Donald Kirschner

Pastor Donald Kirschner feels incredibly blessed and extremely excited to be a part of all God is doing at Montville UMC! Although originally from Sun Valley, CA, he moved to Waxahachie, TX at the age of 11, and now finds himself calling NJ home. Before coming to Montville, he served as pastor at the First UMC of Mt. Holly in Mt. Holly, NJ from July, 2015-June, 2018, first as part of a Young Clergy Initiative while in seminary and then as a licensed local pastor for his third year of ministry there. In 2014, he received his B.A. in both Psychology and Christian Ministries from Azusa Pacific University in southern CA. In 2017, he finished his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Pastor Donald is passionate about exploring new avenues to reach out to those who are marginalized, discovering creative ways to do church, and forming meaningful spaces of encounter whereby people can experience the transforming love and grace of God. He enjoys running long distances, singing and playing guitar, writing reflective journal entries, and spending time with his wife Katherine, whom he met during his first semester of seminary and married on October 21, 2017. Katherine is also a minister, serving as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Sussex. God is certainly at work in our community and at Montville UMC. Pastor Donald looks forward to all that lies ahead as God continues to use our church and its ministries to be a bright light for others and for God’s kingdom.

Laurie Zelman
Ordained Deacon

Laurie is an ordained deacon, appointed to ministry as a counselor for people with mental illness and substance use disorders at NewBridge Services.  

Laurie also works as a writer and lyricist with Mark A. Miller, and plays flute in the church band with her husband Joe.  Laurie is an avid gardener, loves hiking and camping, and has two adult daughters who live, alas, on the west coast.  


Karen Ausland

Joe Zelman
Youth Christian Education
Music Director

Karen is our newest leader on staff, serving those who are 5th grade and up on a weekly basis in Sunday School. Karen has always enjoyed working with children of all ages and has done so for over 30 years.  She has worked with students with emotional and behavioral disorders in both private and public high schools.  She has taught children of all ages in Sport Skills and Gymnastics.  Karen was also the Sunday School Teacher and Youth Group Leader for the middle school/high school at Abiding Peace Lutheran Church for many years. She was a volunteer tutor at St. Peter’s Orphanage and went on to become a foster family for one of the boys residing there.  Karen has been married for 30 years and has two grown daughters and a grandson.

Joe began singing in Montville Church in 1988 and became Music Director in 1996.  He has seen many changes over the years, and only hopes that our music will continue to make "a joyful noise unto the Lord."  New noisemakers are always welcome!


Like other United Methodist congregations, Montville UMC has a number of volunteer leaders who support and guide the church.  Positions include the Chair of Church Council, Lay Leader, Treasurer, Trustees and Children's Ministry Coordinators among many others.  We are exceedingly grateful for the ways they serve God in the church.