Our Staff

Rev. Gene Van Galder

Senior 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.

Rev. Dan Herman

Associate Minister dannyjoherman@gmail.com

Dan has been in ordained ministry since 1981 and served churches in MN, IL, and WI. He tries to live by the bumper sticker he had made for his car, which reads, “Anyone can criticize. Can you inspire?” In many ways he sees that as the theological goal of ministry: to inspire people to live a more Christ-like lifestyle rather than criticize those around us. He’s devoted to a Christian message of warmth, welcome, and inclusivity into Christ’s community.

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 frontoffice@firstcon.org

Susan, a Beloit native who now spends her time in the northwest Rock County 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. 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.