Yvonne Coon Snelson
Pastor Yvonne joined our pastoral staff in June 2011 and currently serves as Senior Pastor for First UMC. In this role, she guides the Discipleship team in strategic planning and collaboration. She also serves as the lead pastor for our contemporary worship community. Yvonne received her Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School (TCU) in 2008 and was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in 2011. However, she will tell you, “I never wanted to be a pastor.” With encouragement from a friend, she enrolled in seminary (Brite Divinity School, TCU) with great plans to be a teacher! (World religions and ethics) But in spite of herself, her personal journey and experiences in seminary led her closer to exploring the idea that God might be calling her to ordained ministry. By the time she understood and accepted this calling, she was serving with a great group of mentors and friends at Keller UMC who offered support and encouragement. She is not your typical pastor. By that, she does not fit her own outdated expectations of what a pastor ought to be or do. Her life has not been perfect. But, she continues to live as God has called her to be -- as His beloved child – and she trusts in God’s grace to help her with the not so great parts of who she is. God has walked with her through some pretty dark valleys, sometimes kicking and screaming, but always in ways that result in unimaginable growth. Out of these valleys grew a priceless gift of caring for others. One of her strengths is the comfort she brings through pastoral care. Through her various clergy appointments she has always been responsible for pastoral care. Yvonne’s gift of sharing her story and God’s grace in a personal way comes through when she preaches as well. She speaks as she would to each of her congregation individually and the courage and love God has given her comes through for each. She is a visionary realist and a caring nurturing soul behind a cheerful smile that helps you get back on track. One of the bright mountain-top experiences of her life has been – and continues to be—the gift of motherhood. She has two boys (men, now!) and recently, married the most incredible man who appreciates her quirky sense of humor and loves to laugh as much as she does. Along with him, she also received two more boys (soon to be men!) and can only say that life is good and full and joyful! To offset the abundant male influence at home, she has a female schnauzer/terrier mix who makes sure that they go walking regularly and a senior calico cat who could care less what is happening as long as there is food in her dish. Still reading? If you want to know more, her office door is usually open even though the lights are generally off (she does have lamps and windows but enjoys low lighting) – she’d love to get to know you, too!
Director, Transformative Missions
Ron joined the Discipleship Team in March 2014 as Director of Transformative Mission Ministries, which is grounded in the Great Commandment, “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart … and Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36 – 40). Previously, he had an extensive career in higher education administration, most recently as Senior Advisor to the President at Southwestern University. In this position, he was responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of the University’s strategic plan and supervising institutional research. In addition, he was engaged in numerous civic and nonprofit organizations in Georgetown, including: the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the City’s Economic Development Commission, The Georgetown Project, Habitat for Humanity, the Rotary Club of Georgetown and the Williamson County Institute for Performance Excellence in Nonprofits. Ron’s passion for human development, organizational performance and community service have been reignited by his reading of Toxic Charity and When Helping Hurts. His thinking about Christian Community Development has been enhanced by site visits to Mission Waco, Mission Houston and participating in the Texas Christian Community Development Conference. Ron has also been inspired by the current work of the Texas Methodist Foundation and especially the writings of Gil Rendle. As a follower of Jesus Christ, Ron aspires to become as a servant-leader. Ron is married to Chrystle and for fun they enjoy Friday nights at the movies.
Learning Tree Preschool Assistant Director
Julie joined The Learning Tree staff as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher in 2014. Julie has taught pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and Children’s Sunday School. Prior to joining the FUMC staff, she served as a member of the Children’s Ministry team while helping coordinate various children’s programs throughout the year. Julie has a wonderful husband and 2 fabulous children. She enjoys teaching children’s yoga, cooking, and reading. But most importantly she loves spending time with her family.
Director of Student Ministries
Kenny and his wife of 22 years, Debbie, and their two sons, Ethan (18) and Adam (15), have been members of FUMC since 2001. Prior to joining the FUMC staff, Kenny was an active volunteer with the youth for several years, going on mission trips, participating in youth activities and leading small group Bible Study for Jr. High boys. In 2016, he sold his coffee and catering business of almost 25 years to follow his heart and pursue a calling in full-time youth ministry. He is determined to surround the youth with an unconditional love that fosters genuine relationships that will help build, strengthen, and grow their faith journey. One of his favorite things to do is support the students by attending activities such as sporting events, fine arts performances, and academic achievements. In his spare time, he loves vacationing with his family, playing golf, and watching sports.
Bruce was born and raised on the Kansas prairies and attended Kansas State University where he earned his degree in Chemical Engineering. He worked 30 years for The Dow Chemical Company until he retired in 2008. During his working career he actively volunteered in Christian Education as a teacher and work area coordinator while also attending numerous Conference workshops and continuing education courses at Perkins School of Theology. Following retirement he trained as a Church Leadership Coach and currently facilitates Laity Leadership Development workshops under the Healthy Church Initiative for the Central Texas Conference. In other words, while Bruce was working at Dow, God was making new plans for him! When not at work you will find Bruce spending time with his grandchildren, playing with his trains or reading and studying Wesleyan history and theology or early Christian history and thought. Bruce and his wife, Peggy, settled in Georgetown in 2012. Their son, Michael, and spouse, Jennifer, live in Round Rock with their two children, Krystal, and Joshua. Their daughter, Claire, lives in Boston.
Director, Congregational Care
Kathy joined the discipleship team in July 2013 as Director of Congregational Care. Her previous life included 30 years teaching in public education in 3 states and for 7 school districts in addition to living in a parsonage as wife to a United Methodist pastor. When approached about considering the position she was asked, “Is congregational care your passion?” She had never thought of that question before since taking home-made bread and freshly prepared soup to people who were shut-in or ill had always been part of what she did. She had also been a Stephen Minister, realizing the value of being someone who could “walk through a difficult time” with another. After moving to Georgetown in 2010 she had become a volunteer in our PALS respite ministry and a tutor in our after-school ministry. She sings in the choir, spends time working on spiritual formation, swims regularly, does oil painting with palette knife, and still bakes home-made bread. Her daughter Kirsten lives in Georgetown with her husband Jery and her son Jody lives in Austin with his wife Abbey.
Director, Learning Tree
Emily joined the Learning Tree staff as a teacher ten years ago. Prior to that all three of her children attended Learning Tree. She realized through her experience as a parent that her passion is for The Learning Tree to remain a place where every child feels loved and secure. Her classroom experience gave her a deep understanding and knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice. Now, as the director it is clear that her gift of teaching is a true balance of art and skill as she leads the preschool teachers in providing a nurturing environment for the children each day. Her leadership style is also seen in how she relates with the parents of the little ones who come to The Learning Tree - she is consistent in extending that nurturing welcome to all.
Church Business Administrator
Chris Baker joined the Discipleship Team in October 2015. She previously served as a Business Manager for a downtown Austin church for 18 years. She enjoys serving and participating in church ministry and welcomes the variety and challenges of the position. Chris is married to Rick and has two teenage boys, Brian and Zachary. When they aren’t involved in family activities they spend time together with their three dogs, Rosie, Bonnie, and Clyde.
Director of Communications
Tiffany Gibson has joined the Discipleship Team as Director of Communications. Previously she worked in educational publishing as both a writer and editor. She is thrilled with the opportunity to bring her knowledge and experience to the Communications team at FUMC. Prior to joining the FUMC staff, Tiffany has volunteered in many areas of the church including VBS, the community garden, the Children’s Ministry Team, and the ESL ministry. Tiffany enjoys spending time with her family which includes her husband, Kevin, and two wonderful children, Max, and Ainsley. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, running, and attempting to play golf.
Children’s and Family Ministries Coordinator
Carrie is thrilled to join the FUMC staff as Children and Family Ministries Coordinator. She taught 8th grade for 10 years and has been volunteering at FUMC with Children's Sunday School, VBS, Mission Possible, and the Children's Ministry Team since 2007. Carrie is excited to be a part of all the great things happening at FUMC and loves having opportunities to witness God at work in the lives of our children. She enjoys reading, being outside and most of all, spending time with her favorite people Kevin, Cole, Max, Trent and Molly.
Director of Worship Arts
Garth comes to us with both formal musical training and over 20 years of experience in church music and worship. He has distinguished himself as an innovative worship arts director and worship leader, a talented solo pianist, an engaging choral director, and an integral piece of both small and large instrumental ensembles. He has directed musical groups in the church, academe, and theatre. Garth is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science that comprises a double major: in music with an emphasis in piano/composition and in business with an emphasis in finance. He has also studied at St. Stephen’s University in New Brunswick, British Columbia, where he earned a Certificate in Worship Leadership Studies. Garth served as legal administrator for law firms in Montana, Idaho, and Washington State; living out his passion for sacred music in part-time roles in the church. He has been serving full time since 2011. In his past positions, he has a reputation as a strong, collaborative leader who builds choral and instrumental ensembles while enriching worship with his creativity and dynamic personality. He is also a composer and arranger. For more information about Garth, go to garthsmusic.com. Garth is recently married to Mary Lou, who is the Senior Director of Administration at law firm, which is just coincidentally how they met at a legal administrator association holiday function. She helps balance him out with his humor and random movie quotes. In addition to Mary Lou, he received her son, Carl. The Olsons are blessed and thankful to be part of church community of First Church.
Director of Children's and Family Ministry
Laura Painchaud is delighted to serve as the Director of Children's and Family Ministry! She has served in children’s ministries in United Methodist Churches and Retreat Centers in Oklahoma, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee, as well as interning in the Religious Life Office at Southwestern University. The scripture that inspires her ministry is Matthew 18:5 "Whoever accepts a little child in my name accepts me." She believes that she is called not only to welcome children, but to encourage them as members of the body of Christ. In all that she does, Laura aims to encourage children—and all people— to live up to their full potential as sons and daughters of God. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Southwestern University and is pursuing certification in Children’s Ministries and Christian Education through Perkins School of Theology. Laura and her husband Austin are thrilled to be back in Georgetown!