The pastoral staff at Park Avenue is here to foster the spiritual growth of our community and to support the faith journey of individuals, families and anyone who comes seeking to draw closer to Jesus Christ.
612-835-6864, ext 568
A gifted pastor and teacher, the Rev. Dr. Will Healy began his appointment as the Senior Pastor at Park Avenue in August of 2013. He counts it as a great privilege to serve a church committed to a vision of “active engagement with our urban neighborhood and world.”
Pastor Will was educated at Bethel College and Seminary, ordained into the Gospel Ministry in 1983, and received his Doctor of Ministry Degree in Preaching from the Association of Chicago Theological Schools in 1996. In addition to his pastoral role, Pastor Will has served in a variety of leadership capacities and received numerous community service awards. He recently completed an extended season of service as a member of the Board of Directors of Feed My Starving Children.
Pastor Will is married to Julie Healy, who is retired from a fulfilling career as an elementary educator in the Elk River and Northfield public schools. They are the parents of two adult children; daughter Nina and her husband Tim, and son Sam and his wife Aubrey. Pastor Will and Julie are also over-the-moon about their five grandchildren.
Finally, Pastor Will is a harmonica player of very little note and is likely unable to play at your next garden party.
Jia Starr Brown
612-835-6864, ext 551
Preaching, Program Development
Rev. Jia Starr Brown is a gifted teacher and organizer, charged with preaching, coordinating adult spiritual formation, and overseeing the ministries of the church.
Minister of Preaching
Steven Belton grew up in the Central Neighborhood of Minneapolis, home of Park Avenue Church. He is a long time member of Park Avenue Church and has served as a youth minister and is currently on the preaching staff.
Steven is the President and CEO of the Minneapolis Urban League and is an experienced executive, attorney and community leader with over thirty years tenure in high-level positions in state government, public schools and the non-profit and private sectors.
He has worked as Chief of Staff, Executive Director of Employee Relations and Director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity for the Minneapolis Public Schools, was a partner and litigator at Leonard, Street and Deinard where he specialized in employment, product liability and family law, President and CEO of the Urban Coalition of Minneapolis, and Executive Director of the State Council on Black Minnesotans.
Steven earned a BA in political science from Washington University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School. He has completed the majority of the requirements of a Master of Divinity degree at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul. Married for nearly 34 years to Sharon Sayles Belton, the former Mayor of Minneapolis, Steven and Sharon have three adult children.
Early Risers Gathering Coordinator
Leads and facilitates Early Risers Service
Jamil Salaam is the coordinator for the Early Risers service., leading the weekly service order and is the main contact person for this service.
The Early Risers Service is a lay-led, intergenerational praise-filled worship service which includes a diverse line-up of speakers, sharing individual testimonies as well as Biblical teaching messages in a warm, welcoming environment filled with music, scripture, love and prayer.
Park Avenue has a rich tradition of a dynamic praise and worship that create space for people to experience God’s presence within the community. Our Music Ministry draws out the gifts of our congregation by creating opportunities for all to minister and be ministered to through creative expression.
Minister of Worship & Music
612-835-6864, ext 579
Talented and spirit-filled pianist, Martial Besombes started serving as an assistant to the worship minister at Park in 2000. He considers Park as one of the rare God chosen places for worship and feels it’s a privilege to serve in the capacity of director of worship.
Born in France, he received his Master’s degrees in classical piano, jazz and composition at the Conservatory in Paris. He toured in many countries before making America his second home.
Children and Youth Ministry
Our Children and Youth Ministry shares God’s amazing love through age-appropriate programming, activities, and events tailored for each stage of life.
Our Operations Team ensures that the ministries and programs at Park Avenue UMC have the tools and support they need. They are the “behind the scenes” crew that keeps the building running and our community informed.
Office Administrator / Freedom School Director
612-825-6864 ext 518
• Room reservations, building rental, ministry printing and supply ordering
• Freedom school registration, donations, teacher applications
Minister of Congregational Care & Human Resources
612-825-6864 ext 567
Worship & Communications Coordinator
• Sunday announcements, church bulletin, website updates, social media
• Cornerstone donations and volunteers
Park Avenue UMC has a robust volunteer leadership base that operates essential ministries.
Chair: John Urban
Co-Chairs: Jerry Walker & Roz Brown
firstname.lastname@example.org, 612 723-7607
Chair: Bill Richards
Staff Parish Relations Committee
Chair: Ken Krahn
Adult Spiritual Formation
email and phone
Chair: Tricia Bergh, Acting
Nominations and Leadership Development Committee
Chair: Kathy Rainey, Interim
email and phone
United Methodist Men
email and phone