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.
Minister of Congregational Care
Linda Stephens Tate
Prayer and Care
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.
Dr. Louis Porter
As a home missioner, Louis is part of a lay order of women and men who lead ministries of love, justice, and service in the United Methodist Church.
Louis Porter II is a native of New Orleans, where he grew up in the United Methodist Church.
He is a professor at Dougherty Family College, University of St. Thomas as well as a longtime consultant and writer. Louis moved to the Twin Cities as a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, has served as an administrator in Communication and Development at Mayo Clinic and is the former executive director of the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage. He is on the board of directors of Growth & Justice, a St. Paul-based progressive think tank, and the Transgender Law Center.
As a home missioner, Louis is part of a lay order of women and men who lead ministries of love, justice and service in the United Methodist Church. Here at Park, the ministry he leads is called True Welcome, which strives to make this church a place of community for all people. That work includes gatherings, study, events, and exploration. If you would like to know more about this ministry and becoming part of the True Welcome Advisory Group, contact Louis at the email address above.
Louis is married to Ea McMillan Porter, assistant director of recruiting and outreach for the School of Education at the University of St. Thomas. They are the parents of Zeam, a Macalester College student, multidisciplinary artist, and activist.
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.
Director of Youth Ministry
612-825-6864 ext 570
Darelle (deh RELL) Williams serves as the Youth Director for Park Avenue United Methodist. Darelle facilitates the weekly Youth Worship & Youth Gathering Services. He also organizes our bi-annual youth mission trips and confirmation ordination for student’s grades 6th-12th.
Darelle, a native of Minneapolis, felt his call to Park Avenue after volunteering for over 9 years in Youth Ministry roles in the metropolitan area. He is also a Christian hip-hop recording artist whose music has been featured on well-known Christian websites, streaming platforms and national/international radio stations.
Daelle studied theology at Liberty University. He has been married for 14 years and fathers three teens. He’s passionate about bringing Christ to the chaos of growing up and finding identity.
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.
Minister of Congregational Care & Human Resources
612-825-6864 ext 567
- Congregational care: hospital visits, prayer appointments, benevolence requests
- Funeral arrangements
- Human resources
- Building maintenance supervision
Office Admin, Worship & Communications Coordinator
612-825-6864 ext. 518
Early Risers Gathering Coordinator
- Room reservations
- Sunday worship coordination
- Communications: announcements, church bulletin,
website updates, social media
- Office administration
- Pastoral support
- Wedding reservation information
Park Avenue UMC has a robust volunteer leadership base that operates essential ministries.
Chair: John Urban
Co-Chairs: Jerry Walker & Roz Brown
Chair: Bill Richards
Staff Parish Relations Committee
Chair: Ken Krahn
Adult Spiritual Formation
Chair: Tricia Bergh, Acting
Nominations and Leadership Development Committee
Chair: Kathy Rainey, Interim
email and phone
Chair: Bert Hepp