Jude Aboagye joined our staff as the new Director of Youth Ministry on August 8, 2022. Jude is a 10-year resident of Ankeny and a graduate of AHS and the University of Iowa. His family is originally from Ghana in West Africa where he spent a few years living as a child. He has spent just about all of his life in the church and grew up playing several instruments on the worship team. Jude also has a love for soccer and spends time coaching youth soccer with Iowa Rush. In his free time, he enjoys playing the bass and spending time with family.
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Rhonda Alessio joined the staff in January 2007 and has served as Program Staff Assistant, Membership Secretary, Administrative Specialist and now in her current position as Director of Discipleship. Rhonda oversees the Christian Care Cluster and the Connect Team helping people to move along the Discipleship Pathway, drawing new people to worship services, assisting them in connecting with small groups and mobilizing them for service as well as connecting people to the caring ministries they may need. Rhonda and her husband Joe live in South Des Moines.
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Mr. José Clavell began his duties as Director of Traditional Worship for Ankeny First in the summer of 2018. Before his position at Ankeny, he was the Music Director for Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Urbandale, Iowa and a Spanish teacher to Beginner, Advanced, Native, Heritage, and Non-Native students at Des Moines Public Schools for three years. He currently sings with the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble.
Originally from Puerto Rico, José moved to the midwest in 2013 where he pursued his Master’s of Music in Choral Conducting at Western Illinois University (2015) and is a graduate of Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce, Puerto Rico, 2012). José avid foodie and beginner blogger. He currently lives in Grimes, Iowa with his dog Moe the westiepoo.
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Cindy Lorius joined us as our Financial Assistant in December 2016. She is a native of Southeastern Minnesota. She moved from Northeastern Iowa to Altoona in 2010. She is the proud mom of two daughters and a loving grandparent of seven grandchildren. Cindy’s greatest joy comes from an ever-growing and transforming relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. She has been a member of the United Methodist Church for most of her life. The majority of Cindy’s career life has been working in the financial industry. She has a huge passion for helping others. When not working, her favorite activities include anything outdoors and especially time with her Australian Shepherd “Shep”; spending time on the farm with TJ; and driving north to spoil her grandchildren. Cindy will tell you that there would be no better way to describe her life than “I am truly Blessed Beyond Measure.”
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Charity joined the staff in July 2010 as our Communications Assistant, but the role has evolved into a full-time position of Director of Communications. Charity's responsibilities include creating our weekly worship supplement, bi-monthly newsletter, and other print and electronic and social communication. Charity has a BA in Public Relations from UNI. She and her husband Clay live in Ankeny and have twin daughters, Lauren and Emma.
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Marcie joined the AFUMC team in September of 2012. Her main responsibilities include coordinating Sunday School, CLC scheduling, database support, and sports ministry oversight. Marcie graduated from Northwest Missouri State with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management. She and her husband, Jason, live in Ankeny and have four children, Kyle, Tara, Autumn, and Ella.
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Brenda joined the staff in April 2020. She has worked with nonprofits since 2002, most recently spending the last eight years as the CFO for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Iowa. Her undergraduate degree is in accounting from Wartburg College. Brenda completed her MBA degree in 2018 with Liberty University. Brenda, her husband, Mark, and son, Mitch, have lived in Ankeny since 2005. Brenda enjoys warm sunshiny days, coffee time with close friends, time spent in her kitchen, and overall personal wellness and fitness.
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Amity joined the staff at Ankeny First in 2015. As Director of Worship, her responsibilities include planning contemporary worship across our worship sites and directing the Children's Music Ministry. Amity has been leading worship at Ankeny First since she began attending the church in 2002. She has a degree in music education and music therapy from Wartburg College. Amity is married to Pastor John Wagner, and they have two children, Gabe and Landry.
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