Those Serving Us at Kennewick First

Our church is blessed with many dedicated volunteers and faithful parishioners. In addition, we are pleased to have these people on staff at Kennewick First.

Reverend Jerry Poole, Pastor

Jerry came to KFUMC in February 2012 as interim pastor following the departure of the Rev. Roger Barr. Bishop Grant Hagiya appointed him pastor effective in July 2013. Jerry is a native of Yakima, and was graduated from Washington State University in psychology and business. After two years in business, he left Seattle to earn an M. Div. degree at Fuller Theological Seminary and was ordained as a PCUSA Presbyterian pastor. While serving a church in Great Falls, Montana, he and Polly Junkermier met and were married there in 1983.  After serving nearly ten years there they moved to Edmonds. Jerry served as a transitional ministry specialist, assisting nine congregations in pastoral transitions and one governing body in the Seattle area. Polly serves as director of food and nutrition services at Northwest Hospital in Seattle. They have a son, Jeff, married to Cassie Serio and living in Orange, California, and a daughter, Lauren, married to Jordan Post and living in Beaverton, Oregon. UMC leaders have asked Jerry to qualify as a UMC elder in full connection. That process is ongoing. Toward that end Jerry recently enrolled in a Wesley and UMC History class at Garrett Evangelical Seminary. Jerry has family roots in the UMC and served a summer seminary internship at CUP Church in Richland. Jerry enjoys hiking, weight lifting, yoga, running, travel, exploring family roots, reading political history and discovering what God is doing among us as we all continue the journey with God.


Judy Milton, Bookkeeper

Judy was hired in February 2011 and comes to us most recently from the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho where she worked for 27 years in The College of Education, HPERD Accounting Department.  In the past she has had her own accounting business and was also employed in retail banking.  Judy and husband of 47 years, Terry, moved here in October 2010 to be closer to their grandsons, Tazmin and T.J. and of course their son, Todd and daughter-in-law, Misty.  They are also parents to son Darren and daughter Tara.  The Milton’s are members of the First United Methodist Church in Moscow, Idaho. They are now enjoying the mild climate here in the Tri-Cities area.  Judy enjoys spending time with her immediate and extended family along with gardening, reading, sports and travel.  Judy brings a professional demeanor to our office.  Her compassion, kindness, and cheerful attitude has endeared her to her co-workers.

Ruth Anderson, Financial Secretary

Ruth has been financial secretary for the church for over twenty years and continues to faithfully appear every week to count the money from offerings, track, and record each individual’s record of giving. Ruth is a former banker, making a total of three 'retired bankers' who work here in the church office. She jokes about it, saying that this is where 'old bankers' go! Ruth was married to her sweetheart Don Anderson for 61 years, before his passing in January of 2011. Ruth has three grown children: Karlyn, Beverly, and Tim; five grandchildren: Erin, Eric, Nathan, Whitney, and Alicia; and five great-grandchildren: Clayton, Ashley, Eleanor, Ethan, and Bridget. Ruth's familiarity with the families in our church, and the community, makes her a wealth of knowledge as well as a valuable asset to the office staff. We look forward to seeing her every Monday; she helps us start our week off with a positive note!

                                            Cheryl Nixon, Office Manager
Cheryl grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon and moved to the Tri-Cities in 1999.  She was a member of of Richland Lutheran Church for the past 12 years.  She enjoys spending time walking, riding motorcycles and traveling. She has one adult son Jeff, who is a helicopter pilot in the United States Air Force. Cheryl is awaiting grandchildren!!
                            Kayla Sue Melvin, Director of Youth Ministries

Kayla Sue started in the UMY Program as a Sr High youth in 2011 at the age of 16. Then she became a Jr High youth group leader under Brittany Becker. She also taught the Elementary Cornerstone class this year. She participated in College Group and in the Confirmation program at the age of 19. She was baptized in February 2014 here at Kennewick First. The next two summers she went on the Middle school summer trip as a volunteer and spent 11 weeks at our Methodist camp, Twinlow as a counselor and life guard! She learned much about the Word of God, team building and the importance of nurturing many young people in their faith along with her own. She returned as a Jr High leader that fall and in January 2015, she interned as Youth Director while former Youth and Education Director, Brittany was on maternity leave. In the summer of 2015, Kayla was hired as our Jr High Youth Director. Since the Fall of 2016, Kayla oversees the Jr High, Sr High and College group programs. This includes Jr/Sr High Sunday school, Youth Group events, Cornerstone class, bible studies and devotions, Confirmation (with other leaders), serving activities, fundraising, Ski and spring retreats, Mission and Middler trips, and the College group activities and trips.
Kayla enjoys hiking, traveling, volunteering with second harvest, meeting/being with people, spending time at Twinlow as a ‘Camp Pastor’ and serving in mission work/disaster relief when opportunity is available. Her hope is to serve at Kennewick First for as long as God has called her in ministry and continue to outreach to youth and teens in our community.

Amberley Almarode, Musical Director

Amberley has always loved music and singing. She first sang in church when she was five years old and she has been singing ever since! She graduated with a degree in Church Music from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and has been leading worship for over 15 years. She came to Kennewick First in 2008 and as Music Director, is in charge of Praise Bands, Chancel Choir, leading worship on Sunday mornings and organizing special services at Christmas and Easter. She loves working with the many volunteers that make up our music program and helping people encounter God through music. Amberley and her husband Marshall have two sons, Scott and Tim. She also loves reading good books, eating dark chocolate and homeschooling her sons.


Don & Janece Kindig, Custodians

Don and Janece are employed only about twenty hours a week but do a lot of hard work in that period of time as our church custodians. They see that the 25,000 square foot of the church building, and the additional office space next door, is clean and organized. Don is a retired minister in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Janece is the perfect wife and co-worker. Both of them are dependable, wise, and a true pleasure to be around. They enjoy the flexibility of this work that allows them to spend time with their large family who live in other communities. We are extremly happy to have them with us!

Margo Cox, Accompanist
Margo graduated from Walla Walla College in 2003 with a bachelors degree in music. She accompanies worship and special music on both the piano and the organ. She also teaches piano. Margo plays with passion, skill, and inspiration. We truly hear and see God's spirit in her gift of music. Margo is married to Walter, Positive Life Radio's chief engineer. They have two beautiful children, Clara and Tommy.