Our Awesome Team!

Get to know our GMUMC  staff


Mark Thurman

Pastor

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Upon graduation from the Perkins School of Theology with a Master of Divinity, followed by ordination in the United Methodist Church in 1989, I served in the North Texas Conference before transferring in 2006 to the Yellowstone Conference (eventually merging with Rocky Mountain to become the Mountain Sky Conference).

My wife, Judy, is a Classical Chinese Medicine Qigong Practitioner, and a Licensed & Certified Sound Therapy Practitioner. We have two grown children, Madison and Joshua, as well as two small, spoiled dogs, Marbles and Boo.

I was a teenager when my family moved from Houston, Texas to Aspen, Colorado, where I graduated high school. During this time, I developed a love for the outdoor activities associated with the Rocky Mountains. I have also been a professional musician for most of my life- vocals, with accompanying piano and guitar. I enjoy virtually everything from Beethoven to the Beatles to Black Flag. And, I practice Sahaja Yoga meditation twice daily.

I continue to ponder a wood carving a member of a past congregation made for me which reads, “Faith (trust) believes the incredible, sees the invisible, and receives the impossible.” And, one of my scriptural favorites is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter four: “Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Steve Walden

Program Support & Development

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"Bio” of me?  The topic sounds slightly sedating.  No world travel; no famous relatives; no prestigious titles; no summers spent touring with Cirque du Soleil or Bruce Springsteen.  I own one suit – which no longer fits.  Employment?  I have worked as a medical, maximum-security prison & psychiatric R.N. (most folks find role 2 & 3 more alarming than interesting), homeless shelter supervisor, book seller (shop Tattered Cover!), natural history museum employee, other adventures (not listed), and various roles at this faith community flying under the banner “Program Director.”  Faith?  Not an official member of any religious brand – having an appreciation for the diverse expressions of “faith,” both religious and not, in people’s lives.  Personally, I come from Christian and Buddhist soup stock, with a bit of heretical curmudgeon tossed in for seasoning.  Driven by?  Bringing diverse people together to wrestle with big questions and issues – hopefully to build community (and actions) amidst diverse perspectives.  Escapes?  Frog habitat monitor (not on your average bio), listening to nature, baseball, old cars, and reading books most folks find nerdy.  (And if you’ve read this far, or skipped to the italicized end out of curiosity – I’d like you to check out one of our program offerings so I can actually hear your “bio.”)  Please note:  In the obligatory picture, I'm the one on the right.    

Kelli Schnase

Children's Director

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Kelli is the Children’s Director at Green Mountain United Methodist Church who works with the children from 1 day to 100+ years old.  Kelli believes that all children are special and unique! Currently, Kelli works in Denver Public Schools as a 2nd grade teacher. Kelli has a Masters Degree in Teaching Students of Other Languages, and is a Colorado certified elementary school teacher. She has taught preschool to sixth grade since 2000! Kelli lives in Westminster, with her two dogs. She enjoys reading, spending time at her family’s cabin, and adores her family, especially her nephew and niece! 

Alex Neve

Youth Director

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Alex Neve has been the GMUMC Youth Director for over 3 years.  Alex earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Mind, Brain, and Behavior and a minor in Women’s Studies.  She has worked with at risk youth in a multitude of settings and she has been a member of GMUMC for the last 30 years.  Alex loves being outdoors, playing new games, and spending time with her two sugar gliders.

Meg Leak

Office Manager

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Meg has been Office Manager at GMUMC since 2006.  Prior to that she has worn many other hats, church secretary at Jefferson Avenue United Methodist Church for 3 years, Tupperware VIP Manager for 40 years, and teaching in several different districts in the metro area. Meg received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education with a major in French and a minor in English from Adams State College (now University) in 1970 and a second minor in Remedial Reading from Metro State College (now University) in 1972. 

Meg has been married for 48 years and they have two children and five marvelous, exceptional grandchildren. She is currently a Stephen Ministries Leader and helps run the program both at GMUMC and her home church of Applewood Valley UMC.  She is also very involved with her granddaughters with Job’s Daughters International and serves in an adult leadership capacity in that organization. In her spare time (what’s that?) she enjoys scrapbooking, camping, reading, spending time with her grandchildren and going to her brother’s cabin in the mountains.

Melissa Sussman

Music Coordinator and Organist

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Melissa has been the Music Coordinator, Organist and Pianist for Green Mountain choir for close to 20 years.  Melissa has enjoyed coordinating music programs ranging from weekly services to large holiday events and weddings since her training began in Louisiana.  Her passion and devotional mission is to provide an uplifting, spiritual music environment for the church community as a way to draw closer to God.

Randy Hise

Chancel Choir Director

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A Colorado native, Randy has always had an extreme love for music.  He holds degrees from Colorado State University (Ft. Collins) and the University of Northern Colorado (Greeley). Randy has taught and directed music ensembles for over 25 years.  This includes elementary, middle and high schools, church choirs, gifted and talented programs, private studio lessons and summer institutes. He attributes his success to the amazing teachers and directors he’s learned from in his past. A huge thank you goes to the wonderful singers, congregation, and friends at GMUMC who Randy is continually blessed to be with.

Janet Starkey

Bell Director

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Janet is the director of our two adult bell choirs, as well as the youth bell choir.  She received her Music Education degree from West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  She enjoys both ringing bells and directing choirs immensely, and cannot imagine a life without music, and in particular, handbells.

Cherie Werkhoven

Nursery Director

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Cherie has been the Nursery Director since 2013 and a Second Generation GMUMC member who has been involved with youth and children for many years. She has a Bachelors Degree in Healthcare Administration and is the Office Manager for a very active healthcare practice in the Denver area. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, swimming, spending time outdoors and playing with kids.

James O'Toole

Custodian

James has been custodian, groundskeeper and all-around handyman at GMUMC for 10 years.  In his spare time, he enjoys working on cars, remote control drones and electronics.

Kent Bates

Finance Secretary

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Kent has been at Green Mountain UMC as our Financial Secretary since November 2014.  Kent is also the accountant at St. Gregory's Episcopal Church (where he also holds the position as Director of Music), Applewood Valley UMC and a private firm in Littleton, Colorado.  Kent says, "I enjoy working with congregation of GMUMC.  The congregation is very welcoming and inviting."

Our Volunteer Leadership Team

Lay Leader:  MaryJane Eddy-Scott

Church Council Chairperson:  Brian Lewis

Outreach/Missions:  Mary Bloomstran

Worship:  Ruth Schnase

Finance:  Greg Hise & Jane Bernard

Trustees:  Karen Schmoker & Ron Bernard

Stewardship:  Rich Arnold

Staff Parish Relations:  Amy Santistevan & Andy Thomas

Ministers:  Everyone