As of July 1, we will welcome a new pastor to First United Methodist Church: Rev. Leslee Fritz.

Leslee has served as the Assistant Pastor at University United Methodist Church in East Lansing since the start of 2016. She provides worship leadership, assists with pastoral care and coordinates adult education. She also does communications consulting for the Michigan Area of the United Methodist Church. She is a Licensed Local Pastor and is enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, pursuing ordination.

Prior to her transition to ministry, Leslee worked in government and politics. She served as the Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and in a variety of roles in the administration of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, including Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor John D. Cherry Jr., Communications Director for the Office of the State Budget and Deputy Communications Director for the governor.
Leslee is a proud graduate of Albion College. She has a 21-year-old son and welcomed her first grandchild in January.

In the weeks and months ahead we will plan welcome events for Pastor Leslee. We will also plan for a time to celebrate and give thanks for Pastor Jeremy and Tamara’s ministry with us.

In the midst of these changes, we trust God’s Spirit to move in our midst in ways that will enliven and sustain us through the coming days. Through this change and transition, God continues not only to be present with us, but to call us forward in faith.

We are pleased to share this announcement with you, and we know that you will enjoy getting acquainted with Pastor Leslee as we work together to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Please keep Pastor Jeremy and our incoming Pastor Leslee in prayer as they prepare for the coming time of transition.

IMG_20160517_164459523_HDRAt the same time as we are welcoming Pastor Leslee, Pastor Jeremy will be arriving at Community United Methodist Church in North Muskegon to be their pastor.

Jeremy Williams has been pastor here since 2009. He loves being a pastor, because it brings together so many great possibilities: making new friends, walking with people through hard times, celebrating God’s presence in worship, and teaching about the Bible. He’s a scholar who doesn’t preach like a scholar, but who believes in bringing joy and integrity into worship (see what’s coming up). He loves leading in-depth Bible studies that embrace open-minded questioning (see times and places). He believes that the church cannot expect people to come to us, unless we first go out, build relationships, and show that we take the needs and perspectives of the world seriously.

Jeremy is also a musician, helping on Sunday mornings with a guitar or some other stringed instrument, playing violin in the college symphony, piano at Blues at the Bohm every month, and in a small jazz group in town.

He’s also an advisor for the student-led Chapel at Albion College, and has been involved in town with various organizations and programs.

Since 1984, Jeremy is married to Tamara, another United Methodist pastor, and they have an adult son who is a church music minister in the Detroit area.

Jeremy has previously been pastor at Traverse Bay United Methodist Church in Traverse City, Berrien Springs UMC, and Arden UMC in Berrien Springs. In every appointment, Jeremy has worked to create new outreach ministries that connect the church to the needs of the community.

His BA was in religion at the University of Iowa, followed by a series of jobs, followed by a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in Theology (History of Christianity) from the University of Notre Dame.