Reverend Byungil Ahn

Byungil Ahn was ordained as an elder at the GNJ in 2011, and has served at Alloway & Canton UMC in Salem County, and Morganville UMC in Monmouth County. He has been blessed with wonderful congregations that helped him grow as a pastor and a person. He has an M. Div. from Drew Theological Seminary in Madison NJ. He is passionate about ministries of sharing the word of God, pastoral care, and building relationship with diverse people. He believes people are important because for them Jesus came, died, and was raised. Byungil has been married for 23 years to his wife Hyenjung Moon, and has two children, Jane and Chloe.

Reverend Marilyn Balzer
Our pastor emeritus is the Rev. Marilyn Balzer. Serving the Methodist church for over 30 years, Marilyn has numerous teaching certifications. Born and raised in Salem, Marilyn has 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren!
Richard Hanson

As early as he can remember, Rich attended Marcella Chapel, a small non-denominational country church. That’s where the roots were established for a lifelong dedication to music ministry, to Christ and to church music. Rich’s mom, Joyce would have him memorize the lyrics of songs for Sunday School and Christmas pageants long before he was able to read. The tunes came easy. As Rich recalls, “My Mom always supported my music and did everything she could to nurture and help in any way possible.” “However, I need to stress, she had a great ear but could not carry a tune in a bucket.”

Rich’s first church music blunder came at a very early age when he messed up the memorized lyrics to Silent Night – “I still remember that! Who messes up Silent Night?”

Although Rich’s first and continuing love is singing, his first organized music lessons were violin and trumpet lessons in grade school. Neither lasted very long.

Piano lessons were a birthday gift from his mom at around age 13.

Rich always had a fascination with the church organ. “I remember watching the organists at Marcella Chapel and finally playing that old Hammond B3 with a Leslie speaker.” “I initially learned to play hymns on an old chord organ as a kid.”

The youth group in his childhood church would take yearly trips. “One year, as a teen we stayed at Randall Memorial Baptist Church, a huge church in Williamsville, NY. One day the organist was practicing in the sanctuary.  Never having been shy, I approached the organist and he allowed me to play. It was the first pipe organ I was exposed to and I immediately fell in love with the King of Instruments.”  “I also rededicated my life to Christ in the balcony of that church.”

Once Rich and his mom, left Marcella Chapel, they would return to his mom’s roots. United Methodist.

Rich was also involved in choir, theatre and music theatre during his middle and high school career. Performing in a Junior High school production of The Threepenny Opera as Captain Macheath or Mack the Knife. His high school theatre credits would include leads in Mash, Lil Abner, 110 In the Shade, The Crucible, Oklahoma, The Music Man, and Inherit the Wind to name a few.

In High School Rich was a member of the Mixed Choir, Concert Choir (audition required) and Select choirs (audition required). Rich also auditioned and was selected to perform with the North Jersey Area Region Chorus for all 4 years and also New Jersey All State Chorus. His High School music teacher, Richard Eckstein would play an important role in Rich’s continuing studies in music.

During High School Rich also studied organ with Dale Hooey former organist at First Memorial Presbyterian church in Dover, NJ studying on the church’s 36 rank, 2,133 pipe Austin Organ.

Rich attended Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music in Winchester, VA (Now Shenandoah University)

Majoring in voice and minoring in piano and organ working towards a bachelors in Music Education.

His vocal study was with Jackson Sheats, his organ study with Dr Steven Cooksey and his study of conducting and liturgical music was with Dr James Laster. In college, Rich’s choral ensembles included Baroque choir under Dr Steven Cooksey, Madrigal singers (complete with period costume) under Dr James Laster, as well as Select choir under Dr David Stutzenberger.

Rich’s first position as a youth was that of organist at a Hungarian Presbyterian church in Wharton, NJ (you guessed it, Rich speaks no Hungarian whatsoever). He would then serve Newfoundland UMC as a substitute organist and choir member. He has served as organist and choir director for the Hurdtown UMC, Rich has served as Director of Music Ministries and Organist for the Bloomingdale UMC, Mt Fern UMC, Teabo UMC and Rockaway UMC where he currently holds the position of Director of Music and Organist Emeritus. Rich has also in recent years served as organist for The First Church of Christ Scientist in Summit, NJ and the Rockaway Seventh Day Adventist church.

While at Mt Fern UMC and early in his Rockaway UMC tenure, Rich began a Northern NJ rehearsal group for the yearly Ocean Grove Choir festivals drawing on average 60 singers from Morris, Passaic, Warren and Sussex Counties.

Rich is currently a member in good standing of the American Guild of Organists and the Handbell Musicians of America.

Rich owns and operates a pressure and soft-washing company, MaxxClean Solutions, LLC

He was born and raised in the Marcella section of Rockaway Township, NJ where he still resides in the home he grew up in with his two best friends, his two pups, Killian and Kona.

Jennifer Maurer

Our Sunday School Coordinator, Jennifer, has attended our church since she was a preschool Sunday School student herself! Now, Jenn and her husband have two young sons who also love attending the same Sunday School!

Jenn is a certified teacher and school supervisor, bringing her skills and heart into public school since 2009. Prior to serving as Coordinator, she also has experience teaching Sunday School at our church. Additionally, she serves as a summer school coordinator and service club advisor.

Vicki Robinson
Vicki Robinson is our Administrative Assistant.  When you call or come to our church office she will be the 1st voice you hear or face you see.  She is willing to help in any way she can.
Greenstone United Methodist Church
116 East Washington Ave
Washington, New Jersey 07882

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