MEet Our Team

  • Rev. Dr. Roger Grimmett

    Lead Pastor

    Originally from Brighton, IL, Roger has been appointed as our lead pastor, effective July 1, 2017. His previous position was as the District Superintendent of the Mississippi River District of our conference, supervising 72 churches in the district. He is excited to be preaching, teaching, and leading this congregation. He is passionate about leading people into a relationship with Jesus Christ and discipling them into fully devoted followers of Jesus. Married to Brenda, they have two grown sons - Blake and Nathan. He enjoys working out, putting things together, reading, and having spiritual conversations with people.  

    Follow Roger on Facebook here.

    Email Roger.

  • Rev. Nicole Cox

    Associate Pastor

    Born and raised in Effingham, IL, Nicole went on to graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University and then completed seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Her deepest passion for ministry lies in helping people realize that Jesus loves them more than they could imagine and that, because of that love, we are called to change the world. Nicole is married to Steve, who is a musician and audio engineer by trade. They have two of the cutest kids ever – Aubrey and Corbin. Nicole loves music, books, tv, movies, and she has a small obsession with the Beatles (so much so that she convinced Steve to go to Liverpool as part of their honeymoon).

    Follow Nicole on Facebook here or on Twitter @RevNicoleCox.

    Email Nicole.

  • Rev. Justin Snider

    Associate Pastor

    Justin grew up in Tuscola, IL, graduated from Greenville College in 2002, and married his wife Miriam Snider later that year. Both Miriam and Justin graduated from Duke Divinity School in 2006 and have served United Methodist churches in downstate Illinois ever since. (Miriam is the lead pastor of Chatham UMC in nearby Chatham.) They have two children, a son named Sam and a daughter named Katie. Along with many regular pastoral duties at Springfield First, Justin works with our small group ministries. Justin is passionate about spiritual formation, prayer, teaching, mental and emotional health, laughter, and the equipping of lifelong disciples of Christ who are maturing in their faith. He enjoys running, hiking, reading, and travel. 

    Email Justin.

  • Lana Salomonson

    Executive Director

    Lana grew up in the Soybean Capital of the world - Decatur, Illinois - but has lived in Springfield for the past 25 years. As the Executive Director of Springfield First, she oversees the facility and church campus, personnel, and the budget. Lana is married to Scott, has "the best son in the world," and an awesome dog named Max. She is also passionate about this church, God, and all things having to do with water! Lana enjoys swimming, traveling, swimming, watching the Cubs win (occasionally), swimming, and playing with her dog. (Did we mention that she loves swimming?!)

    Email Lana.

  • Andrew Jones

    KidLife Pastor

    Pastor Andrew attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and is a commissioned Deacon in the United Methodist Church. He most recently was a Family Pastor at Still Waters UMC Church in Jackson Wisconsin. Before that, he oversaw children, youth and family ministry at Morning Start UMC Church in Missouri. In addition to his church experience, Pastor Andrew is also a 14 year veteran of the public school system and has a Master’s degree in Education. His wife Kim, daughter Sarah, and son Jacob live in Chatham.

    Email Andrew.

  • Brennan Pappas

    Director of Technical Arts

    Brennan is a Springfield native and has attended this church for the past eight years, the last three of which he served in various positions on our team. He has a passion for connecting people to God through the tech booth and in worship. Brennan loves being around family and friends in all atmospheres. He enjoys bowling, paintball, biking, running, baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Green Bay Packers.

    Email Brennan.

  • Carli Burton

    Director of Senior Ministries

    From Lincoln, IL, Carli aims to motivate Christian growth in others and to help all generations of our church feel cared for and loved. Her goal is also to shift our basic assumptions about aging, realizing that it involves heightened opportunity for spiritual development. "I love my job, word games, and family time."

    Email Carli.

  • Chase Carlisle

    Director of Worship Arts

    Chase is originally from the South but has since lived in several different parts of the country. He graduated with a degree in music from Truman State University and has been serving in music ministry ever since! Before living in Springfield, Chase served at a church in Memphis, TN (the Birthplace of Rock and Roll!!). As the Director of Worship Arts, he oversees many of the elements that go into each weekend service. He oversees the Technical Arts ministry and is involved with the pastoral and creative planning teams. He has a passion for unity in the church and a vision to support a growing culture of worship in the local church. He is married to Elyssa :) and, holding to his southern ties, they are the proud owners of two healthy Bloodhound pups (Jasper and Tillie), and have two adorable boys.

    Follow Chase on Facebook here or on Twitter @chaseacarlisle.

    Email Chase.

  • Elyssa Carlisle

    Children's and Youth Choir Director

    Elyssa has lived in central Illinois her whole life and has been in Springfield for 11 1/2 years. She serves Springfield First as the Children's & Youth Choir Director, the Youth Handbell Choir Director, and a smattering of other jobs. "My passions lie in loving people & showing my youth how much God is crazy for them! My vision is for them to use their God-given gifts to better His kingdom, to experience His Presence in such a way that worship becomes daily and His truth becomes reality." She loves people, kids, chocolate, coffee, seeing youth praise Jesus, missions overseas, and the Director of Worship Arts (yeah, she and Chase are married).

    Email Elyssa.

  • Dr. See Tsai Chan

    Associate Director of Music Ministry

    See Tsai is originally from Hong Kong but now teaches music at Blackburn College. When she's not in Carlinville instructing students, she's running our traditional music ministry and directing the choir. She loves making music, coffee :), reading, family time, zumba, and swimming.

    Email See Tsai.

  • Sharon Sweeney

    Director of Connections

    Sharon wears her hometown, St Louis, MO, as a badge of honor - home of the Cardinals, The Hill, and Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. She moved to Springfield in June of 1995 with her husband and daughters, and started working at Springfield First one month later. Sharon has worked at Springfield First for 24 years, and feels lucky to have worked with all three "Rogers"! As the Director of Connections, Sharon greets new guests and helps place them and others into volunteer opportunities, classes, and small groups. Her experience at organizing and carrying out events with volunteers spans several years, and she annually leads 11 teams of more than 70 volunteers to host the Global Leadership Summit. She believes the best way to stay connected to a church is to form relationships. Over the past 24 years, Sharon has made several treasured friendships and relationships. She loves spending time with her husband Jim and their daughters - Shannon (married to Mike) and twins Sydney and Sierra, and with her new grandson Aiden. "Oh, and I love reality shows!"

    Email Sharon.

  • Sydney Pappas

    Associate Director of StudentLife

    Sydney is originally from Shelbyville, IL, but  lived in Rochester, IL the majority of her life. In her position at Springfield First, she aids in the spiritual development of the students within our church through a variety of actions. She also oversees the social media side of things for StudentLife. She is passionate about spiritual formation which she has studied at Lincoln Christians University. Her hope is to help teens develop their own unique ways of experiencing God and help them along their discernment through junior high to high school, then high school to post high school. She enjoys spending time with her husband Brennan (who is also on our staff). She also enjoys traveling, journaling, and watching The Office and Parks and Rec on repeat! She loves having a good laugh as much as she can! 

    Email Sydney.

  • Dara Bose


    Dara lives in Glenarm with her husband Bob, who is a firefighter/paramedic for the Chatham Fire Department, and their 3 children, Ryan, Tyler, and Becca. As the church accountant it is her responsibility to make sure that all of the bills are paid and that all funds are accounted for. She is also our Interim Director of Communications, she ensures that all of our communication material is ready for the weekend services and monitors our website and Facebook. In her spare time she is an author with a passion for uplifting and inspiring others, as well as doing charity work. She enjoys spending time with family, painting, crafting, fishing, four wheeling and playing in the mud. 

    Email Dara.

  • Dayton Emery

    Technical Arts Assistant

    Dayton attends college while he helps out at Springfield First on the Tech team, making videos and taking photos.

    Email Dayton.

  • Dennis Canny

    Facilities Manager

    Dennie grew up in several small communities in Central Illinois. His father was a United Methodist minister in what was the Central Illinois Conference at that time. As the church's facilities manager, he is responsible for seeking quotes on major repairs, overseeing projects, performing minor repairs, and working with volunteer groups within the church. He has a passion for sports, particularly Fighting Illini basketball and football, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Chicago Bears! Dennie loves to travel, golf, cook, and listen to music. More than anything, though, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family - especially his new granddaughters Haddie and Autumn!

    Email Dennie.

  • Jenny Hutcherson

    Financial Administrator

    Jenny spent 14 years in Georgia before moving to Springfield in 2008. She considers it an honor to be working behind-the-scenes and ensuring that people's gifts to God through Springfield First are handled in the way they intended. She also coordinates the building calendar and room reservations. Jenny loves spending time with her husband Jeff and their three boys - Sam, Ben, and Nathan. She also enjoys quilting, reading, baking, and watching detective shows on TV!

    Email Jenny.

  • Renoldo Gayton

    Lead Custodian

    Renoldo was born and raised in Springfield and is the 13th of 13 children in his family! In his job, he cleans and maintains the church facility and grounds. He is passionate about God, family, and doing the best he can. Renoldo enjoys fishing, spending time with grandkids, working on cars, and fixing things. He is eager to help, and we are happy to have him on our staff!

  • Sally Howard

    Executive Assistant

    Sally grew up in Springfield and became a member here in 1992. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and worked for the State of IL until 1995. A career change moved her to southern Indiana, where she married Vince in 1997. They were blessed with two boys, Matthew in 2000 and Michael in 2005. They returned to the area and to Springfield First UMC in 2002, where they each have been involved in various ministries. Sally has enjoyed being a part of the Administrative Board, StudentLife, KidLife, ABC, and a mission trip van driver for the youth choir.  

    As the Executive Assistant, Sally works closely with Pastor Roger, providing administrative support, and handles a broad variety of tasks associated with staff, church boards, volunteers, and congregational activities. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her cats and dog, and working in her yard. Her favorite times of the year: Spring, Summer and Fall, and anytime there's homemade ice cream!

    Email Sally.

  • Steve Cox

    Audio Technology Specialist

    With strengths in sound and tech, Steve brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the tech booths. You will still see him playing the guitar on stage occasionally, and also in the tech booths throughout the weekend at services. Steve is also married to Nicole Cox and father to their two kids, Aubrey and Corbin.

    Email Steve.