DGFUMC Staff List

Senior Pastor

Greta McDonald's picture

The Reverends Jim and Greta McDonald have been married since 1977, and each of them has 38 years of pastoral experience. Greta grew up in northern Illinois, graduated from Dixon High School, received a BS in Communications-Journalism from the University of Illinois at Champaign, and served in 1974-75 as a part-time Senior High youth minister at Downers Grove First UMC. Greta and Jim met at Iliff School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary in Denver, Colorado, where they both received Masters of Divinity degrees. Following seminary, Greta served the Elizabeth, Illinois UMC, before being appointed with Jim as associate pastors to Libertyville UMC, where they served for 13 ½ years. For the next 11 years, they served as co-pastors of the New Lenox UMC. They have two adult children. Their daughter, Danica, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. Her husband, Dave Johnson, is a middle school teacher in Hinsdale, and they are parents of two sons, Kellen, age 5, and Bryce, age 3. Danica and her family live in New Lenox. Jim and Greta’s son, Colin, is a writer who also works at the Common Good Books bookstore in St. Paul, MN.

Senior Pastor

Jim McDonald's picture

The Reverends Jim and Greta McDonald have been married since 1977, and each of them has 34 years of pastoral experience. Jim grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He received his BA with a double major in Sociology and History from the University of Manitoba. Greta and Jim met at Iliff School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary in Denver, Colorado, where they both received Masters of Divinity degrees. Following seminary, Jim served the Hanover, Illinois UMC 8 years before they were both appointed as associate pastors to Libertyville UMC, where they served for 13½ years. For the past 11 years, they have served as co-pastors of the New Lenox UMC. They have two adult children. Their daughter, Danica, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Hope Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn. Her husband, Dave Johnson, is a middle school teacher at Hinsdale, and they are parents of a 20-month old son, Kellen. Danica and her family live in New Lenox (guess what Greta's and Jim's favorite hobby is these days!). Their son, Colin, has recently completed his Master of Fine Arts degree, at Hamline University in St. Paul. . He is currently teaching poetry and other musings at a Montessori based preschool in St Paul as well as working up applications to pursue a P.H.D. in performance writing.

Director of Youth Ministries

Howie Snyder's picture

Howie has been married to Nicole for 21 years and they have 4 children, ages 21, 18, 15 and 10, named Samantha, Greer, Lysander and Clark, respectively. Howie and Nicole are both ordained in the Free Methodist Denomination, although Howie has served in two United Methodist Churches previously. Howie’s parents were in ministry and so has lived in various places including being born on the mission field in Brazil, but he went to middle and high school in Chicago, so he claims the Chicago area as home. Howie received a BS from Greenville College in Secondary Education and a Masters of Arts in Youth Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary and has 16 years experience in youth ministry. Howie enjoys following and playing sports, playing his guitar and singing and is passionate about loving, living and sharing life with Jesus and all of God’s children.

Director of Children and Family Ministries

John Smoke's picture

Office Administrator

Sheila Ochoa's picture

Sheila has 15 years of experience as an Administrative Assistant with a design company in Northbrook, Illinois. She is also an active volunteer in Naperville schools where her daughters attend. She will be in the office on weekday mornings through early afternoon.

Communications Administrator

Alison Murphy's picture

Alison Murphy has a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University. She previously worked in municipal government finance and administration.

Building Superintendent

Don Dunham's picture

Kitchen Supervisor

Carrie Flory's picture

Music Coordinator

Andi Kinsella's picture

Andi has been a part time employee here at DGFUMC since 1998. She worked in the front office for 7 years and then moved to her current position, as Music Coordinator, in 2005. Andi and husband Bill raised 4 children here in Downers Grove and have 6 grandchildren. Having been baptized and confirmed here at DGFUMC, Andi is a lifelong member of our congregation.

Chancel Choir Director

Diane Hires's picture

Diane Hires served an administrator, fine arts chair, and choral director at Downers Grove High Schools during her 37-year career. In addition to conducting choirs, Diane was music director for many high school and community theatre musicals. She received several state awards for excellence in teaching. Currently, Diane directs the 55-voice Chancel Choir at the First United Methodist Church in Downers Grove, which meets on Thursday evenings.

Sanctuary Organist

Pattie Barnes's picture

A graduate of Wheaton College in piano performance, Pattie Barnes also studied organ extensively. She went on to earn a master’s degree in piano performance at Indiana University and pursued several years of doctoral piano performance study there. She is currently enjoying her twenty-fourth year as organist and director of handbell ensembles. She is also full-time staff collaborative pianist at Downers Grove North High School. Under her leadership, the church's Chancel Ringers performed the closing concert for the 2002 AGEHR Directors’ Seminar in Des Moines, Iowa and annually join with the West Towns Chorus in presenting an ever-popular Christmas concert series at the Tivoli Theater. Each Christmas season Westminster Ringers participate in Chicago Symphony’s Christmas Concert Series, playing in the Grainger Ballroom at Symphony Centre.

Chapel Choir Director

Nick Loos's picture

Nick is a 2011 graduate of North Central College who has been a music teacher at several elementary, junior and high schools. He is currently responsible for the music program at Field Elementary School in Wheeling, IL. Nick loves music, choral directing and working with youth.

Chapel Choir Accompanist

Kevin Zehme's picture

Kevin Zehme joined Downers Grove First United Methodist Church in the fall of 2014. Kevin has played professionally for 32 years. He held his first church organist position at the age of 16. Kevin studied at Concordia University in River Forest, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Performance degree. Since then, Kevin has performed in many venues and churches. He currently enjoys being the organist/pianist for the 8:15 service here at DGFUMC, accompanist for the Chapel Choir and playing gigs in a restaurant on weekends.

Connection Choir Director

Rebecca Kriz's picture

Since 1997 (minus the one year that she was concentrating on completion of her Masters Degree in Music Education from Northwestern University), we have been blessed to have Becky Kriz as our Connection and Chorister Choirs director here at DGFUMC. In addition to being on our Music Staff, Becky has been a dedicated choral music director at Cass Junior High in Darien since 1990.

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