Jeff has been a pastor serving Methodist churches in Indiana since 1989 and was appointed to Anderson First in June of 2009. Prior to his Methodist ordination he served as Minister to Students at First Baptist Church in Elgin, IL. His first career was as a union carpenter working in the Chicagoland area. That later opened the door to his work with a Chicago based chain of Home and Building Centers in the areas of Human Resources and Risk management.
Jeff completed his undergraduate work at Judson University and his Divinity degree at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. He and his wife Brenda have two daughters, Alicia and Brooke, both married, and four grandchildren: Gus, Gabe, Rowan, and Lincoln. Also part of the family is Dizzy Gillespie, a chocolate colored English Cocker Spaniel.
Jeff's love for music is an avocation, but he integrates it with ministry whenever he can. When taking some time off you will most likely find him working on his Tennessee cabin or wading a Michigan trout stream. Jeff has thoroughly enjoyed each unique congregation he has been privileged to serve and is guided by this vocational prescription from Eugene Peterson: to aim for being a dependable pastor dedicated to honesty, simplicity, and substance.
I’d rather walk than ride. I’d rather read than clean house. I’d rather be neat than messy and I’d rather be called an “over-achiever” than a “couch potato.” I’d rather travel than stay at home. I like ethnic foods of all kinds but a tart blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream is absolutely my favorite dessert. A good strong cup of coffee and conversation with a beloved friend refreshes and encourages me as nothing else. I’ve had the wonderful privilege of working with all ages of people all over the world in the context of Christian ministry and teaching is a spiritual gift that God, by his Spirit, has given to me. But I find myself most at home when playing with kids. It’s where my heart finds joy and the place from which my energy comes. And when I am with them, I am free to open the window and let loose the kid in me.
My earliest memories take me to the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. I was a missionary kid and that heritage became my own years later when I served as missionary teacher and pastor in both Japan and Lebanon. I taught Christian Education and Discipleship at Mediterranean Bible College and taught English to young children both in Lebanon and Japan. My parents were educators and I discovered that I also had special ability and love for teaching and administration while serving in several congregations on the West Coast, in San Jose, California, in Portland, Oregon and in Seattle, Washington. Over the course of 13 years, I was the director of two child care programs and the principal of Fairview Christian School. My parents’ lives were always invested in the life of the church and I, too, have found a place of belonging in the community of God’s people. It is my spiritual home and it has been my vocational home.
I completed my Bachelor’s Degree at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, a Master of Education at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and a Master of Divinity at the Anderson University School of Theology, in Anderson, Indiana. I am an ordained minister in the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana.
In his letter to the Philippians the Apostle Paul writes, I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. This is my encouragement and my hope, both for the community of faith and its children, and for me, personally.
Karen Ambler has been the church office and finance administrator for First United Methodist Church for 14 years. Karen is a graduate of Ball State University and has a background in banking administration as well as teaching and education administration. Born and raised in Decatur, IN, Karen has been married to Cliff for 45 years and has lived in Anderson her married life.
Cliff and Karen are the parents of Troy and his wife, Denisse, who live in Yorktown, IN, and Brent and his wife, Dawn, who live in Westfield, IN. They are the proud grandparents of one granddaughter, Genevieve Elise, known as Gigi, and one grandson, Jackson, who live in Yorktown. Cliff and Karen enjoy spending time with their twin grandchildren, Madelyn, and Brayden, in Westfield.
Karen has been a member of First Church for over 40 years participating as an elementary Sunday School teacher, Sunday School attendance secretary, greeter and coffee hour hostess, Kids Night Out helper, member of the Bethel Bible Study, Quest activities, and Beth Moore studies.
Karen handles the financial areas of the church including being the liaison to the board of trustees and the finance and investment committees. If you have any finance-related questions or suggestions, Karen is the person to contact.
Susan Finger is the Director of Music and Organist at First Methodist Church in Anderson. She has served in the position for over 20 years and directs the Sanctuary Choir, Wesley Chorale, King's Men and plays the organ.
She also serves as the Artistic Director of the Anderson Area Children's Choir and Youth Chorale and is an adjunct professor at Ball State University in Music Education. She graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education and Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance and Church Music.
Susan taught middle school band and choir for 34 years in Anderson Community Schools and won numerous awards during her tenure. She has also served as President for the Indiana Music Education Association and is Chair for the Beginning and Developing Music Teacher Workshop for Indiana. She has also been presented with the "Hoosier Musician" award, the highest award presented by IMEA.
Susan has served as the Choral Conductor for the Indiana Ambassadors of Music in 2008, 2010 & 2012. This group traveled to and performed in seven European countries. She is active throughout the state as a clinician and presenter in the field of music education.
"Music is my passion; it helps define me. From the age of 11, I knew that I would have some type of career in music. Sharing my music through ministry or teaching is what I know God is calling me to do. It is a joy for me to share this gift with others."
Susan loves chocolate & coffee!
Kathy joined the staff in March, 2008, in the capacity of Program Support. She procures volunteers for worship service ministries and other events in the life of the church. Kathy also serves as the project lead for the church membership software as well as handling Davis Park usages.
Kathy was born and raised in Anderson and First Church. She graduated from Ball State University with majors in English and Business Administration. She retired from Delphi Corporation in 2005 after 30 years' service. Kathy has a son, Chad Stewart, who lives in Orlando, Florida. Her favorite pastime is sailing with her family. She also enjoys languages and is currently studying ASL.
Kathy can be reached through the church office as well as through her email,
William "Bill" Mathys, an ordained minister since 1957, is in his second round of serving in this church. The first appointment was from 1961 to 1970 when he served as Minister of Youth and Education. During this tenure our current sanctuary and educational building were constructed. From 1971 to 2001, Bill served in two different parishes, before retiring in 2001 and returning to the Anderson community, where he became a volunteer member of the church staff.
Bill is a graduate of Ball State University, with a degree in elementary education. His seminary degree was earned at Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Illinois. His primary responsibility is in the area of our Stephen Ministry, a lay ministry for helping persons with specific needs.
Married to Joyce for 58 years, the Mathys family is comprised of two sons, a daughter, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Peg Peter is the Communications Coordinator for Anderson First, her responsibilities include publishing the weekly bulletin and the monthly Voice. Before she retired she worked for Guide Corporation/General Motors for 30 years. She and her husband Dave have attended Anderson First since 2003. When they were looking for a new church home, Anderson First was one of friendliest congregations in the area. That, combined with the awesome worship experience they had (and continue to have) made an easy decision for them to attend here.
On a personal level, Peg loves any type of craft you can think of, especially if it involves sewing, and she loves to study books of the Old Testament. Dave and Peg have four children (actually eight, when you count spouses), and eleven grandchildren. They love to be at their grandchildren's activities as much as they can. Peg is active in Sanctuary Choir, Wesley Bells and United Methodist Women.
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Angela is the Director of Youth Ministries here at Anderson First United Methodist Church. She does all of the middle school and high school events and activities. She works with all youth grades 6-12. We met Angela as our youth intern in 2012, but she volunteered with the youth for the last 5 years. Angela graduated from Purdue University in 2013 with a Bachelors in Anthropology. She is a native to Anderson and we are happy to have her on our team!
Eddie graduated from Muncie Southside in 1985. He has worked for Marsh Supermarkets for the past 32 years. Eddie is married, 20 years this June, and he and his wife Tammy have two children and one grandchild. Their son Jacob is married to Liz and they have their grandson, Teddy. Eddie and Tammy's daughter, Hannah, is a senior at Frankton this year. They have been attending Eastside Church of God for the past 5 years.