Getting to know the Leadership Team
Rev. Mark Erbes, Pastor
Pastor Mark is a Lansing-area native who graduated from Okemos High School in 1979. He then received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Western Michigan University in 1983 and a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Minnesota in 1985. Following eight years of teaching instrumental music in Minnesota and Michigan, he answered God’s call to ordained ministry and attended United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1997. He was appointed to the Holt UMC on July 1, 2014 after serving Faith Community UMC in Xenia, OH, First UMC in Mt. Pleasant, the Constantine UMC, and Lake Harbor UMC in Norton Shores. He also currently serves as a member of the West Michigan Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.
Mark’s passions in ministry include teaching, leading worship, and helping others grow in their individual faith journeys. In his spare time, he enjoys running, bicycling, and rooting for MSU and the Chicago Cubs. He is also an avid reader, with a special affinity for British mysteries.
Mark’s wife Annette also graduated from Okemos High School in 1979 and WMU in 1983. She has enjoyed working in a number of churches as Director of Christian Education as well as in public and Christian schools as an elementary and Title I teacher. She has been very active as a layperson on District and Conference committees.
Mark and Annette have two children: their daughter Megan is a 2011 graduate of Ohio Northern University (B.S. in Sport Management) and she received a M.S. in Sport Administration from Belmont University in 2013. She resides in Massachusetts and serves as the Director of Communications for the American Athletic Conference. Their son Matthew is a 2014 graduate of Valparaiso University (B.S. in geography) and the University of Missouri (M.S. in geography) and is currently employed by the Esri Geographic Information Company in St. Louis, MO. His wife Nikki is also a Valpo grad (2016), and received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Washington University-St. Louis in May 2019. She is serving a residency at the Washington U hospital system.
Carolin Spragg, Pastoral Assistant
Carolin grew up in the Robbins community, northeast of Eaton Rapids, graduating from Eaton Rapids High School. She attended Adrian College for three years, then completed a BSW and MS in Sociology from Utah State University. The years that followed included marriage and family years, agri-business consulting, financial management work and many volunteer hours as Christian Education director at Robbins UMC
Having felt called to full time Christian service in High School, Carolin answered the call to pastoral ministry in 1989 and attended Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Ordained an elder in 1994 she served the Parma/North Parma charge from 1992-1999, Paw Paw UMC from 1999-2007, and the Fremont UMC from 2007 -2013. She enjoyed preaching, teaching Disciple Bible Study, doing pastoral care, and working for congregational revitalization.
Carolin retired in 2013 to care for her parents, walking the journey with them for the last two years of their lives. What a holy privilege to spend that time together. Since retirement Carolin has been involved in the Vital Church Initiative program serving as coach and consultant. She also teaches an adult study group and directs the choir at the Robbins UMC.
Carolin enjoys woodworking, reading and gardening when time allows. She has participated in a number of United Methodist VIM team experiences to such places as Henderson Settlement, Haiti, and Mujila Falls, Zambia. What a thrill to meet and serve God’s people around the world.
Carolin, has two children. Her son, Greg Salisbury and wife, Joyce, and her grandson, Andrew, live in Portage, MI. Greg works for Stryker Corporation as a Director of Quality. Joyce works for GM in marketing. Andrew starts 8th grade in the fall and enjoys soccer. Her daughter, Kris and husband Paul live in Albuquerque, NM. Kris is Director of Cottonwood Gulch, an outdoor experiential education program offering life stretching treks for children and youth. Paul is a school social worker. They have a son, Ben, who is working in the computer world. They are currently doing foster care with thepossibility of adoption.
Mason Bykowski, Christian Education Director
Mason Bykowski received a call to ministry when he was a sophomore in high school and has been pursuing ministry ever since. Born in Angola, Indiana and moved to Highland, Michigan due to the housing market crash in 2008, it was at a retreat in Detroit where he first got the call to ministry. He attended Spring Arbor University for a year before leaving to work for a semester and then continue his education at Eastern Michigan University. He recently moved to East Lansing to pursue this job.
He has served all ages: from toddlers in the nursery, teaching elementary student classes, serving and eventually becoming the director of the fifth and sixth grade ministry at Venture Church, serving in middle school at Spring Hill Camp, and helping high schoolers in retreats and as a small group leader. He even has experience as a small group leader for adults through Venture Church.
With a degree in History and a minor in Religious Studies, Mason loves history and anything old. Books are especially loved: anything from high fantasy to dry theology can be seen on his bookshelves. He has not escaped modern times though as he is interested in video games and movies as well.
Mason is unmarried and can only claim a bearded dragon as his only dependent.
Chris Commet, Administrative Assistant
Administrative assistant? Secretary? Office manager? Go-to person? However you define the job, it’s a fact that Chris is quite often the first person you see when you come in during the week. She is the voice on the phone, the face behind the counter, the person responsible for printing – bulletins, newsletters, promotional materials – pretty much anything generated from the office has Chris’s fingerprints on it. In her “other” office, Chris makes sure the bills are paid and the expenses stay under budget.
Most Recent Project: Mandala Throw
Favorite Past-times: Spending time with family (including a one year old granddaughter!), watching movies, trying out new recipes, reading, sewing, knitting and exercising a la Henry David Thoreau: "'Tis a great art to saunter,” although she confesses to a recently developed enthusiasm for cardio drumming.
History: Following a career in printing and publishing, Chris worked part-time as a church secretary in her hometown of Jackson before joining the Holt UMC staff in 2006
Best Part of the Job: Interacting with members of Holt UMC and the community
Offspring: Sara, working in advertising in NYC; Ben, a freelance computer program designer in Grand Rapids; Justin, a certified master auto tech working in Jackson who is married his high school sweetheart, Rachel and enjoying their daughter, Charlie Joan; Amber, a sophomore at MSU studying botany.
All family members serve at the whim of her majesty, Willow, the three-year-old cat.
Claire Bellamy, Chancel Choir Director
Claire is delighted to join the HUMC staff as the Chancel Choir director. She is high school and middle school choir director at Okemos Public Schools. Before moving to Michigan in 2013, she and her husband lived in Medina, OH. Claire taught middle school and high school choir in Brunswick, OH.
Claire is very active in her school community and is the music director for the musicals St Okemos High School and Chippewa Middle School.
She graduated from The College of Wooster in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Music Education. While attending The College of Wooster, she was the Soprano Choral Scholar at The First Presbyterian Church Of Wooster, OH, and served as the Children's Choir Director for 2 years.
Claire is the daughter of two Presbyterian ministers and has been a lifelong participant in church music. She is an ordained elder and loves being a member of a church family. She grew up in Western Springs, IL, a suburb of Chicago with her parents and younger Brother, Duncan.
In her free time, Claire loves spending time with her husband, Ben, their daughter Eleanor, and their dog, George going on hikes at the Brighton Recreation Center and exploring the beautiful state of Michigan.
Genadi Zagor, Choir Accompanist & Organist
A native of Krasnodar, Russia, Genadi Zagor began his music studies at the age of four with his father, a foremost guitarist and composer. After graduating from Krasnodar's Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music with distinction, he went on to study at the Moscow State Conservatory with Mikhail Mezhlumov, one of Russia's leading teachers. In 1991, Genadi immigrated to Israel and became an assistant to Professor Alexander Tamir at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance.
Mr. Zagor holds prizes from a wide range of national and international piano competitions and has performed to critical acclaim in recital and orchestral appearances around the world. Mr. Zagor has performed on concert stages in Russia, Israel, Japan, England, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the United States.
In 2000, Genadi moved to the United States and joined Maestro Alexander Toradze's thriving piano program at Indiana University (South Bend). After completing his Artist Diploma, Genadi served as an Adjunct Lecturer in Piano there. He also holds a Master of Music degree in piano performance from Michigan State University and is a Doctor of Musical Arts. Since 2012 Mr. Zagor actively participates in solo and chamber recitals at Michigan State University where he collaborates with renowned Prof. Bagratuni and Prof. Gandelsman.
Additionally, Mr. Zagor has vast experience in accompanying church services. He played organ and piano for the services in Ekaterina Church, Saint Michael Church and Uspenskaya Church in Krasnodar, Russia (1985-1990). Following his arrival to United States he was serving as a church musician at Coalbush United Methodist Church in South Bend, Indiana (2000-2003) and organist-pianist at the St. Katherine Episcopal Church in Williamston, Michigan (2009-2010).
Ministers - Every Member of the Congregation
Deborah Kiesey - Michigan Area Bishop
Kennetha Bigham-Tsai - Lansing District Superintendent
Rev. Mark Erbes - Pastor
Carolin Spragg - Pastoral Assistant
Annette Erbes - Director of Christian Education
Chris Commet - Administrative Assistant
Brad Adams - Building/Grounds Manager
Beth Gimm Bergh - Director, Praise Team & Handbell Choir
Adrienne Monahan - Youth Director
Genadi Zagor - Choir Accompanist & Organist
Dan Romanek, JoAnne Romanek, Dani Gimm Bergh, Don Stouffer, Eric Le, Taryn Clapsaddle, Josh Trudgeon - Media Team
Paul Webster - Missionary
Mary Edinger - Fellowship Committee Chair
Patrick Schmidt - Newcomer Ministry
Michelle Stroup, SarahAnn Robiadek, Taryn Clapsaddle - Nursery Attendants
Amy Larner - Child Enrichment Center Director
Art Nott - Lay Leader
Randy Coller, Gordon Galloway, Rebecca Kegler, Guy Sweet - Lay Servants
Eileen Hamilton - Leadership Team Chair
Rich Allen - Property Team Chair
Bob Mellor - Personnel Ministry Team Chair
Lynn Harper - Christian Education Chair
Lynne Bemrose - Missions Chair
Rebecca Kegler - Finance Chair
JoAnne Romanek & Chris Commet - Website Construction & Maintenance
Chris Commet, Dan Romanek, JoAnne Romanek - Social Media
Maynard Hamilton - Intentional Faith Development
Bea Parker - Memorials
Skip Beehler - Wills & Estates
Bob Mellor, Mike Russell - Financial Secretaries