REV. DR. STEVE BECHTOLD, Pastor
Steve is a graduate of Albright College (BA in religion), and holds the Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from the Theological School at Drew University. He is a certified Minister of Christian Education, and holds a certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, Ossining, New York with a certificate in Spiritual Direction. He has served in a variety of volunteer capacities within the Greater New Jersey Conference, including the Board of Ordained Ministry, clergy mentoring and coaching, and as a workshop leader in a variety of settings.
Steve began his ministry in the United Methodist Star Parish, has served as Resident Director at Aldersgate Center, as well as pastor in the Branchville and Butler United Methodist Churches. He comes to Sparta following an 8 year assignment as District Superintendent. He is married to the Rev. Ellen Mearns Bechtold, pastor of the Milton United Methodist Church. They have two grown children and four grandchildren. He finds great joy in music, service in short term missions both here in the US and internationally, and spending time outdoors, particularly in the mountains.
JACK TIRONI, Director of Youth Ministries and Sunday School
Jack is a current seminary student at Drew Theological School, after attending Drew’s College of Liberal Arts (BA in Sociology) and now also is pursuing ordination as an Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is a certified student in Conflict Resolution in Faith from Drew, and has participated in many faith-based community outreach, campus ministries, and projects with Church and Society, UMC Young People’s Ministries and UMC Discipleship Ministries. He holds a special place for working with children in his heart, being born and raised in the First United Methodist Church of Blairstown and working with their programs for years. He hopes to carry on the joy and passion for activities and learning experiences for the children of the church. Hoping to serve as a minister in the future, he is excited to be a part of SUMC and engage himself in all things church! When not working, you can find him watching movies, fishing, or on a beach wherever he can find!
KAREN SHAW, Administrative Assistant
Karen has been the administrative assistant for SUMC since June of 2017. Prior to coming to SUMC, she was a development assistant for Camp Vacamas in West Milford, N.J. Karen has lived in a variety of locations due to the nature of her husband’s job, including Duluth, GA; Trenton, GA; Newtown, PA; and Cumberland, RI. She currently lives in Oak Ridge with husband Bill and daughter Katelyn.
ELEANOR SHUMAKER, Sexton
Eleanor Shumaker has been a member of the Sparta United Methodist Church for twenty years. Due to the welcoming environment that she has found at SUMC, she very much enjoys her position in the church. Eleanor resides in Ogdensburg. She has one daughter, two granddaughters, and two great granddaughters, all of whom live in Kentucky or North Carolina.