Our Ministry Team

Howard Hintzman     Lead Pastor

Howard Hintzman is a native of northwest Wisconsin, having grown up on a dairy farm outside Menomonie. He has been married to Julie Holmberg Hintzman since 1974. They are blessed with two children Matthew and Rachel.

Howard is a graduate the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. His appointments to churches have been in Trempealeau, Beloit, Kenosha and Oregon, WI. He has been in Plover/Stevens Point area since July 2007.
He enjoys spending time at the family cottage near Colfax, yard work, and rummage sales. Contact Pastor Howard.


Yvonne Chojnacki     Director of Administration and Missions, N’Joy Director

Yvonne has been on staff since 1997, and a member since 1987. During that time she has served the congregation and in church ministries in various capacities. She enjoys being a representative for the Wisconsin Annual Conference and being a part of the Circuit Laity Team. Yvonne has a passion for church camp and enjoys staffing The United Methodist Church – Stevens Point and Plover Church Camp.

Yvonne also directs The United Methodist Church praise band N’Joy. Attending Lifest, which is a Christian artists’ event held in Oshkosh each July is a family must. She and husband Ed have two children, Stephanie (son-in-law Josh) and Ben. Contact Yvonne.


Laura Courtright Burns     Director of Family Ministries and Campus Minister at UWSP

Laura was born in Nebraska, grew up in a number of Midwest states and considers Wisconsin home. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. Before joining The United Methodist Church staff in 2008, she was self-employed as a Realtor in the Stevens Point area for many years.

Laura has two sons: Nate who works as a Manager and Producer in Los Angeles, and Jacob, a student at UW-Eau Claire studying Actuarial Science.

Laura enjoys leading mission and service trips with youth and college students. She is a strong supporter of the local foods movement, enjoys spending time outdoors (especially hiking the shoreline of Lake Superior), and time with her Cairn Terrier, Freddy. Contact Laura.


Joy Pennell     Coordinator of Church Finances

Joy has been a member for more than 20 years and on staff since 2011 watching over the finances. Joy is also the Finance Chair and is active with the Prayer Chain. She has a strong passion for Stewardship – “it isn’t necessarily all about money, we need to keep our focus on our mission – To make disciples of Jesus Christ. If we do that, the rest will fall in place.”

Joy has 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren and they all enjoy spending time together with various activities from cookouts, bonfires and snowmobile races to family meals. Most of her adult life, Joy worked as a Controller for hotels. She currently works as an accountant for CAP Services. Contact Joy.


Patti Hermes     Communications Coordinator    

Patti and her husband Randy joined The United Methodist Church in 1999.  In addition to Communications, Patti is a Stephen Leader, co-leads the Visual Ministry and Adult Ministry and is a member of the Outreach Ministry. She enjoys caring for her grandchildren and spending time with family. Patti is a board member of Evergreen Community Initiatives and is very involved with the Place of Peace Ministry.  Place of Peace provides a meal every Thursday for those who are in need. Contact Patti.


Patricia “Pat” Laabs     Chancel Choir Director

Pat is the director of the Chancel choir at The United Methodist Church – Stevens Point and Plover and has found it to be a very rewarding experience.  Previously she directed the Good News Singers youth choir. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a double major in voice and piano.  She has taught elementary music in the public schools – first grade through Junior High, and has given private piano lessons.  She is presently employed with Jim Laabs Music.  Pat loves playing the piano, making crafts, sewing, dabbling in some art, writing children’s compositions & yard work. Contact Pat.


Caryn Hurst     Bell Choir Director

Caryn Carlson Hurst has been a member of The United Methodist Church – Stevens Point and Plover since she moved to Stevens Point with her family in 1983. She has been ringing with the hand bell choir since its inception in 1985. She began to direct the Gospel Ringers (our beginning choir) in 2000 and took over the reins of the Touch of Brass in 2008. She is married to Michael (also in the bell choir) and has three adult children. She is also a devoted quilter. Contact Caryn.


Ryan Koelemay     Lead Church Musician

Ryan was born in Stevens Point, WI, in 1982.  He was born into a United Methodist family.  His grandfather, Ralph Koelemey, was pastor at The Springs UMC (formerly the Plover UMC) for a number of years.  Ryan started studying music at the age of 5, and has played a variety of instruments including piano, trumpet and tuba.  He previously served as pianist at The Springs UMC.  He currently works full-time as an actuarial analyst at Sentry Insurance, and also plays tuba and piano as a Staff Sergeant in the 132d Army Band of Wisconsin Army National Guard.  Ryan and his wife Amy have three sons, Austin, Evan and Ian, and daughter Adeline. Contact Ryan.


Dave Patterson     Custodian/Groundskeeper

Dave Patterson joined The United Methodist Church – Stevens Point and Plover staff in 2008. He is responsible for keeping the church and its ground in clean and good condition. Dave enjoys helping the staff and church members in all their endeavors. He strives to make sure you’ll always find a smile and helping hand. Dave also loves old cars.


Taylor Schmidt     Director of Children’s Choir

Taylor Schmidt is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She majors is Vocal and Instrumental Music Education. Taylor has always been involved with her church in her hometown of Wautoma, WI. She has always loved music and will accept any musical opportunity she can find. That is why when the job of the children’s director position came up, she knew she had to take it! Taylor enjoys working with the kids and serving the Lord while doing it!