Our Staff

Rev. Joy Baumgartner

Senior Minister joyannbrev@gmail.com

A graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, Joy has served churches for almost thirty years in Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Massachusetts, and now Beloit.  Loving the Congregational Way, Joy is committed to serve the church as a Servant of God’s people. Her ministry is marked by insightful sermons,  a caring pastoral presence, and a very positive personality. Joy’s enthusiastic spirit can brighten anyone’s day.


Rev. Gene Van Galder

Associate Minister gvangalder@yahoo.com

Gene has served as minister for over 30 years at Afton Community Church, Beloit’s Second Congregational Church, Beloit’s First Baptist Church and now at First Congregational Church.  The verse “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Dt. 26.16) reflects the positive nature of his ministry and belief in the goodness of God and humankind. When he’s not ministering to the congregation and community, you can find him in just about any corner of the world. In his “spare time,” he operates GVG Tours and leads tours around the world.


Max Yount

Director Of Music maxyount@gmail.com

Max is a former Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Beloit College. He is an accomplished concert musician at the organ and harpsichord and divides his time between coordinating MUSICA MAXIMA concerts and service as the church’s Director of Music. Max’s sly humor and contagious laugh keep all the staff smiling.


Susan Angell

Administrative Assistant info@firstcon.org

Susan, a Beloit native who now spends her time in the Evansville countryside, brings her newspaper publishing background and office administration skills to the church. She makes sure church operations run smoothly, helping with our bookkeeping and a myriad of other office details. Her passion is creating and designing our weekly bulletins and monthly newsletters, and creating and managing our website. When she’s not at work, you will most likely find her hiking the many scenic trails around the area.


Etta Patten

Cleaning Custodian

Have you ever noticed how sparkling clean and fresh First Congregational Church is? Etta is the woman behind the scenes who does a top-notch job cleaning every nook and cranny of this beautiful building. Etta retired from a long career at Frito-Lay and now spends her mornings keeping things sparkly, and brightening the days of fellow staff members with her smile and friendly nature.


Richard Wanninger

Maintenance Custodian

Is there anything Richard can’t do to keep the church running efficiently? We haven’t found it yet. Richard worked most of his career as an electrician at General Motors. After the plant shut down, he found his way to First Congregational Church where he is known as the Master of Maintenance.