Meet Our Ministers and Staff

Contact us by the emails below or call 630.968.7120 and use the extensions listed.

Clergy
Rev. Claude R. King

Rev. Claude R. King

Senior Pastor

email / x202

Rev. Andi Voinovich

Rev. Andi Voinovich

Associate Pastor

email / x211

Rev. John Smoke

Rev. John Smoke

Director of Christian Education

email / x204

Nina Kadera

Nina Kadera

Pastoral Care Assistant

email / x203

About Pastor Claude

Pastor Claude is an ordained Elder and lifelong member of the United Methodist Church. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a high emphasis in anthropology from Chicago State University and received his Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.

He has served as pastor and associate pastor at a variety of churches in Chicago, including the Chicago Temple, in Glen Ellyn, and was most recently the pastor of the Olympia Fields UMC prior to DGFUMC. Rev. King also recently completed several terms on the United Methodist Church-Northern Illinois Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. This Board is responsible for guiding clergy candidates through the ordination process, including interviewing and recommending all candidates who are seeking to be fully ordained as ministers in the NIC-UMC.

Pastor Claude is married to Denise King, a former Chicago Public School Head Start teacher. They have a son Claude, Jr., who has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is in private practice. He and his wife Taylor have a son. They live in the Chicago area. The Kings also have a daughter, Ashley, who holds a master’s degree in communications and social media and works in marketing in Los Angeles.

About Pastor Andi

Andi Voinovich has been the Associate Pastor at Downers Grove First United Methodist Church since July of 2018. Their primary focuses are youth ministry, welcoming new members, and worship. They are passionate about the intersections of faith and social justice, amplifying the voices of youth in church, and thoughtful study and preaching of the Bible that is compassionate and challenging.

When Andi isn’t keeping busy with church work, they are working on a Master of Social Work degree through Aurora University, serving on the Equity Advisory Team for the Downers Grove Public Library, and working as a Program Leader for Youth Outlook’s Downers Grove drop-in center for LGBTQ+ youth. Andi enjoys reading all of the books, spending time with their two cats: Emi and Ari, and exploring all of the local parks and forest preserves. More recently, Andi’s become an avid Chicago Sky fan and enjoys going to games at Wintrust Arena with friends.

Prior to serving at DGFUMC, Andi was a local licensed pastor and intern for a multisite ministry with IMU El Mesias in Elgin, First UMC of West Dundee, Trinity UMC in Carpentersville, Bethel New Faith Community in Carpentersville, and Barrington UMC. They graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 2018.

About Pastor John

John has been a member of the Downers Grove First United Methodist Church staff for more than a decade! As Director of Children and Family Ministries, he manages our year-round Sunday School; directs the Summer Camp program for a week each summer; and plans special programs and events throughout the year for children and families such as Vacation Bible School, Kickoff Day, and family Wednesday night dinners.

He also presents a special Moment for Children each Sunday during worship services and leads Messy Church every second Sunday of the month beginning at 11:00 a.m. for families of young children.

John is a devoted public school teacher, a proud father of two, an avid Green Bay Packers fan, and a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast!

Music Ministries Staff
Pattie Barnes

Pattie Barnes

Sanctuary Organist & Handbell Choirs Director

Staff
Diane Hires

Diane Hires

Chancel Choir Director

Nick Loos

Nick Loos

Youth Choirs Director

Debbie Phillips

Debbie Phillips

Angel & Cherub Choirs Director

Elizabeth Vaughan

Elizabeth Vaughan

Chapel Organist

Nancy Bifulco

Nancy Bifulco

Preschool Director

email / x215

Carolyn Donnelly

Carolyn Donnelly

Financial Secretary and Office Manager

email / x208

Carrie Flory

Carrie Flory

Kitchen Supervisor

Judy Hanley

Judy Hanley

Music Coordinator

email / x209

Deb Hinrichs

Deb Hinrichs

Communications Director

email / x206

John Kearney

John Kearney

Building Supervisor

email / x212

Linda Petrie

Linda Petrie

Office Administrator

email / x205