Phone: (314) 962-0475 Sunday Worship at 9:55 a.m.

Our Staff

Program Staff

DD 16257The Rev. David Denoon, Pastor (away for vacation and sabbatical, May 22 – September 3, 2017)
Since his ordination in 1993 Pastor Dave Denoon has served churches in the Chicago Metropolitan and Southeast Wisconsin Associations of the United Church of Christ. He joined us as our Pastor and Teacher in August of 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies (Pre-Ministry) from the University of Evansville, Indiana, and a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

His passions are for making the life of faith approachable for all people and for establishing God’s reign of justice and peace. His sermons and classes resonate with those messages. He is available for pastoral care and counseling either by phone or in person. To arrange an appointment, please contact him by email by clicking on his name, above, or by phone at (314) 962-0475, ext. 11.

Please enjoy Pastor Dave’s sermon blog, Post Pastoral. In another blog entitled, From the Tower Room, he reflects on the life and history of First Church.

Pastor Dave has recently created two new weblog series. One is Musings and Meditations and offers his spiritual perspective on a number of matters. The other, A Journey for Renewal, presents Pastor Dave’s thoughts and reflections about his sabbatical in West Africa and other locations significant to African American history and culture, June – August 2017.

You can also meet him on Twitter (@DaveD1200) or Facebook.


Sonya Vann, M.Div.
It is with much gladness that we announce the selection of Minister Sonya Vann as our Sabbatical Pastor. She will serve in Pastor Dave Denoon’s absence, from May 22 through September 3, 2017.

Sonya graduated Eden Theological Seminary in 2015 with a Master of Divinity degree and is currently seeking ordination in the United Church of Christ. She is a Minister on Staff of Christ the King UCC in Florissant, Missouri, and is Director of the Master of Community Leadership program of Eden Seminary’s Walker Leadership Institute.


Ray LandisDr. Ray Landis, Director of Music and Organist, has been leading our music programs since 1998. He is an accomplished organist and directs our Chancel Choir and Canterbury Bells. He holds degrees from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania (Bachelor of Science in Music, graduated Magna cum Laude); University of Cincinnati, Ohio (Master of Music in organ performance); and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Doctorate of Musical Arts in organ performance, cognate in choral conducting). Ray’s interest in performing arts has led him to conduct a number of non-musical programs at the church also, including Ezekiel’s Wheel, a puppet ministry designed for older elementary and middle school students.

When not at the office, Ray can often be found working with children’s arts and developments programs in East Saint Louis, Illinois. He currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center there.

Please click here to learn more about music programming at First Congregational, or call Ray at (314) 962-0475, ext. 17.

Read the latest information from Ray and the First Church Music Department.

Tim Cleary (not pictured here) is our Assistant Director of Music for Children and conducts our Children’s Choir and the musical portion of our Sunday School class time.

Tracey HarrisTracey Harris, Director of Christian Education, , leads our educational offerings for all ages, with energy and inspiration. Her education and experience in family services and religious and spiritual development have commended Tracey to the creation and success of many childcare programs, church schools, camps, and YMCAs. Under her leadership our students of any generation learn and practice the central Christian truth that everyone and all the world are beloved of God and deserve our respect and care.

In their down time, she and husband Jim enjoy Civil War re-enacting. Tracey is also the mother of two adult children and the proud grandmother of one.

Please click here to learn more about our classes for adults and children at First Congregational, or call Tracey at (314) 962-0475, ext. 12.

Read Tracey’s announcements and reflections.


Linda SmithRev. Linda E. Smith is the Director of our Center for Counseling & Healing. She is a certified Healing Touch practitioner and instructor with over 30 years of experience in nursing. She is also a board-certified psychiatric/mental health nurse, a board-certified professional counselor/DA, and holds a license in Clinical Social Work.

Her diversified background includes teaching in hospital and university settings. This has prepared her to advocate for the mind/body/spirit connection in therapeutic work. Linda therefore provides wellness counseling from a holistic perspective, including hypnotherapy and Healing Touch.

She brings a sensitive and nurturing approach to her clients and students. Anyone interested in her services can email Linda at or give her a call at (314) 440-2096. Linda is a graduate of Sancta Sophia Seminary near Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained for ministry by the International Council of Community Churches. Rev. Smith and the Center’s Healing Team lead us occasionally on Sunday mornings in services for healing and wholeness.

To learn more about Linda’s work, the Healing Touch modality of care, and the services offered by the Center for Counseling and Healing, please click here, or visit her Facebook page.


Support Staff

Debbie Tolstoi, Office Administrator, is now on staff.


Chip IsringhausChip Isringhaus, Facility Manager, has been with the First Congregational Church since 2002. If you need to learn the ins and outs of the inner workings of our physical plant, Chip is your man. His education and experience include an HVAC Certification from Ranken Tech, which he received as part of his service to the church when our new heating and cooling system was installed.

He has one son, Calvin, and enjoys restoring classic Chevrolet Chevelles.




Darrell LakiesDarrell Lakies, Custodian, is very often the first person you meet when you arrive at the First Congregational Church. He extends our extravagant welcome to any and all who enter.

With the church since 2010, Darrell once worked in a similar capacity with Chrysler at their Valley Park plant prior to its closing. He also served with the U.S. Navy during the 1970s.

Darrell keeps our buildings spotless and well-maintained with great competency and exudes an infectious joy and positive attitude.

Darrell is the husband of Kelly. In his spare time he enjoys his pool or camping.

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