our clergy staff
Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay
Areas of responsibility:
Head of Staff;
Overall Mission/Vision tending;
Merriment and soul growth.
After stints teaching, singing, and community organizing, Elizabeth answered a call to ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. She serves as an Elder who has been blessed by serving as pastor in Duluth (Hillside and First) and Minneapolis (Richfield). In a world too often fractured by fear and despair, she finds endless hope in the teachings of Jesus. Being a part of a movement dedicated to “resisting evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (UM membership vows) makes for exciting, relevant and complacency-challenging ministry.
Elizabeth has been active at the state and national levels around issues of full inclusion for GLBT persons and has preached and taught extensively around issues of justice and soul.
Rev. Katy Lee
Minister for Youth, Young Adults & Mission/Justice
Katy is responsible for overseeing our youth and young adult program areas as well as to work on mission, social justice and outreach to the Rochester community at large. Katy has always been passionate about working with young people: their insights about life, the universe and God are so raw, real, fascinating, something that she thinks adults can learn a lot from. While Katy is passionate about service and social justice as the way we enter into a covenantal relationship with each other and God, she has followed her call to serve in church ministry instead of to non-profit or social work. She believes through Christ the church is a powerful place to find healing in every area of our lives and she loves to find ways for the church to be the church outside the sanctuary walls. Katy loves service trips and wilderness retreats, working with job or housing insecure populations and urban gardens.
"I have been so excited to witness already how much energy and willingness to work and serve there is at Christ UMC. My core value in serving a church is to help instill a deep spirit of service and engagement in Christ-like community. I think more importantly than trying to teach certain principles or change anyone’s mind on certain beliefs is to help people understand and engage with the important questions about their beliefs and lifestyle and to practice caring for one another in committed love. This church has a great foundation for these practices and I hope that God will continue to work through all of us as a community to engage in many more areas of justice in the city of Rochester and in the lives of the many young people who do not feel comfortable or welcome yet in the church. To them I hope we can extend arms wide open and hearts which love in both affection and action."
Rev. Nancy Wheeler Handlon
Minister for Congregational Care
Areas of responsibility:
providing and coordinating congregational care from laity and clergy;
developing the gifts of laity in congregational care;
Word, Sacrament and Order of the United Methodist Church.
Nancy coordinates three lay visitor teams, working in ministries that include visitation, prayer chain and senior fellowship. As part of her ministry, she visits hospitals, nursing care facilities, senior residence facilities, and homes regularly. Nancy and her husband, Chuck, have two sons. She is a graduate of Hamline University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and was appointed to Christ Church in 1998.
"I love to meet all the visitors who come to worship on Sunday mornings. We have people coming to Rochester for medical care. We also have people visit who are looking for a church home. Visitors come from a variety of backgrounds and we welcome diversity.
"In my ministry with the sick and with the bereaved, I get to be with people who teach me so much. I get to learn about how to cherish the gifts of health and life, of family, of faith. I get to witness courage, persistence, strength. I also love to share ministry with colleagues and with laity. It is wonderful to have a teaching ministry and to help others to learn about caring ministries."
our office staff
Gwen Ravenhorst joined CUMC staff at the beginning of November 2016 as the Office Manager. Gwen is excited to work alongside the staff and congregation to follow the Mission of the Church through projects. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business and Marketing. Gwen is married to Ryan Ravenhorst and lives in Racine, MN with her two amazing children, Burkely and Greta. She and her family have a great investment into the Scouting programs in Stewartville, MN. Both Gwen and her husband are leaders in the different organizations. When free time is available, Gwen and her family enjoy spending time ‘Up North’ camping and kayaking. She is also an avid reader and baker. Gwen finds inspiration in helping others and finding hope and optimism in the most obscure situations.
Nikki Gensmer joined CUMC at the beginning of March, 2015 as a Communications Coordinator. She also handles print materials, design needs, maintains the website and social media and executes marketing projects. Nikki is also involved in the Mission to Guatemala trips and is a member of the Ao5 (Arts on Fifth) Gallery Team. She has a Bachelor of Science in Professional Communication and Emerging Media, an emphasis in Technical Writing and minors in Business and Design from the University of Wisconsin- Stout. She was blessed to have the opportunity to study photography in New Zealand. In her free time, Nikki loves being outside: adventuring with her dog, taking pictures, going on road trips, building recycled pallet furniture and fixing up old motorcycles and trucks with her dad. She finds inspiration in observance of something larger than herself, in catching up with old friends or getting to know new ones, in taking something old and making it functional again, and in fresh air.
Darla Svenson started at Christ United Methodist Church as Bookkeeper in March of 2017. She is from Mantorville, MN and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Mankato State University. Darla has non-profit experience with SELCO and St. John’s Lutheran Church, Kasson, MN. She is also the owner and therapist of New You Massage for 10 years and counting and is a driver for First Student. Darla is a recent empty nester. She has two children—a daughter, Samantha, in her third year at the University of Minnesota who is studying Industrial Engineering, and son, Jonathan who graduated from high school in 2016 and moved to Prescott Valley, Arizona with a friend and his family. Darla is happy to be at CUMC and excited to serve as Bookkeeper.
our children & family staff
Sunday School Superintendent
Christ United Methodist Church has been Kathy's church home since 1977. CUMC is where she was married and where she raised her son. Kathy moved to Rochester from Nebraska and has taught elementary school (36 years) and nursery school (3 years). She is now a community volunteer in our wonderful city. With her background in education, it was natural for her to step forward and serve as interim Children and Family Ministries Director and help out where she could at CUMC. Now, Kathy Davis is our declared Sunday School Superintendent. Christ United Methodist is a warm and welcoming home to her family.
Children & Family Ministries Director
After several opportunities to study, volunteer, and learn in Washington and Ohio, Alisha has returned home to Rochester to invest her time and energy in her hometown. Here, she is surrounded by two sets of grandparents, 10 aunts and uncles, cousins, her parent’s high school friends, her own high school friends, a twin brother, a dog, and her cat. So, her Midwest roots run deep but she also has a heart for adventure. While away, Alisha lived in three different intentional communities, each teaching her more about her leadership style, friendship needs, and mentorship yearnings. She found a passion for working with families living within generational poverty and discovered a gift in (nonprofessional) counseling. Using much of her time within nonprofits, Alisha is now utilizing an opportunity to work with children and families in a church setting at CUMC. This will hopefully provide clarity on which graduate program to pursue in the coming years. In her spare time, Alisha enjoys meaningful conversations with people of all ages. On a sunny day, you’ll find her outside running, playing volleyball, or reading a book. During a rainy day, you won’t find her complaining as it reminds her of Seattle, so she’ll curl up on a sofa, drink coffee, and continue to write her own developmental theory on community and heaven (feel free to ask about). Otherwise, she will be on the streets practicing her walking ministry where she sits, talks, and plays. This is where she finds God working in amazing ways.
As a member of congregation and then staff, Julie has been with CUMC since she was born. She was born and raised in Rochester and received her Bachelor's of Science in Education from Minnesota Bible College. Julie is the Nursery Coordinator and very active in helping the other staff wherever necessary and also volunteers with CUMC's mission trips. In her downtime, she loves to do embroidary and rughook. Julie also enjoys watching a good movie or listening to music. She finds inspiration in the love of her family and in those she works with and learns from.
our music & arts staff
Arise! Service (11 am) Music Leader
Cole joined the CUMC team in May of 2016 as a musician at the 11 am service and has since become Music Leader of the worship band. He teaches guitar lessons and is a member of a local band, The Shift. Cole graduated from Rochester Community and Technical College in 2014 with an Associate of Fine Arts- Music Industry. In his free time he enjoys exercising, reading and going camping with his dog.
Children's Choir Director
Edna attended Heidelberg University and taught music in Ohio, New York, Michigan and Iowa before coming to Rochester and teaching for 23 years in Rochester Public Schools. All along the way, children's choirs have enhanced her love of faith. Edna's hobbies include outdoor activities, swimming, biking, traveling, and taking care of her four grandchildren. She is inspired by and excited to work with the youth at Christ United Methodist Church.
Anna Lytle joined the music staff of CUMC in August of 2016. Anna learned to ring handbells under Deedee Odell, just after graduating college.She has since rung in both community and church groups and especially loves ringing bass bells. She also directed a community youth group for several years in Rochester and led them in a variety of performances collaborating with other musicians, choirs and orchestras. Anna Lytle grew up with a love for music, learning to play both the piano and flute and has enjoyed accompanying choirs and instrumentalists over the years. In her free time Anna enjoys exploring the beautiful Minnesota landscape and taking trips to the Rocky Mountains to visit family. She is inspired by the saints of the church particularly, St. Anna the Prophetess, after which she was named. Anna loves that bells are an excellent teamwork example for how the body of Christ is supposed to love one another and work together. She would enjoy having you as a member of the handbell ministry!
Carolyn is happy to hop back into CUMC activities as of September 2016. She has been involved in many projects with children at CUMC in the past... but nothing brings her more joy than combining puppets, storytelling and kid's creativity to share the message of the gift of God's love! Puppets can do anything because children can do anything and everything! All puppets will be made from recycled and re-purposed materials. To see puppets from a past Vacation Bible Study, go to greengrandparents.org . For the past five years, Carolyn has been offering drum circles and rhythm activities to people with special abilities. She is a trained Health Rhythms Facilitator and has a van filled with drums! She is inspired by the fact that each of us has our own unique rhythm and inner song waiting to be sung.
our building staff
Glen comes to Christ United Methodist Church with over 30 years of experience in healthcare, hospitality and industrial maintenance. Glen grew up in Cook Minnesota and shares a hunting cabin with his brothers there. Glen has 1 daughter (Emily) and a son-in-law (Kai). In his spare time, he reads a lot of books on World War 2 history, or watches his favorite team, the Minnesota Wild.
Oscar has been our Custodian at CUMC since the beginning of April in 2003. He is multi-skilled with a Degree in Accounting, has his X-Ray Technician Certification and has experience as a Math Teacher. Oscar loves to spend time with his family. He has been married to his wife, Pam, for 28 years. He has two children, Olivia (22) and Emilio (19) and one grandchild, Alessandra and loves playing soccer and staying active. Oscar finds inspiration in his wife and in reading the Bible.
Brittany came to us in December of 2016 as custodial staff. She is honored to be able to work to keep the church clean and happy! She graduated in 2014 from North Mankato, where she is originally from, with an Associate’s Degree in Dental Assisting. Brittany Strand moved to Rochester, excited to see what the city had to offer! In her spare time, Brittany is a reader and enthusiastic cat lover. She also loves traveling and exploring different places. Brittany finds much inspiration in her loved ones.