Patti Agnew – Lead Pastor


I grew up on the beaches of southern California, in Pacific Palisades. I received my bachelors degree in Mathematics, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, always intending to be a high school math teach. But God redirected me, resulting in a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and ordination as a United Methodist elder in the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1994. In 2016, I completed my Doctor of Ministry degree, also from Fuller. I have served rural and suburban churches throughout Colorado in my 23 years as a pastor.

 I’m a single mom with two daughters in college (Amanda and Natalie) and have a dog, Molly.
I love hiking in the mountains and am  a Colorado Rockies baseball fan. I also love chocolate, gymnastics, and ice cream. I feel closest to God when I am out in nature.
Sami Pack-Toner – Associate Pastor


I grew up in Sheridan, Montana and attended college in Great Falls. After graduation, I continued to live in Great Falls and work at a gymnastics academy while exploring a call to ministry. I also attended the Walk to Emmaus  in Helena. A year later, I found myself packed up and moving to North Carolina to attend Duke Divinity School for seminary. Over those three years, I worked in different churches as an intern, lifeguarded on campus, and continued to work toward ordination. I was appointed to Choteau and Pendroy UMCs following graduation and moved back to Montana. 
While serving Choteau, I met Shane, got involved with golf league, and a workout group. We started some new outreach ministries, read lots of books, and watched a lot of TED Talks during my time in Choteau. One of our goals was to begin conversation about topics that we usually avoid at church. By creating a safe space, we all learned more about ourselves and connected with others over generational lines.
Shane and I were married in May 2016, and we live a pretty adventurous life. We enjoy hiking and dirt biking, golfing and skiing. We are excited to get settled here in Helena and find more adventures! I am excited to begin a new chapter in my ministry here with the community of Helena and continue to create safe space for people to experience God.

Tyler Amundson – Associate Pastor

My two primary responsibilities as a pastor are Young Adult Ministry and Community Missions.  Young Adults (20 or 30 year olds) are one of the smallest age demographics in church today, and at St. Paul’s we know that providing activities that help young adults develop their spiritual life is a top priority.  One of the primary ways that young adults find themselves connecting with God and the world is through Mission.  Mission at St. Paul’s means we go out into the community to bring hope to those in need, food to hungry, healing to the sick, resources to those with less, and by seeing where God is calling us to help transform our community into a healthier and more whole world.  

My personal passion for ministry is to all ages through preaching, teaching and organizing ways for people to find their connection with our community and God.  I find fulfillment in my vocation when I hear someone say, “I found God today.”  I encourage people to search for God on a mountaintop, in church, helping someone out, sharing in a small group, or in their own prayer life.  

When I am not at work I enjoy playing with my family by growing our garden, going for bike rides or enjoying a great day in Montana.  My own personal interests involve exercise, parenting, biking, and being a computer nerd.  


Lynn Van Nice – Coordinator of Children’s Ministry

I am responsible for our children’s programming for ages birth through 5th grade. Children are my passion so this is the perfect job for me! I am also Staff Support for Wednesday Night Dinners and Caring Ministries, two teams that are very dear to my heart. I love spending time with family and friends; attending movies and plays; taking walks; spending time at the lake; and enjoying every moment I can with my three grandchildren, Ainsley, George and Maverick!

Sue McNicol – Parish Administrator
My primary role is to work with the pastoral and lay staff to manage the business of the parish including areas of human resources,  office oversight, public relations and community outreach. I also coordinate education and communications for St. Paul’s. 
I love to keep busy, so I’m always searching for fun projects or creative endeavors to keep life interesting. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends partaking in good food, exploring new places and mastering an occasional golf course or two. I’m also a
collector of art supplies, imaginative books and creative ideas.

Hailey Cole -Finance & Facilities Coordinator

I am thrilled to be a part of the team at St. Paul’s. As the Finance and Facilities Coordinator I provide bookkeeping support and the facilities management necessary to the ministry of the church. As a member of the office team I work with the program and office staff to ensure a welcoming and efficient environment. 

In my spare time I love traveling abroad, baking gluten free cupcakes, walking downtown, and getting lost in a good book.

Renata Strauss – Administrative Assistant

My primary role is to provide administrative services to our pastors, church staff and committees. I find St. Paul’s mission work inspiring and I look forward to becoming more involved. In my free time I enjoy doing art projects with my 2 children and spending as much time as possible outside. I am passionate about graphic design, creativity and anything involving dark chocolate or coffee.



Dr. Dave Buness – Music and Arts Coordinator    

I prepare and schedule music performances for services when the choir is not singing. I also coordinate with the jazz musicians, the sound team, the drama team, prayer leaders and provide needed information for the office staff for Sunday’s bulletin. On a more personal level, I enjoy our home in the country, entertaining, Jeep rides through the back roads of Montana, gardening, woodworking and of course music.

Fay Buness – Organist

As organist/pianist I provide music for the enhancement of the worship experience. I accompany the choir, vocal and instrumental soloists, and frequently play for weddings and funerals. My recreational time includes exercise, gardening, singing and entertaining. In the summer when I’m not teaching voice, Dave and I enjoy traveling out of state to visit our children and grandchildren.


Jillian Newton – Chancel Choir Director

I am excited to join St. Paul’s United Methodist Church as the Chancel Choir Director. I have a strong passion for education, conducting, and sharing the joy of music with others. My responsibilities include organizing, rehearsing, and directing the Chancel Choir that sings for most 11:00 AM services. I am also in charge of our semi-annual Choir Sunday in which the Chancel Choir performs a cantata or a set of pieces as a “sermon in music.” Originally from Michigan, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Western Michigan University. I am entering my fourth year of teaching, and recently moved to Helena to enjoy the wonderful arts community and beautiful nature of this area.


I am thrilled to have the opportunity to actively participate in many musical activities in this busy community. I’m currently the Alto 1 Section Leader in the Helena Symphony Chorale and am performing with Musikanten Montana as well. I am a member of the Helena Music Teacher’s Association and volunteer for Grandstreet Theatre. I look forward to being part of the wonderful community at St. Paul’s!

Phyllis Michelson – Nursery Assistant

Having taught school for over 30 years, my favorite grade is kindergarten. Serving the tiniest folks and their families is a perfect fit for me! I strive to make the nursery a warm, loving environment so that little ones can enjoy their church while other family members explore all of St. Paul’s offerings. So many wonderful helpers volunteer their time that my blessings just multiply!