Reverend Scott Otis
I was raised in West Michigan, first in Kalamazoo and then on a small island on Gun Lake. I graduated from Delton Kellogg High School. During my senior year of high school, I attended the Shelbyville UMC where people began to ask me if I had thought about being a pastor. It seemed like an odd question, but it was also the start of a powerful call to ordained ministry. In Isaiah 6:8 God spoke to the prophet Isaiah asking, “Who will go for me?” Isaiah said, “Here I am, send me.” In the middle of looking at that calling, I realized God was asking me the same question. In college, at Western Michigan University, I began working with youth at my local church and found energy and passion in that. I could not get God’s calling off my mind.
I left youth ministry and went on to Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky where I earned a degree in Bible. I then attended seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary and later at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. I simultaneously began pastoral ministry at the St. Paul UMC in Oak Hill, Ohio. I was so green to ministry! The good people of St. Paul loved us and were patient as we learned the many lessons of leadership in ministry. That began a journey of 34 years of practicing ministry. I use the word “practicing” because there is always so much more to learn.
In 1983, I married my college girlfriend, Carrie (Yount). I still can’t believe she said “yes.” Out of our love we had three now adult children. Corey/Erin (Holdren) of Fenton, Kyle/Lindsey (Frohriep) of Kalamazoo and Emily/ Morgan Hennessey of Memphis, Tennessee. By the time you read this we will be welcoming our sixth granddaughter into this world. They are a huge blessing but we are wondering if there are any grandsons in our future!
For hobbies I like to play with my dogs, run when my knees will allow it, follow the Detroit Tiger baseball team and check up on the local college football teams. (Go Blue). Carrie loves to be creative in making quilts, pillows and art of many kinds. She has amazing gifts for decorating of all varieties. She is great with little kids, too. Carrie was once named the Martha Stewart-Mary Poppins of the community.
It is my privilege to be able to serve as pastor of Howell First UMC. I have a longing to see church members become disciples. I would do almost anything to reach the pre-churched for Christ.
Director of Christian Education
Diane has been at Howell FUMC since 2006 and has over 25 years experience in Christian ministry. She is responsible for overseeing Educational Ministries for all ages here at Howell FUMC. She holds a Master’s Degree in TESOL from Eastern Michigan University, a Master’s Degree in Christian Education and Church Music from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Western Michigan University. Prior to coming to Howell, Diane spent 7 years working as a missionary in Peru and Costa Rica and 9 years with the Outdoor and Retreat Ministries of the Detroit Conference. She is a certified Group Fitness Instructor and Administrator of the fitness program at FUMC. Diane and her husband, Kevin, have been married since 1989.
As Youth Director of Howell FUMC, Danielle Burkhart is dedicated to partnering with the parents, leaders, and staff of the church so as to offer spiritual direction to the youth of Livingston county. She brings four years of serving youth in a mentorship capacity before coming on staff in 2016. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Youth Ministry and Art from Spring Arbor University. In her spare time, Danielle loves drinking coffee at Uptown Coffee House (she is not very adventurous and prefers the vanilla iced latte), drawing, and spending time with her son and husband.
Children's Ministry Director
Olive Hayden-Moore joined the staff in 2016 as Children’s Ministry Director. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance and an MBA from the University of Houston, as well as a Master of Education Degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She brings over 20 years of experience in early childhood education to her position, having most recently served in Detroit’s inner city where she guided the development of principals and teachers. Olive is a Certified Lay Servant in the United Methodist Church, Michigan Area Conference, and a proud mother and grandmother.
Office Manager / Communications Coordinator
Jennifer (Jenn) is the church Office Manager and Communications Coordinator. She was born and raised in Howell, moving to neighboring Ingham County after marrying the farmer of her dreams in 2001. Together they are blessed with two children, now teenagers, keeping them busy and loved. In their spare time, the family enjoys camping, antique tractor pulling and visiting steam and tractor shows around the state of Michigan, and sometimes around the country. They also enjoy cruising in their antique cars and trucks on nice days. Outside of work, Jenn usually has her nose in a book, a crochet hook and yarn in her hand, or playing board games with her family. Jenn is a collector of all things Mickey Mouse.
Jamie joined the staff in 2015 as Financial Administrator. She is a lifelong resident of Howell and has been attending the Howell FUMC for just as long! She graduated from Howell High School in 2000 and then attended Western Michigan University where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management (2004). She and her husband, Ben, have been married since 2007 and they are the proud parents of Kaden, who was born in 2014 and Hudson, who was born in 2019. Jamie has been a Team Captain for the Brighton Walk to End Alzheimer's since 2011. She began attending the Howell FUMC MOPS program in 2014, and started serving on the MOPS leadership committee in 2015. She is very thankful to have such an incredible church family!
Ellen is a native of Indiana. She graduated from Manchester College and has a Master’s degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University with additional training in Early Childhood Development at Michigan State University. Ellen has had a lifelong interest in music….church choir, band, piano and organ… and is proud to carry on the tradition of organist at The First United Methodist Church of Howell. Ellen and her husband, Doug, are active members of the First Church family and have been members for more than 40 years. They are proud grandparents to four boys and enjoy antiquing.
Director of Worship Celebrations
Ken Ferguson started his ministry at Howell FUMC in October, 2019. He loves joining with other singers and musicians to worship God. His main focus is to inspire even greater passion to worship within the church and community.
Ken has been married for 25 years and enjoys being with his wife and three kids. He is also a full time educator and school administrator in a Livingston County charter school. His hobbies include hiking, camping, running in local races, and writing and recording worship songs. Ken also plays and collects board games. Some favorite games are Parks, Stone Age, and Clank! If you want to bribe Ken, you'll need some swedish fish, or black licorice from Panda or Wiley Wallaby. Regular coffee makes Ken lose his mind.
Sara is a home-schooled 11th grader and has been assisting in the church office for over two years. She plans to attend Michigan State University in 2021 to major in either actuarial sciences or accounting. In her free time, she enjoys all types of art, from drawing to dancing to fashion to theater.
Tina has been working with young children for over 25 years. She has her degree in Early Childhood Development. Tina and her husband, Steve have lived in the Howell community for over 15 years. Together they have three daughters. Their oldest daughter Emma attends Saginaw Valley State University. Lydia and Cecilia attend Howell Public Schools. After being a stay at home mom for 13 years, Tina continued her passion of educating young children becoming a preschool director. In her spare time Tina enjoys spending time with her family and hosting fun parties.
4 year old Teacher
Jayme Is currently in her 10th year with our preschool program and 12th school year teaching preschool in the city of Howell. Jayme pursued and completed her early childhood training through the Department of Defense while her husband was serving in the USAF. Jayme and her husband Steve returned to their hometown of Howell with their 3 daughters in 2003 and have enjoyed raising their girls in the same community they grew up in. Away from preschool, Jayme enjoys her time with her family. Whether its travelling for softball tournaments or sitting around a bonfire, family time is always a priority.
Melissa has over 35 years in the childcare field and is currently the lead teacher in the 3-year-old class here are Howell FUMC. She has dedicated her life to helping children grow and take their next steps. She holds an Associate in Arts and Science and a Child Development Associate Credential, and recieves 16 hours in continuing education yearly. She resides in Coopersville, MI. She and her husband Ben are currently parents to three children ages 21, 19 and 14.
Kimberly is a teacher's assistant in the 3-year-old preschool classroom. She started assisting when her children were in the program and has enjoyed this role for almost 12 years now. Kimberly has been married to her high school sweetheart for 20 years and they live in Howell with their two children. Some hobbies she enjoys include gardening and maintaining order around the family homestead, where her family raises of farm animals. Kimberly also enjoys road trips all over Michigan and any travel that leads her to the ocean.
3 year olds Teacher
Jennifer Beres has been with the preschool program as first a parent volunteer and then as a teacher's aid since 2012, making the transfer to FUMC in 2019. She grew up in Illinois, Arizona and Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Go Blue!). Prior to moving to Howell, she was a preschool teacher and then the Program Curriculum Director for a large childcare center in Ann Arbor for eight years. Jenn currently lives in Hartland with her husband, three children, a dog and a cat. She enjoys reading, chai tea, swimming, biking, the beach and cheering on her children in their various activities. She also enjoys volunteering at the schools, traveling and spending time with her family.
Dennis Brandon came to Howell FUMC in December of 2019. He has been married for 25 years and is the father of six and grandfather of four. Dennis has been in the custodial industry for over 40 years including owning and operating his own company. Dennis is a self proclaimed workaholic. While working full time at Howell FUMC, he continues to operate his own company part time to meet the needs of long time clients. His hobbies include bike riding, bowling and billards. Above all, Dennis loves spending what spare time he has with family, grandchildren and friends.