Duluth First United Methodist Church logo

About Us

Our Staff


The Rev. Terry Tippens has been serving as our Senior Pastor since June 2016. Terry’s wife Missy is a published author who writes inspirational romance. She volunteers in our Music Ministry. Terry and Missy have three grown children – two sons and a daughter, and one daughter-in-law. The Tippens are lifelong Atlanta Falcons fans, enjoying season tickets as a family for the last 30 years.

Terry is a graduate of Duke University (B.A.) and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (M. Div.). Terry has worked in ministry in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church since 1981. He and Missy are thankful for the wonderful blessing of serving God with the great people of Duluth First UMC.


It is my joy to be one of the pastors at Duluth First United Methodist Church. My primary areas of focus are Contemporary Worship, Adult Education, Women’s Ministries, Missions, Prayer, Stephen Ministries and Scouting. I love to watch our church members grow in their faith through learning from our preaching, Bible studies, retreats and being a part of special ministries.

God calls us to be the disciples who share the gospel message of love to all. The best witness you can offer is your own story of how you know Jesus as your savior. That is a story others will listen to and want to walk along with you. I’m happy to talk with you about your journey in Christ, find ways you can offer your gifts for service, line you up with a class or a mission project, or visit with you when you need words of comfort or encouragement.

My undergraduate degree is in business from Auburn University in Montgomery, AL; an MBA from Samford University in Birmingham, AL; an MDIV from Candler School of Theology at Emory University; and I am currently completing a DMIN in Christian Spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA as well as a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction at Springhill College in Mobile, AL.

My husband Mike and I have three children and seven grandchildren to keep us occupied in our spare time. I am blessed to serve at this church with such a wonderful congregation.


As Minister of Music, I am called to prepare singers and instrumentalists to be music ministers for worship. And these ministers, in turn, lead the "great choir," the worshipping body, in songs of praise and worship, of prayer and commitment, of lament and sorrow. Sometimes we minister by encouraging all to sing. And sometimes we minister by singing and playing on their behalf. But whether or not we are all active in offering these gifts of music before God, we seek to offer songs which make us all participants in the Word through music.

I am proud to have served God’s people in a capacity such as this for almost eighteen years. My wife and partner in all things, Ellouise, has been with me all along the way, continuing to support me as I move through the process of ordination as a Deacon in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Ellouise and I have two beautiful daughters, Cynthia and Alicia. We have a full house (the four of us, three dogs and a grandmother), filled with love and activity. And we are so happy to be at Duluth First UMC serving this worshipping community.


I consider it my joy and privilege to serve as one of the pastors at Duluth First United Methodist Church. My primary areas of ministry are Youth Ministry and Contemporary Worship. It is truly a blessing to be able to be a part of young people’s lives as they come to know Jesus, and mature and grow in their faith walk with Christ through worship, Bible study, small groups, retreats, and fellowship with other students and an amazing group of adult volunteers.

My wife Joanna and I have two daughters, Kaitlin, who is a fourth year medical student at Medical College of Georgia, and Kasey, who is a junior at Gwinnett College of Georgia. We all feel blessed to be a part of the body of Christ known as Duluth FUMC.


Rev. Beth Brown Shugart serves as an Associate Pastor at Duluth First United Methodist Church. Beth works with visitation, new members and family ministries.

Beth has a degree in Music Education from Belmont University, a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Tennessee, and did theological study at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She has been serving churches in the North Georgia conference since 1991. Before entering the ministry, she taught high school choral music in the Atlanta area for thirteen years.

Beth is married to Al. They have two grown children.


Leslie Yokeley

Director of Children's Ministries; email - lyokely@duluthumc.org

Children have been and continue to be very important to me; there is nothing better than spending time with a child to bring a smile to your face! Jesus made it very clear that children have a supreme place of importance in all our lives when He said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14)

I have been a staff member at Duluth First UMC for 17 years as the Director of Children’s Ministry. I oversee the following areas – “Christian Beginnings”- our week day Preschool/Kindergarten program, Sunday school, Wednesday night children’s activities, Vacation Bible School and several camps.

I am originally from Bradford, Pennsylvania but have been in the Atlanta area since 1984. I have a B.S. Degree in elementary education from Edinboro University and a Master’s Degree from West Georgia. My husband Randy and I have two beautiful daughters, Hanna and Maddie. We have been members of Duluth First UMC for 23 years and we thoroughly enjoy worshipping with this wonderful church.


As Church Administrator, I have oversight of all the business functions of Duluth First United Methodist Church, Inc. This oversight includes financial functions, buildings and grounds, events, information technology, communications and administration. I am a staff liaison to the Finance Committee, Stewardship Committee, Board of Trustees and the Christian Beginnings Committee. I also serve on the Administrative Council as the Treasurer of the church.

I was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Auburn University. Following work experience in banking, human resources and business administration, I have worked for the United Methodist Church for 28 years, first at Mountain Park United Methodist for 12 years and then here at Duluth Methodist for 16 years.

It has been a great joy to serve the wonderful congregation here at Duluth Methodist! My door is always open and you are welcome to contact me with any questions regarding business aspects of the church.


Tracy is blessed to have been working at DFUMC since 1995. Tracy worked as a teacher for three year olds at DFUMC Christian Beginnings, Preschool/Kindergarten for 19 years before she joined the administrative staff in 2014. Today, Tracy is the Receptionist at DFUMC, she answers calls, greets visitors & church members, and supports ministry areas of the church with administrative duties and is eager to serve the congregation and the community. Tracy is located on the 3rd floor of the Family Life Center as you exit the stairs or elevator.

Tracy is from Maryville, Tennessee and moved to Georgia in 1987. She is married to Dave and they are the parents of two wonderful young men, Joshua and Travid, and proud grandparents to Austin.


I am the Childcare Director for Duluth First United Methodist Church. I have worked in this church nursery since August of 1999 and have been the Director since June of 2003. I also taught preschool at another church and have subbed in our Christian Beginnings program here at Duluth.

Our goal as the nursery staff is to provide a loving, caring place for you to leave your children while you are involved in the ministries of the church. This allows you to be more focused on worship, bible studies, and the time you spend in all church related activities.

I provide childcare with a highly qualified, trained nursery staff during the following days and times:

  • Sunday morning (during 8:30, 9:30 and 11:00 worship)
  • Sunday evening (for parents involved with youth, choir, and various classes)
  • Wednesday evening (for parents involved with a variety of events)
  • Other weekday mornings and evenings (during bible study classes)
  • Any special events that childcare is requested for
  • I have been married for 30 years and have two wonderful daughters. We have been members at DFUMC since 1999 and our children have been involved in youth and choir activities. It is a wonderful second home to us.


    I am the Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor. I feel blessed to work with an amazing staff. I am the point of contact for Membership, new members & visitors, worship volunteers (ushers/greeters/photographers/welcome center/communion servers/scripture readers), All Saints Sunday, baptisms, Sunday School attendance, Evangelism/Officers & Committees/Charge Conference reports, Senior Fellowship administration, weekly prayer updates, office supplies, nametags. I serve as Administrative Council, Charge Conference and Nominating Committee Secretary.

    I graduated from Strayer College, Washington DC; retired in 2002 from Federal Government.

    My husband, Bob, and I have 3 adult sons, 2 grandsons and 1 granddaughter.

    I love to read and scrapbook.


    I am the Financial Assistant for the church. I started working here in 2012 and I love my job. My duties include processing contributions, managing accounts payable and receivables, and handling payroll for the staff as well as our pre-school. I also coordinate benefits for the staff and I serve as a go-between with our insurance providers. I work in the office Monday through Thursday and I am here to serve God by serving you and our staff.

    Personally, I love music and I sing in our chancel choir. I also love photography, dogs, sports, Georgia Tech, and I am an actually Atlanta native. I graduated from the Mercer University/Atlanta campus with a bachelor in Communications. My work history includes working for Wolf Camera and the IRS. I moved to Austin, Texas in 1997 for work and lived there for 4 years. I was hesitant about leaving my family, but I had the assurance of God that this what the right thing to do. I immediately found a church and just 6 months later I met my husband-to-be, Linton Jones. We were married in April of 1999.

    Please feel free to contact me by phone or email or by coming to my office. My door is open to you. God Bless.


    As the Event Coordinator it is my job to work closely with the staff, congregation and community to schedule and coordinate any events or activities involving the church resources from the facility to the church vehicles. I work with families and individuals to schedule everything from weddings to funerals and all things in between. It is my responsibility to make sure that everyone’s event is held in accordance with church policies. My responsibilities also include managing the church’s Memorial Garden; managing the custodial crews; maintaining church policies; ordering the cleaning and paper goods for the church; overseeing Wednesday Night Suppers which includes menus, food supplies and the Wednesday Night Supper volunteers; and overseeing any other church sponsored hospitality events.

    I have been a member of Duluth First UMC since 1988 and have been on staff for 20 years. I am a native of Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia. Before joining the church staff I taught elementary school for DeKalb County and worked in corporate America at Primerica Financial Services and Waffle House Corporate. My husband, John, and I have 3 children and 10 grandchildren.

    I thoroughly enjoy working with the staff and congregation of this wonderful church family! My door is always open, so please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding my area.


    Ken Willi

    Director of Communications; email - kwilli@duluthumc.org

    I have been the Director of Communications at Duluth First United Methodist Church for the past 13 years. Responsibilities include:

  • Graphic design, publications design and printing support for the ministries of the church.
  • Design and implement marketing and advertising campaigns for the church, including print media and electronic media, mass e-mailings, video monitor announcements/presentations.
  • Manage and update the church’s website.
  • Oversee, produce and operate visual presentations for the Sunday morning Contemporary Worship service.
  • Previous work experience prior to working at Duluth First United Methodist Church includes trade association manangement, student loan services, and photo lab management.

    I graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam with a Bachelors Degree, with a Major concentration in Business and Marketing, and Minor concentrations in Photography and Business of Music. I also studied Mechanical Technology Science at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, with course studies in Drafting/CAD, Manufacturing Processes, and Machine Operation.


    Susan Johnson

    Pianist


    Seoyoung Lee

    Organist


    As Maintenance Assistant my responsibilities are doing repairs to the facilities and parking lots. I do the setups for different meetings, events and Sunday School.

    I have been a member for ten years and I have been on staff for eight years. I have one adult son and daughter and one grandson. It is my honor and privilege to be both a church member and staff member and I am looking forward to spending many more years here.


    I have been a staff member at Duluth First UMC for over 16 years. I was a teacher for 6 years at Christian Beginnings Preschool / Kindergarten and I am currently the Assistant Director of the school. I oversee all the after school activities and summer camps that pertain to Christian Beginnings.

    Truly blessed to be in the role I am in; I love meeting and connecting with all the Christian Beginnings families and children.

    I am originally from New York and have been in Atlanta for over 25 years. Prior to working at Christian Beginnings, I was the Director of Administration at MetLife.

    My husband Joe and I have a wonderful son Daniel, who is living his dream of coaching baseball.


    ArrowIcon BloggerIcon AimIcon DeliciousIcon PaperIcon EtsyIcon FacebookIcon FilmStripIcon FlickrIcon CameraIcon LaunchIcon GooglePlus2Icon GooglePlusIcon HeartIcon InformationIcon InstagramIcon LastfmIcon FrontCameraIcon LinkedInIcon EmailIcon MoneyIcon ItunesIcon MyspaceIcon OpenTableIcon PayPalIcon PencilIcon PersonIcon PhotoIcon PicasaIcon PinterestIcon PodcastIcon RssIcon ShoppingCartIcon SoundCloudIcon StarIcon TableProjectIcon TheCityIcon TumblrIcon Twitter2Icon TwitterIcon TypepadIcon VideoIcon VimeoIcon WordPressIcon YelpIcon YoutubeIcon