Sunday Worship In-person and Streamed Online at 10am


Pastoral Staff

Rev. Heather Sparkman

Lead Pastor

Pastor Heather (she/her) graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in English and completed her Master of Divinity at Claremont School of Theology in California. The first church she served as a pastor was Shelton United Methodist Church where she was an associate for two years after being on staff as youth director and program administrator. She has also served at Rochester UMC, Oakville UMC, as a new church start pastor, and is delighted to be at First United Methodist Church of Olympia.

When she's not parenting or pastoring, Pastor Heather loves to read, knit, bake, and hang out with her two cats and two dogs.
Office Phone: 360-943-2661 Ext. 107

Rev. Alexa Eisenbarth

Associate Pastor

Rev. Alexa Eisenbarth (she/her) is a graduate of Whitworth University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary who is passionate and knowledgeable about the faith of young adults, as well as reimagining church for a changing religious landscape.

Pastor Alexa lives in Olympia with her friend Brittney, and Brittney's dog, Luna. In her free time, Pastor Alexa loves to watch (what she considers) good television, like Grey's Anatomy, Madam Secretary, and Ted Lasso, and enjoys taking Luna to the dog park. Pastor Alexa is quick to laugh, prides herself on being resourceful, and appreciates an invitation to do something creative or adventurous with others.
Office Phone: 360-943-2661 Ext. 106

Administrative Staff

Brittney Gilleland

Director of Children's Ministry

Brittney Gilleland (she/her) is a graduate of Greenville University where she majored in Children, Youth and Family Pastoral Ministry. Upon finishing her undergraduate degree Brittney attended Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago where she focused on Christian Education and curriculum development.

Brittney was born and raised in the southern half of Illinois and made her way to Washington after seminary in 2019. She has served as the children and youth pastor at 2 other churches in Washington since then and has landed in Olympia to continue working in children’s ministry. When Brittney isn’t working she enjoys watching drama television series, snuggling with her labradoodle Luna, coaching her elementary cheer squad, learning facts about sharks, reading through her TBR stack and going to Olive Garden for soup, salad and breadsticks!

Cathy Bennett

Office Manager & Common Ground Choir Director

As our Office Manager, Cathy (she/her) is probably the first voice you will hear on the phone. She manages the front office, greets and helps folks who come in seeking assistance, handles the giving and tithes, tracks online worship attendance, sends out prayer requests, and a myriad of other office tasks. “Best retirement job ever!”

In addition, Cathy has been directing Choir at First Olympia UMC for over 30 years now, and dearly loves her choir family here! She says, “God gave everyone a voice to praise him. We welcome high school and adult singers of all ages and vocal ranges to join us in the CommonGround Choir. You don’t have to be a great singer, just one who can carry a tune and sing with a joyful heart!”

Daryl Yager

Treasurer & Technology Assistant & Organist

Daryl (he/him) first joined First Olympia's staff as organist in 2014 and then took on the additional responsibilities. Daryl's background in electronics and administration during his years in the Air Force make him highly qualified for this kind of detailed work.

After a career as an Air Force musician, Daryl brings us a passion for the traditional hymnody he experienced growing up. He is also an accomplished keyboardist and guitarist who shares his talents with us every week.

Lauren Fontanilla

Multimedia Coordinator

Lauren (she/her) is a graduate of Western Washington University where she studied English with an emphasis on writing and film studies. In Bellingham, she worked as a video production assistant in the university's Digital Media Center and as Communications Administrator for Garden Street United Methodist Church.

When she's not video editing, Lauren also enjoys writing, analyzing films to an obscene degree, and finding creative excuses to avoid hiking at all costs.

Kristin Caldwell

Ministry Support

Kristin (she/her) joins us in a part time support position. She calls her work history eclectic. After attending the University of Alaska Anchorage, she has had the opportunity to work in a varied number of positions, including as the staff support for a leadership department at a Christian college, director for a camp equestrian program, and running a photography business. Kristin has a heart for helping others and supporting those in leadership.

In her off time, she likes to read, bake, and have family movie marathons (complete with theme decorations and food). 

Linda Eldred

Nursery Coordinator

Linda Eldred is our ever-faithful senior nursery coordinator.
She works with other staff to make sure our littlest members and friends are lovingly cared for on Sunday mornings in the church nursery.

Facility Staff

Savannah Hemmings

Facilities Administrator & Program Support Coordinator

Savannah (she/her) is a graduate of Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development. Although she did some moving in her early life, Savannah has lived in Tumwater, WA and attended First Olympia for 13 years.

Savannah wears many hats at FUMCO. In addition to managing the building schedule, you'll find her filling holes and putting out fires at many of the programs hosted by FUMCO. She also moderates the YouTube livestream on Sunday mornings, so if you attend virtually, she’s likely the face behind the screen.

If you can't find her in her office during work hours, you might just have to wander the building. She's often measuring tables, tracking down Barry, or trying to figure out why the kitchen smells funny. If she's taking a break, look for her in the light of the stain glass windows of the Sanctuary. It's her favorite place in the building. 

Barry Upton

Building Manager

Chris Huffman



Music Staff

Leah Wilson

Handbell Choir Director

A native Olympian, Leah graduated from North Thurston High School and attended both South Puget Sound Community College and Evergreen State College. Now retired from public service, she devotes much of her time to sharing the joy of handbell music.
She currently rings in and directs Alleluia! Handbell Ensemble of Olympia First Christian Church, the bell choir of Westminster Presbyterian Church, and the Jeffords Memorial Handbell Choir of First Olympia UMC. She also rings in the bell choir of The United Churches of Olympia. She teaches handchime classes at three retirement communities.