Lead Pastor

Markus Wegenast

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I was born in the Black Forest area of South Germany and grew up in the Black Forest city of Freudenstadt .  I loved being active in the community and my Methodist home church, participating and leading in ministries such as the brass band, the youth group and the young adult choir. I experienced a call into full time ministry in my late teens.

After graduating from college and a year of mandatory federal social service I entered my pastoral education. I served as pastoral intern for one year in four congregations in the Stuttgart, Germany area and then transitioned into the seminary years at the Theological school of the United Methodist Church in Reutlingen, Germany.

I was active in various congregations of the Reutlingen area and served as a seminary intern in an inner city church of Berlin, Germany. In 2001, I went to embark on an abroad adventure and enrolled at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois for one year. This is where I met my wife Carrie. I moved to the United States in 2004, when I got married. We both started serving churches in Wisconsin in 2004.

So far I have served part time at the Johnson Creek UMC and as solo pastor at the Waterloo UMC.  I was ordained in 2008 and have served as a senior pastor of Community UMC in Waterford from 2010-2014. In the summer of 2014 my wife Carrie, my son Hans and I moved to Appleton and I started my time as the new senior pastor here at First UMC.  Since then our second son, Owen, has been born and is enriching our family beyond measure.

I feel privileged for my family to experience the hospitable warmth of First Church and invite you to come and find it for yourself.


Pastor of Discipleship

Hae-Jeong Yoon

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We are extremely excited to introduce to you the new Pastor of Discipleship for our church.


Hae-Jeong (phonetically Hay Jung) was ordained in 2018 at the Annual Conference in Modesto, California. She currently serves two churches in northern California. She was born in On-Yang, South Korea. Pastor Hae-Jeong has an impressive educational background that includes a BA from Korea University in Seoul, where she studied English Literature. She next studied in Germany at Köln University, where she earned a Master's degree in musicology, and at Osnabrück University, where she earned a Ph.D. in musicology. After moving to the US, she studied at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Iowa before transferring to the Pacific School of Religion in California, where she earned a Master of Divinity degree. Pastor Hae-Jeong has worked as a Clinical Pastoral Education Resident at California Pacific Medical center and is qualified as a professional Chaplin. Her son lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She is a passionate preacher, skilled teacher, gifted musician, and a mighty prayer warrior.


To learn more about Pastor Hae-Jeong please watch this brief video of SPRC Chair Steve Spangenberg and Pastor Hae-Jeong here:




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Visitation Pastor

Dave Farina

I am a retired pastor, serving as the Pastor of Visitation here at First UMC.  I served the Geenville, Evansville, Baraboo and Reidsburg United Methodist churches. I enjoy visiting our shut-ins and hospitalized members.  I also enjoy golf and my three grandchildren.

Director of Music and Worship Ministries

Matthew Harden

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Matthew Harden is Director of Music and Worship Ministries at First United Methodist Church Appleton, WI. In his first year, he is looking forward to serving and continuing to keep up the traditions of this well established program.

He is the founder and artistic director of the adult chamber ensemble Madrigali et al., which is the fourth choral ensemble he has built over his career. His collegiate teaching experience includes being Director of Choral Activities at three different universities, The University of Nebraska at Omaha, The University of South Dakota and East Carolina University. In addition, he has served as Music Minister at several churches over the years. Matthew has also had the opportunity to work for the production company MidAmerica Productions, and the tour company KI Concerts, LLC.

Dr. Harden earned his doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Choral Music Education) from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, his master’s degree from Portland State University, and two bachelor’s degrees (Performance and Education) from Southern Oregon State College. His studies and degrees are in the areas of conducting, organ performance, music education, and vocal performance. He has studied conducting with Bruce Browne, Eph Ehly, Eric Ericson, Gary Hill, and Charles Robinson, and in master-class settings he has worked with Harold Decker, Eric Ericson, Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Muray Sidlin, and Dale Warland. Conducting experience has included works with band, choir and orchestra, including conducting baroque works with choir and orchestra from the keyboard. Matthew has taught private voice lessons since 1983 and worked with several singers to rehabilitate their injured voices. Many of his conducting students have gone on to complete advanced degrees and currently are successful conductors around the country.

Matthew began his conducting career at age 12 when he convinced twenty-six of his friends to form a concert band so he could conduct. In Jr. High and High School his band directors gave him the opportunity to rehearse the band, form a brass ensemble and conduct an occasional selection in concert. This continued into college where at the College of Southern Idaho he was given the chance to rehearse and conduct the band, play in the Magic Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz Band. It was here that he first began to study voice as well. Leaving CSI he was set to pursue orchestra conducting, but due to a serious car accident turned his career to teaching. Matthew first position after completing his degrees at SOSC was as the Band and Choir Director at Warrenton-Hammond School District. In addition, he played in the North Coast Symphonic Band and North Coast Big Band during his time in the North Coast region of Oregon.

He founded the North Coast Chorale, now celebrating its thirty-first year of existence. Dr. Bruce Browne had a profound effect on his change of career to choral music, as he stressed as a choral conductor you will also have the opportunity to conduct works with choir and orchestra. During his time in Portland he was assistant conductor and tenor section leader for the Portland Symphonic Choir, Artistic Director for the Early Music ensemble “Sine Nomine,” and taught in various other Oregon schools for twelve years.

He has conducted choirs on tour in the United States, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Russia and The Netherlands, and festival choirs in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and most recently the professional choir Polifonia in Lithuania. An active member of the ACDA, Chorus America, NCCO, and IFCM, he served as President of the Nebraska Choral Directors’ Association from 2011-2013.

Matthew is married to Shellie, is very proud of his three children, Tim, Noelle and CJ, and enjoys spending time with his grandson Berry.

Director of Children's Ministries

Christine Ladewig

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Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

Brian Stahl

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I am a Youth Ministry Veteran.  I have served God in five congregations in Wisconsin and Michigan over the past 22 years. I am currently in my 10th year serving this congregation as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin and graduated in 1998 from the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Parkside with a BA in English.  I recieved my formal Youth Ministry training in 2000 from Tentmakers.

I married my best friend, Sue in 2001, we have three beautiful children, Benjamin, Samuel, and Alison.

I am a passionate fan of the Denver Broncos, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Calgary Flames, Michigan State Spartans, and Colorado Buffaloes.

I love to attend concerts! I have seen more than 150, including seeing the Dave Matthews Band 42 times and U2 17  times.

I love all things Chick-fil-A and have visited restaurants in 18 different states! 

 I love mission trips!  I have been on 32 and have been blessed to lead 31. 

My vision for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for this congregation is that our Youth and Young Adults would know that they are loved and that God desperately wants to be in relationship.  Our Mission Statement is as follows: We exist to create a space where Youth are equipped with tools and experiences so that they will be excited to engage in conversations about Faith, serve others, and grow to live each day as authentic followers of Jesus Christ.  My number one goal is the building of a community where the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared, and everyone is loved and appreciated for the unique person God has created. I strive to offer God-honoring opportunities for Youth & Young Adults to develop a critical thought process on questions of faith, gain an understanding of how to live their faith every day, and serve their community and the world.

My job often presents me opportunities that make what I do extremely important to the growth and spiritual development of our
Youth and Young Adults.  On the other hand, the role of a parent far supersedes my ability to impact their lives. 

Parents are the compass by which their children walk. With that said, I deeply desire for parents to be involved in our ministry.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity and the privilege of ministering to your sons and daughters.



Brian Stahl

Property and Finance Manager

Lynn Halley

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I am excited at the opportunity to serve the church as the Finance Manager!

Growing up in the small rural community of Oostburg, WI started my journey with God.  From there I attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and have a degree in Business Administration.  I met my husband, Cliff Halley, at UWO and we have been blessed with 2 wonderful daughters, Kristina who is a Physician’s Assistant in Naperville, IL and Erica who is a Special Ed Teacher in Milwaukee.

My husband and I also own the Valpak franchise – that blue envelope of coupons you get in your mailbox each month!   In my free time I like to run, play soccer, read and travel – and I love the Green Bay Packers!

I have been a member here at FUMC since 1992.  During that time I have taught Sunday School, baked many cakes, served at the Emergency Shelter and Warming Shelter, and been part of the counting team.  I presently volunteer to sell Scrip.

Stop by and see me if you have any questions related to finance or your giving!

Administrative Assistant

Amy Concepcion

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Most of my adult life I have worked in healthcare; most recently working nights at the hospital in New London.  I, as well as my family, felt a definite change was needed and called upon God to guide me to a more suitable job.  With God’s guidance leading me to my home church, I couldn’t be happier!  I enjoy working with everyone who has made, and continues to make First Church my second home.

My husband, José, and I have 4 sons, Cody, José, Gabriel and Emanuel.  We were married here at First Church and all of our boys were baptized here, as was I.  We are so blessed to be part of such an amazing church family. I spend most of my ‘free time’ running my boys to practices and cheering them on in baseball, track, football and wrestling.  I also enjoy camping and just spending time with family/friends.

Please stop by the church office if you have any questions, concerns or just want to visit; I would love to chat!


Principal Organist

Kathy Orth

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I am extremely honored to be the principal organist at First United Methodist Church - since Dec. 1, 2007. I love the music program but especially the wonderful pipe organ. Prior to this I was the organist (11 years) at Memorial Presbyterian Church. I have played and studied organ since 9th grade. I began playing piano at age 4. My piano accompanying in the area has included the Appleton Boy Choir, Badger Girls Choir, State Honors Middle School Chorus, musicals at Appleton East and North High Schools, student and faculty recitals at Lawrence University, church choir, McDowell Chorus, Chaminade Chorus, and the Fox Valley Symphony. I also play alto sax, oboe, guitar, dulcimer, handbells, autoharp, and native American flute. I am teaching myself to play ukulele and balalaika.


I graduated with honors from Lawrence University's Conservatory in music education (vocal/general music major), and earned my master's degree in curriculum with a fine arts emphasis from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA). For 35 years I was a vocal/general music specialist, and have taught all grades (kindergarten through high school) including Illinois, Texas, Kiel, Hartland, and Appleton. The last 20 years I taught in Appleton, and I am now retired. I am a music adjudicator (40+ years) for Wisconsin district and state solo-ensemble festivals (39 years) and have directed and accompanied many school musicals, numerous concerts, 2 swing choirs, a church and handbell choir, a 300-voice combined 6th grade choir in Texas, and directed the Lawrence Alumni Choir for Reunion. I have studied organ with Cal Moely, Miriam Duncan, Naomi Rowley, Kathryn Handford, and Bruce Bengston.


I volunteer at the Community Clothes Closet, the Fox Cities PAC, and am a member of the prayer shawl ministry at church. My husband, Larry, was a band instructor, most recently at TCCES (Twin Cities Catholic Education System) in Neenah and Menasha. He is also retired. We have two sons - Bryan in Orlando, Fl, who is a pilot with United Airlines, and Darin who lives in Kaukauna and is learning to be a financial planner (married to Melissa, an RN at St. Paul’s Hospice).


Things I like to do - knit, quilt, read, bike, golf, shop, travel.



Norma Anderson

Grace Director

Cindy Trudell

Wesley Handbells Director

Danny Schierl

I am absolutely thrilled to direct the Wesley Handbell Choir here at FUMC!

I was born and raised in Neenah and have enjoyed living in various parts of the Fox Valley. I am currently working on my undergraduate degree as a Music Education major and German minor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. My love for handbells was cultivated through my experience playing with the UW-Oshkosh Handbell Choir. I have been playing handbells for five years with various groups and have enjoyed playing in large and small handbell ensembles, as well as solo work.

I primarily play trombone and am a “jazzer” at heart. I also study piano independently and play a wide spectrum of genres. When I'm not studying music or German, I spend my time outdoors, in my garden, and on the water.







Part-time Custodian

Doug Herge

Part-time Custodian

Tom Martens

  August 2021  
Upcoming Events


Women's Renewal Group-via ZOOM
4:45 PM to 5:45 PM
Circles of Support Program
5:30 PM to 6:45 PM
Troop 2
6:30 PM
Tune Up Your Singing Voice
6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Women of the Word-Via Zoom
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM


1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Tuesday Night AA
7:30 PM to 8:30 PM


Tuning Up Your Singing Voice!
6:30 PM to 7:30 PM


AA "Young at Heart" Group
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Bible Search
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