Rev. Jeff Gannon Senior Pastor

Rev. Jeff Gannon

Raised under a big Montana sky, Pastor Gannon’s curiosity about the world around him began early. After graduating from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, he made his way to the Midwest through St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. Jeff’s ministerial career began early, as a lay leader in Montana and a student pastor in southeast Kansas. He served as Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church in McPherson, where he met his wife, Meredith. For five years, Jeff was pastor of Bethel UMC in Wichita, before helping to found Chapel Hill.READ MORE

Jeff effectively weaves together spiritual development and tools for emotional healing within his sermons, and through many years of counseling, ministry and care to individuals, couples and families.

 “I experience God’s love …”
… in the person of Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus is the human face of God and whenever someone, the name, spirit and power of Jesus, shares unconditional love, I experience God’s love in poignant ways.

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
… Jesus Christ, and through the lives of others. Whenever I am the recipient of forgiveness offered, joy shared, patience extended, love demonstrated, and peace lived, I always have a fresh encounter of, and new experience with, God’s love.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

The whole of God’s activity in the world is summarized in “3:17” of the Old and New Testaments:

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

“God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved.” – John 3:17

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Rev. Dr. James Bryan Smith Teaching Pastor

Rev. Dr. James Bryan Smith

James Bryan Smith hold a masters of divinity from Yale University Divinity School, and doctor of ministry from Fuller Seminary. He is a theology professor at Friends University and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Christian Spiritual Formation Institute at Friends University. READ MORE

A founding member of Richard J. Foster’s spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré, Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. In addition to The Apprentice Series, Smith is also the author of A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (with Richard Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven and Room of Marvels. Jim and his wife Meghan are parents of Jake and Hope.

Rev. Dr. Jerry Vogt Executive Pastor Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Jerry Vogt

Pastor Jerry’s roots in Wichita run deep, as a 1960 graduate of Friends University. From there his studies led him to a master’s of divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Phillips University, where he received his doctorate of ministry. Jerry’s service to the church is extensive. He has served as senior pastor to three Kansas United Methodist congregations — in Leawood, Garden City and at Asbury UMC in Wichita. For seven years he was Executive Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Wichita, and was Wichita District Superintendent from 1992 to 1996. Jerry and his wife, Christine, are the proud parents of three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.READ MORE

“I experience God’s love …”
… through Jesus my Savior and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
… the testimonies and the lives of others.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Rev. Dr. Ben Staley Staff Chaplain

Rev. Dr. Ben Staley

As Pastor of Congregational Care and Staff Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Ben Staley brings to Chapel Hill a wealth of experience and wisdom. “I love to study the Bible, leadership, spiritual formation, and reaching our culture in relevant ways with the love of Christ on the front lines of daily life.”  READ MORE

“My wife Denise and I have been married for over 43 years and we both grew up in Michigan. We love leading couples retreats and doing ministry together. Our son, Ryan,  is a counselor in Manhattan, Kansas and married to Carissa. They have two young children. Our daughter, Rachelle, leads a ministry as Superintendent of Youth and Young Adults for the Friends Church  in the northwest region of the country.”

Dr. Staley enjoys reading the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henri Nouwen, Oswald Chambers, Len Sweet, and James Bryan Smith. He also enjoys completing “projects with my wife for the family, local and global missions, college football (Michigan) and WSU athletics, and fishing!”

“I experience God’s love …”

…..”by the grace He gives to live beyond my own abilities in life and ministry and His gifts including those of His Spirit and the gifts of family and friends in my life.”

“God’s love is shared with me through …”

…..”those that have let me come into their lives and trusted me at some of their most difficult and darkest times. To be present there with them is an honor I never take lightly. Their care and support have also come to me as expressions of God’s love.”

Favorite Verse(s):

“And it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12: 1, 2

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Rev. Jennifer Herndon Pastor of Congregational Care

Rev. Jennifer Herndon

Jennifer Herndon was born in Wichita and raised in Mulvane. She earned a BA in psychology at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, and completed her Master of Divinity at Saint Paul School of Theology. While in Seminary, she pastored a small church in Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon graduation she returned to Wichita, taking a position as a hospice chaplain with Hospice Care of Kansas (subequently renamed Gentiva Hospice Kansas), where she eventually became manager of chaplain services.READ MORE

As an ordained Deacon in the UMC, her passion is for ministry with those facing death and dying, grief, and those dealing with Alzheimers Disease and other memory issues.

“I love Barbara Brown Taylor and Henri Nouwen. Both are Christian authors who have profoundly touched me over the years with their writings. I enjoy studying the New Testament, especially the Roman context of the time period, and I enjoy studying issues related to death, dying and grief. I’m also interested in spiritual care of people living with dementia and Alzheimers.”

Jennifer and her husband Mark have three sons and two daughters, as well as a dog and a tank of fish. “I love to go for walks, garden, camp in our little pop-up camper, read (I enjoy lighter reading, such as John Grisham and other similar fiction authors), scrapbook, go to movies, and most of all, spend time with my family and animals.”

“I experience God’s love …”
…through people (my husband and family, friends, church family, patients), animals (especially our own pets), nature, music (Be Thou My Vision, and His Strength is Perfect, are my two guiding songs), quiet time, prayer time — it amazes me every day all the many different ways God can help me feel his love!

Favorite Verse or Passage:

This has been my guiding verse since I was 20 years old.
“Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

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Laura Fuller Director of Nursery

Laura Fuller

Native New Yorker Laura Fuller first came to Chapel Hill in 2005. She felt drawn to the message of grace and the experience of receiving communion each week. Laura has served as nursery director for more than eight years. She holds a bachelors degree of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in Spanish from the University of Oklahoma. Laura works full-time in marketing and stays busy with her four children. READ MORE

“I love the simplicity of the children’s Bible lessons and that Jesus loves me and all of us.  God has a plan for me and I must trust in him always.”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 

Mandi Johnston Director of Chapel Hill Preschool

Mandi Johnston

Mandi Johnston has been a Pre-K teacher at Chapel Hill Preschool since 2016 and has also served as the Assistant Director of Preschool since 2017. Prior to being blessed with Chapel Hill Preschool, she provided childcare and preschool in her home for 15 years. Mandi is currently working towards earning her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, and she holds a Program Director’s License from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  READ MORE

She will celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary with Matt in December and has two children, Kayleigh, who will be a freshman at Kansas State University this fall, and Tyler, who attends Butler Community College. They have 2 dogs, Savannah, a 13-year old black lab, and Charlotte, a 7-month old golden doodle. Mandi enjoys traveling and recently just returned from a week on the beach with 15 family members! She also enjoys reading, crafting, and camping.

The best part of her job is getting to connect with all of the families at Chapel Hill Preschool! Mandi loves to watch the children grow and learn and especially loves the sweet hugs and pictures that the children give!!

I experience God’s love . . .

Whenever I reflect on the circumstances that have allowed me to love and work with children for a living. I am impressed by and in awe of how the hand of God has guided and encouraged me every step of the way throughout my journey. When I use the gifts and talents that I have been blessed with, I feel a manifestation of His love for me. Music is also a very special way that I can feel my Heavenly Father’s love. Music helps me to connect with the Lord, to communicate with Him openly, and to teach and inspire me. When I am immersed in uplifting music, I do not feel alone because His love surrounds me.

Favorite verse:

Isaiah 43:2 New International Version (NIV)

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

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Debby Wilson Director of Kids Day in Christ

Debby Wilson

After 25 years running her own infant daycare, Debby Wilson started working at Chapel Hill in the fall of 2017 as a preschool substitute and eventually was recruited to help with the Kids Day in Christ ministry. In the fall of 201, Debbie was promoted to be the Director of this valuable program. Working as part of KDIC has brought back the fulfillment she finds in caring for and nurturing children. Debbie earned her Center for Program Directorship from the state of Kansas in 2016 and has been a trained Stephen Minister since 2007. Debbie and her husband Richard have been married for over 44 years and raised 4 sons who have given them 9 incredible grandchildren. They both enjoy serving their church and enjoying family.READ MORE

I experience God’s love….. Given a fresh start with each new day with forgiveness of my sins.
God’s love is shared with me…..with my family’s love and caring, and my friends at Chapel Hill who have become my extended family where I experience the love and caring they show each person who enters its doors.
My favorite bible verse is from Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.

Abigail Cook Director of Adult Ministry

Abigail Cook

Abigail Cook moved to Wichita in the summer of 2015 from Pasadena, California, where she worked as an event planner at Fuller Seminary. Prior to her time in the Golden State, she graduated from McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta. There she learned more about what it means to follow Jesus and practiced a “life together” with a handful of others through whom God’s love became real for her. While at McAfee, she fell in love her husband, Jacob, and together they became passionate about the life group experience. Abigail likes to travel, eat vegetables, and drink good, fairly-traded coffee. Her most recent adventures include her two children, Judah and Eleanor, with another one on his way. READ MORE

“I experience God’s love …”

Through my kids and family, through true, honest Christian community. I also love to move when I pray. In fact, I often do yoga to focus my mind and breathe into God’s love.”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. –John 1:1-5 NRSV

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Dr. Jen Stephenson Director of Celebration Choir

Dr. Jen Stephenson

Massachusetts native Jen Stephenson has performed nationally and internationally in a wide range of opera roles and concert engagements. As a featured soloist, she has performed with L’Orchestre et les Chanteurs de Saint Eustache of Paris, France; Nei Stëmmen of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; The Classical Music Festival of Eisenstadt, Austria; the Prentice Chorale of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Lawrence Opera Theatre of Lawrence, Kansas; and the Westfield Festival Chorus of Westfield, Massachusetts. Additionally, she has sung professionally with Alabama’s Highland Consort, the Richard Zielinski Singers, and New England’s Novi Cantori. Stephenson has sung leading roles with Opera du Perigord, Utah Lyric Opera, and New Century Opera. Favorite roles include Elvira (Don Giovanni), Magda (The Consul), Gertrune (The Twilight of the Gods), Mother (Hansel and Gretel), Frasquita (Carmen), and Manuelita (La Périchole). READ MORE

In addition to her work on stage, Dr. Stephenson has worked behind the scenes as an operatic stage director with the Lawrence Opera Theatre, Harrower Summer Opera, Druid City Opera Workshop, the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, and Tabor College Opera, which she founded in 2015. In the summer of 2015, she was the recipient of the prestigious National Opera Association Stage Director Internship. Equally comfortable as a conductor, Stephenson has served as chorus-master for the Wichita Grand Opera, the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, and the University of South Florida Opera Workshop, and has conducted operas and musicals for The Actors Charitable Theatre, Arts in Motion, and the University of Alabama Opera Theatre.

Dr. Stephenson holds degrees from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Westfield State University, The University of South Florida, and The University of Alabama. Recently, her dissertation was named the first place winner of the National Opera Association’s biennial Dissertation Competition. Currently, she serves as Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Vocal Studies, and Director of Opera at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas.

“I experience God’s love…”

Through the gift of learning and teaching, and through my relationships.

“God’s love is shared with me through . . .”

The comfort we feel in the presence of a friendly face.

Favorite verse or passage:

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22-25 (NKJV)

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Josh Melcher Director of Praise Team

Josh Melcher

The son of a United Methodist Minister, Josh Melcher was raised in church (somewhat literally) and has been involved in ministry from a young age. Ministry and music have always been hand in hand for Josh, whose family sang together every chance they had. After high school, Josh ended up at Southwestern College in Winfield, where he participated in music of all kinds, led a worship outreach team, served on the leadership team and was a member of 9 Lives improv troupe. READ MORE


With a degree in history, Josh followed God’s lead into ministry at First UMC in Wichita. While in full time ministry there, Josh led the youth choir and young adult ministries. He also helped to create Mead’s Corner, a coffee shop ministry of FUMC. Josh was also instrumental in launching NEXT which became The Gathering, a Sunday evening worshiping community that meets at Mead’s Corner.

Josh joined the Chapel Hill staff in 2015 as the interim worship leader but soon became a permanent member.  He and his wife Jennifer married in 2015 and welcomed Amelia to the family in September, 2016.  Josh and Jennifer love playing and singing together and hope that music is as important to their new family as it has been to each of them.

I experience God’s love…

When I’m in nature, hiking, camping, or hunting.  When I’m singing and playing music.  Through service and community.

God shares His love with me through…

My loving family and wonderful community of friends.

Favorite verse or passage:

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.  For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:20-21 NIV

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Rich Bruhn Assistant Director of Praise Team

Rich Bruhn









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Julie Hey Director of Finance & Administration

Julie Hey

Julie Hey grew up a farmer’s daughter in a small town in Western Kansas. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Fort Hays State University before moving to the ‘big city’. Julie spent 16 years in Procurement with Hawker Beechcraft. It was there that she met her husband Brad, and they are blessed to have a beautiful son, Sutton Jack. Upon his arrival, Julie decided to take a hiatus from Corporate America and become a full-time, stay-at-home mom. What started as an identity crisis of sorts resulted in a true blessing of being present for every moment of a new child’s ever-changing world. READ MORE

Brad and Julie felt completely at home at Chapel Hill from the first time they walked through the doors. After becoming more involved in different classes and groups through the church, Julie felt something of a pull to be here even more. The cards definitely fell into place, and she loves being able to work at Chapel Hill in a position that is fun and doesn’t even seem like a job to her!

Julie loves to read, travel and go to estate sales.  Another favorite is to find amazing ‘hole in the wall’ places to eat.

“I experience Gods’ love…”

In the everyday beauty of life.  Even in the chaotic and trying times, there is so much to be thankful for!

 “God’s love is shared with me through…”

All things about nature; and the innocence, joy and laughter of my son.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18

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Kellie Ochsner Coordinator of Worship, Welcome and Care Ministries

Kellie Ochsner

Kellie and her family moved from Iowa to the Wichita area in 2006. They walked into Chapel Hill one Sunday and immediately knew this was going to be the place they called their church home.  “God’s love was evident throughout the service and this is where we wanted to be,” she said. READ MORE

Kellie has degrees in Economics and Business Administration from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.  She has previously worked for the Maytag Company in marketing and also for Hawkeye Bank as Credit Card Coordinator. Born and raised in Aurora, Nebraska, she was baptized as an infant in the United Methodist Church there. Her family includes her husband, Doug, and two daughters. In her spare time she enjoys walking outside with friends, bike riding, reading, and working out at the YMCA.

“I experience God’s love …”
… “especially when singing a hymn and when being outside in nature.  I feel loved especially when I can share a big laugh with my family and friends.  I love a good laugh!”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

John 9:1-11 – “I love this story because the disciples assume that the man became blind because of something he or his family had done wrong.  Jesus points out though, that the man had done nothing wrong to deserve his blindness.  Jesus restored the man’s sight and demonstrates that even in hardships, God’s glory can be revealed.  This story is meaningful to me because too many people believe they are not loved by God because of hardship they experience in their lives.  It reminds me that hardships will come to all of us, but by allowing God to work with us through our difficulties, we can show the glory of God.”

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Jeremy Fredin Director of Audio/Visual

Jeremy Fredin

Jeremy Fredin grew up in Wichita. He started college with a football scholarship to Coffeyville Community College, and ended with studying film at Huntington University in Indiana. In 2006, he and his wife Kellie were married. They now have two children, Liam and Nora.

Jeremy has spent the majority of his life in the Methodist Church. He grew up going to Asbury UMC, and spent six years at First UMC in Wichita, where he served as Director of Technology. READ MORE

When not playing chauffeur for the kids, he Kellie I love to try new restaurants in town. When not watching the kids plays sports (basketball, soccer and swimming), Jeremy enjoys playing board games and watching movies.

“I experience God’s love …”

When I’m sitting around a table with others. Sharing life, and food, with others creates a common bond that brings people together, and reminds us that we are not all that different.

“God’s love is shared with me …”

When I listen to the passion, hopes and dreams of others. Seeing what affects other peoples’ lives and how gives me a broader understanding of how God and the world works.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. John 4:18

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Abigail Karnes Office Coordinator

Abigail Karnes

Abigail Karnes, a Kansas City, Missouri native, began working at Chapel Hill while finishing her Master of Music in Opera Performance at Wichita State. While going to school there she met her fiancé, David, who is currently finishing his doctorate degree in music. In addition to working as the Office Coordinator, Abigail has enjoyed assisting Allison and the volunteers with our Chapel Hill Kids and she sings with the Celebration Choir. When she isn’t at Chapel Hill, Abigail enjoys singing and volunteering at the Kansas Humane Society as a treatment technician assistant. Abigail is passionate about opera and classical singing, and recently had the opportunity to perform in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Geneva Light Opera in Geneva, New York. She is also a member of the Wichita Chamber Chorale and continues pursuing her dream of being a performing artist. Abigail experiences God most when she is making music with others. The shared experience of a common goal and the coordination of everyone working to bring out each other’s parts at the right moment creates a unity and a thing of beauty that can only come from God. Her favorite Bible passage is Jeremiah 29:11-13 “I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. You will turn back to me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers. You will worship me with all your heart, and I will be with you.”

Jay Robinson Lead Custodian

Jay Robinson

Jay taught psychology and coached football, first in Shelbina, Missouri, and in Kansas. He was a district manager for Equitable Insurance for 23 years. Jay earned a bachelor of science in education from the University of Kansas and a master’s in guidance and counseling from Northeastern Missouri State (now Truman University). He and his wife spent many years raising their family in nearby Conway Springs, where they attended the First Baptist Church, before moving to Wichita in 1984. It wasn’t until Chapel Hill was formed that they found a congregation to call home. READ MORE

“I experience God’s love …”
… through family and friends, and also through prayer time.

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
… the men’s group at Chapel Hill every Wednesday.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Phillipians 4:13

Rev. Dr. Lisa Wiens Thompson Pastor-In-Residence

Rev. Dr. Lisa Wiens Thompson

Lisa grew up in Oklahoma and graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, earning undergraduate degrees in Sociology and in Advertising.  After serving in campus ministry and youth ministry, Lisa attended The Divinity School at Duke University earning a Master of Divinity degree in 2002. She completed her residency by serving two years of Clinical Pastoral Education Chaplaincy, one year each at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC and at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX.  READ MORE

Following a return to Oklahoma, Lisa served church congregations in Mounds, OK and Schulter, OK before moving to Kansas in 2007 to serve Belle Plaine United Methodist Church. She married her husband Zach that same year.

While in Oklahoma Lisa began work on her Doctor of Ministry at SMU. With a focus on Health and Wholeness through Theology of the Body, Lisa graduated with Honors. She maintains a passion for the area of Health and Wholeness and wants everyone to know they can be a part of it, regardless of age, disease, or fitness level!

“I experience God’s love …”
…when I celebrate, serve, and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.  It is the perfect reminder of wholeness and the foundation for our whole being as a church and as the Body of Christ.  “Make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world until Christ comes in victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet…”  This is an amazing sending forth each week to remind us about what it means to be the Body of Christ.  Listen for it. Listen for the call to wholeness.  It is there, given to us freely by the God who loves us beyond measure!

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
…so many unexpected ways.  Theologically I know it is present in the sacraments of communion and baptism… more day to day is when my baby boy wakes up smiling and babbling and my girls don’t want to go to sleep yet because they want one more kiss or story.  They are miracles and it is an amazing gift to have these blessings as my children.  (Even when I’m a frazzled stressed out mom of three!)

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. ” – Romans 12:1-2

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