Meet Our Staff

  • Pastor Tony Johnson

    I grew up just south of Fort Wayne, IN and attended church with my family every Sunday. However, it was not until I was in college that I finally discovered what a real relationship with Jesus was. As my life was transformed, I experienced a joy and peace in my life that I could not have found anywhere else. Since that time, it has been my mission to help others discover that same joy through a relationship with Christ.

    I love to be outdoors, playing with my 3 kids, or spending time with my exceptional wife, Melissa. I am a diehard Miami Dolphins fan and have been since I was 5 years old. On Sundays you can rest assured you will find me in church in the mornings, and watching football in the afternoons.

    I look forward with great anticipation to the future that God has for HUMC. God has done some amazing things at HUMC and will continue to do even greater things in the coming weeks, months, and years as we seek to connect and serve the community in which we serve. I hope you will join us as we grow into the fullness of God’s call on this place.

    Pastor Tony

  • Pastor Gabrielle Ginder

    It’s hard to believe that I have been at HUMC since 1990! It continues to be an amazing journey to see both the church and myself change and grow over the years. I love this church and community – and continue to

    see God’s hand in growing us closer to Him each day. I am totally sold out on relational ministry – I think when we ‘do life’ together it is what the church should be about. . . spending time together, investing in one another’s lives, sharing together, and more. I help launch church wide ministries that provide different avenues for people to connect with one another and with Christ. One of the key ways that happens, we believe, is in small groups. So the wider variety of small groups and more people involved the better!

    I have had some exciting changes in my life this year.  I am officially a pastor and appointed to HUMC!  I have also begun seminary  and I am an online student at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio!  I am only three weeks in and already am learning so much!!

    My role is varied and I love the fact that I get to do something new everyday. Besides overseeing our small groups, I work with church wide ministries and help resource our adult ministries, you can find me visiting,

    meeting with leaders,  preaching, planning events, and spending time with people!

    I am the ‘East Coast’ representative on staff. I was born in New York City and grew up in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. I have a B.A. from Boston College and an M.A. in Communication from Penn State University. 

    My husband Park and I have been married for 27 years. He is the Principal at Homestead High School. We have four children: Cameron (25) who is currently a third year law student at William and Mary. He is married to our beautiful daughter-in-law Sarah who is a first grade teacher. Our daughter Kyle (24) is married to our awesome son-in-law Josh.  Kyle is launching her own business (she does invitations and cards and Christmas cards, etc).  Josh is an 8th grade science teacher.   Tanner (22) is in his senior year at Indiana University studying Elementary Education.  He just spent this entire past summer in the Dominican Republic with Go Ministries. Mallory (19) is in her second years at Ball State and is an RA.   She continues to pursue her love of music.

    I love to read – mostly non-fiction, culture, leadership, and church growth books. I love listening to ESPN radio in the morning. And I love to listen to podcasted sermons. If you ever have any questions about the church don't hesitate to contact me!


  • Cheryl Degler

  • Deb Podgorny

    Children's Ministry Director

    I came to Indiana and HUMC in October 2010. I was born and raised in Bryan, Ohio and lived in Northwest Ohio all my life until God moved me. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has a plan for our lives, a plan to prosper, not to harm us. God gave me the wonderful gift of my husband, Jack. He brought me to HUMC and has now blessed me with the opportunity to serve your children. I am beyond EXCITED!!

    Our children are the seeds of our faith journey. To nurture those seeds, I feel, we must dedicate careful thought and have heartfelt enthusiasm to disciple and reach not only the children in our church but also in our community.

    1 Timothy 4: 12 says "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." The Holy Spirit dwells in our children. Young people CAN set an example, given the right tools. I hope to nurture those tools.

    My desire is to show the love of Jesus to all the children God places in my path. I truly value the small part He has given me in their faith journey.

    One of my favorite quotes concerning children is from Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International. "When God brings a child across your path, even for a minute, it may well be a Divine appointment".

    Please feel free to contact me.


  • Jill Sloffer - 

    Interim Worship Leader


  • Alisabeth Grossman

    Traditional Worship Service Coordinator

    I was raised at HUMC and have been singing here for as long as I can remember. My sisters, Kaleela, Lynessa, and I started out in the Church Mouse Choir, then Rhythm and Praise, eventually joining the Traditional Choir with Mom and Dad.  A couple of years ago someone decided I should be the one to wave my arms around and take on the role of director. Outside of church, I am a student at IPFW studying Music Education and I am loving every moment of it! It is a great experience that is constantly exposing me to wonderful new music and knowledge.

    I am so honored to find myself in the position of leading worship for the Traditional services here at HUMC, singing songs to a wonderful God with the people who have always helped and encouraged me in my faith walk and everyday life! I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me!

  • Katy Close

    Youth Director

    Katy grew up on Jimmerson Lake and moved to Fort Wayne in 2010. She has been involved with youth for several years through volunteering and mission trips. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business, a Master's Degree in Leadership, and is currently working towards her Doctorate in Educational Psychology. She enjoys music, reading, and spending time with her family.

    Katy is looking forward to walking alongside Huntertown UMC in raising up the next generation of disciples!

  • Chelsea Hile

    Preschool Director

    Chelsea has lived in the Fort Wayne area all of her life. She graduated from Bishop Dwenger. Prior to HUM Preschool, Chelsea taught at Three Rivers Montessori and worked at 1st Source Bank. Married in May, Chelsea and her husband, Jordan are currently working on home renovations. Together they share a fur baby, a puppy, named Kyoto.

    Prior to becoming the director, Chelsea has taught at HUM Preschool for 3 years. She has always been interested in marine biology, so science lessons are one of her favorite things to do with the kids. She looks forward to doing chapel each week with the kids and seeing how the Lord is working in their lives. One of the most rewarding parts of the job to Chelsea is being able to expand the His Kingdom through the lives of little ones.

    When not teaching, she enjoys crafting, calligraphy, painting, reading, hanging out with friends, spending time at the lake and playing with her puppy.

  • Karen Baker

    Office Manager

    My husband, Bert, and I have been members of Huntertown United Methodist Church for over 26 years.  I became the Office Manager here nine years ago, after being an executive secretary for 20 years. I love interacting with everyone who comes in and out of the church during the week. I am inspired when I watch them faithfully serving God and caring for one another.


    Bert and I have been married for 44 years and we have three wonderful children. Molly is married to Aaron and they have two daughters, Ashleigh and Emma. Joe is married to Leslee and they have a daughter Sabrina. Eric’s married to Amber and they have three children, Logan, Emerson (our leap year baby) and Eloise born in August 2015.


    I love being a part of a church who shares the love of God by reaching out not only each other, but to others in the community and far beyond. “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35 (MSG)


    HUMC is where I feel connected first to God and then to my family and our church, who is also very much my family.

  • Sherry Karst

    Facility Manager at the Third Place

    I have been blessed with a wonderful family—my birth family, my husband Rick, a grown son and two step-children. We discovered HUMC about seven years ago seeking the “comfort & warmth of a ‘home’... our church family.”  

    Being the Facility Manager at Lifehouse seems very natural to me for two main reasons, I love to organize events and am filled with joy while everyone is laughing and having great conversations. Most of all, God has a mission for Lifehouse and I am so honored that He has given me the opportunity to be a part of this.

    There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord.

    1 Corinthians 12:5

  • Jon Krempel

    Director of Technology

    I have been a part of HUMC for all my life. At an early age I got into music taking piano lessons. That soon carried over into the church. I started with the Jr Praise team and eventually was playing for the Praise Team on Sundays. That is still a big part of my ministry here at Huntertown.

    I graduated from the University of Saint Francis with a Bachelor's in Music Technology. I am also employed by Sweetwater Sound and carry the knowledge and experience to my technical duties here at the church. I am a lifelong sports fan. I have played Soccer throughout my life and at the University of Saint Francis. I have a beautiful wife Donielle, a yellow Lab name Sebastian, and a black Pug named Ted. I am honored and blessed by the talents God has given me and I am thankful I get to use those gifts every week for Him.

  • Kelly Messman


    Kelly has literally grown up in this church. In fact, her dad was the custodian at HUMC for years and you could find Kelly and her siblings, when they were little kids, running around the church and helping their dad.  

    Kelly is married to Bob and they have two daughters, Madison who is a sophomore in college and Morgan who is an 8th grader at Carroll Middle School. Kelly and Bob enjoy following their kids sporting events and spending time with family.

  • Mike Stout

    Financial Secretary

    I have recently accepted the position of Financial Secretary and look forward to being part of the Financial Team at HUMC.

    My wife, Jackie and I have considered HUMC our home church since 2001. We have two married sons, one grandson and two granddaughters. I served four years in the Navy and graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University, with majors in Business Administration and Political Science. I retired from my career as an Accountant for a public utility in July 2013.

    In addition to volunteering at HUMC’s Food Bank, I enjoy traveling, reading and gardening.