Church Staff


Rev. Phil Blackwell

Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler
Lead Pastor

Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler is the lead pastor at First United Methodist Church. He grew up North of Boston, and was a church pastor in New England for 22 years. Before coming to Madison, he served in many capacities during his 16 years at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He is an avid reader, with a collection that rivals many academic department libraries, as well as an accomplished cook. Mark declares he is a "Patriotic Red Sox Fan" (sigh), but at least he is NOT a Bears devotee. For Rev. Dr. Mark Fowler's complete curriculum vitae, click here.

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Tina Lang

Rev. Tina Lang
Executive Associate Pastor

Rev. Tina Lang coordinates the program ministries of the congregation. She works with the Program Council and various ministry areas to take inventory of ministry needs, establish ministry goals, equip and deploy leadership teams, and align ministries with First Church's mission and vision.  Tina loves music. She's passionate about social issues. And she practices what she preaches.


Rev. Dr. Paul Melrose
Assisting Pastor for Pastoral Care

Rev. Dr. Paul Melrose is a retired Methodist Pastor who has been attending First Church since moving to Madison from Michigan to be near grandchildren. Paul is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with many years of experience in counseling. Paul works in coordination with Jim Ostrander, Coordinator of Senior Ministries, in ministering to our aging members (especially regarding end of life issues) as well as offering care to our younger members. Paul will also have a role on Sunday mornings, with visitation/funerals, and in assisting Pastor Mark as needed.

608-256-9061 ext. 27
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Ministry Staff 

Karen Andro

Karen Andro
Director of Hope's Home Ministries

Karen Andro, Director of Hope's Home Ministries, is enthusiastic about reaching out to downtown Madison. She serves in a variety of leadership roles in the community as well as our church, putting her heart and soul into serving our homeless neighbors through our Hope's Home Food Pantry, healthful meal programs, overflow emergency shelter and community outreach. Karen manages our Loaves & Fishes Kitchen, bringing together food service training to provide job readiness skills where church members and friends serve in community.

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Ross Cowing

Ross Cowing
Director of Music and the Arts

Ross Cowing is our Director of Music and the Arts. He is our Organist. He conducts the choir. And he works with all the outside music and theater groups who use our building. If you have ever been here on a Sunday morning at around 10 a.m. and heard applause from within the Sanctuary, you’ve just heard how much the congregation appreciates one of Ross’ talents – making beautiful music on First Church’s magnificent pipe organ (3400+ pipes!).

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Mary Staff Photo 2013

Laurie Peterson
Children’s Ministries Assistant

Laurie Peterson is redefining her role here at First Church. She has been a volunteer Sunday school teacher for 13 years, and she now adds the staff role of Children's Ministries Assistant. She does such routine things as shifting classrooms and checking supplies and such energizing activities as Vacation Bible School and Children’s Church. Working with little children is her passion. Laurie started attending here in 1992. For both Laurie and her family, First Church has been home. She says it's alive...energetic. And she loves the anticipation and acceptance she sees on the faces of the children.

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Jim Staff Photo 2013

Jim Ostrander
Coordinator of Senior Ministries

Jim Ostrander is the Coordinator of Senior Ministries for First Church. He has a history of involvement at the church, having served (and continuing to serve) as Head Usher. As Coordinator, he maintains the connections to our homebound friends and brings them the joy, caring and conversation others of us are able to share onsite. He also fosters seniors' interaction via social opportunities such as "Spouses Now Alone" and quarterly socials.

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Ministry Operations Staff 

Dennis Anderson

Dennis Anderson 
Facilities Supervisor

Dennis Anderson is our Facilities Supervisor. He normally works during the week, arriving early, but you’ll often see him here on weekends, too – at weddings, concerts, and community events – lending his helpful hand. (He’s a devoted Packers’ and Brewers’ fan, if you’re looking for a conversation starter.) If you need to reach Dennis, you should call the church office (during office hours).


 Alison Long

Brooke Seeliger
Coordinator of Reception and Security

Brooke Seeliger joined the staff in November of 2017 as the Coordinator of Reception and Security.  She manages the Welcome Center which is the first point of contact for all visitors to the church. Brooke first became involved with FUMC as a volunteer and fell in love with the community and social justice mission of the church. She is a Madison native and has lived downtown for several decades. Next time you are visiting the church, stop by and say hello!



Max & Laura Wendt Max & Laura Wendt

Max & Laura Wendt
Digital Arts Specialists

Max & Laura Wendt, Digital Arts Specialists, are a team in more ways than one. They design and create the visual images we all enjoy during worship. They generally work "off site." They are parents of two young daughters who are also very creative and energetic!

Email or  

Corey Whitmore
Audio Video Specialist

Corey Whitmore is our Audio Video Specialist, and he is one busy guy! He enjoys the challenge that Sunday mornings provide. (Apparently no two Sundays or the audio requirements are the same.) When not here, he might be caring for his two young sons or serving on one of the three volunteer boards of which he's a member. He actively promotes music, community arts and songwriting in the Madison area. Oh. And he coaches high school basketball in the winter.


Ev Woolpert
Assistant to the Pastors

As an assistant to Mark and Tina, Ev maintains their formal schedules and appointments. She also maintains the many membership records at the church: Attendance, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths and Membership. Luckily for other church staff, one of her passions is chocolate! and she shares it liberally.