Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto
Bishop Karen is the bishop of Yellowstone Annual Conference and the Mountain Sky Area. For a full bio go to www.yacumc.org
Our Pastor Reverend Jeff Wakeley.
Greetings to you all at First United Methodist Church Great Falls! I can’t tell you how excited and humbled I am to be appointed to you as your new pastor. I guess you can say that God and Church have been central for Colleen and Me. I was born in Texas but grew up in Connecticut, the oldest of 4 children. My youngest sister Susan is mentally handicapped and I am her guardian. She lives in a group home in Colorado Springs. Music has also been a central part of our lives. I went to Westminister Choir College in Princeton, NJ where I met Colleen. She was from Colorado and very much involved in the music ministry at First UMC. We got married the day I graduated Westminster and we moved to Colorado where I started as a Vocal Music Teacher in Akron Colorado. I taught vocal music k-12. I taught music in Colorado and Florida until a friend at First UMC in Colorado Springs suggested I share my gifts with the church so I became Music and Youth Director in Texas and later Oklahoma. It was in Oklahoma that I felt God nudge me to the Ordained Ministry. My first appointment was a tiny town of 89 people called Loyal. For a few years there I was the only pastor in town. I was a student local pastor attending Phillips Theological Seminary in Enid, OK. I was ordained Deacon and Elder by Bishop Dan Soloman. After Seminary I was appointed as an Associate Pastor in Guymon, OK and in 1994 we decided to move closer to my family in Pennsylvania. I served churches in Northumberland, Middletown and Altoona. 10 years ago I decided to retire so that we could move closer to Colleen’s family in Colorado. I had been a part-times ski instructor in Pennsylvania and so I became a full-time instructor in Colorado at Breckenridge Ski Resort, while Colleen pursued her career as a Health Information Systems Consultant. She’s really good at it. She had been a nurse before going back to school to get her Bachelor’s degree. While I taught skiing during the season, Colleen traveled around the country helping hospitals and clinics to go digital. Of course during all that we had our two beautiful daughters, Shannon and Meghan. Shannon is a former teacher, now an Admission Counselor for Colorado State Online Program. She just got married to Keith. He’s a prison guard. They met in Colorado but ironically they went to school in Pennsylvania just 30 miles away from each other. Meghan is a singer and musician and from what I can see has made her mark on the community. She gets that from me! She teaches at the University of Providence. We also have two small dogs, Sass and Steve. Sass is a Schna-tzu and Steve is an Australian Terrier. They are our boys.
Hollie King, Administrative Assistant
Hollie has been the Administrative Assistant at First United Methodist Church since October 2008. She Graduated from Great Falls High School and attended MSU-Great Falls for Computer Management. Hollie has worked in Human Resources field for over 20 years.
Sharman Tokerud, Musical Director
Sharman grew up in Great Falls and graduated from Great Falls High School. She attended the University of Idaho in Moscow majoring in Music Education. Since Graduation, she has taught in the Great Falls public schools, played in the Great Falls Symphony and the Winds of Montana, taught private music lessons and raised 2 daughters and a son. In 2004, Sharman completed a Masters Degree in Education and Curriculum with an emphasis in music from Montana State University. She has been a church musician at First United Methodist in Great Falls since 1988, directing the choir and playing the organ and piano.
Ed and Patty Taylor, custodians
Ed and Patty Taylor were both born and raised in Great Falls, Mt. They were married 40 years ago at First UMC and have been members ever since. They are the proud parents of two grown children. Ed works for Dick Irvin Inc. and enjoys outdoor activities including fishing, hunting and riding his motorcycle. Patty enjoys scrap booking, reading and being with her family. Ed and Patty are the custodians at First Church and have been since 1993.
Our membership team is divided into three triads. Each person on the triad serves a three year term. We seek to encourage leadership based on maturing discipleship that leads to being called into service. Their dedication and faithfulness keeps us going.
- FINANCE: Karen Thornton, and Cheryl Kingery
- SPRC: Joyce Miller, Maryellen Bindle and Nancy Martin
- TRUSTEE: Carol Perry, J.D. Olsen and Kay Heal