Reno First United Methodist Church Staff

Pastor, Kristen Marshall

Director of Children's and Youth's Ministries, Missy Jaynes


Office Administrator, Jennifer Smith

Organist, Aren Long

Director of Music/Chancel Choir, Andy Sonnemaker

Handbell Choir Directors, Linda and Ben Brown

Pastor Emeritus, John Emerson

Pastor Emeritus, Jacqueline Meadows

Wedding Coordinator, Kayt Kruk

Custodians, Jim Gerbel and Jose Franco

 Kristen Marshall


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.

 Missy Jaynes
Director of Children's and Youth's

missy jaynesMissy Jaynes moved around a lot when she was a kid, and her parents eventually planted themselves in Reno when she was 11 years old. Even though Reno is a big city it still feels like a small community. She loves the river going through the city, as well as the different seasons here, but her favorite is autumn! One of the things she loves to do is karaoke! Missy is an undercover rock star.
She has a lot of pride in her home, children and marriage of 23 years. 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. The sign outside our church says everyone is welcome and it is so very true: this church practices what it preaches. Her door is always open, and she truly believes in what our church believes: Everyone is welcome!


Elyse Bowman. I graduated from University of Nevada, Reno May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology with a minor in Human Development and Family studies. Elyse recently joined the nursery team at First UMC in June. She has experience working with children through her major and in her personal life. Throughout high school she worked as a nanny and throughout college she volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada. In her free time, Elyse enjoys camping, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Jennifer Smith



 Aren Long

Organisttn 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
Director of Music and Director of the Chancel Choir

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.

  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

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.