Pastoral Team

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.

Senior Pastor

Will Healy

612-835-6864, ext 568

Preaching, Counseling


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.

Associate Pastor

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





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

Jamil Salaam

no phone

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.

Music Ministry

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

Martial Besombes

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.

Music Ministry Assistant

John Hollen

612-835-6864, ext 579

Gospel Choir Director

Sandy Hodges



Worship Dance Ministry

Yakima Pikering



Children and Youth Choir Director

Alexis Love



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.

Early Childhood Specialist

Laura Desruisseaux


Minister of Children

Carla Urban

612-825-6864 ext 519

Assistant Minister of Children

Patsy Semkoff

612-825-6864 ext 568

Director of Youth Ministry

Darelle Williams

612-825-6864 ext 568


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

Michelle Higgins

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

Linda Tate

612-825-6864 ext 567

Worship & Communications Coordinator

Ann Bauer



• Sunday announcements, church bulletin, website updates, social media
• Cornerstone donations and volunteers

Facilities Manager

Daryl Boudreaux



Cornerstone Manager

Heidi Janeke



Lay Leaders

Park Avenue UMC has a robust volunteer leadership base that operates essential ministries.

Administrative Board
Chair: John Urban

Finance Committee
Co-Chairs: Jerry Walker & Roz Brown, 612 723-7607,612-817-0144

Chair: Bill Richards

Staff Parish Relations Committee
Chair: Ken Krahn
612 801-9203

Adult Spiritual Formation
Chair: TBD
email and phone

Mission Commission
Chair: Tricia Bergh, Acting
612 722-3784

Nominations and Leadership Development Committee
Chair: Kathy Rainey, Interim

Children’s Council
Chair: TBD
email and phone

United Methodist Men
Chair: TBD
email and phone