Rev. Joseph A. Johnson, Pastor
(630) 834-2440, Ext. 101
I was born in rural Indiana. I was baptized and confirmed in my local United Methodist Church. I enjoyed participating in many activities: vacation Bible school, United Methodist Youth Fellowship and helping my grandmother make coleslaw for the annual bazaar.
After graduating from high school, I attended Indiana and Purdue Universities. Purdue University granted me a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. I felt called to explore ordained ministry and enrolled at The Iliff School of Theology. This world overwhelmed me, so I worked as process engineer for Delco Electronics in Kokomo, IN. You can’t hide from God, not even behind an electroplater in central Indiana. Jonah couldn’t do it nor could I.
With the support of family, friends and the church, I returned to Iliff and completed my studies. Bishop C. Joseph Sprague ordained me in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference. My ministry has privileged me with the opportunity to serve UM churches in Dixon, Chicago, and now Elmhurst.
When I am not serving the good people of Elmhurst, you may find me at a band rehearsal at Elmhurst College, conducting a breeding bird survey, monitoring plants, cooking or canning something.
Pax tecum. +
Director of Children and Youth Ministries
(630) 834-2440, Ext. 102
After eight years of teaching, I left the field to begin a family with my husband Jim and was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom to our two daughters — Becca and Emma. However, after the girls started school, I joined the staff at First Church as the Director of Youth Ministries. I feel blessed to have been in this position and to have both of my daughters grow up in and participate in this church. Becca is now in her 2nd year at North Central College and Emma is a Junior at York High School.
In 2017, with the retirement of Ruth Zervas, our beloved Director of Christian Education, I have taken on a new position as Director of Children and Youth Ministries. Getting to work with our children and their families is an added blessing to my continuing work with our young people.
Aside from being an educator, wife, and mother, I am a huge Chicago sports fan, a bass clarinet player and an exercise enthusiast. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the movies, reading, and watching almost any sport.
The best part about being part of the staff at First Church is being able to collaborate with some truly amazing people and working with an incredibly supportive and committed congregation. I feel continually blessed to be both a member of our congregation and a part of the staff.
Director of Music Ministry
I was born and raised in Little Silver, New Jersey and moved to the Chicago area in 2011. Before arriving at FUMC, I was the music director and choir master at Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland while pursuing bachelor’s degrees in music education and voice performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, as well as the music director at English Congregational United Church of Christ in Big Rock.
In addition to leading music here at First Church, I am currently a regular member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and also sing with the chorus of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Music Festival, and the St. Charles Singers. I have performed as a young artist and soloist with the Sarasota Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Baltimore Opera, and am a frequent soloist with the St. Charles Singers.
Aside from loving all different types of music, I am an avid hockey and New York Islanders fan. My beautiful bride Kayla and I live in Lincoln Park. We have an awesome 5 year old boxer/poodle named Lucy who has the energy of a toddler who drinks coffee.
The best part about being music director at First Church is being allowed to share the beautiful sacred music of the greatest composers with my choirs and the congregation. Being the director instead of a singer gives me the opportunity to share my musical ideas and inspirations which I hope brings an even deeper spiritual connection to the parish.
Richard Stultz, Organist
Richard (Dick) Stultz joined the staff here at First United Methodist Church in August of 2017. He grew up in Nashua, NH, attending local public schools. He attended Tufts University in Medford, MA, earning Bachelors degrees in both chemical engineering and music, and earned a Master of Sacred Music degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
Dick worked in both fields of endeavor, as a product development chemist, research group leader, and environmental coordinator at various locations for Bostik,Inc., retiring in 2006. At the same time, he served as organist and choir director at churches in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois. In 2008 he completed education at The Chicago School for Piano Technology, and now is the owner and technician for Stultz Piano Services, Inc. located here in Elmhurst.
“I am very happy playing organ here with this wonderfully musical staff and friendly congregation.”