Sunday Worship In-person and Streamed Online at 10am


Pastoral Staff

Rev. Heather Sparkman

Lead Pastor

Pastor Heather 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

Rev. Kellen Corliss

Visitation Pastor

Newer to ministry, Pastor Kellen (he/him) is excited to return to the Pacific Northwest and grow into our community, just thirty miles south of where he grew up in the Gig Harbor area. In addition being our visitation pastor, he's also serving as the lead pastor of Tumwater UMC.

He's also an avid outdoors person who enjoying rock climbing, fishing, biking, skiing, and hiking. On days off, you can find him and his wife, Victoria, driving out of town towards a mountain or a body of water. 
Office Phone: 360-943-2661

Administrative Staff

Daryl Yager

Treasurer & Technology Assistant

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 recent 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.

Savannah Hemmings

Young Adult Intern & Live Stream Moderator

Savannah (she/her) is a soon-to-be graduate of Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development. She has a passion for young adults, family studies, and breaking generational trauma. Although she did some moving in her early life, Savannah has lived in Tumwater, WA and attended First Olympia for 13 years. She’s come to love the community at First Oly and the PNW will always be home.

Savannah looks forward to growing into her leadership skills and learning more about the congregation over the course of her internship. She also moderates the YouTube livestream on Sunday mornings, so if you attend virtually, she’s likely the face behind the screen. In her free time, Savannah loves reading, crocheting, writing, yoga, and playing with her dog.

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.

Chris Huffman



Music Staff

Mark Bunda

Praise Team Leader

Mark was born and raised in Hawaii and grew up in a musical family. While going to college in Hawaii, he performed professionally in the Waikiki Music scene and auditioned for "Up With People" in 1976. During his four years with the group, Mark traveled in Europe, North, Central and South America, performing for presidents, major corporations and in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Grand Ole Opry and the 1980 Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Settling down in Olympia, Mark has performed throughout the years for special occasions, fundraisers and other community events. He has faithfully and enthusiastically served in the capacity of “Worship Leader” for the last 15 years.

Angi Swan

Praise Team Leader

Angi graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, and earned her Kodaly certification at the University of St. Thomas. She has served as organist, children’s and bell choir director in various churches. Angi has also sung with the Fort Dodge Choral Society and Masterworks Choral Ensemble, and played in the King Ringers hand bell choir in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

She currently teaches music in public schools, gives private piano lessons, and is the accompanist for Masterworks Choral Ensemble.

Cathy Bennett

Common Ground Choir Director

Cathy Bennett has been directing Choir at First Olympia UMC for over 30 years now, and dearly loves her choir family here! She also taught choir and ancient world history at Marshall Middle School and sings with the Olympia Choral Society.

Cathy 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 Common Ground Choir. You don’t have to be a great singer, just one who can carry a tune and sing with a joyful heart!”

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.

Daryl Yager