Our Staff and Missional Leaders

Rev. Dr. Lydia Istomina
Pastor Lydia is a founder of the very first United Methodist Church in Russia after 70 years of atheism and the first woman pastor in Russia. She started her church in July 1990 in Ekaterinburg, a city of 1.4 million people, a few miles from the Europe-Asia border.  Lydia’s first book Bringing Hidden Things to Light  (Abingdon Press, 1996) describes her personal journey in the midst of dramatic changes in Russia. Her other book, From Misery to Mystery, is a collection of short stories about the life of an immigrant woman in Kansas City. It presents an enticing and very personal account of her life in America. Lydia Istomina received her Doctoral degree from Saint Paul School of Theology. Her amendment to Amend ¶4. was published by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and can be found here. Lydia and her husband Scott Kiddle love their new life in St. Joseph.

Jennifer Tanguay
Administrative Assistant

Jennifer Tanguay is an active member of Francis Street First as well as the Administrative Assistant. Although she earned her Associates Degree and is a level one med aide, she says her family is her greatest accomplishment. Jennifer is the wife of Steven Tanguay and mother of six children, who also attend Francis Street First.

Andy Grooms
Early Service Music Director
Andy Grooms leads music for the blended service. Music is taken from hymnals, new contemporary songs, and original materials to give the service a lively unique feel each week. Special music is incorporated with singers, guitarists, and other instruments. Andy also started a new choral ansumble.
Donavan Jones
Traditional Service Music Director

For the last seven years Donavan has been organist and choir director for several churches around town. Donavan studied classical voice, piano, and organ at Missouri Western State University from 2011-2019 and competed nationally as an operatic tenor. He is fluent in traditional church music of all denominations, He also served as contemporary music director for three years at First Lutheran Church here in Saint Joseph. Ironically, Donavan says, his first paid position as a musician was from the time I was 13 until I was 18 for two United Methodist churches in his hometown. 


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