DGFUMC Staff List

Senior Pastor

Claude King's picture

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 serves 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 married to his wife Taylor. They live in Chicago. They also have a daughter, Ashley, who holds a master's degree in communications and social media, who works in marketing in Los Angeles.

Associate Pastor

Andi Voinovich's picture

Our Associate Pastor, Andersen (Andi) Voinovich, is an Elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. They graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. Prior to that, Andi received a degree in Spanish language and literature from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and minors in educational studies and gender studies. They have appreciated the unique ways in which these study areas have enriched their ministry! Prior to this appointment, Andi served as a licensed local pastor for multi-site ministry with Barrington UMC, First UMC of West Dundee, Bethel New Faith Community, and El Mesias, UMC in Elgin. Andi is thrilled to be part of this congregation and the greater Downers Grove community!

Director of Youth Ministries

Wesley Dorr's picture

Wesley Dorr is a 2005 graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a Masters in Divinity and certification in Christian Education and Church Leadership. He is an ordained deacon in full connection with a great passion for guiding youth to a deeper faith and connecting them with experiences that lead to a better understanding of social justice through the love of Christ. Pastor Wes comes to us from the United Church of Rogers Park UMC where he founded the Peace Center of Rogers Park and developed an after-school program and a summer camp for the children of the Rogers Park neighborhood. He brings a vast knowledge of restorative justice and community engagement. Pastor Dorr grew up in Olive Branch, Mississippi just outside of Memphis, Tenn. and did his undergraduate work at Mississippi State University. He and his wife, Charlotte, have a son, Brennan. Pastor Wes enjoys coaching little league baseball, bike riding, and watching Chicago sports. He especially has a love of the White Sox!

Director of Children and Family Ministries

John Smoke's picture

John has been a member of the DGFUMC 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 Rally Day and Family Dinners. He also presents a special Moment for Children each Sunday during worship services and leads Messy Church every second Sunday of the month at 11:00 a.m. for families of young children. John is a devoted public school teacher and an avid Green Bay Packers fan!

Communications Director

Deborah Hinrichs's picture

Deborah (Deb) Hinrichs, our communications director, has extensive experience in communications, marketing, and public relations for non-profits and colleges and universities. She really enjoys learning about and telling the stories of our congregation and our members and friends!

Financial Secretary

Carolyn Donnelly's picture

Carolyn Donnelly has attended DGFUMC for almost 50 years. She has been active in the music program as a member of the Chapel Choir, the Chancel Choir, the Chancel Ringers, the Sacred Dancers, and as Director of the Worship Band. She has served as the Financial Secretary since April 2001 and also serves as the Membership Secretary and Computer Administrator. Carolyn has BS and MAS in Accountancy and a minor in flute performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is a CPA but also teaches flute privately. Previously, she worked at Arthur Andersen for 14 years.

Preschool Director

Nancy Bifulco's picture

Nancy is our director of the First United Methodist Preschool (FUMPS) program. She taught in the four-year-old program before becoming director. Nancy is also a very proud graduate of the program, back in its earlier days. She has degrees in elementary education and accounting, so the director position is a wonderful job for her, combining both her passion for children with her enjoyment of management. Nancy is a life-long member of First United Methodist Church. She has been actively involved in the Sunday school program, has served on many work areas, and has played in the handbell choir for more than 25 years. She is married to Ed, a chiropractor who teaches at a local university. She and Ed are the proud parents of Olivia, a high school student who keeps them very busy going to all her sporting events – soccer, baseball, basketball, and volleyball.

Building Superintendent

Don Dunham's picture

Don has served as Building Superintendent since 2010. Among his responsibilities are the overall upkeep, maintenance, and usage of church facilities and grounds. A native of Florida, Don and his family have been members of DGFUMC since moving from Nashville, Tenn. in 1996. Previously, he spent nearly 30 years as an association management executive in the graphic arts/printing industry and other not-for-profit trade organizations focusing primarily in communications, membership development, and event planning.

Kitchen Supervisor

Carrie Flory's picture

Carrie, a long-time member of our church, keeps our many kitchens and refrigerators clean and spotless throughout the year!

Music Coordinator

Dave Neve's picture

David Neve came to First United Methodist Church as a 10-month-old child when his father, John, was the Director of Music Ministries from 1969 – 1984. It is here that Dave learned of the spiritual impact music can have on a congregation and where his sense of a church family was established. In 1984, the Neve family moved to Tucson, Arizona where his dad continued his music ministry career. Dave spent the next 34 years in Tucson where he sang in church, college, and community choirs. Not long after earning a Bachelor of Music in Education, Dave felt drawn to a career in the military and served 23 years with the Arizona Air National Guard. In 2018, he retired and moved back to the community and church he had always considered home. Dave enjoys being outdoors and hiking as much as he can.

Chancel Choir Director

Diane Hires's picture

Diane Hires served as 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 theater musicals. She received several state awards for excellence in teaching. Currently, Diane directs the 55-voice Chancel Choir which rehearses 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 enjoying more than 20 years as organist and director of handbell ensembles at DGFUMC. Under her leadership, the church's Chancel Ringers performed the closing concert for the 2002 AGEHR Directors’ Seminar in Des Moines, Iowa. Each Christmas season, the Westminster Ringers and Chancel Ringers perform a Hanging of the Greens Concert and each spring, the Ringers perform their annual Spring Ring.

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. He enjoys his role as the organist/pianist for the 8:15 a.m. service and accompanist for the Chapel Choir, and is always willing to assist with other choirs and services when he can. Kevin has played professionally for more than 32 years since 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 has served on the staff of eight churches primarily located in the western suburbs. In addition to his talented contributions at DGFUMC, he is a freelance musician and also an organist at the Notre Dame Church in Clarendon Hills.

Connection Choir Director

Rebecca Kriz's picture

Since 1997 (except the one year that she was concentrating on completion of her Master's 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.

Cherub Choir Director

Debbie Phillips's picture

Debbie is the director of the Angel Choir (for pre-kindergarten children ages 3, 4, and 5) and the Cherub Choir (for kindergarten, first and second grade children).

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