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Who We Are

Pastor Jim Wiltbank

Pastor Jim was born in Nebraska at Fort Robinson and lived in New Jersey, Colorado and Texas while growing up.  He also lived in Argentina for two years while on a mission for the Mormon Church, after which he graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education. He then returned to his family’s home - Arizona, where he has lived ever since.  Before receiving the call to go into ordained ministry, he taught first, second and third graders for 14 years. 

Jim and his wife Joannie met playing volleyball at church and got married March 19,1994. 

Pastor Jim Wiltbank

jwiltbank@stfrancisumc.org 

520-299-9063  Ext. 106

They have two sons - Jim who lives in Mesa and Eric who is in Minnesota.

 

Jim received a Master’s degree in Theology from the Claremont School of Theology in June of 2007. Before coming to St. Francis, he worked at Lakeview UMC in Sun City, First UMC of Phoenix, Epworth UMC, First Yuma UMC.

 

In his free time, Jim enjoys running, reading, watching and adding movies to his amazing collection (which now numbers over 5400!) and travelling with Joannie. 

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Rolland (Rolly) Loomis grew up in a home where dignity of all persons was valued. His parents and Grandparents were role models for him in the  biblical virtues of respect and compassion for everyone. Rolly has been in ministry for over 30 years acting as a leader in his church in the development of media for worship and leadership training. Much of his work involved working with youth, recognizing their gifts and graces and empowering them to serve their churches and communities. He's been a pastor in local churches in Arizona and California. He also served as a missionary with the United Methodist Church.

Rolly worked for the Desert Southwest Conference where his projects included

Rolland (Rolly) Loomis

Director of Border Ministries

“Imagine No Malaria”, Volunteer in Mission, US / Mexico Church to church relations.He's worked along the Mexico US border and has served in several African countries. His life's work includes telling the stories of people who are struggling and suffering and that it is God's utmost desire for we humans to be serving each other. Rolland is a retired pastor in the United Methodist Church and currently a member at Saint Francis the foothills United Methodist Church in Tucson where he continues to preach regularly.

Prior to Rolly’s work in the church, he was President of a Company that Constructed Roads and Bridges in Pennsylvania and New York.

Melissa Mitchell Administrative Coordina

Melissa was born in New York City but qualifies as practically a native Tucsonan since she has been here for over fifty years! She was hired at St. Francis in 2012 as part-time Administrative Assistant and then was promoted to full-time Office Manager. Now, besides being full-time administrator, she also chairs the Library for Peace committee.

Melissa Mitchell

Administrative Coordinator

mmitchell@stfrancisumc.org   

520-299-9063   Ext. 101

Before working for St. Francis, she taught voice and guitar, and also worked in the retail and hospitality industries.

 

In her off time, Melissa enjoys camping, gardening, reading, traveling and cooking. She and her wife, Patricia share their home with their son Kelly, a four-footed maniacal canine named Jake, and two spoiled desert tortoises.

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Shar Aslaksen

Multi-Age Program Coordinator

saslaksen@stfrancisumc.org

(520)299-9063, Ext. 102

Shar has a passion for spiritual practice and its application in daily life and has felt a calling to ministry since she was in high school. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Dance from Holy Names University, several Yoga certifications, and a certification in Spiritual Direction. Prior to working at St. Francis, she worked for Arizona Children’s Association with youth aging out of foster care, supervised the
Prescott Valley Boys and Girls Club, and was the Youth Coordinator at St. Francis from 2010 to 2017.

 

While loving the ocean, Shar keeps getting called to the desert. She loves road trips, playing in the water, and exploring archetypes, especially through the Tarot.

 

Married to the love of her life, Andy, who keeps her laughing, Shar is also mother to Skye, who keeps her on her toes. Shar and Andy live with Shar’s mom Jill, and their four-legged friend, Molly Mayhem.

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Deborah Kramer

Administrative Assistant

dkramer@stfrancisumc.org

(520) 299-9063, Ext. 105

Deborah was born in the small California town of Trona, in the Mojave Desert. For the last several years however, she has lived in Tucson, elated that again the desert is her home. There are two places she feels totally at home: the desert and in a church/spirit centered community. Deborah graduated from Union Tech and University earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a certification in Addictions Counseling.

 

Prior to coming to St. Francis, she was a Child & Family Team Facilitator, working for La Frontera in conjunction with Child Protective Services, advocating for mental health services.


 

 

She also worked as a Case Manager Supervisor for a residential recovery center for teens.

 

Her private time is spent learning to garden, reading, following the Green Bay Packers, and exploring spirituality. She has three grown children, Venessa, Devon, and Briana, of whom she is very proud as she watches them create their own lives (meddling maybe just a little). She lives with her husband Seth who brings the laughter to the relationship. Together they share a cute home with their cat, Woodrow.

Cynthia Hilts, Choir Director

A Tucson native, Cynthia returned recently after thirty years in New York City. She is a composer, pianist, vocalist, and poet. She is also a piano teacher and vocal coach of all ages. Much of her original music expresses the beauty of creation and social justice issues. 

Cynthia has performed in jazz festivals and concerts around the world, and directed musical endeavors of all sorts, including jazz ensembles, opera, theatre, and light opera. Cynthia also loves gardening, all kinds of nature, and living at the base of the Catalina mountains.

Cynthia Hilts

Choir Director

choirdirectorsf@cynthiahilts.com

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Joe Pitonzo

Music Director

Raggedy Band

602-741-7107

Joseph Dominick Pitonzo is the official “cat herder” (director?) of The Raggedy Band and is on the Celebration Team. He is also a recovering Catholic. 

His most important goal at St. Francis is to increase the musical catalog with singable music for Sunday morning communal celebrations with an emphasis on social justice and change. 

Little known fact about Joe includes being the liaison between the Diocese of Phoenix and Stage Sound of Tempe for the September 14th 1987 Papal liturgy with 78K in attendance. He also created the first computer based music lab in the State of Arizona at Phoenix Community College.

Joe is very passionate about the commonality of our shared experience be it the elation of our successes or despair of our losses. 

An avid auto racer and involved as a volunteer for decades, he also loves to work on his boat and loves to fish. Joe plays in a band and loves the Beatles! When the pandemic hit, he recreated Raggedy Band digitally.

 

You can still hear them at:

 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6r_GecSldmdveas7L5j-ig/videos

Cathy DeMers Director International Scho

Cathy DeMers

Director, International School

for Peace

cathy@internationalschoolforpeace.com 520-299-8908

Cathy earned a Master's Degree in Special Education in the area of Social/Emotional Development, and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education, from the University of Arizona. Cathy came to the International School for Peace in 2004 from Valley View Preschool in the Catalina Foothills School District, where she was a  Preschool Teacher for 2 years.

Prior to that, Cathy lived in Highland Park, Illinois and worked in the North Suburban Special Education District for 17 years before relocating back to Tucson in 2001.

 

Cathy and her husband Gerry have two daughters, and in her off-time, Cathy enjoys exploring and hiking in the beautiful Tucson desert.

Thank you to our congregation

and all of our volunteers who keep St. Francis in the Foothills vital and alive!

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