REV. MICHAEL G. NICKERSON, PhD.
Rev. Michael Nickerson became the intentional interim pastor for Billings First UMC in the summer of 2019. Previously he has served as pastor, Aspen Community Church; interim senior pastor, Wenatchee First United Methodist and Parker United Methodist Church; President, United Theological Seminary; Senior Pastor, Central United Methodist Church in Downtown Phoenix; Program Director and Director of Congregational Development for the Desert Southwest Conference; Director of Research Design, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and pastor, Remus, Mecosta and Halls Corners, Michigan.
He graduated magna cum laude from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts, received a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts in Urban Geography from Miami University of Ohio and a Ph. D. in Historical Geography from Syracuse University.
Dr. Nickerson served eight years on the General Commission on Archives and History, on the Arizona State Department of Education’s Values and Education Task Force and the Phoenix Citizens Committee for a Master Plan for South Mountain Park. He has also taught summer graduate courses at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California and for 11 years taught at Iliff School of Theology as an adjunct professor. He has worked as a consultant in strategic planning with several non-profit organizations. He enjoys hiking with his wife Ti, music, and maps.
Brian was born, raised, and has lived his whole life in Montana. He was born in Sidney, graduated High School from Columbia Falls, went to college at Rocky Mountain College, student taught at Skyview High School and has lived in Billings ever since. He is married to Chris and they have two boys, Connor and Caleb. Brian loves spending time with his family and friends. He is an avid baseball fan and coach in the community, and he loves to be at the ball field. Fishing, hiking and spending time outdoors are times that refuel his batteries.
Brian has led the youth groups at First United Methodist Church for over twenty years. Mission trips, camps, Chrysalis, Convo’s, Sunday school, confirmation and thousands of Sunday afternoon youth group games have filled that time. Brian also fulfills many other duties at First United Methodist Church. Working in giving aid to people in need, liaison to the Property and Trustees committees as well as helping to plan and lead worship services are among his other duties. Brian feels that First United Methodist Church is a thriving place to raise kids and grow in your personal faith, and he feels hopeful that will continue to grow for many generations to come.
Kelly Copeland ~ Office Manager
Kelly was born and raised in Montana on her family’s ranch outside Absarokee. She is the oldest in her family and has two sisters and a brother. She met and married the love of her life, Ron Copeland, in college, but lost him in an accident in March of 2018. They were never able to have children, so they filled their home with several cats and doted on and spoiled their nieces and nephews. They were married for 27 years.
Kelly studied Film and Television at MSU Bozeman. She went on to work with her husband in radio, and later at KULR 8 TV as a news photog and then shooting and editing commercials for the production department. She worked at KULR 8 for 11 years. She joined the staff at Billings First UMC in October of 2006 as the Office Manager.
Kelly likes singing, music, old movies, reading, writing, drawing, jewelry making, scrap-booking, photography, restoring old photographs, archaeology, history, being out in nature, and playing with her kitty, Zoe.
Lori Sorensen ~ Bookkeeper
Lori has been the keeper of the books at Billings First UMC since August 2017. She has lived in Montana for 27 years and moved to Billings in 2010. Lori is the mother to four kids and Nana to seven. In addition to being a bookkeeper, Lori is an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One Gifts. This allows her to travel quite a bit, which has become her favorite hobby.
Bonnie Banks ~ Children’s Ministries Coordinator
Bonnie was born and raised in Billings, and other than a ten-year stint in Seattle, has lived most of her life here. She has degrees in theater, English, and education from Rocky Mountain College and University of Montana and has put those to use in professional and community theater, and teaching at both college and high school levels. Working in church offices seems to be a sideline of hers since she has served as office administrator in three, most recently at First UMC until returning to teach at Billings Senior High in 2006. Now she’s back, this time using her teaching, theater, and organizational skills for Children’s Ministries, and using creativity to guide our children to spirituality.
Bonnie loves spending time with her son Josh, as well as her cats and dog, Luka. She and Luka are a certified Therapy Dog team. (Luka takes her job as official FUMC office greeter with enthusiastic wags.) Other loves include the great outdoors, travel (Scotland and Greece are favorites), reading, gardening, and being with family, friends, and the community of First UMC.
Trevor Krieger ~ Music Ministries and Choir Director
Trevor Krieger, born and raised in Billings, MT, has been playing some sort of music since the age of 4. He started classical violin, then at age 8 started piano. Still very classical based, he decided around 9 years old to delve into the different worlds of “fiddle” by attending as many contests, in and out of Montana, as he could, and soon falling in love with the genres nearest: Jazz, Texas Swing, Bluegrass, Folk, Americana, and delving even deeper into Funk and Rock.
Along with being able to play in a symphony since the age of 13, Trevor had the opportunity to showcase his music, along with Wyoming guitar great, Jeff Troxel, on the award-winning 11th and Grant with Erik Funk on Montana PBS; a premiere outlet for music performance in Montana.
Trevor has shared the stage with many notable musicians: Mark O’Connor, Ray Charles, The Moody Blues, Alison Kraus and Union Station, the Doobie Brothers, Government Mule, as well as Montana favorites The Mission Mountain Wood Band, and Tim Ryan.
Trevor also dabbles in studio recording. He has played on 50-60 albums of local and national selection. He just produced his first album, and is constantly being sent tracks to record on, from Seattle to Maine.
Trevor has taught at many camps around Montana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and currently has a few local students in Billings.
In his spare time he has been married to Alyssa for 15 years and they have 4 children (Olivia-13, Dylan-11, Benjamin-6, Noah- 3)
In his very spare time he is the co-worship/music director, along with his wife Alyssa, at First United Methodist Church in Billings, where he leads worship, directs choirs, jams with Youth Praise Team, and with MAD choir, and any other way musically possible. He is a member of numerous groups (jazz, funk, folk) and a predominant fill-in musician for groups passing through the local Billings music scene.
His current large-group project is John Roberts y Pan Blanco– a local and unique sounding ensemble that is designed to make the audience move, basing music influences from all over the world, including West Africa, Cuba, Spain, and Portugal, all aimed at sharing musical diversity with the audience—-who recorded recently for 11th and Grant and are nominated for an Emmy.
Trevor is currently a professional firefighter/paramedic with the City of Billings and has been for the last 16 years.