Paid Staff Team

Appointed Clergy Team

Rev. Nate Melcher
Senior Pastor

Rev. Hope Hutchison
Dir. of Children & Family Ministries

Ministry Program Staff

Kay Bergeland
Parish Nurse

Operations Staff

Kathy Gertsema
Business & Admin Coordinator

Pat Noonan
Facilities Coordinator 

Linda Schmidt
Programs & Comm. Coordinator

Caring for Children ELC Staff

Kathy Newbauer
CFC Director

Music Staff

Sonja Gustafson

Tanner VanderKrabben
Choir Director

Victor Zupanc
Living Waters Band Leader

Appointed Clergy Team

Rev. Nate Melcher (he/him)
Senior Pastor

Pastor Nate is an ordained elder appointed to Richfield UMC in 2019 as senior pastor. He was an Associate Pastor of Hennepin Avenue UMC (2014-2019) and Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries of Excelsior UMC (2005-2014). He holds a BA in Film Studies (University of Minnesota, 2002), an MFA in Creative Writing (Minnesota State University – Mankato, 2008), and an M.Div (Luther Seminary, 2014). His preaching has been featured in Sojourners online justice sermon resources.

Pastor Nate enjoys crafting worship, building systems, and good talk over good coffee. His recent classes include Pub Theology, Film Theology, Prayer Writing for Worship, and Wednesday Bible Study. Before entering ministry, Pastor Nate worked in student life and as college English faculty. He’s produced shows in the MN Fringe Festival, done 2 productions of Godspell with his kids, performed in 12 comedy festivals, coached improv teams, and teaches improv to faith leaders. 

Pastor Nate is an avid reader, writer, and artist. He enjoys ukulele, biking, cooking, baking, movies, writing, reading, road trips, camping, officiating weddings, playing Wordle every day, cheering on the Timberwolves and Lynx, and video games. Originally from greater Minnesota, Pastor Nate and his family live in Minneapolis. 

Bio - Rev. Nate Melcher preaching

Rev. Hope Hutchison (she/her)
Director of Children & Family Ministries

Rev. Hope is an ordained deacon appointed to Richfield UMC in 2019 and is Director of CYF and Outreach Ministries. She was the Minister of Spiritual Formation & Community Justice at Northeast UMC (2018-2019), and a Seminary Hill Farm Crew Member at Methodist Theological School in Ohio (2013-2017).  She holds BAs in Environmental Studies and Religious Studies (Macalaster College, 2013) and an M.Div with  emphasis in Ecology & Justice and an MTS in Theology & Ethics (Methodist Theological School in Ohio, 2017).

Rev. Hope seeks to connect people with the world by helping children see Jesus in the world around them. She likes recruiting, training, and organizing unpaid servant volunteers for various children and family ministry roles. Rev. Hope is the primary worship liturgist and preaches once every other month.  One of Rev. Hope’s joys is delivering items to the children such as Bibles, art projects, and Bible story sticker sheets!

Rev. Hope is originally from California, has lived in Ohio and Wisconsin, and loves living in Minnesota the best. She is an outdoors enthusiast, trombonist, and baseball fan (go, Dodgers!). She enjoys travel, gardening, baking, hiking, camping, cooking with fresh produce, and her cat, Zinni. Rev. Hope and her spouse live in Minneapolis.


Richfield United Methodist Church is a local congregation of the Twin Cities District of the Minnesota Annual Conference (MAC) of the United Methodist Church (UMC). The polity and structure of the UMC is outlined in the UM Book of Discipline and this document is curated by the General Conference which meets every quadrennium. 

The ministers of the church are all members of the congregation. To help the church build ministry systems and carry out the mission of the church, the congregation is organized with Elected Leader Teams comprised of members in good standing who are active and engaged in the life of the church. 

Paid Staff Teams coordinate a variety of areas of focus and expertise of the life of the church. These areas include business and administration, communications and volunteer coordination, facilities and ground maintenance and systems, pastoral care, children, youth, and family ministries, music, and Caring for Children early learning center. 

Richfield UMC has a senior pastor appointed by the MAC Bishop to order the life of the church and cast vision for its future. The church also has an additional appointed clergyperson as a specialist to help the members of the church carry out their mission. Together, they are the Appointed Clergy Team.

The Appointed Clergy Team, Elected Leader Teams, and Paid Staff Teams work together to carry out the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The vision to live in faith, justice, and joy is crucial to everything we do as a church, from missional outreach to Sunday School, from worship to neighborhood events.

Elected Leader Teams

Leaders are elected for three-year terms to a variety of teams that help the church function and carry out its mission today and tomorrow. Members receive a list of all elected leaders at the semi-annual meeting in June. Teams that fulfill the functions required by the UM Book of Discipline are the Board of Trustees, Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Finance Team, and Nominating Team. The chairs of these teams, as well as the chair of Children’s Council, the UWF president (formerly UMW), chair of the Church & Society Team, Annual Conference lay delegates, and elected at-large members come together as the Administrative Board. The chair and the senior pastor work together and the Ad Board to carry out the mission of the church. The 2023-2024 elected leader roster is printed in the July/August 2023 issue of The Heartline.

Additional Teams and Taskforces

Occasionally, additional teams and taskforces are created to curate specific areas of focus for the church. Some are based in a particular ministry, others are created for a specific purpose or intended for a limited season. These teams include MCCI Breakthrough Teams, Children’s Council, Church & Society Team*, Event Taskforce, Funerals and Memorials Team, Groth Scholarship Selection Team*, Hospitality Team, Memorials Committee*, Reconciling Team, Regathering Taskforce, Richfield UMC Foundation*United Women of Faith (UWF, formerly known as United Methodist Women or UMW),  and others.  (* elected)

Sign-Up as a Worship Greeter:

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on SignUp.com

Sign-Up as a Worship Greeter or Liturgist:

Tap or click to sign-up for a variety of servant volunteer roles, including being a Greeter before worship or helping lead worship as a Liturgist. Please note instructions and any prerequisites. Please contact Pastor Nate about participating in the next round of workshops, “Writing and Leading Prayers in Worship.”