Your Church Family & staff

Below you will find information regarding the staff and volunteers here at Kewanee First United Methodist Church. We look forward to meeting you as well! More information is coming soon!

  • Pastor Mark Graham & Rev. Melva England, Interim Pastor

  • Chris & Carrie Gillespie - Youth Ministry Team

    We are Christopher & Carrie Gillespie and together serve as the Youth Ministry Team. We were both born and raised in Kewanee, Il.  We have known each other for 25 years and were married in October at KFUMC!  We enjoy spending time together with family, camping and fishing, and doing just about all things outdoors.  We believe the Lord has called us into this ministry to bring His word of truth and spirit of love to the children and young adults of our community.  Our mission is to provide a safe and positive environment while building young disciples for Christ.  We believe that instilling the Word of God at an early age plays a vital role in the development of our youth.  

    Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  

    Here at the Kewanee First United Methodist Church Youth Center, our doors are open to All and no child shall be turned away.  

    Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.     

  • donna boardman - certified lay minister, director of lay servantry & Shut-In Care MInistries

    Donna was born and raised in Kewanee where she and her family still reside. Her beloved husband of 39 years, William Boardman is now with Jesus. Together they were blessed with a daughter Heidi, son Ty, and three grandchildren.

    Donna is a graduate of Kewanee High School, Black Hawk College and was in management at Boss Manufacturing Co, Kewanee for 49 years, retiring in Oct 2020.

    She has been a member of the Kewanee First United Methodist Church since she was 5 months old.  In 2005 God called her into active ministry.

    After additional education and training, in 2009 Donna was approved by the IL Great Rivers Conference to be a Certified Lay Minister of the United Methodist Church, one of the first in the denomination and the state of Illinois.  She is currently serving God and His people at Kewanee First UMC, on two IGRC committees and regularly assists other churches in the surrounding area.


    Donna says, “Since God touched my heart, I want nothing more than to live responsively to His call and purpose on my life, to share His forgiveness, love, joy, hope and peace with others.  I have a passion for the lost and those hurting.”

    As a Certified Lay Minister the gifts God has given me through the Holy Spirit .. of faith, compassion, evangelism, teaching and prayer empower me to do ministry, my mission, in His service.  He inspires and enables me to preach, teach/disciple, visit the sick and elderly, encourage and serve …… and it humbles me to do so.  Serving God and the people dear to His heart and mine, is an indescribable joy.

                                                     To Him be the Glory!” 

  • Theresa Yarger - Church organist

  • Deb Sayers - Chancel Choir Director

  • John Sayers - Bell Choir Director and Worship leader

  • Katie Anderson - Children's Choir & Children's Bell Choir Director

  • linda bolls - Certified lay servant

  • dennis diericks - lay servant

  • jay devalkenaere - lay servant

    Jay is a retired Ironworker who became a Lay Speaker after responding to God's call. He and his wife Annette have been married for 41 years, and enjoy spending time with their grandkids and riding their Harley. 

  • Kelli Murphy - Nursery Leader

  • Heidi Shimmin - Nursery Leader

  • Linda Orr - Administrative Assistant, Financial Secretary, Media & TEchnology Program Facilitator & Certified Lay Servant

    Linda has been part of the KFUMC family since December 2018. Prior to her return to Kewanee, she spent 10 years in the insurance industry in the Chicago suburbs. She is the granddaughter of longtime members Max & Jean Orr.

    Linda volunteered to become the Financial Secretary in July 2018, started as Administrative Assistant in December 2018, became a Certified Lay Servant in April 2019, and is currently working on Certified Lay Speaker coursework. She is also a member of the Illinois River District Lay Servant Committee, is part of the Saturday Night Worship Leader rotation, and is also a member of the KFUMC Administrative Council. 

    In January 2021, She became the Media & Technology Program Facilitator, overseeing the Audio Visual Programs for Kewanee First, as well as working with the Harry Anderson Trust Program to help fulfill the vision Harry Anderson had for Kewanee area youth. Linda is currently overseeing the project to revamp our media capabilities and TV studio facilities. She will also be working with local school districts to help bring student-produced content to our local access cable channel, as well as other media outlets. Linda is also responsible for managing the Church's online presence through various Social Media outlets, including our YouTube Ministry, Televised Services Ministry, and management of our church website.

    When she is not at the church, she enjoys spending time with her son, Landon, and volunteers with Cub Scout Pack 199's Webelo I Den. She is also the KFUMC Boy Scout Troop Liaison to the Administrative Council. She has also been involved in community projects such as the Bakersville Halloween Radio Play, Miracle on Chestnut Street Radio Play, and is a member of the Bakersville Committee. 

  • pastor martin gutzmer - staff pastor & director of shut-in ministries (RETIRED)

    Pastor Martin Gutzmer and his wife, Anne selflessly served our congregation for over twelve years, visiting shut-in and infirmed members, mailing birthday cards to members, and joyfully accepting other tasks that needed to be done for the KFUMC Church Family. Pastor Martin also assisted in Saturday Night Worship services, filled in occasionally on Sunday Mornings, handled our YouTube Ministry, and managed the church Facebook Page and website for several years. 

    They are now officially retired, and we wish them all the best in their retirement!

    “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’