Rev. Jen Tyler
Senior Pastor

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.
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Rev. Bryce Blank
Associate Pastor

I am excited and honored to have served as the Associate Pastor at First Church since July of 2022. This is my first appointment out of seminary, but I have previously served in a variety of ministry settings which most recently included serving as a Youth Pastor/Intern at Christ UMC in Farmers Branch, TX. I also interned at South Canyon Lutheran Church in my hometown of Rapid City, SD, and the UMC churches in Plankinton and White Lake, SD. In the summer of 2019, I served as the chaplain at Lake Poinsett Summer Camp.

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Rev. Elmer Brinkman
On Call Pastor
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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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.
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Sandy Middleton
Children's Ministry Coordinator

Hello, I'm Sandy Middleton. I am the Director of Children's Ministry for the weekends at FirstChurch. Lori Jurgens and I started job sharing the Children's Ministry position in March 2023. I'm so excited to share Jesus' love with the children of FirstChurch. 

When I'm not at FirstChurch, I'm a full time Special Education Paraprofessional with the Watertown School District. I'm married to Randy and we have five wonderful children and four beautiful grandchildren that fill our hearts everyday. In my spare time you can find me in the garden, painting , or going on an adventures to the many lakes around Watertown. I was baptized and confirmed at the Winner United Methodist Church in Winner, SD. I was a part of an amazing youth group and did a lot of outreach to other communities during my high school years. I continued to volunteer for Vacation Bible School and other activates through the years and was FirstChurch's Nursery Coordinator for 6 years. I'm very excited to be back serving at FirstChurch and can't wait to meet all the children and their families during the weekend FirstKids School time in Fellowship Hall! Many Blessings to all!
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Lori Jurgens
Children's Ministry Coordinator

Hi, I’m Lori Jurgens. I am the Director of Children’s Ministries for Wednesday Nights. I started this position on March 1, 2023. I am job sharing this position with Sandy Middleton.  Spending time with the kids on Wednesday nights is a true blessing. We are growing together in Christ. Seeing the energy and love and excitement that these kids have for Jesus is so rewarding. 

I have 3 wonderful children- Gavin, Grace and Gabe who have kept me busy running to all of their activities. I love to read, spend time with my family and friends, boating and puzzles. I also like to travel and my bucket list is to get to all 50 states and to tour Europe. I grew up in a small country church by Castlewood- Bemis Christian Reformed Church where I participated in youth group and enjoyed the friendships I made there and also having my parents as youth leaders. After graduation I moved to Sioux Falls and attended Peace Lutheran Church where I was part of the mommy and me group after I had kids. I have helped out in the past with Wednesday nights at FirstChurch and really enjoyed it so when I felt God calling me to do more I said yes and here I am.
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Blair Titze
Music Director, Choir Director, Organist
Renae Mack
Bell Choir Director

Hello!  My name is Renae Mack.  I am the Bell Choir Director at First Church and have been making music with my “Ding-a-lings” since 1986! Music is a great way to praise, worship, express one’s faith and communicate with God.  It seems to be a perfect fit for me to direct Bells;  to draw myself and others closer to Christ.

While growing up, I participated in a variety of musical groups; eventually making the cello and teaching strings my forte. In 2008, I retired from 33 years of teaching elementary strings and directing the High School orchestra in Watertown. My husband, Gary, and I enjoy traveling. Each year we try to experience a new location in the U.S. or foreign country. We cheer the SDSU Jackrabbits in football and basketball. In the summertime, I tend my garden and flowers, go for daily walks, ride bike, and buzz around in my little red convertible (The Red Pepper). Cooking, entertaining, quilting, water aerobics and playing cello for church or in a string quartet for weddings, are other favorite to dos.
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Lesa Dahl
Meaghan Wharton
Nursery Care Provider
Donna Bruns
Nursery Care Provider
Beth Schutt
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