Our Leadership

Church Council

A leadership team elected by the congregation who oversees the life and ministries of the church.


Ron Babler
Jeff Christen
Kathryn Fox
Connie Geier
Shawn Gratz
Shawn Kippley
DeLynn Palmer
Greg Wolff
Sherrol Yurs
Pastor Laura Kolden

​Kathryn Fox

​Church Council President

​I moved to Belleville about 12 years ago and started attending First UCC a few years later. This is the “neighborhood church” we saw every day on walks with my son when he was a baby. As our son got a little older, my husband and I wanted to make more local connections and really put down roots in Belleville. We transferred our church membership to this congregation soon after, and our daughter was baptized here. I've enjoyed getting to know many people through involvement with Sunday School and a variety of committees. I work at UW-Madison, and I keep busy playing tuba in brass ensembles, chasing my kids, and helping my husband with home improvement projects.

Shawn Gratz

Church Council Vice President

My name is Shawn Gratz. I am married to Michele and we have 2 adult boys, Dylan and Devin. We have been members of First UCC since 2011 and I am serving the final year of my second 3-year term on Council. I am a member of the Pastoral Relations Committee, the Worship Technology Team and Church Dinner  Committee. First UCC is a place where all are truly welcome which was important to us when we were looking for a new church. I admire how our church adapted during the pandemic to ensure we continue to worship together whether in person, online or hybrid. I am inspired by First UCC's generosity in helping to address housing and food insecurity through our support of Crop Walk, Souper Bowl of Caring, Belleville's food pantry and Friends of State Street Family.

Connie Geier

Church Council Secretary

I've been married to Steve for 27 years. He recently retired and I hope to join him in 2-5 years. We have lived in Belleville for 22 years. We have a Chocolate Lab, Lambeau. I've worked at GE Healthcare for 17 years and prior to that I was a Radiologic Technologist at UW Health. In May of 2023 we had a vacation of a lifetime doing an Alaskan cruise, which I recommend to everyone! It was absolutely beautiful. What I value for the church: our Church's passion for their mission work and the warmth and acceptance of the congregation. My gift to the council: I feel I bring a "What can I do" attitude. I am willing to help out whenever needed. 

Church Staff

Rev. Laura Davison Kolden


My name is Rev. Laura Davison Kolden and every day begins with a prayer of joy and gratitude for the opportunity to serve among this loving congregation! I am an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ and was called to this church in February of 2019.

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Office Phone: (608) 424-3572
Cell Phone: (608) 220-4983

​Kathy Stenseth

​Office Administrator

​After college I worked at the Wisconsin Conference UCC office for a few years, then taught first grade for 27 years, retired, and am now back working for the UCC at the local level – in the church I grew up in!  I have wonderful memories of First UCC and am creating special new ones with our current members as I manage our church office.  I’m proud and blessed to be part of the life and work of the United Church of Christ!

​Barb Babler

​Church Musician

​I grew up in First United Church of Christ and started performing music for church services in 1964.  I studied the piano with a local piano teacher and at the Wisconsin School of Music.  I learned to play the organ under the instruction of Rev. Pautz at Salem UCC in Verona.  After First UCC was given 3 octaves of handbells, I began leading members to add another source of music for Sunday services.

​Kim Goke

​Church Musician

I started playing organ at our church in high school, took a break, and started playing again around 1990.  There have been many church services, choir rehearsals, special music performances, Christmas programs, and more, and I have enjoyed them all.  My husband, Rodger, and I have three children and two grandchildren.  I am retired from WPS after a 36+ year career.

​Brenda Gehin

​Church Treasurer

​I have been a member of our church since 2012 and have held the Treasurer position since 2019.  I work in Monroe as a Controller for a private company and previously spent 15 years in public accounting.  I live in Belleville with my husband, Neal, and our 3 boys.

​Juanita Harbort

​Church Financial Secretary

​I have been a member of First United Church of Christ my entire life.  I was baptized, confirmed and married in our church.  I am the Financial Secretary and on the Finance Committee and Fund Raising Committee.  I am an active participant in our church activities, especially the annual church dinner and the annual garage sale.  I have been a widow since 2010.