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 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 God 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

  • 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!’