Our Staff

Jane McBride

Jane McBride: Principal Minister

[email protected]
612-331-3816, ext. 304

Jane’s work week is Sunday–Thursday. She is in and out of the office frequently; please feel free to call or email to set up an appointment.

Jane has served First Church as Principal Minister since February 2010. Her role is to empower the ministry of the whole congregation and the staff. She enjoys the rich variety of her days. At any given moment, you might find her designing a worship service, writing a sermon, visiting with one of our elders, leading a staff meeting, consulting about a needed repair to the building, talking with a member about a life issue, taking some quiet time to pray and study, having coffee with someone who is new to the church, teaching confirmation, working on the weekly email or  monthly newsletter, or attending a meeting of a ministry team.

Jane is a PK (preacher’s kid) who has been part of the United Church of Christ all her life. She received her B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from St. Olaf College in 1997 and her Masters of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2000. She served as Associate Minister at Falcon Heights United Church of Christ from 2000–2009.

In her preaching, Jane seeks to interweave Biblical texts with the issues and questions of daily life. She is committed to prayer and spiritual practices, and is passionate about social justice. She is especially compelled by issues related to poverty, food, environmental sustainability, and racism. She is a trained facilitator for the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality curriculum and the Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circles (ASDIC). She has worked extensively with children and youth and has led many service learning trips. Jane embraces mystery and believes that we can see God in many ways, hear God in many languages, and call God by many names.

Jane enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, bicycling, running, canoeing and camping, playing the violin and singing, taking photos, and spending time with family and friends. Jane’s spouse, the Rev. Jennifer Nagel, is the pastor of University Lutheran Church of Hope. Jane and Jen are proud parents of Eliza and Alice.

Sarah Tittle

Sarah Tittle: Parish Administrator

[email protected]
612-331-3816 ext. 301

Sarah’s office hours are Tuesdays–Fridays from 9:30a–3:30p.

Sarah has served as First Church’s Parish Administrator since September 2005. In that capacity, she answers phones and doors, creates bulletins, manages the calendar and membership rolls, edits the weekly email news and monthly Chimes, maintains financial records and bookkeeping, oversees building use. In addition she will chat with you, connect you to a church member or event, remind you of when a meeting is scheduled–and then chat some more! A longtime resident of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, Sarah loves working within walking distance to her home. She is passionate about reading, writing, cooking, and conversation. She is mother to two beautiful young women, wife to a wonderful husband, and guardian to a sweet but naughty black lab.

Byron Almen

Byron Almén: Minister of Music

[email protected]
612-331-3816 ext. 301

Byron has spent more than thirty years as a professional organist and church musician. A graduate of St. Olaf college, he holds a PhD in music theory from Indiana University. For twenty years Byron was a professor of music theory at the University of Texas at Austin as well as the organist at Westminster Presbyterian Church, also in Austin. As a professional
musician, Byron values diversity, versatility,
and responsiveness to the culture and traditions of individual churches. As a music academic, he has long been interested in why and how music can be meaningful to communities and individuals, and has attempted to integrate these studies into his training as a musician. Byron, his wife, Sarah, their son Theodore and daughter Antonia live in Minnetonka. He hopes that you will always feel free to reach out to him if you have questions, concerns, or comments, or wish to share your musical gifts with the congregation.

Brad Schumann

Brad Schumann: Facilities Manager

[email protected]

612-331-3816 ext. 301

Brad began his career as First Church’s Facilities Manager on the Fourth of July weekend of 1981. He was basically raised in First Church having participated in the church school from 1969 through his confirmation in 1977. Brad is the second member of his family to serve on the First Church staff; his mom was Parish Administrator from 1972–1980. He is usually in and around the church 10:30a–3p Monday, Tuesday, (in and out on Wednesday), Thursday, Friday and Saturday. His general list of responsibilities includes cleaning, maintaining the grounds, monitoring the physical plant (plumbing, boiler, electrical, appliances, etc.) and making or arranging for repairs when necessary, pest control, assisting with events, working with various boards and committees as well as outside contractors, and purchasing supplies (with help from Sarah!). Since 1989 Brad has also worked parttime, weekday evenings, for United Parcel Service in Egan and is currently a next day air freight handler.

Brad is a lifelong resident of Southeast Minneapolis. When he’s not working he enjoys playing video games, making sure that the squirrels and rabbits in his yard have enough tomatoes and plants to eat (aka gardening), riding his bike, watching the History Channel, volunteering, and chillin’ on the front porch. Brad is also a shameless bandwagon jumper of all the local sports teams and likes to occasionally spend time with his older brother and his family who live in Eden Prairie. Brad is extremely appreciative for all the support and life experiences First Church has provided for him through the years.