Our Staff

David Israel

Lead Pastor

DIsrael@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2802

David has been a pastor in United Methodist Churches in Missouri for 23 years. He has served churches from mid-sized to large, including one he and his wife, Nancy started themselves. David and Nancy have three children; Stephanie (Carrie), JD (Alyssa), and Rachel (Seth). They have two grandchildren and one on the way. In addition to his family and the church, David’s passions include the St. Louis Cardinals, Imo’s Pizza, any mission project that alleviates suffering, and vacations with Nancy and his family.

Greg Finfrock

Executive Pastor

GFinfrock@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2822

Greg was ordained an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church in 2012, and serves as Living Word’s Executive Pastor, having previously served as adult ministries director and age-level ministries director. Before becoming a pastor, Greg was an aerodynamics engineer for 23 years. He loves learning, teaching, and numbers. When he isn’t immersed in an Excel spreadsheet, Greg is probably reading classic literature, watching old episodes of Star Trek, or dreaming about the next road trip he wants to take. His wife Karen and adult daughters Celia and Hannah tolerate all of these things.

Donna Baker

Director of Traditional Music Ministries

DBaker@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2810

A former elementary and high school vocal music teacher in the Rockwood School District, Donna also served in the church as a director of children, youth and adult choirs. She received her degree in Vocal and Instrumental Education from William Jewell College and a Master of Arts in Educational Processes from Maryville University. She enjoys singing and plays the flute and piano. A St. Louis native, Donna also enjoys spending time with her family (Lane, Landan & Kate, and Lance) and their sweet beagle, Marley.

Beth Balzraine

Director of Communications

BBalzraine@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2803

Originally from Little Rock, AR, Beth has lived in Louisiana, Texas and Missouri. She graduated from Kickapoo High School and Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. She and her husband, John, have lived in Wildwood since 1999 and have been members of Living Word since April of 2000. They have 2 children, Elise and Brett and son-in-law, Brett and granddaughter, Lily. Beth enjoys traveling, fitness training, and spending time outdoors.

Corey Beveridge

Creative Content Producer


Corey moved to Chesterfield when he was three and has been going to Living Word (then, Ellisville UMC) ever since. He went back and forth between the worship band and the tech booth until graduating from Missouri State University with a degree in Digital Film Production and coming to work at Living Word.

In his free time, Corey enjoys drumming, playing Nintendo, playing board games, making movies, playing with his three toy poodles, and visiting his girlfriend in Springfield, MO.

Nancy Classen


Nancy is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and joined the staff of Living Word in January 1 of 1999. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and her Master of Music from Webster University. Before her Living Word appointment, Nancy served as organist for the Evangelical Redeemer United Church of Christ in south St. Louis. Nancy is a freelance oboist and enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris, and their children. In her spare time she enjoys fitness and the arts.

Kim Cox

Director of Business Operations

KCox@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2840

Kim was born and raised in St. Louis. Before joining the staff of Living Word, Kim was a stay-at-home mom raising her 3 children, Adam, Emily, and Alison. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Maryville University. Kim and her family have been members of Living Word for over 20 years and have been involved in many aspects of the church. Kim enjoys sewing, interior decorating, gardening, traveling and spending time with her kids.

Joe Eichholz

Weeknight Custodial Associate

JEichholz@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2844

Joe is a St. Louis native, and has lived here his entire life. He has been married for eighteen years to his wife, Ginny, and between them they have five children, with five grandchildren, and one more grandchild on the way. Joe worked for the Fort Zumwalt School District for six years, and has also been employed as an over-the-road truck driver, a rehabber, and seller/buyer on eBay. His hobbies include metalworking, electronics, plasma cutters, and playing his Fender guitar. He likes to invent anything from toys to tools.

Alyssa Kellhofer

Director of Contemporary Worship

AKellhofer@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2850

Alyssa grew up in O’Fallon, Illinois, and began singing at an early age. She attended Missouri State University where she majored in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Vocal Music. While in college she was a member of the MSU Gospel Choir, Concert Chorale and the all-female a cappella group, A Cub Bella. For the past three years, Alyssa has been working as a prevention educator for the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and will continue to teach part time, traveling to schools in the St. Louis area.
Besides singing and teaching, Alyssa enjoys spending time with her husband, Jeremy, and their three children – Noah, Avery and Hadley.
Alyssa joined Living Word’s Worship Team and became a member of Living Word in 2012.

Holly Mckee


Holly has lived her entire life in the St. Louis area, and is currently living in Fenton with her husband Jeff and daughter, Amanda. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music with an emphasis in Piano in 1989 from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has accompanied soloists, ensembles, choirs and instrumentalists during her career. Prior to coming to Living Word, she served as a church pianist and accompanist at the First Baptist Church of Fenton. She currently sings with the St. Louis Harmony Chorus, a 75-voice a cappella women’s chorus that rehearses weekly in Bridgeton. Her hobbies include reading (mysteries are her favorite!), walking, and playing video games with her daughter.

Becky Miller

Director of Early Childhood Center

BMiller@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2860

Becky graduated from Webster University with a degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Special Education. She worked for a non-profit agency in an inclusive 2 year old classroom and then a 3-5 year old classroom while also providing developmental therapy in the community through Missouri’s First Steps program. She also ran a program called Sibshops for the siblings of children with special needs and owned and operated her own childcare business out of her home while her three boys were growing from infants to preschoolers. Two of her three boys attended Living Word Early Childhood Center (LWECC) for preschool and she taught at LWECC in different capacities since 2014. Her passion is working with children and families to help all children learn to grow and play together and be important and valued members of our society. Becky, her husband Jeremiah, and their three boys live in Wildwood.

Angela Mueller

Administrative Assistant

AMueller@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2820

Angela was born and raised in St. Louis, but spent the last 14 years of her life in the Cape Girardeau area including attending college at Southeast Missouri State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and later a Master of Arts in School Counseling. While there, she worked as a college admission counselor as well as a high school counselor. 

Her and her husband Luke, of 7 years, recently moved back home to St. Louis with their 18-month-old son Sawyer and dog Rylee. They are very excited to be back, especially since they love to spend time with family and friends. 

In her free time, Angela enjoys going on walks, spending family time, catching up on her favorite shows, watching and listening to musicals, and traveling to the beach or lake. 

Val Novatny

Director of Congregational Care

VNovatny@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2823

Valerie was born in St. Louis but spent most of her years growing up in St. James, Missouri.  She graduated from the University of Missouri – St. Louis campus with a degree in finance and worked a short time with A.G. Edwards & Sons.  She and her husband, John, have 3 sons.  Twins, Ryan and Chris, are close to graduating college with a degree in Athletic Training and Mechanical Engineering, respectively.  Jack is in high school and enjoys football and wrestling.  Valerie and her family have been members of Living Word since 2001.  She has served in numerous Living Word ministries including Lay Leader, Staff-Parish Relations, Finance, Hospitality, Missions, and Early Childhood.  Valerie has also been on 2 mission trips to Ghana and a mission trip just recently to Mexico.  In her spare time, she enjoys photography, scrapbooking, sewing, and tennis.

Jessica Smithson

Early Childhood Center Assistant Director

JSmithson@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2861

Jessica grew up in Mississippi and Tennessee and moved to the St. Louis area in 1999. Her family joined Living Word in 2000. Her husband, Jeff, works for Sams Club . They have three children: Ryan, Reagan and Reid. Jessica joined the staff of Living Word ECC in July 2006. If she had free time she would enjoy reading and scrapbooking!!

Amy Tinker

Administrative Assistant

ATinker@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2852

Amy is from Fenton, Missouri where she was born and raised. Before Living Word, Amy worked as a paralegal for 15 years. She has 3 children, Saturn, Trent, and Lucy. Amy enjoys hiking,camping, floating, gardening, and spending time with her kids.

Mark Turner

Director of Facilities Management

MTurner@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2842

Mark grew up in Mount Prospect, Illinois (suburb of Chicago) and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Western Illinois University. Mark also has his paramedic license and worked in the ER of St. John’s Mercy Hospital (Washington, MO) for 5 years. He worked at Maryville University in Buildings & Grounds for 7 years and in Facilities Management at Fru-Con Construction (FCC Corporation) for 17 years. He has been married to his wife, Tammy, for 23 years and they have two children; Jerod and Ava. Mark enjoys singing, spending time outdoors & hunting, hanging out with family & friends, cooking & entertaining, gardening, internet shopping/research, and collecting kitchen gadgets. He likes the St. Louis Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Blackhawks. His favorite snack is Corn Nuts. He has mastered the crow call, and the sneak bear scare tactic.

Erik Wilson

Director of Multimedia Ministries

EWilson@livingwordumc.org – Ext. 2851

Erik was born into a military family who settled down in O’Fallon Illinois in 2004.  He graduated from Southwestern Illinois College with a degree in Music Technology and a Certificate in Audio Engineering.  Prior to Living Word, he worked as a Technical Leader at Christ Church Maryville Campus. He loves to hike, play guitar, woodwork, and explore new places around St. Louis.  His favorite snack is Goldfish.