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Our Staff


The church has many moving parts, all working together to provide a place of worship and a faith filled community of fellowship and love.  The Staff of First Congregational are devoted and caring. 


Our Pastor Liz Hoy


Pastor Liz Hoy grew up in Billings Montana, spending most of her summers in the Absaroka mountain range at Camp Mimanagish.  It was there she first discovered a love for ministry.  After graduating from the University of Montana in Missoula she spent a few years as an activity director in a retirement and assisted living community.  She moved to New England and attended Andover Newton Theological School graduating in 2014 with a Masters in Divinity.  First Congregational Church in Manistee is her first call as a solo minister.  She  and her seven year old Shih-tzu Barley are excited and happy to now call Northern Michigan their home.

Deb Sorenson, Our  Administrative Secretary 


Deb Sorenson has been keeping the church office organized and running smoothly since 2008.  Born and raised in Manistee, Deb is a graduate of Manistee Catholic Central High School and West Shore Community College.  Prior to beginning her work at the church, Deb was employed at Mowry Buick-Pontiac-Olds, Swan Industries, and self-employed as part owner of Great Lakes Stitchery.  She is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the office, preparing and printing the weekly worship bulletin and monthly newsletter, and is the church’s bookkeeper, maintaining all of the financial records at the direction of the treasurer.  Deb is married to Chris, an independent contractor, and they have two daughters, Courtney and Maegan.

Doug Savela, Our Custodian


The longest-serving member of the staff, Doug has been employed as the church’s part-time custodian for almost twenty years.  He is responsible for both the indoor and outside maintenance of the facility.  Doug and his family moved to Manistee twenty years ago from Lansing, when he began working at the Oaks Correctional Facility which he has recently retired from his position. His wife, Laura, is employed by the Manistee Area Public Schools and they have three adult children, Dylan, Lucas, and Rose.

Jerry Stege, Our  Organist and Choir Director


Jerry is a Manistee native who served for many years as organist and music director at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Manistee.  He also has served as mass musician for Catholic Central Schools. Jerry brings life to our Sunday morning worship service.

Joe Strouse  Our Minister of Digital Media


Joe comes in on Sunday morning, and through the magic of technology he is able to live stream our service onto our website. Just about every Sunday afternoon he has the recording posted onto youtube, and shares the link right to facebook. He is also working on keeping our website, and social media up to date and active.


What  Our Church Members  Have to say....

“We chose to join First Congregational Church of Manistee because of the Spirit of acceptance that exists here.  All are welcome here; we have certainly felt welcome.”

“My family has been members of the First Congregational Church for many generations.  I take great pride in the faith-based friendships I have formed while my son attended Sunday school, serving on various church committees, and assisting with many ministry activities of the church.  I feel blessed with the warm welcome I receive every Sunday as I listen to the teachings of each sermon and how it relates to my life experiences.  My church is a constant in my life, one that is warm and inviting to each member.” – Julie Finan

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