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.”

Children's Church

During our 9am service we offer Children’s Church which is available to those in kindergarten through 5th grade.  In Children’s Church we have a Bible lesson, time of prayer, fellowship, and more all while earning Church Blessings.

Common Ground Worship Night

An evening of prayer for our community and nation, along with worship.  Common Ground Worship Night happens the second (2nd) Saturday of each month at 6pm.

Rev. Bob Vale
Pastor

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

Megan Nearn

Children’s Minister’s/Secretary

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.  

To contact Megan regarding the children, you can email her at laportefirstumcchilren@gmail.com.  For Church concerns, you can email her at reception@laportefumc.org.

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.

Evan Wooding
Praise Team Director

Evan comes to us with an extensive background in ministry and leadership.  Evan is an Laporte Indiana native his whole life. He was born in the church and is a Pastors Kid.  He has been referred to as a PK most of his life.  As a kid growing up, church was Evan’s home away from home and that continues still today.
       
He comes from a line of music/children’s Pastors within his family around the Michiana area. 
Evan grew up in a Christian/Nazarene and Bible based home.  Evan has been playing piano and singing since he was 5 years old.  He has been in the arts since he could walk. You might have seen him in local singing competitions or at the Christian coffee house back in the day leading worship. 
       
From a child to his current adult age, Evan has a heart for people and his favorite thing to go is Worship Jesus. He has been called by God to be a Minister and lead people to Jesus. 
       
He grew up in a very musical home focused on excellence.  Music has always come naturally to Evan.   Evan likes to tell people that his heart is held up by music notes. If it wasn’t for Jesus and worship music, Evan doesn’t know where his life would be right now.  
   
Evan is a full time Hairstylist and Beauty Brand Educator. he has been in the beauty industry for about 16 years.   He loves educating people and inspiring them to be the best that they can be. 
 
Evan is a ordained through the christian church and is wanting to be ordained in the Methodist church in the future.  For the past 12 years Evan has been a childrens, youth and worship pastor in a few churches around the area.  Evan still travels with a worship team around the Michiana area when called.  
When Evan isn’t at the salon cutting hair or at the church playing piano, he likes to travel and go to tropical places.  Evan loves people and getting to know who they are as a person. He enjoys listening to people and the stories they have to tell.  Evan has Godly visions for our area and church.  He can’t wait to see what God does.  Evan is a visionary and a trailblazer for Jesus.  He says we are called by Jesus to be movers and shakers for his Kingdom.  Evan can’t wait to see what Jesus has for out community and church in the years to come. 
 
His favorite Scriptures are:
1st Corinthians 13:4-7
Philippians 4:13

Dylan Engquist-Bajo
Director of Music Ministeries

Dylan Engquist Bajo was born in Madrid, Spain, where he studied piano, composition and chamber music at the Joaquin Turina Conservatory of Music from ages 8 to 18, from which he graduated with honors. After having started his degree in piano performance at Madrid’s Universidad Alfonso X, he transferred to Indiana University South Bend, where he has recently finished completing his undergraduate music studies in the spring of 2021 (also with honors). At IUSB he has been the undergraduate recipient of the 2019-2020 Arts Excellence Award in Music and has been on the Dean’s List since he arrived. He also performs regularly in solo piano recitals, chamber music and orchestral concerts, and as accompanist for different soloists and ensembles. As Musical Director of the First United Methodist Church of LaPorte, Dylan conducts the two resident worship choirs, hand bell choir, wind ensemble, and plays piano and organ for services.

Rachel Mercer
Bookkeeper/Office Manager

Rachel started as the bookkeeper at the FUMC at the end of September of 2021.  She is the mother of three beautiful girls, Raelynn, Scarlet and Elenor.  Raelynn and Scarlet are my 6 year old twins and Elenor is 2 years old.  Rachel has lived in LaPorte for the past 12 years.  Her hobbies include spending time with my family and making sure they are taken care of.  She really enjoy doing diamond paintings in my spare time, but with 3 little ones, it is hard to find spare time. Rachel feels truly grateful to be apart of this wonderful community and have the opportunity to work with all of you.  She’s looking forward to getting to know everyone in the church.  If you need anything, please feel free to call her at the church office: 219-362-2443 or email her at
bookkeeper@laportefumc.org.

Stacy Owen
Preschool Director/Teacher

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

Frank Humphrey
Maintenance

Frank and his wife Sharon moved from the Heston area and joined the church about eight years ago. Until his retirement in January of 2021 Frank was employed as an engineer with Conn-Selmer,Inc. in Elkhart for twenty years. He was looking for something part time and close to home. Frank was blessed with the opportunity to be the maintenance man at our beautiful church. He loves taking care of our magnificent old building. Frank has gotten to know a lot of the other members and has become good friends with some wonderful folks. Frank and Sharon both love serving and being involved with some of the different ministries. They attend the 10:30 service in our beautiful sanctuary. Frank is an avid sports fan, and loves the Cubs, Bears, Notre Dame and especially watching his grandson play basketball. Frank also enjoys gardening and tinkering in his shop.

Feel free to email Frank at Fhumphrey@frontier.com

Housekeeper