Staff

Heritage United Methodist Church Staff
Dr. Sandra Matthes

Dr. Sandra Matthes

Minister of Music

Sandra is entering her 20th year as minister of music at Heritage UMC. She has a doctorate in music theory from Florida State University and worked as a college teacher for over 31 years. She and her husband Jake have two children, six grand children and five great-grandchildren.

What is your favorite thing about music ministry at Heritage UMC?

I cherish the opportunity to work with talented people of varied ages and having the ability to encourage them to use their talents to serve the Lord.

How did you end up as a music minister?

I was invited to Heritage as an interim minister of music in spring of 1997 and was invited to take the permanent position later in that year. I would not say that I ‘ended up’ in music ministry but rather that God directed my life to serve in these positions.

Don Ogle

Don Ogle

Discovery Music Leader

Don has a B.S. in music education and has been a part of numerous orchestras, bands, brass quintets and choirs over the years. He and his wife Kathy have been married for 36 years. Their son Matt and his wife Kelly live in California, with a grand-dog named Odysseus.

How did you come to music ministry leadership?

After many years of being a church singer and musician, I felt that I could offer even more as a leader.  It has been a great experience.

Karen Penalva

Karen Penalva

Children's Ministry Director

Karen has been working with children for over 30 years, including as a preschool teacher and as a “room mom” too many times to count. She and husband Lou are the proud parents of 3 boys. Lou holds the title of unofficial children’s ministry assistant, and she credits a dedicated staff of volunteers for making great things happen at Heritage UMC.

What is your favorite thing about children’s ministry at Heritage UMC?

I enjoy working with and planning lessons/events for a variety of different age children. Being part of a child’s journey, while they build a connection with Jesus, is an honor for me.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I try to encourage each of my three very different boys in their areas of passion. We are a soccer, theatre and geek family.

Jenna Bush

Jenna Bush

Director of Next Generation Ministries

Jenna has been serving in ministry since 2007.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry with a minor Biblical Studies from Eastern University. She and her husband, Tony, have three cats who make their house a home.

 What is your greatest passion in ministry?

I love serving in family ministry and empowering and encouraging others to serve in ministry.  I love witnessing the extraordinary power of the younger generation serving as disciples and the thrill of what happens when Jesus penetrates their lives.  

 What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love spending time with good company, traveling, playing board games and eating steak.

Jennifer Leavitt

Jennifer Leavitt

Nursery Care Worker

Jennifer and her husband Eric have 4 children, and have lived in Lynchburg for 16 years.  We started attending HUMC about 5 years ago.

What is your favorite thing about your role as the Nursery Care Worker?

My favorite thing about working in the nursery is simply getting to see the children every week.  I’ve grown to know their individual personalities and can begin to predict what they’ll ask for and what they want.  Each one is unique and such a joy to be around. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t have much time for hobbies but I think my favorite thing is just to be outside.  I love to go for walks, sometimes by myself and sometimes with my family.  I like to go places that I’ve never been before, to see new things. 

Pat Poff

Pat Poff

Director Heritage United Methodist Preschool

Pat has a child development certification as well as an associate’s degree in business law. She has been teaching pre-K at Heritage UMC for over 12 years. She and husband, Greg, have a son, Sam, and two cocker spaniels. Pat and Greg have been a part of Heritage UMC family for 26 years.

What is your favorite thing about preschool at Heritage UMC?

My favorite thing about my position centers around building team relationships with parents, children and teachers. I am able to take part in the joy of teaching the children the academic and social skills needed to navigate kindergarten in a nurturing, Christ centered environment that reinforces each child’s value as a unique creation of God.

Cindy Harding

Cindy Harding

Accounting Administrator

Cindy has what she calls the “double blessing” to be serving for two church bodies handling finances. In addition to her role as accounting administrator at Heritage UMC, she also serves as the financial secretary at Centenary UMC. She and her husband Robert have three children, Brooke, Trey and Malory.

What do you love about your job?

I love my job for many reasons: I love serving in ministry. I love working with numbers. I also love the flexibility in my schedule. More than anything, however, I love God’s church and all the people in it.

What’s your favorite part about life in Lynchburg?

We are blessed to have extended family in the area and we also love to travel. Our dogs, Silas and Ritzy are also a big part of our lives.

LaVonne Van Aalsburg

LaVonne Van Aalsburg

Administrative Assistant

LaVonne enjoys her role as Administrative Assistant at Heritage UMC. She and husband Denny are active members of Bethlehem UMC in Moneta, Virginia and have two children.

What do you love about your job?

I enjoy helping the many ministries of the church by being a support to the staff. I also love the chance to get to know members of the church family at Heritage UMC.

Heritage United Methodist Church