Reno First United Methodist Church Staff

Pastor, Kristen Marshall 

Director Youth and Children's Ministries, Kayt Kruk

Director of Children's Ministries, Missy Jaynes

Teacher, Craig Frezette

Teacher, Kayleen Davis

Infant Teacher, Jennifer Chelossi

Office Administrator, Nicholas Martin-Kearny

Director of Music/Organist, Aren Long

Chancel Choir, Director, Andy Sonnemaker 

Handbell Choir Directors Linda and Ben Brown

Pastor Emeritus, John Emerson 

Pastor Emeritus, Jacqueline Meadows 

Teacher, Patti Bengston

Volunteer, Children's Program, Cece Jaynes

Wedding Coordinator, Kayt Kruk

Custodians, Jim Gerbel and Jose Franco

 

 Kristen Marshall
Pastor

pastor krisThe Rev. Kristen Marshall joined the First UMC staff in 2013. Prior to her Reno residence, Kris served in California at First UMC in Santa Rosa, the United Japanese Christian Church (UMC-UCC) in Clovis, and Burlingame UMC while in seminary.

Pastor Kris grew up in the California San Joaquin Valley (Ceres and Merced). She graduated cum laude from the School of International Studies at University of the Pacific, completing degrees in International Relations and Hispanic Language and Literature, with minors in Business Administration and Religious Studies. Her seminary education was at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, with a concentration in Biblical Studies, Theology, and Preaching.

Pastor Kris has also been active in ministry throughout the Conference, including leadership development, camping and retreat ministries, youth and young adult ministry, cross-cultural ministry, and local, national and international mission and service.

You can find her on Facebook or Twitter (@revkris). She is also one of the facilitators for the #dreamUMC movement, which is an open conversation convened through social media for all those who have vision for the future of the United Methodist Church.

squirrel pastorHer roommate is a boxer named Squirrel, who you can find snoring under her desk or trying to sneak a Milkbone most days at the office. When Kris isn’t doing the work of the Lord or corralling her precocious pup, you’ll probably find her reading, enjoying a good movie, playing guitar, listening to music that can only be described as “eclectic,” or experimenting with the death-defying adventure known as cooking.

You can contact her through the church office: (775) 322-4564.

  Kayt Kruk
Director, Youth Ministries

tn_kaytHaving recently moved here from NW Indiana, Kayt is quickly making Reno and First Church her home. For the past several years she has been a stay-at-home mom to her two amazing kids Maggie (6) and Tony (3). When not staying at home with the children she spent her time preparing taxes for H&R Block. Most recently Kayt started on her path to a degree in psychology through University of Phoenix and plans to transfer to University of Nevada when the time permits.

Kayt has always enjoyed working closely with youth. Whether it was with past churches, teaching swim lessons and lifeguarding, or judging for her local speech and debate team she has always found a kinship with this teens. She looks forward to getting to know all of the youth here at First United Methodist, on a one-on-one basis.

In her spare time Kayt loves to spend time with her family, read, and knit. Always looking for something new and exciting to do, she even has thought of taking up a few new hobbies since moving here, like kayaking.

 Missy Jaynes
Director of Children's
jaynesMinistries

Missy Jaynes moved around a lot when when she was a kid, and her parents eventually planted themselves here when she was 11 years old. Missy graduated from McQueen high school, is married and has a wonderful family! She loves Reno! Even though Reno is a big city it still feels like a community, especially by Wingfield Park. She loves the river going through the city, as well as the different seasons here, but herfavorite is autumn! One of the things she loves to do is karaoke! Missy is a kind of  undercover rock star.... She loves to get up on stage and sing. Missy is as nervous as heck to get up in front of people, but for some reason she can get on a stage and sing her heart out. Missy has a love-hate relationship with hiking: She loves the beauty of being outdoors, and the cool air, but the sweating and aching muscles are not her favorite part. She takes a lot of pride in her home, family and children. She loves working with children, they have a spark and a spirit in them. Children are so honest, and they say what they mean. She appreciates that. I started working with children when I was 14, first as a babysitter than I got a job as a daycare provider. I than worked 10 years in transportation as a bus driver for ages K-12. Missy is fairly new to the church but LOVES what this church stands for. The sign outside said the door was open for everyone, and her family found out when they got here that it's true: this church practices what it preaches. They wanted to be a part of it! Missy wants people who may not feel comfortable in church to know that they have someone they can talk to and someplace they belong. My door is always open, and she truly believes in what our church says: Everyone is welcome! Missy thinks that our actions really do speak louder than our words, and we need to live out what we believe!

 Craig Frezzette
Teacher

craigCraig is a Reno native and has been attending First Church with my son Cole since 2000. He began teaching Su nday school as a part time volunteer because the children's director was having trouble getting volunteers to help out and he loves children. Craig was his son's Sunday school teacher every year until he entered the youth group. Seeing that the church was still having a hard time getting people to volunteer for Sunday school teachers he decided to continue his journey learning about the scriptures right along with the children. His wife Gail works for Moana Nursery and Craig operates a USDA Certified Organic Market Garden. The name of the business is City Green Gardens where he sellsorganic vegetables directly to the public via a subscription program, and to several local restaurants. He has a passion for healthy local organic food and for the care and nurturing of Mother Earth.

Kayleen Davis
Teacher

Kayleen has three children and when they were little she volunteered for everything from PTA to Girl Scout leader to soccer & cheer coach. She has had a variety of jobs throughout her life, the favorite being a paraprofessional at an elementary school for special needs children. Kayleen was there for six years and worked with kids that had a variety of disabilities. She loved bonding with them and teaching them basic social skills along with academics and feels very fortunate to be back in a classroom.
Kayleen's "real" job is as a customer service representative in a call center for a medical and dental supply company. She enjoys solving problems for our customers and trying to win over those who are upset at the beginning of a call. She loves to spend my free time with her family. They enjoy theme parks, camping and traveling. Kayleen loves to karaoke and dance while her teens and she love to shop! Kayleen's family started attending First United Methodist Church last year. They had decided to start searching for a place we felt welcome and accepted for who we are. This was their first stop - they never left.

 Jennifer Chelossi

Hi, my name is Jennifer!!!! I am married and have two children myself, a son and a daughter. I have resided in Nevada for 6 years and I love it here. I am originally from California, growing up hiking in the redwoods, and building sand castles!!! I enjoy being outdoors, camping, hiking, going to the lake, having family outings, and working with children. My favorite park in Reno is Rancho San Rafael Park and Lake Tahoe!!! I enjoy working with all ages of children. My favorite age to work with are infants!!! I currently have an AA in Psychology and a Bachelor almost completed in Early Childhood Education!!!
In my personal spare time I enjoy scrap booking, photography, and sewing!!!

 Nicholas-Martin Kearny
Office Administrator 

tn nmk colorNicholas-Martin Kearney is a multi-faceted, "jack-of-all-trades – master of none". Over the years, he has worked for companies such as Jim Henson's Muppets, Children's Television Workshop, Walt Disney Entertainment, Nickelodeon Studios, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Les Ballets Trockadero des Monte Carlo and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has consulted on arts and culture programming for Indy Fringe Festival, Sierra Arts Foundation, Nevada Humane Society, Artown, and Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. He is the husband of Jeff Auer (son-in-law of retired Rev. John Auer); they were married at FUMC on August 24, 2013. Together, they care for 3 cats and a dog! Nicholas enjoys photography, his backyard organic garden, and is somewhat of a foodie. His newest endeavor is building the Nevada Gay History Archive with his husband, Jeff.

  Aren Long
Director of Musictn aren violin

Aren Long, a long time resident of Reno, Nevada, plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno to major in English/Music Education as well as Educational Administration. Aren has been involved in the Reno music community for years, playing the piano and organ for countless organizations and churches. He is also a violinist, playing in orchestras such as the Reno Pops Orchestra and the Tahoe Symphony. In his free time, Aren enjoys biking, listening to music, and reading.

 Andy Sonnemaker
Chancel Choir Director 

a_sonnemakerAndy and his son Wesley live in Carson City. Andy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Earlham College and a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to directing church choirs off and on since his college days, Andy has taught voice, directed musicals and conducted choral ensembles from elementary through university levels in Indiana, Oklahoma and Nevada. Andy is the choral music educator at Carson High School. He has worked with the Brewery Arts Center Summer Stock Company as music director for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a member of the cast of Smokey Joe's Cafe, and conductor and the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. He also enjoys singing as a Tenor soloist with area ensembles and has performed comprimari and chorus member in various productions for Nevada Opera Association.

 

 Linda and Ben Brown
Handbell Choir Directors

ben and linda brownLinda and her son Ben are a mother and son team. Linda, born in Kansas, is a strings teacher in the Washoe County School District, moving to Reno from South Carolina thirty years ago. She has been a member of first church for 25 years, and has raised two children in the church. Her major instrument is violin. She was a member of a local teachers' bell group for six years and occasionaly subs for Tintab. She plays violin in the Pops.

Ben is a grad student at UNR with a bachelors in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering. He has been raised in the church since he was born. He has been playing bells since 1994 years and is a member of the "Tintabulations" community handbell ensemble. Ben has also played Cello since 1996, and is a member of a the Reno Pops orchestra.

 
 John Emerson
Pastor Emeritus

john_emerson_4A native of San Jose, CA, John received his B.A. from Washington State Univ. and his MDiv. from Boston Univ. School of Theology. He served as pastor of this church from Jan. 1981 to July 1, 1984.

John shares invaluable skills from a lifetime of ministry. He is actively practicing the Methodist version of retirement, which he calls "refirement" – being available to the pastor to assist in pastoral duties as needed. He has been known to say, "The United Methodist Church may have retired me [July 1999], but God hasn't! I still have a fire in my bones for ministry and a continuing sense of call."

John has been in ministry since 1956 with special post-graduate training in marriage and family counseling. In addition he has had clinical training in geriatric mental illness and health at Boston State Hospital. He has studied spiritual formation and development especially as it applies to senior adults, who he likes to call "Keenagers" and "Prime-Timers." He has had experience in grief counseling and crisis-intervention. In the 1980s and 1990s, John was an active volunteer in Kairos Prison Ministry.

John has been a civil rights activist, having marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.; has been a legislative advocate; and made an unsuccessful run for the Nevada State Senate. He is the past-president of the Retired Clergy Assoc. of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, and former United Methodist representative on and treasurer of the Board of the Religious Alliance of Nevada ("RAIN"). Among his active interests are writing prose and poetry, composing music, and writing hymns. Nevada Humanities has contracted John to author the History of Methodism in Nevada for the Online Nevada Encyclopedia.

Rev. Emerson is currently is a part-time chaplain with Circle of Life Hospice, Reno.

John and Janice have been married since 1955 and have three married daughters, 9 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.

 

 Jacqueline Meadows
 
Pastor Emeritus

j meadows smallTravis Linn (Oct. 6, 1938-January 17, 2003) a strong, influential and sensitive leader at First Church once said, "I believe in God, the innate goodness of people and the joy of learning." Jacqueline (Jacquie) resonates with his words, for her call to Ministry, faith in the goodness others and educations are active strains in her life.

From Pacific School of Religion she earned at Masters of Arts in 1961; and a Masters of Divinity in 1974. She served churches in the California-Nevada Annual Conference, was Fresno District Superintendent (1990-94) and was pastor at First Church from 1994-1999. In the retired status she was on staff at Sparks UMC and served the Yerington UMC for 4 years. She has been teaching World Religions and Core Humanities classes at Truckee Meadows Community College since 2003. She loves to read murder mysterious, historical novels and biographies. She bikes, goes to movies, works out at the gym and reluctantly works in the yard.

Jacquie has four children and whether single or married they make a contribution to church and the lives of others personally and professionally. She is proud of her two college age grandchildren.

The role of Pastor Emeritus provides the opportunity for her to increase her support of First Church and Judith's ministry.

Jacquie is currently serving less-than-full-time the United Methodist Church in Susanville, California.

 Patti Bengston
Teacher

patti bengstonPatti Bengtson has been a member of the church since the late 70's . She is the teacher of the purple room (4th & 5th grade) and has been on many committees but in the last few years she has been the chairperson of Missions. She has been a member of the mission teams that went to New Orleans (twice) and to Dulac, LA. Patti led a Mission trip to Stumpy Point N.C. and another one to Montague, CA.She also joined a mission team from California that went to Haiti and this past year joined a team to Mac edonia. Patti also taught Sunday School several years ago when my children were young and again the last four years. She is a retired mediator from the Family Court and I have really enjoyed the free time to devote to my expanding family and all of the above church activities.

 

 CeCe Jaynes
Volunteer, Children's Program

ceceCeCe Jaynes was born May 18th, 1998 in Las Vegas and have lived in Nevada my entire life.Cece goes to McQueen high School and has lots of Lancer Pride! She want to be a cosmetologist, and live by the ocean. In my free time her free time she loves dancing, singing/rapping, and doing nails. Her family and friends are the most important thing in the world to her and loves them a lot! Cece enjoys working with kids and being around their extreme optimism and joyfulness.

 
 Kayt Kruk
Wedding Coordinator

We understand weddings to be an important part of the church's outreach ministry. The wedding coordinator guides weddings, from a couple's initial contact with the church through the wedding day.  (See Kayt's biography under Director of Children's and Youth Ministries.)


 
 Jim Gerbel and Jose Franco
Custodians

custodiansJim and Jose are both full-time custodians for the Washoe County School District. They are silent servants, angels in our midst, who keeps the church sparkling.