MEET  THE  STAFF

  • REV. ROBERT J. DYER

    senior pastor/head of staff

    Pastor Rob is the Senior Pastor and Head of Staff at FUPC. Born and raised in Belleville, Rob graduated from Belleville West High School and went on to receive degrees in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and Purdue University. After a career in computers and project management, Rob left engineering to pursue his lifelong passion for ministry in 2002. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. From July 2005 until November 2012, he served as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Vernon, IL. Rob has a particular interest in linking the needs of the community with the passions of its Christian servants. As a public speaker (www.robdyerspeaker.com), Rob enjoys speaking to various organizations and churches looking to transform lives.  Rob’s wife, Dr. Sarah Dyer, oversees a clinical psychology practice in the area. They have 4 children. Rob enjoys time with family, playing basketball/softball, coaching youth sports, reading, playing guitar/piano and dabbling with technology/computers.

  • Pastor Alex is the Associate Pastor at FUPC. She grew up in Peoria, IL, and went to Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA) for her undergraduate studies, earning her Bachelor of Arts. While in Cedar Rapids she was involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Her call to ministry led her to complete her Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI and her Master of Social Work from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During graduate school, she was able to engage in ministry in a number of settings including college campus ministry, chaplaincy with the retired community, and as a social worker at a skilled nursing facility. Alex served as a hospital chaplain and a licensed social worker at a dialysis clinic prior to joining the team at FUPC in October of 2018. She remains a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in the state of Illinois. Alex is passionate about meeting people where they are at and caring for all of God's people.  Alex's husband, Rev. Zach Lysdahl, is also a pastor serving a local church. They have two dogs (Nala and Phil). Alex enjoys spending time in God's creation, baking, gardening, and trying new things.

  • STEPHANIE FOLTZ

    director of christian education

    Stephanie Foltz joined the staff in November 2000. As Director of Christian Education, she works with the Christian Education Committee to oversee educational programming from birth through fifth grade and adults. Stephanie and her family relocated to this area on a military move in 1993. Originally from Winchester, Virginia, she has an undergraduate degree in History from Westhampton College of the University of Richmond and a graduate degree in Museum Education from the College of William and Mary. She is a member of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, volunteers in the Resource Center of the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy, and helps coordinate a monthly Presbytery Gathering of Christian Educators and Children & Youth Workers. Stephanie enjoys taking walks, gardening, learning how to paint with watercolors, traveling to see her family especially her two grandsons and two grandcats, plus exploring and photographing God’s awesome creation. 

  • Renée Wilson

    RENÉE WILSON

    interim director of youth ministries

    Renée joined the staff in August of 2021. She will be working with us primarily remotely from Ohio handling all of the youth ministry organization, training and communications that happen behind the scenes while we begin our search for a new Director of Youth Ministries. Renée will be doing some onsite visits as well helping us implement our youth ministry activities for the fall. Through her 15+ years of mentoring and ministering with children, youth, and young adults, Renée knows the value of building healthy teams and loves creating approaches around the vision of seeing more and more people come to know Christ. She is currently a consultant with Ministry Architects, a church consulting company that FUPC has worked with in the past. Although, Renée is working directly for us in this new role. Before devoting her days to full-time ministry, Renée earned her B.S. in Psychology from The Ohio State University and her Masters of Education and Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology from the University of Cincinnati. She has served churches in rural, urban, and suburban settings, currently calling the east side of Columbus, Ohio home.

  • DR. ANDY JENSEN

    director of music ministries

    Andy Jensen joined our First United staff on August 1, 2012. As Director of Music Ministries his work includes directing the Chancel Choir and United Bells, and providing general oversight of our church music program. A native of central Illinois, Andy came to Belleville with a new appointment as Director of Choral Activities at Southwestern Illinois College in 2011. He served in a similar capacity from 2008-2011 at Arkansas Northeastern College. Andy held full graduate assistantships in choral music while pursuing the Master of Music at Illinois State University and Doctor of Musical Arts at The University of Southern Mississippi where he studied both conducting and educational pedagogy under Gregory Fuller, John Flannery, Karyl Carlson, James Major, and Timothy Fredstrom. He is married to Cathy, and they have two children, James and Eli. 

  • DIANA UMALI

    pianist/accompanist

    Diana Umali has assisted with the music ministry at the church since Nov. 2017, providing music for Sunday services and accompanying the Chancel Choir. Currently, she is a music professor at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, IL and enjoys performing chamber music with various groups in the St. Louis area.

  • MAT CONWAY

    worship music leader

    Mat Conway works with Pastor Rob and Andy Jensen to design and implement new musical elements into our worship experiences so that God may be glorified, and that the people who worship at First United find themselves more fully engaged in meaningful and transformative worship. His goal is to use music in new ways that will naturally evolve from our traditional worship experience into something that will be a blessing for our current congregation and new visitors.

  • LUANN ORLET

    office staff

    LuAnn Orlet works weekday mornings at the church to assist visitors, callers, and staff in a number of ways. LuAnn manages much of the schedule and support activities of the office.

  • CARA BARRETT

    financial secretary

    Cara Barrett works weekday afternoons at the church to assist visitors, callers, and staff in a number of ways. She is also our financial secretary handling the financial operations and data management for the church.

  • JODY HALTON

    art director

    Jody Halton supports the ministries of the church with her artistic talents. She handles our newsletter and other special art projects for the church's mission.

  • CHARESE JENNINGS

    childcare provider


  • KYLA RILEY

    childcare provider


  • EGIN WILLIS

    childcare provider