Barbara Garber

Children's Ministries Coordinator

As Coordinator of Children's Ministry, Barb wears many hats. After running her own Pre-Kindergarten program for more than twenty-five years and volunteering at church, the then directing pastor of First Church asked Barb to join our staff. Nineteen years later she is still excited about working with what she calls the most precious children anywhere! As Barb wrote, "What a better way to serve our Lord than through His children."

309-673-3641 ext 134


Isai Garcia

Director of Communications

Having been baptized by fire as the child of a Methodist Minister, Isai grew up a faithful volunteer at his Father's Church in Cobden, IL. He honed his skills from years of serving on Church media teams, Art directing Children’s Camps, and graphic design freelancing. Isai received his B.A. in Cinema/Television from Regent University. Through his education at Regent, he worked as the graphic designer for christian film, “In-Lawfully Yours.” He joined the staff in 2017. As Director of Communications, Isai pursues the ever-expanding opportunity to create conversations among the people of the church, the community that we call home, and the world that surrounds us.



309-673-3641 ext 113


Douglas Grogan

Director of Music Ministries

Doug joined the staff of First Church in August 2010. A native of Rome, Georgia, he earned a Master of Music from Mississippi College and two bachelor degrees, Music and Biology, from Mercer University. His primary responsibility at the church is the oversight of the traditional music ministry and the ensembles and staff affiliated with that team. In addition, Doug is an adjunct faculty member at Illinois Central College (ICC) where he directs the chamber choir. Doug enjoys traveling, spending time with his family, and returning to his roots for a good “Camp meeting” once a year.

309-673-3641 ext 117


Mary Harvey

Church Treasurer

Mary joined our staff in September, 2011. She was invited to participate in our Mommy Moments Ministry in September, 2006, and began to worship here in 2008 and became a member in March, 2009.

Mary has an Associate's Degree in Business Management from Pennsylvania College of Technology and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management/Marketing from Bloomsburg University. Her primary responsibilities as Church Treasurer is to administer all the outgoing money from FUMC, paying invoices, disbursing grants from the GIC, and payroll. She serves in a lay capacity as a GriefShare facilitator and teaches Kindergarten/1st Grade Sunday School. Mary loves being active in the Children's Ministry and with K.I.X. Klub, seeing all of the FUMC kids grow in their faith alongside her own wonderful children! She is a member of a wonderful small group, comes to FaithFlow Yoga, and is excited to be a part of our new Women's Ministry, SoulSisters@First.

309-673-3641 ext 116


Sue Heytman

Executive Assistant to Directing Pastor

As Executive Assistant to the Directing Pastor, Sue assists the pastor and the other leaders in reaching the goals they set to promote the mission and vision of the church.

Sue’s responsibilities include preparing bulletins, PowerPoints for Worship, reports for Charge Conference, congregational letters, annual report to the conference, keeping records of Weekly Attendance for worship, Sunday School, Bible Studies, etc. She provides support for Church Council, Staff Parish Relations Committee, Caring Hearts, and Shepherding. She coordinates Weddings, schedules baptisms and assists with and schedules funerals.

In addition to working for the church, Sue and her husband, Don, have been members of Peoria First for about 35 years and have served in different ways over the years. Presently, Don teaches adult Sunday School Classes.

Sue has been in her current position since 2001; however, she also held the position previously during the time that Dr. Ira Gallaway was directing pastor.

309-673-3641 ext 114


Sue Koeppel

Child Care Coordinator

Sue has been attending First Church since third grade. As is still our tradition, she received her first Bible that year; one that she sometimes uses when teaching third grade now! Scriptures learned in Sunday School remain guides for her life today.

Passing on faith in Christ in her position as Child Care Coordinator is her passion. You will often see Sue at church in the company of her children and their families. Her husband, Roland, is also active as an usher, assisting with the Fine Arts Exhibit and helping Sue in Children's Ministry.

To quote Sue, "God and church is very much a part of my life - has been, is, and will always be!"

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, O Lord my God, thou art very great!" Psalms 104.1

309-673-3641 ext 142


Christina Koeppel

Director of Student Ministries

Christina was born and raised attending First Church, but recently joined the staff as the Director of Youth Ministry in December of 2016. Before coming on staff, Christina served in various ministries throughout the church, including Children’s Church, KIX Klub, Young Adults, Church Council, mission projects, bell choir, and SPRC. As the Director of Youth Ministry, Christina serves youth in 6th-12th grade (Magnitude & Aftershock). Christina has always had a passion for youth and young people. She received her BA in Secondary Education and Mathematics from Augustana College in 2006. In 2014, she received her Masters in Children and Family Ministry from Bethel Seminary. Christina enjoys movies, music, games, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. She is thankful for this opportunity to serve the youth and families at First Church.

309-673-3641 ext 128


Carol McPherson

Director of Discipleship and Fine Arts Ministries

Carol joined the staff of First Church in July, 2013. She received a Masters of Arts and Religion from University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. In May 2013 she earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Liturgical Studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary where she teaches United Methodist Worship and Sacraments in the summer Course of Study program.

As Director of Fine Arts Ministry Outreach Carol seeks to provide avenues for First Church to utilize the fine arts, in all its forms, to glorify God and share the love of Christ through the power of the Spirit. Her primary responsibilities include developing and administering art outreach programs such as After-school Arts, Lincoln Children’s Choir, and Blacklight Art. She provides oversight for the Fine Arts Committee and works with them on the annual Fine Arts Exhibit. She is also responsible for developing and strengthening ties with the artistic and academic community in Peoria and the surrounding area.

309-673-3641 ext 130


Pam Mormann

Church Treasurer, Data Base Administrator, Administrative Assistant

Pam began attending First Church in 1999 and served in various lay capacities before joining the staff. Sharing the stories of transformed people through Jesus Christ is one of her passions.

Having her two grandsons in the area along with her daughters and son-in-law is a joy.



John Orfe


John Orfe has fulfilled commissions for Duo Montagnard, Dez Cordas, Alarm Will Sound, the NOVUS Trombone Quartet, the Two Rivers Chorale and the Northwestern College Choir, Ludovico, the Music Institute of Chicago, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, the Diocese of Peoria, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Lila Muni Gamelan Ensemble. He is a winner of a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, a Tanglewood Fellowship, the William Schuman and Boudleaux Bryant Prizes from BMI, and eleven Standard Awards and the Morton Gould Award from ASCAP. His works for solo, chamber, choral and orchestral ensembles have been performed in Russia, Denmark, Canada, Germany, the Baltics, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Thailand, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and throughout the US, earning praise from The New York Times, LAWeekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Die Welt, and Hamburger Abendblatt. He is an alum of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute and Reading Sessions and the winner of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Yale School of Music awarded him the Doctorate of Musical Arts in 2009. In 2011-12 he won national competitions held by the Pacific Chorale, the Choral Arts Ensemble and the Eastern Trombone Workshop. As piano soloist and collaborative artist he has earned critical acclaim for his interpretations of five centuries of keyboard repertoire ranging from the canonic to the arcane. As the core pianist and founding member of critically-acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, he has performed in Carnegie Hall, Miller Theatre, Roulette, the World Financial Center, and Symphony Space in New York; Disney Hall, Mondavi Hall, and Hertz Hall in California; and venues across the US and Europe including Harvard University, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Seoul, Lima, Amsterdam, Berlin, Cork, and Krakow. Orfe is Assistant Professor of Music at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, where he also serves as Organist at First United Methodist Church.



Jennie Ozment

Administrative Assistant, Receptionist

Tim and I have three children - Matt, Chris, and Sarah. Matt is married to Ashley and they have blessed us with two grandchildren, Emma and Caden. At the appointment of the Bishop, Tim, our daughter Sarah, and myself moved to Peoria and started attending First Church in July of this year. We moved from Marion, IL where we served for the last ten years, but are excited to be here serving alongside all of you. While in Marion, I worked at a medical/psychiatric office where I supervised the front office staff at four different locations. I am thankful that my previous job experience will help me to serve this Church as Administrative Assistant.

(309) 673-3641


Dan Philips

Director of Community Ministries & Missions

Dan is the Director of Community Ministries and Missions at First Church. His areas of responsibility include Loaves & Fish, Buddy Ministry, Backpack Buddies, Soccer Ministry, Neutral Ground, Housing Ministry and our Missions Team. He is married to Kim and they have two grown daughters, Ele and Maddie.

309-673-3641 ext 120


Cindy Schairer-Kessler

Director of Children and Family Ministries

Cindy is a lifelong Methodist originally from El Paso, Illinois. After earning her BS at the U of I, she taught high school English in Delaware and Georgia. She got her M.Ed. from the University of Georgia and was the assistant coach of the 4-time State Champions girls swim team. She met Paul while visiting her parents one summer, and moved back to Central Illinois to marry him. She worked on her Ed.D. at ISU, finally graduating in 2013. She was introduced to Peoria FUMC through Mommy Moments and joined the church 6 months later. She has been on the leadership team of Mommy Moments for most of her tenure, sings in the sanctuary choir, and is an involved parent with the wonderful children’s ministry. She served as Director of Outreach and Congregational Care from October 2014 through June 2014.

309-673-3641 ext 138


Jason Schick

Audio Visual

Jason has been part of our staff since August, 2013. He has been involved with audio and video production/reinforcement and installation since 1992. He grew up locally, in Morton. Jason works full time outside of the First Church, and part time here at the church. He oversees scheduling and training of the AV volunteers, in all of our spaces that use audio and or video. He’s seen most Sundays behind an audio mixer, or computer running video.



Janice Setterlund

Administrative Assistant, Receptionist

Janice was born and raised attending First Church and has been a church member for fifty years. Over the years, she has served in various lay capacities and ministries before joining the staff. Janice and her husband, Art, were married at First Church in 1977 and have two grown daughters, Lauren and Jessica, and four granddaughters. After working for Caterpillar for thirty-five years in Information Service, she is excited to serve on staff at the church that has been the cornerstone of her faith.

(309) 673-3641


Kitty Vaughn

Church Hostess

As Church Hostess, Kitty oversees the food aspect of events held at our church. This includes church dinners, weddings, funerals and celebrations. Kitty is married to Rob and they have two sons.

309-673-3641 ext 112


Larry Whitler

Director of Administration & Facilities

As Director of Administration and Facilities at First United Methodist Church Peoria, Larry is responsible for the business and the buildings of the church. He oversees the functional areas of Finance, Communications, Information Technology and Human Resources as well as facilities maintenance and campus safety. Larry also serves on the construction team managing the Transforming Lives construction project. He meets regularly with the Committee on Finance, Trustees and FUMC Foundation. During his time on staff, he feels blessed to have witnessed and worked with many of the faithful people who serve at First Church.

Larry's education includes degrees in biology and business and his career has included having worked as a CPA for a large international accounting firm, Vice President of a NYSE listed steel company and an entrepreneurial technology service company and president of a company which owned and operated retail coffee franchises.

Being on the church staff has not exempted Larry from serving in ministry. He has been a part of the Morton Square Park Soccer Ministry since it was formed nearly 15 years ago and currently heads a dedicated 9 member leadership team who serve year round to make this ministry happen each summer. "Serving in this ministry has been truly transformational, shaping my understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and help others grow as disciples." says Larry.

Larry and Janice have been married over 43 years and have been members at First Church since 1981. Janice also serves in the Soccer Ministry, in Stephen Ministry, Lincoln School tutor and Loaves and Fish Clothing. Their three adult children literally live around the world.

Gardening, St Louis Cardinal baseball, Indiana University basketball, reading and listening to classical music keep Larry busy in his spare time.

309-673-3641 ext 111