous scholarships and awards in piano and organ performance. She won the 2015 UM Life Science Orchestra Concerto Competition to perform Poulenc’s Organ Concerto at Hill Auditorium in 2016. As a virtuoso improviser, she also won 2012 the Robert Glasgow Award for Organ Improvisation Competition at the University of Michigan, and served as one of the judges for the 2019 competition. Naki is the resident organist at First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor since 2002, and a staff collaborative pianist at the University of Michigan since 2012. She has been teaching chamber music classes at the University of Michigan Residential College since 2018.
Minister of Connection and Engagement
Contact Beth Pascoe
Beth’s role at FUMC is to help connect people with each other, opportunities, resources, and information within the church community. She supports staff members and volunteers in initiatives that help people engage in the life of our church. In addition to being an avid ice hockey player, Beth loves spending time outdoors, especially going on morning walks with her dog and husband, Todd, hanging out with her daughter, Katie, biking instead of driving (as much as possible!), hiking alongside rivers, paddling her inflatable kayak, snowshoeing and watching sunsets on Lake Michigan.
Green Wood Music Director
Contact David Vaughn
David serves as our Green Wood music director. He is also music director at Pineview Church in Ypsilanti and sings with the Michigan Opera Theater Chorus. David has appeared in numerous opera productions, oratorios, concerts and recitals and his repertoire spans opera, Broadway, spirituals and gospel. He is an accomplished pianist who also coaches and accompanies singers.
Contact Tina Alee
Tina has been working at FUMC since 2001. Some of her job duties are maintaining the church’s database, attendance, coordinating mailings and communicating information to other staff and committee leaders. Some days you never know what Tina will be doing. She is a lifelong Michiganian and a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. Her hobbies are music and reading. Tina also enjoys spending time with her son, Steven.
Contact Henry Brown
Henry has been with the staff since 2002. Henry is an ex military member, married, with five children and three granddaughters. In his free time, he is a stand-up comedian.
Contact Jenn Green
Before Joining FUMC in 2014, Jenn spent seven years as a chiropractic assistant, five years in full-time ministry on the UofM campus with Great Commission Ministries and six years doing home care. Jenn lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and three teenagers. In her free time, she enjoys riding her motorcycle and catching up with friends.
Contact Marty Javornisky
Marty Javornisky has been with FUMC since February of 2011. He has worked full-time in accounting for over 25 years. His last position was as the controller for a manufacturing company near Dexter. Marty has served as the accountant for different churches on a part-time basis over the last fourteen years. He is originally from the Washington, DC, area and has been living in Ann Arbor since he came to the University of Michigan in 1971. Marty is married with two grown children one of whom lives here in town and the other lives in Riverview.
Administrative Assistant, Online Worship and Video Artist
Contact Adele Roy
Adele has been with the staff since early 2002. Her background is in graphic design and publishing technology. She’s a transplant to the midwest from many different locations on the east coast — she usually just says she’s from I-95. Her husband, Rob, is an actor, and is a teacher and Theater Director at Pinckney High School. Adele and Rob have a son, Griffin, and a daughter, Lucie, and a Cairn Terrier named Mickie. Adele fills her free time with photography, knitting, reading, cooking, painting, and community theater pursuits with her husband.