Marianne Niesen – Senior Pastor

As pastor of this wonderful church, I have primary responsibility for the worship and pulpit ministry of St. Paul’s and oversight responsibility for the administrative, program, mission and ministry areas of our church. I work as the coordinator of the clergy team that serves Helena United Methodist Ministries (HUMM).  Through HUMM, St. Paul’s and Covenant UMCs are partnering to multiply ministries and maximize impact for good in our community.  Of all the things I do, I love preaching and teaching the best.

I have served for the past 20 years as a member of the Intermountain (Children’s Home and Services) Board of Directors.  I am President of the Yellowstone Conference Council on Finance and Administration and am a spiritual director for the Helena Walk to Emmaus Board.

When I’m not at work, I love to read, see movies, travel, go to Glacier Park, throw the ball for my dog, Mollie, and spend time with my husband, Lyle.



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.  

Rick Hulbert
Rick Hulbert – Associate Pastor


Rick Hulbert is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.  He served churches in Alabama and West-Florida until he requested UMC permission to appointments outside the UMC where he worked in government and commercial environments in the areas of rural community organization, healthcare, developmental disabilities, and human services planning.   Rick graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, and received a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

Rick volunteered his ministry at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for ten years or so in teaching and preaching capacities.  Rick ultimately retired from his private sector job and in June, 2014, accepted an appointment from the Yellowstone Conference of the United Methodist to the Helena United Methodist Ministries in the role of lead pastor for Covenant United Methodist Church – Helena.

Rick is enjoying his ministry with Covenant United Methodist and finds the congregation extremely accepting of one another and their pastor.  Rick is challenging the congregation to grow through losing themselves in ministry to the community and is eagerly working with Marianne Niesen and Tyler Amundson in a clergy team devoted to increased Ministry in the Helena Area.

Rick resides in Helena with his fifth-generation Montanan wife, Pam, who is active in the Montana Historical Society and the Helena Juvenile Justice program.



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!


Meladie Brandle – Coordinator of Youth Ministry


My role as the Youth Ministry Interim is to continue the Wednesday night programs for both High School and Middle School youth groups, as well as the Sunday morning TTT (Text, Talk and Tournament). I love working with these kiddos! They make me a better person. I encourage you to get to know these kids, they have amazing personalities and so much to offer. On my off time, you can find me baking cakes, cleaning house or just hanging with the kids. If I can find any extra time, I will get in on some arts and crafts or do a little reading.


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!