Fellowship Opportunities

“We have many fellowship opportunities for our congregation and as an outreach to the community. Wonderful Wednesdays happen during the school year and offer a free meal at 5:00 followed by activities, discussions, and Bible studies for all ages, children through adults.”

Youth Activities

“Youth activities include weekly meetings, mission trips, camp, and other special activities. Our focus is to have a safe, positive place for teens to come and connect with each other and with God.”

Parents Night Out

“Parents Night Out is the first Saturday of every month 5:00- 8:30. This free activity includes stories, games, crafts, videos, and dinner. Parents can enjoy a night out knowing their children are having fun in a safe and loving place.”

Youth Mission Trips

“Youth mission trips and events are a big part of our youth ministry. It gives the teens an opportunity to grow and serve- and have fun, too!”

Rev. Bob Vale

Pastor Bob is a native of Indiana and has been married to Nancy for the past 34 years.  He and Nancy have three adult age children.  (Rebecca, Joshua & Daniel)  

Bob went to Fort Wayne Bible College and then to Erskine Theological Seminary for his Masters of Divinity degree.   Bob also served in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm in Iraq.  

Bob’s hobbies include fishing, kayaking, camping and playing guitar.   Nancy is a 4th grade elementary school teacher in the South Bend school system. 

Bob’s personal life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, and in all your ways acknowledge God, and He will direct your paths.   Pastor Bob’s theme for life is to Love God, Love People and Love life to the fullest.    He ties to guide his life from John Wesley’s three simple rules.  

1.    Do No Harm,    2. Always Do Good,    3. Stay in Love with God.   

If you need to get in touch with Pastor Bob, please email him at pastor@laportefumc.org

 Charles Graves

Youth Minister

Charles grew up in small Texas towns playing basketball, running track, and playing the great game of six-man football.  At thirteen years old, he made a commitment to serve Jesus every day and follow Him as the leader of his life.  In high school, he led prayer meetings, Bible studies, and organized some local outreaches for students.  He had the opportunity to be part of two different worship teams and to preach on multiple occasions to students, both in church and outside of church.  After graduating high school, he knew that God wanted him to pursue full-time ministry, so he started working toward a ministry degree at Oral Roberts University.  In college, he continued to do youth ministry, skatepark ministry, homeless ministry, and interpersonal ministry.  Charles recently graduated from Oral Roberts University with a Bachelor’s in Ministry and Leadership and now serves as a Resident Missionary with the People & Songs community.  He is grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Youth Minister at First United Methodist Church and has a heart to see a great spiritual awakening in the city of La Porte where both the young and the old exalt the name of Jesus together.  You can reach out to Charles at fumcyouthminister@gmail.com or you can call or text him at (254)-265-2746.


Megan Nearn

Children’s Minister

Megan was raised in the United Methodist Church, and began working in her childhood church during 6th grade, and worked in their  Children’s Ministries until she went away for college.  While at college she studied Elementary Education.  Over the years Megan has been lucky enough to work with many different children, from all walks of life.  She believes that children are our future, and it truly has been a privilege to work with them and help them grow during such an exciting part of their life.  

Bob and Sharen Kooyenga
Visitation Ministers

Bob and Sharen have been members of La Porte First United Methodist Church for over twenty years.  Within the last five years or so, they have both become more active within the church.  Sharen has been involved with UMW, serving as Circle president and helping with many of the UMW fundraisers.  Bob has been involved with the UMM.

In September 2019, they were asked to consider becoming Visitation Ministers.  They accepted the position and it has been one of the most rewarding things they have done.  They feel they get more out of the visit than the shut-ins do.

Bob retired as a Controller from a local company, and Sharen retired as Office Manager after twenty-five years from a local dentist.

They love to go to Florida to get away from the cold weather.  When in Florida, they attend the First United Methodist Church of New Port Richey, where they have made many friends.

The Kooyenga’s have a wonderful family consisting of four daughters, three son-in-laws, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Peter Steele
Praise Team Director

Melissa Born
Office Administrator

Biography coming soon


Rachel Mercer

Biography coming soon

Stacy Owen
Preschool Teacher

Hello my name is Stacy Owen. I am the Director/ Lead Teacher at Discovery  Days Preschool.

Frank Humphrey