Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

Our Pastors

Rev. Michael W. Fender, Directing Pastor

Rev. Michael W. Fender, Directing Pastor
pastormike@decaturfirstumc.org

Graduating in 1986 from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia with a Master of Divinity, Pastor Mike has served the United Methodist Church in many roles. He has been an Elder with the Illinois Great Rivers Conference since 1987 and continues his ministry today as the Directing Pastor here at First United Methodist Church. Pastor Mike and his wife, Beth Gallegly Fender have three mostly grown children who are 23, 19 and 17.

Rev. Miley Palmer, Pastor of Visitation

Rev. Miley Palmer, Pastor of Visitation
pastormiley@decaturfirstumc.org

Pastor Miley has been married to his wife, Janet for 58 years (so far), and together they have four children. He was first appointed to the ministry in 1955 and since has served some appointments in Central and Southern Illinois, retiring from full-time ministry at Decatur Grace in 1998. Following retirement, he has served as a full-time hospital chaplain, on the staff of two Presbyterian churches, several interim pastorates, and as a Development Associate for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He has served as Minister of Visitation at Decatur First since 2008. Volunteer service includes being on the Board of Trustees of McKendree University the Conference Board of Church and Society, and several community activities. He has been a member of the Decatur Commission on Human Relations and has served as its chairperson.

Rev. Beth Fender, Deacon

Rev. Beth Fender, Deacon
bfender@igrc.org

Pastor Beth has been ordained as a United Methodist deacon since 2011 and serves full-time as the Coordinator of Discipleship and New Streams for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church. Here at First UMC, her focus is on discipleship. Beth grew up in Carbondale, Illinois, and her interests include public education, prison ministry, spiritual formation, and helping people discover and live into God’s call. She shares three mostly grown children with Pastor Mike.

Ministry Program Directors

Jennifer Horton-Motter, Director Children & Family Ministries

Jennifer Horton-Motter, Director of Children and Family Ministries
jennifer@decaturfirstumc.org

Jennifer Horton-Motter grew up in Decatur attending the First United Methodist Church with her parents, Bill & Lana Horton. She married Chris Motter in 2002 after having received a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Illinois State University. She began her career teaching Kindergarten in Racine, Wisconsin. Jennifer and Chris have three children who are ages 13, 10 and 2. Outside of work she volunteers at her children’s schools and their Cub Scout Pack and loves stamping, paper-crafting, reading and feeding her Pinterest addiction.

Kyle Shaughnessy, Director of Youth and Young Adults Ministries

Kyle Shaughnessy, Director of Youth and Young Adults Ministries
kyle@decaturfirstumc.org

2013 was an eventful year for Kyle – he graduated from Olivet Nazarene University out of Bourbonnais, Illinois with a degree in Christian Education, and he and Nicole started their life together as husband and wife. Before coming to First United Methodist Church in 2014, Kyle worked as a Youth leader for a church in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Kyle and Nicole just welcomed their first child into their lives in October. Welcome, Averie!

Music

Mary Beth Sederburg

We are pleased to welcome Mary Beth Sederburg as our new Music Director!

 

Dr. Bruce Gibbons, Organist

Dr. Bruce Gibbons, Organist
bgibbons45@hotmail.com

Dr. Bruce Gibbons has been organist at First United Methodist in Decatur since 1996. Before joining us, he was an organist for the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Decatur. He holds degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance from Colorado State University, and a Doctorate in Piano Performance from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. Dr. Gibbons taught Junior High Vocal Music in Fort Collins, CO for eight years and was organist at First United Methodist Church in Fort Collins for 15 years. While in Colorado, he played for the closing service of the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1968, uniting the Methodist Church with the EUB. For 32 years, Dr. Gibbons taught piano and organ, assisted with both opera and musical productions and classes, and accompanied numerous faculty and student recitals at Millikin University. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the bassoon with the Decatur Municipal Band.

First UMC Staff Group Photo
Front Row (Left to Right): Krista Smith (Receptionist), Nysa Leggions (Financial Secretary), Joanne Forrest (Building Coordinator), Pastor Miley Palmer (Older Adult Ministries), and Pastor Mike Fender (Senior Pastor)
Back Row (Left to Right): Kyle Shaughnessy (Youth & Young Adults Ministries), Jennifer Horton-Motter (Children & Family Ministries), Barbi Gardiner (Administrative Secretary), Susie and Jim Pope (Custodians)

Office Staff

Barbi Gardiner, Administrative Secretary/Graphic Design
office@decaturfirstumc.org

Krista Smith, Receptionist
receptionist@decaturfirstumc.org

Nysa Leggions, Financial Secretary
financeoffice@decaturfirstumc.org

Building and Grounds

Joanne Forrest, Building & Grounds Coordinator

Jim & Susie Pope, Janitorial Staff

Congregational Support

Judy McCleery, Parish Nurse

On-Site Assistance Program and Ministry

Rev. Shane Hartman, Director of MAX and Warm Neighbors, Cool Friends
shartman@doveinc.org