Jen Tyler

Senior Pastor

Welcome to First Church!

I have had the privilege of being the Senior Pastor of First Church since July 2020. Before coming to Watertown I served churches in Wahpeton, ND and Clark and Garden City, SD.

For me, the joy of ministry is rooted in my love of missions, heart for people, and passion for understanding and engaging contextual ministry. As the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church, I do that by overseeing the spiritual care and growth of our congregation and community. Specifically, that means I get to work alongside and support all of our other staff, serve as the primary speaker in worship, work with our Leadership Team to set and implement our congregation’s vision, and help our congregation be good stewards of all of our resources including time, talent, and finances.

While I grew up in southeast South Dakota in a large family (I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers), my work and studies have also taken me all over the world. I have a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston, IL), an MBA from Dakota Wesleyan University (Mitchell, SD), and a BA in Sociology from Simpson College (Indianola, IA). Prior to ordination, I also served as a United Methodist missionary in South Africa and Washington, DC.

I live in Watertown with my dog Shaggy who loves to join me on long walks, adventurous hikes, or a day out snow shoeing. When I’m not busy in the local church or cuddling with my dog, I also love sharing stories over cups of (good, strong!) coffee, traveling, or riding my bike.

Lucas Severson

Director of Worship & Discipleship

Hi, I’m Lucas Severson. I am the Director of Worship and Discipleship at FirstChurch. I began serving with the church as a staff member since 2018. Prior to that, I served as a worship director in Brookings SD for the better part of a decade. I have also had the pleasure of being part of a church plant in Indiana.

I enjoy creating experiences that engage people and welcome all. To help the Gospel be heard by as many different people as possible, I utilize my upbringing and blend it well with technology. My church history and experience span from small-town South Dakota Lutheran church to large, modern Wesleyan church. I believe this blend helps me stay grounded as well as look toward the future of what a church community can be. My hope is that people can recognize that worship isn’t “only-this” or “never-that;” that worship isn’t just a “Sunday” thing, but a lifestyle.

I grew up in northeast South Dakota on a farm, and although I have 8 siblings, most were graduated and out of the house before I was born. I grew up with a love for music as my parents were in a country cover band together for many years.

My love of music and art lends itself to a plethora of pastimes. I spend time singing and playing guitar, video games, and I get hooked on good storytelling in movies. I also enjoy big visuals in movies and tv shows and spend time researching details about “how they filmed that,” or  share “did you know…” type movie facts.

I met my wife Bethany in college, and we bonded over scary movies and pizza. We got married in 2009, and we have 3 daughters. We’re always on-the-go, but always make time for singing, jokes, and the occasional jump-scare. Most of my free time is spent getting the girls to all their activities and sometimes just sitting with them and doing nothing. I really enjoy being a dad, but I’m also glad when Bethany suggests a “girls night” to give me a break from so many girls.

Abigail Ozanne

Associate Pastor

I am passionate about learning and teaching about the Bible. I love exploring what it means and apply it to how we live our lives today. I value serving others as a form of discipleship and building God’s kingdom here. Church camp and missions trips are some of my favorite parts of ministry.

Originally from the Twin Cities, I enjoy returning to visit my parents, three brothers, and their families. In my free time, I like to read, hike, watch birds, kayak and knit.

Sandee Cole

Children’s Ministry Coordinator

I love kids (and kids of all ages) and having been working as the Childrens Ministry Coordinator for 11 years at First Church.  I also love to teach about faith and Jesus and see people get that aha” look on their face when they learn something new or experience Gods love in a new way.

Chocolate, animals, walking in nature, travelling, reading, watching movies, coffee with friends, and my daughter Sophie are also things that I love!

Pearl Geffre

Office Manager

Hello, I’ve had the privilege of being the Office Manager here at First Church since 2012.  My job is never dull as there is always something new and interesting that needs to be done or questions that need to be answered.  And, if I don’t know the answer, I’m happy to go on a quest till I find it for you.

My husband, Marty and I have 2 wonderful kids and 3 awesome grandchildren.  They all keep us hopping and on the go with school and sports activities and family game nights.  When I’m not hanging with the kiddos I love to read, quilt or paint. But my favorite past time is when we go out to the Black Hills and can hike in the beauty of God’s creation!

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