PASTOR - Rev. Kathy Hartgraves. Welcome to our Garden Street United Methodist website, we are happy you found us! I arrived to serve with this wonderful congregation in July of 2016. My husband, Greg, and I are high school sweethearts, both from Iowa. We have lived in Iowa, Florida, Washington, South Dakota and are now back in Washington. Bellingham is quickly becoming home to us as we embrace the many experiences God is placing in our lives here. Greg and I have two children, one grandson, and another grandson on the way. We are blessed with a loving family and with 33 years of marriage to one another. We enjoy sailing together in the beautiful waters of Bellingham Bay and beyond. I am an avid cook and baker and am most at home in the kitchen whipping up something yummy and fun! As I get to know this loving community, I continually ask myself these questions… “What is God up to here at Garden Street United Methodist Church? What is God already up to here in Bellingham? And what is God calling us to do and be from here on out?” Of course, these are not questions just for me. They are questions for all of us – young, old, new to Garden Street, not-so- new, not even (yet) part of the Garden Street community. These are indeed questions for all of us. So I invite you, how about we work on answering these questions together? I hope to see you soon here at Garden Street United Methodist Church!
DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE AGE & PROGRAM MINISTRIES - Angie Ritchey. Angie Ritchey came to Bellingham as a freshman at Western Washington University and she participated in Garden Street UMC's college ministry throughout her college experience. After graduation, Angie experienced a successful career in banking, where she rose from a customer service representative to an AVP and branch manager responsible for opening new branches and managing teams of bankers. Throughout her banking career, she especially enjoyed the opportunity to mentor young people and help them develop their careers. Sitting in church one Sunday she heard her call to work with young people in the church. Angie has now led the College Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Children's Ministry for over seven years at Garden Street UMC, and she enjoys helping young people deeply explore their faith and find their love of God through their discipleship for Christ. Angie and Scott Ritchey are the proud parents of three children.
OFFICE & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER - Rachel Silva. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Washington University, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Born in Portland, Oregon, Rachel moved to Bellingham five years ago to continue her schooling and now makes a home here with her three pet rats. Passionate about science fiction, macaroni and cheese, and social justice ministry, Rachel believes that—in the words of Gustavo Gutierrez—”to know god is to do justice.” Rachel joined Garden Street UMC in 2016, and she looks forward to devoting her love of language to the congregation here.
TREASURER - Chris Lutick. Christine Lustick joined GSUMC in September, 2016. Originally from the beautiful Skagit Valley area, she graduated from Western WA University with a BA in Accounting. Christine has worked as a CPA (license currently inactive) in Washington, Nebraska, and Florida before moving back home and settling in Bellingham. When her 14-year- old daughter was born, Christine took time off from the rigorous pace of a tax accountant to stay at home and enjoy motherhood. When her daughter started school, she worked part-time in a local law firm as the accountant and office manager. Christine is an avid knitter, and all around crafty person who enjoys hiking on local trails with her daughter and very energetic dog, Tucker.
Choir Director - Clara Johnson. Clara Johnson is in the process of earning her Master's degree in choral conducting at WWU. Clara's entire life has revolved around music and the Methodist church. "I believe that music and worship are connected and that one cannot be experienced without the other. I love to sing and feel that one of the greatest gifts I can offer is to make a joyful noise to the Lord." Clara joined the staff of GSUMC in March 2015, and she looks forward to being a part of the GSUMC family and discovering musical gifts within the congregation.
Organist - Rob Viens, M.Mus. A native of Vancouver, B.C, Rob received his Master of Music degree at WWU and has called Whatcom County home since 1992. Married to Carrie, together they have three adult children, Bryan, Christopher and Serena. Influenced by his family’s involvement in church music and his father’s pipe organ building profession, Rob has found joy in church music all of his life. He enjoys working as a performer, conductor, educator, adjudicator, and director in the USA and in Canada. He maintains a voice studio encompassing a wide range of ages and styles. Excited to be active in church music again, Rob looks forward to continuing and deepening the traditions of GSUMC music and worship.
FINANCIAL SECRETARY - Richard Schroeder (pictured with Karen Schroeder). Richard Schroeder tracks all contributions to Garden Street UMC and provides everyone with a statement for tax purposes. Richard graduated from the University of North Dakota majoring in accounting and received a degree in business administration. Richard married Karen Sather from St Paul, MN, and they moved to the Kent area and raised a son, Mark, and a daughter, Susan, and have two grandchildren. Richard retired from Bridgestone/Firestone after 32 years of service, and continued working for them on a consulting basis for six more years. Richard and Karen moved to Bellingham in full retirement in 2006.
BUILDING MANAGERS - Brian & Bev Collins/Collins Cleaning Service
Brian and Bev Collins are the owners of Collins Cleaning Company and provide Janitorial Services and Security to GSUMC. Brian is also employed with the Bellingham School District as Database Systems Coordinator. Bev manages their Janitorial Company of 32 years. Brian and Bev Collins have been married for 34 years. They have 2 married children and one adorable grandson. They have been serving the Lord for 25 years in various leadership roles such as Elder, Church Administrator and Children’s Ministry Director. They are passionate about Children for Christ and leading them to desire a loving, trusting relationship with Jesus as Lord, Savior and Friend.