Jeon Heecheon

Heecheon Jeon

Lead Pastor

Pastor Heecheon started his ministry in July 1, 2022 at First United Methodist Church of Iowa City. He served Corning United Methodist Church, Iowa City First UMC (associate), Mount Vernon UMC, and Central/Riverview Park District as a district superintendent. His vision is that, following John Wesley’s worldwide vision, “The world is my parish,” and Jesus’ Great Commission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,” he is empowering the people to go out into the world to be hands and feet of Jesus Christ for God’s justice and peace on earth. He loves reading, Tennis, and Ping Pong. He and his wife, Anne, and their daughter, Sonia, live in West Branch. 

Jeon Heecheon

Heecheon Jeon

Lead Pastor

Pastor Heecheon started his ministry in July 1, 2022 at First United Methodist Church of Iowa City. He served Corning United Methodist Church, Iowa City First UMC (associate), Mount Vernon UMC, and Central/Riverview Park District as a district superintendent. His vision is that, following John Wesley’s worldwide vision, “The world is my parish,” and Jesus’ Great Commission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,” he is empowering the people to go out into the world to be hands and feet of Jesus Christ for God’s justice and peace on earth. He loves reading, Tennis, and Ping Pong. He and his wife, Anne, and their daughter, Sonia, live in West Branch. 

First UMC Associate Pastor Rachel Hollingsworth

Rachel Lamparek

Associate Pastor

Pastor Rachel started her ministry as the associate pastor at FUMC on July 1st, 2022 after graduating from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Pastor Rachel leads our faith community primarily in the area of discipleship. She grew up in the Des Moines area, where she was raised in the United Methodist Church. Pastor Rachel also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religion from Simpson College. She is passionate about empowering people for leadership, justice, and service. Rachel and her husband Keegan live in Iowa City with their dog, Yahtzee. They love to cook, travel, and spend time outdoors together and with their family and friends. 

First UMC Associate Pastor Rachel Hollingsworth

Rachel Lamparek

Associate Pastor

Pastor Rachel started her ministry as the associate pastor at FUMC on July 1st, 2022 after graduating from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Pastor Rachel leads our faith community primarily in the area of discipleship. She grew up in the Des Moines area, where she was raised in the United Methodist Church. Pastor Rachel also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religion from Simpson College. She is passionate about empowering people for leadership, justice, and service. Rachel and her husband Keegan live in Iowa City with their dog, Yahtzee. They love to cook, travel, and spend time outdoors together and with their family and friends. 

First UMC Music Director, Phil Carver

Joyce Thomas

Director of Congregational Care

Joyce joined FUMC in 1990.  Following a career in healthcare management (having earned degrees in elementary education and business administration from the University of Iowa), Joyce joined FUMC staff in 2020 as the Director of Spiritual Life.  In 2020 she transitioned to the role of Director of Congregational Care.  Joyce leads the Hospitality Team, focusing on the areas of Welcoming Ministry, Fellowship Table Ministry, and Congregational Care Ministry.  Joyce believes developing and nurturing strong relationships with each other is essential to fulfilling the mission, vision and values of our church — truly being the hands, feet, eyes, ears and heart of Jesus Christ on earth.  Joyce loves reading, gardening, cooking and fitness activities, particularly treasuring time spent outdoors.  Her family includes her three sisters and the World’s Best Cat, Miss Lily Ann Thomas.

First UMC Music Director, Phil Carver

Joyce Thomas

Director of Congregational Care

Joyce joined FUMC in 1990.  Following a career in healthcare management (having earned degrees in elementary education and business administration from the University of Iowa), Joyce joined FUMC staff in 2020 as the Director of Spiritual Life.  In 2020 she transitioned to the role of Director of Congregational Care.  Joyce leads the Hospitality Team, focusing on the areas of Welcoming Ministry, Fellowship Table Ministry, and Congregational Care Ministry.  Joyce believes developing and nurturing strong relationships with each other is essential to fulfilling the mission, vision and values of our church — truly being the hands, feet, eyes, ears and heart of Jesus Christ on earth.  Joyce loves reading, gardening, cooking and fitness activities, particularly treasuring time spent outdoors.  Her family includes her three sisters and the World’s Best Cat, Miss Lily Ann Thomas.

Claire Bartleson

Claire Bartleson

Office Manager

Claire joined First United Methodist Church in 2010. Born in Minnesota, Claire has also resided in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany and Key West, FL before moving to rural Solon. She holds a journalism and public relations degree from Waldorf College. 

Claire Bartleson

Claire Bartleson

Office Manager

Claire joined First United Methodist Church in 2010. Born in Minnesota, Claire has also resided in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany and Key West, FL before moving to rural Solon. She holds a journalism and public relations degree from Waldorf College. 

First UMC Music Director, Phil Carver

Phil Carver

Director of Worship Arts

Phil is a lifelong Methodist, whose father and maternal grandfather were both pastors in the Methodist, and then United Methodist, Church. He holds a bachelor of music degree from Cornell College and a master of music degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Phil has served in Iowa Conference and General Conference leadership roles for more than 20 years before joining the staff of First United Methodist Church in November, 2021. 

First UMC Music Director, Phil Carver

Phil Carver

Director of Worship Arts

Phil is a lifelong Methodist, whose father and maternal grandfather were both pastors in the Methodist, and then United Methodist, Church. He holds a bachelor of music degree from Cornell College and a master of music degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Phil has served in Iowa Conference and General Conference leadership roles for more than 20 years before joining the staff of First United Methodist Church in November, 2021. 

Dr. Josh Neuenschwander

Dr. Joshua Neuenschwander

Director of Music

Dr. Joshua W. Neuenschwander began his ministry as Director of Music at First UMC in 2023. Josh has held prior positions as the Director of Music at Dearborn (MI) First United Methodist Church, Director of Music Ministries/Organist at St. Luke’s United Methodist in Rochester Hills, MI, North Northfield United Methodist in Northbrook, IL, and Erin Presbyterian Church in Roseville, MI, and Director of Vocal Music at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Lansing, MI. Josh currently holds an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Music and the Director of Instrumental Music at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, where he directs the wind ensemble, symphonic band, and chamber orchestra, and teaches courses in conducting, music education, electronic music, and introductory music theory. Previously, he has held positions at Grinnell College, the University of Iowa, and in the Avondale and Haslett public school districts in Michigan.

Josh holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Iowa, a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from Oakland University, and a Bachelor of Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. He lives in Coralville with his wife, Heather, and sons, Alex and Zachary.

Dr. Josh Neuenschwander

Dr. Minji Kwon

Organist

Korean-born pianist Minji Kwon is an insightful collaborator, educator
and musician. Kwon was granted the Ambassadorial Scholarship from
the Rotary Foundation to study in the US. She was the recipient of the
Iowa Performance Fellowship while working on her DMA at the University
of Iowa. Dr. Kwon taught as Adjunct Professor at New York University,
where she earned her Master’s degree in Collaborative Piano. Kwon
internationally appeared in cities like Seoul, London, Prague, Mexico City,
Chicago, Orlando, and New York City in such major venues as the Stern
Auditorium and the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. Also, she gave
concerts at Columbia University, Western Michigan University, University
of Michigan, University of Florida, and Drake University. In 2019, she
has collaborated with oboist Courtney Miller for a CD, “Portuguese
Perspectives” and toured in Germany. She completed her DMA degree at
the University of Iowa and her recording project was Solo Piano Music by
Croatian female composer Dora Pejačević (1885- 1923).

Kwon is a co-founder of Ensemble Yeon, a former member of Apas Piano
Duo, and currently serves as a staff pianist for the University of Iowa as
well as an organist at FUMC in Iowa City.

Dr. Josh Neuenschwander

Dr. Joshua Neuenschwander

Director of Music

Dr. Joshua W. Neuenschwander began his ministry as Director of Music at First UMC in 2023. Josh has held prior positions as the Director of Music at Dearborn (MI) First United Methodist Church, Director of Music Ministries/Organist at St. Luke’s United Methodist in Rochester Hills, MI, North Northfield United Methodist in Northbrook, IL, and Erin Presbyterian Church in Roseville, MI, and Director of Vocal Music at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Lansing, MI. Josh currently holds an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Music and the Director of Instrumental Music at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, where he directs the wind ensemble, symphonic band, and chamber orchestra, and teaches courses in conducting, music education, electronic music, and introductory music theory. Previously, he has held positions at Grinnell College, the University of Iowa, and in the Avondale and Haslett public school districts in Michigan.

Josh holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Iowa, a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from Oakland University, and a Bachelor of Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. He lives in Coralville with his wife, Heather, and sons, Alex and Zachary.

Hillary Biancuzzo

Hillary Biancuzzo

Business Manager

Hillary joined the staff at First United Methodist Church as the Business Manager in 2005.  She was born and raised in Iowa City and is a graduate of the University of Iowa.  She has two sons, Nick and Lucas. 

Hillary Biancuzzo

Stacey Abel

Youth Ministry Director

I currently work full time at the VA Medical Center as a post-transplant coordinator, just starting my 17th year. What that means is I have the privilege of assisting our veterans learn how to get used to a new life with a kidney transplant or a kidney pancreas transplant. Helping them learn their medications, making sure they know the right foods to eat, how much fluid to drink; majority of our patients were on dialysis prior to their transplant so they were met with many restrictions and now we get to assist them and undo all of that. We follow patients from coast to coast. The VA transplant system is unique in there are only 9 designated VA hospitals that can do kidney transplants in the US and Iowa City is one of those locations and we are the only location that is designated to perform kidney pancreas transplants. Transplant is my professional passion. I worked at the University for 21 yrs. before becoming an employee of the VA.

I have attended First United Methodist Church since the early 90’s, I was a young nurse working at the University, looking for a church home, didn’t have that while I attended college, so I was longing to connect again. I sat in the back left corner, where most of the collegiates sit, and became acquainted with those that always attended. Marty and Larry Roesch were my buddies.  I can’t remember when I first started volunteering. Jr High Sunday school was my first assignment, we had a group of 5-6 young folks that attended, and we had fun together. I was asked what my passion is, I would say I am inspired most by watching our younger folks in action, whether that be the children, the youth, or our collegiate ministry. I am touched nearly every week that I am in their presence. I believe we can do great things together. We are going to grow together and learn together. Probably make a few mistakes together but that’s also how learning happens. 

My hobbies are staying active, staying connected with friends and family. This has become more relevant to me in the past few years that connection and building relationships are key. Take time to grab coffee with a friend or make a phone call with someone you haven’t chatted with in a few months. It’s all about making time.

Hillary Biancuzzo

Wayne Steen

Outreach Coordinator

Wayne Steen joined the First United Methodist Church of Iowa City in 2012. He currently serves as the Church Council Chairperson of the church. Wayne has been active in youth ministry, confirmation mentoring, LDOT, VBS, and was in the choir. He is currently teaching a Bible Study class on Thursday nights at the church. 

Wayne has also been active at the Iowa Annual Conference level serving as the Chairperson of CORR (Commission of Religion and Race), the AntiRacism Task Group and serving on the Iowa Annual Conference Nominations Committee. He has also attended seven Annual Conferences representing the church.

Wayne is a resident of rural West Liberty and has recently retired from farming. Wayne is also active in Rotary and is the Iowa RYLA Board Chairperson (a week long summer leadership conference for Iowa high Iowa school students) and District 6000 Interact Chair (high school service organization for Rotary).

Wayne is humbled, honored and exhilarated to be the new Outreach Coordinator and be a part of the Family Ministry Team at the First United Methodist Church of Iowa City.

Hillary Biancuzzo

Kaylee Osterhaus

Children Ministry Director

I am currently studying psychology and human relations on the counseling psychology tract. I’m passionate about people and their state of well-being. Including such; access to resources, mental health, physical health, positive learning establishments, and positive relationships. My hope for the children’s ministry is that the children feel comfortable and responsive in a learning environment that can engage them in their connection to God, and their connections to all people. In doing so, I also hope the children feel secure with one another and their teachers to create meaningful ideas and relationships.

Hillary Biancuzzo

John Madsen

Facilities Manager

John has been married to his wife Diane for 36 years. He has three children and two grandchildren. He is a life long resident of Iowa City/Coralville and is the owner of John Madsen Masonry & Construction.

Hillary Biancuzzo

Hillary Biancuzzo

Business Manager

Hillary joined the staff at First United Methodist Church as the Business Manager in 2005.  She was born and raised in Iowa City and is a graduate of the University of Iowa.  She has two sons, Nick and Lucas. 

Teresa Schulte

Teresa Schulte

Custodian

Teresa, and her husband Tim moved to Iowa City in 2009, she started custodial work for FUMC that fall. She was raised in the Cedar Rapids area. Before coming to Iowa City she earned a degree in Fisheries & Wildlife Biology at Iowa State and spent years teaching outdoor education in Wisconsin and New York State. Once back in Iowa there was an interlude working at the Prairiewoods Spirituality & Retreat Center in Hiawatha.  All things nature, garden, and pet oriented are important parts of her life. 

Teresa Schulte

Teresa Schulte

Custodian

Teresa, and her husband Tim moved to Iowa City in 2009, she started custodial work for FUMC that fall. She was raised in the Cedar Rapids area. Before coming to Iowa City she earned a degree in Fisheries & Wildlife Biology at Iowa State and spent years teaching outdoor education in Wisconsin and New York State. Once back in Iowa there was an interlude working at the Prairiewoods Spirituality & Retreat Center in Hiawatha.  All things nature, garden, and pet oriented are important parts of her life. 

Little Angels Learning Director Cathy Strange

Cathy Strange

Little Angels Learning Center Director

Cathy received her BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University “many moons ago.” She started out in the field of Social work and Child Protection Services. Years later she was blessed to open and run a home child care business for 10 years as she raised her children. She has been the director of LALC since 2007 and considers working with children and families to be a passion and thoroughly believe that ours is a business of building relationships. Diversity is of the utmost importance to LALC and it is her job to make sure each family that comes through our doors feels safe, connected, empowered, and respected.  

Little Angels Learning Director Cathy Strange

Cathy Strange

Little Angels Learning Center Director

Cathy received her BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University “many moons ago.” She started out in the field of Social work and Child Protection Services. Years later she was blessed to open and run a home child care business for 10 years as she raised her children. She has been the director of LALC since 2007 and considers working with children and families to be a passion and thoroughly believe that ours is a business of building relationships. Diversity is of the utmost importance to LALC and it is her job to make sure each family that comes through our doors feels safe, connected, empowered, and respected.  

Our Staff

Who We Are

Come meet our staff! We are dedicated to serving you. Click on a staff person’s name to send an email.

About our Leadership

Our leadership is guided by the Mission of First UMC: which is to be disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Our vision states that FUMC Is a community of faith through which grace is offered to all and each person is empowered to impact the world for good.

We demonstrate this by following a three-fold pathway:

 

Worship: Know God’s love.
Grow: Grow in faith.
Serve: Show God’s grace.