Leadership Team

First Lutheran joins the 11,000 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in a broad-based ministry.  Together we are equipping men, women, and children to serve our Lord with a Cross-centered faith in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Keith Hohly, Transitional Pastor
I began my ministry as Transitional Pastor at First Lutheran Church following the retirement of Pastor Roger Lenander at the end of 2019.  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
Sharmyn Thompson, Director of Music
Sharon Gray, Associate Director of Music
Sharon comes to First Lutheran Church as Associate Director of Music with years of experience in church music. She served as Director of Vocal Studies at Missouri Western State University for forty-two years and has performed as soprano soloist with the St. Joseph Community Chorus and Chamber Choir, MWSU Concert Chorale and St. Joseph Symphony. She 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, she received the Mayor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts. She served for twelve years as Administrator for the Chorus and is currently serving on the board of the St. Joseph Chapter of AGO. Ms. Gray began her service as church musician when she became the Minister of Music at the Wathena United Methodist Church where she served for thirty-two years. She also served as Minister of Music at Zion United Church of Christ for over eighteen years and maintains a successful private voice studio. She is very much looking forward to becoming a part of the Worship and Praise Team here at First Lutheran.

Philip Alier Deng, Sudanese Worship Pastor

I came to St. Joseph in 2006 and helped begin a South Sudanese Community Worship in Dinka and Arabic in April, 2007. We provide translators for worshippers 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 beginning my seminary education with Wartburg Seminary in Fall 2014, to study for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Jim Farrell, Council President
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 full time at IHP Industrial and my family of 3 children and 2 grandchildren keep me busy as well.
Bruce Taylor, Building Fund Treasurer
Joy Winters, Contributions Secretary
Larry Stafford, Building Maintenance