Below you can find information about our staff.
Along with all the people of First UMC, we are committed to helping you
know Christ, grow in Christ, serve Christ and share Christ.
Pastor - Rev. Christopher Eshelman
Pastor Christopher is a “second career” pastor, working several years in small businesses before discerning a call to ministry. He has been under appointment in the Great Plains Conference since 2007. He earned an M.Div. at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri in 2011 and was Ordained an Elder in Full Connection in 2013. Before being appointed to Fort Scott in July of 2021, he served at Pretty Prairie and Murdock UMCs, both just south of Hutchinson, KS, for 4 years. Prior to that he served as an Associate Pastor in larger churches in Wichita, with a couple years in Campus Ministry at his alma mater, Wichita State mixed in.
He has been married to Robin (please insert your own Winnie-the-Pooh joke here) for 32 years as of March 2024. They met as undergrads at Wichita State, where he earned a B.A. in Sociology and she earned two degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She teaches Kindergarten in Iola. They have two grown sons, Ian and Aaron, who are both baseball coaches. Pastor Christopher says: “My journey to this point has been long and winding as I was baptized Lutheran, raised and confirmed Episcopalian, did a serious Roman Catholic catechism then spent some time really wandering in the wilderness, before finding my home in the UMC and Wesleyan theology. My faith is rooted in the 1st chapter of John, Philippians 2, Colossians 1 and Luke 15, but my journey has been deeply shaped by my encounter with traditions outside Christianity, even as I've rarely strayed far from its banks. I welcome this intersection where our paths meet. As you’re interested, I’d love to share more about that, and more importantly, hear about your own faith journey.”
Administrative Executive - Kristin Bishop
Kristin joined our staff in August 2023! She has previous experience as a school paraprofessional in classrooms, a case manager with SEK Mental Health, and an office staff person at various times with Big Sugar Lumber, Bids and Dibs, and the Chamber of Commerce. She graduated from FSHS and earned her B.A from Pittsburg State and, of course, is married to Will and is mom to Winston and Linden. We are delighted to welcome her to this new role with our church. She will be handling office manager, treasurer, communication, and volunteer coordinator type duties.
She writes: I enjoy working in this environment; The church, the sermons, and interacting with church members and community volunteers. It is a peaceful and productive place to be. It is a blessing to work in this beautiful church building. I love the way the light shines through the stained glass windows and the intricate details that went into the design of this church a century and a half ago. I also enjoy working with members of the church and community volunteers alike. They walk into the church with kindness in their hearts and a mission in mind. They selflessly share their gifts, talents, and time. It’s inspiring!
Kristin is married to Will Bishop. They have two sons Winston (7) and Linden (6). She enjoys reading, road trips, good coffee, and conversation.
Choir Director / Organist - Patricia Harry
Pat Harry is a retired music educator and Kansas Music Hall of Fame member. For the majority of her career she was Choral Music Instructor at Fort Scott High School and Fort Scott Middle School. She has a Bachelor of Music Education from Pittsburg State University, and advanced work in Music Education at Wichita State University. Pat was a piano major, voice minor.
She has played the organ and piano and directed the Chancel Choir at Fort Scott First United Methodist Church since 1989, and prior to that was active in the music program at First United Methodist Church in Pittsburg, Kansas, and Mount Hope, Kansas United Methodist Church. Currently she maintains a private piano studio in her home. Pat is married to husband, Steve, has two children and five grandchildren. Her passion in life remains providing music for church and community events and teaching children to understand and love music.
A favorite Scripture of Pat’s is, unsurprisingly, from Psalm 100: "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.”
Nursery Coordinator - Sara Schnichels
Sara is a teacher with Head Start during the week and joined our staff in June of 2022. Each week she makes sure we have a welcoming, fun and safe child care option for families attending Sunday worship.