Pastor: Rev. Jennifer Browne
Jennie was ordained in 1984 as a minister of the United Church of Christ. Her ordination credentials were recognized by the United Methodist Church in 1998 and she has served 4 United Methodist congregations before coming to GUMchurch in 2016, including First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids and University United Methodist Church in East Lansing.
Jennie was born in San Francisco, California, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She received her Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and her Doctor of Ministry from the University of Chicago.
Jennie has two daughters, Katie who lives in Chicago and is Director of Operations for a charter school there, and Lexie who just moved to St. Louis to start a graduate program in Social Work at Washington University. Her husband, Eric is the Director of Music and Worship Arts at Grand Rapids First UMC.
children's Ministries Director: Sara Zallar
Sara is a Grand Rapids native who moved "home" in July 2016. She attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education. She and her husband, Josh, lived in Milwaukee for 10 years as music educators. They currently reside in Georgetown Township with their two children, Olivia who will enter kindergarten in the fall and Jack who will enter preschool in the fall. Sara also leads Centering Prayer: a time of quieting, opening us to the Holy within and within each other.
Nursery Ministry Director: Jenny Care
Jenny Care has a passion for the education of children. She believes education happens at all ages and children should be nurtured in a fun, safe, and caring environment. She has been a member of GUMchurch since 2000 and on staff since 2006. She is blessed to work with a wonderful team of volunteers who share her passion for kids. She studied early childhood education at Michigan State University and Aquinas College, where she received her teaching degree in Elementary Education. Jenny has been married to Tim for almost 20 years. They have a daughter, Alexis and a son, Michael. The Cares spend their free time camping during the summer months and watching the Spartans as much as possible. Jenny strives to live out the vision of GUMchurch and to touch the lives of those she meets in a positive way.
Worship Director: Alex Barringer
Alex Barringer has worked at GUMChurch since July 2013. He has a BA in Music with emphases in Worship Arts and Piano performance. Alex moved here from the St. Louis area in the summer of 2012. He grew up in the Toledo, OH area. Alex has worked at several different churches in the past and is excited to be a part of GUMChurch. In addition to music, Alex enjoys reading, cooking, mountain biking, video games, and watching TV.
Choir Director: Lynette Cole
Lynette Cole has been the GUMchurch Choir Director since 2001. She was previously a member of the choir and has been a member of GUMchurch since 1991. She holds a music education degree from Hope College and taught elementary music in the Hudsonville Public Schools for 10 years. After "retiring" she became a Kindermusik educator, which she has been doing since 1998. She and her husband, Kelly have two grown sons, Danny and Kenny, who grew up in the nurturing and challenging atmosphere of the GUMchurch youth program. Besides her family, singing is one of her biggest joys, along with writing, color (spring green is a good one), traveling and goat cheese. A good laugh is also high on the list.
Office Manager: Lisa Ernst
Lisa Ernst has worked for GUMchurch since November of 2013 and became a church member in 2011. She moved to Grand Rapids in 2010 from Bad Axe, MI, and has lived in ten different towns. She calls Harbor Springs “home”, from where she graduated and met her husband of 33 years, Terry. They recently bought a home in Jenison and plan to stay! Her two daughters, son-in-law and grandson live here also, as well as many other and various relatives. Lisa has a B.A. in Secondary Education with an English Major and History Minor. She taught high school for one year, co-operated a small business for twenty-five years, and worked for M.S.U. Extension Huron County as a field educator. For six years she sold golf apparel and accessories as a field representative and currently is a corporate sales representative. Lisa likes movies, books, beads, hiking, biking, camping, gardening, cooking, yoga, golf and GUMC!
Marketing & Hospitality Director: heather blaszczyk
Heather has been a member of GUM since 2015. She was raised in South Haven, MI and grew up in a Methodist church. Heather graduated from Western Michigan University and shortly after worked for a start up e-commerce company before getting married and having her first son, Adreian. Heather and her husband, Jakub built their house in Jenison in 2015 and had their second son, Breslin in 2016. She loves to spend her time with her boys outside, cooking and baking, camping, reading and is a die hard Chicago Cub's fan. Heather has served in many facets of the church and is so blessed to be part of such a wonderful and growing faith community.
custodian: Dale Brown
Dale and his wonderful wife Anne have two amazing daughters Becky and Emily. Becky and her husband, Paul, enjoy playing volleyball whenever possible. Emily is also a sports buff playing volleyball, softball and hockey. After graduating from Western Michigan University, Dale took a circuitous route to GUMchurch. He worked along with his dad and brother in a home inspection business, while also teaching part time at Baker Business College in Muskegon. He then went to work for Jabil Circuit Inc., a provider of electronics for the automotive industry. Seeking to find a less stressful occupation, Dale joined the staff as the Building and Grounds Manager and spends his days looking after the GUMchurch property.