Leadership Team

The Reverend Keith Hohly, Pastor
I began my ministry as Transitional Pastor at First Lutheran Church in January 2020.  As Transitional Pastor my call is to serve as the pastor of First Lutheran Church while guiding the congregation in a time of self study in which we prayerfully open ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I bring to my ministry here 26 years of parish ministry experience and 6 years of service as Associate to the Bishop, Central States Synod, ELCA.  With the Spirit’s guidance we will affirm the rich history of how God has ministered through this congregation over 125 years and open ourselves to how God seeks to minister through us in 2020 and beyond.  At the end of our time of self study, I will guide the congregation through the process of calling a new pastor to service among the people of First Lutheran.
Nila Schneider, Office Administrator
I have been a junior and senior high school teacher, a university instructor, and computer lab monitor.  I have worked as a television director and associate producer.  I have managed a cable TV company and a family business, been the personal assistant to the manager of two radio stations, the office administrator for a local attorney, and operated my own public relations consulting firm.  I hold three broadcasting licenses and am a Notary Public for the State of Missouri.  I currently serve as First Lutheran’s  Office Administrator while also teaching at Missouri Western State University.  I became a member of First Lutheran Church in 1985.
Sharmyn Thompson, Director of Music
Sharon Gray, Associate Director of Music
I bring to my position as Associate Director of Music many years of experience in church music. I served as Director of Vocal Studies at Missouri Western State University for forty-two years and have performed as soprano soloist with the St. Joseph Community Chorus and Chamber Choir, the MWSU Concert Chorale and the St. Joseph Symphony. I served as Dean of the St. Joseph Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, was the Allied Arts Council 2001 Mayor’s Award recipient for Individual Artist and the 2005 recipient of the Missouri Western State University Distinguished Professor Award. In 2014, I received the Mayor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts. I have served for fifteen years as Administrator for the Community Chorus and am currently serving on the board of the St. Joseph Chapter of AGO. I began my  service as church musician when I became the Minister of Music at the Wathena United Methodist Church where I served for thirty-two years. I also served as Minister of Music at Zion United Church of Christ for over eighteen years.  I maintain a successful private voice studio.

Philip Alier Deng, Sudanese Worshiping Community Pastor

I came to St. Joseph in 2006 and helped begin a South Sudanese Worshiping Community Worship in 2007.  We worship at First Lutheran each Sunday afternoon at 1:00.  Our services are conducted in Dinka and Arabic. We provide translators for worshipers who only understand English. We encourage people to love one another and provide support that leads to unity. I understand that I am a servant of the Lord. I trust in God’s love and acceptance of us revealed in Jesus Christ. I believe that our prayer petitions are heard by God and do not return empty. I live with my wife, Agok Garang, who moved to be with me in 2012. I am completing my seminary education at Wartburg Seminary, where I am preparing for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Cyndee Simpson, Treasurer
I have been at First Lutheran Church since 1982, when my family moved here from Shawnee Mission, Kansas where I grew up. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Education from Pittsburg State University. I have been involved in several church activities including WELCA, Sunday School, Bell Choir, Ushering, Church Council, the Restructure Committee and have been the Treasurer since 2003. I work part-time at IHP Industrial and my family of 3 children and 2 grandchildren keep me busy as well.
Bruce Taylor, Building Fund Treasurer
Originally from Denver, Colorado, I moved to St. Joseph in December, 2006.  I have worked in the field of accounting since 1982.  I graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas in 1979 with a B.A. in Business.  In 1995 I became a Certified Management Accountant.  I have pursued music throughout my life and it is my great joy and honor to play with the Praise Team here at First Lutheran.
Joy Winters, Financial Secretary
Misty Coyle, Media and Technology Coordinator
I am responsible for the use of media during worship and for management of the church’s Facebook page.  My responsibilities include preparing the Keynote presentations and selecting music videos that are projected during worship, training individuals on the use of the church’s video and sound boards, and assuring coverage of these systems for worship. I also assist in posting updates to Facebook.  If you’d like to be part of my media team, let me know.
Jim Pierce, Webmaster
I am responsible for maintaining the church’s website.  My responsibilities include reviewing and updating content as needed, and assuring that links within the website function properly.  While not formally trained in website management, I do bring years of experience working with a variety of computer software.  If you spot any typos or other fixes or changes needed, let me know.