Lee Schott, Pastor
Lee Roorda Schott was a layperson here at Valley twenty years ago, pursuing a comfortable career as a lawyer, when God got hold of her and led her to pursue a call to full-time ministry. As if that weren’t enough of a surprise, she found herself as a pastor of a church inside the Iowa women’s prison in Mitchellville, Women at the Well, where she served for nine years and became an author and an advocate around criminal justice, mental health, and racism. She found herself back at Valley—this time as Pastor—in July 2020, in the middle of a pandemic. She is passionate about worship, justice, and relationship, especially with those who have not always found a home in the church. She lives in West Des Moines with her husband of 37 years, Daniel, with whom she has raised three sons. She wonders, “What surprises does God have in store for us here at Valley?”
Sheila Madsen, Administrative Assistant
Sheila has served Valley for nearly twenty years. She has primary responsibility for office functions, and hers is the voice that you’ll almost certainly hear if you call us. But her “other duties as assigned” have encompassed a broad range of communications, financial figures, member care and connection, historical memory, and much, much more. She asks the right questions and keeps track of details, which helps everything run smoothly. She says she keeps showing up, day after day, to do the work to support the mission and ministry of Valley UMC-something that is easy to do year after year with all of the kind, caring and committed people of this church. Sheila and her husband, Curt, have been married for 38 years and have two grown daughters and a one year old granddaughter.
Karen Hutzell, Organist
Karen has been a hired church organist since 1957, when she was a sophomore in high school. When her classmates were getting paid for babysitting, she was making music for the church! She has served in this capacity at Valley for nearly 20 years. She has also served as accompanist at the Des Moines Playhouse and for Dowling High School in Des Moines. When the Dowling choir travelled to Rome in 1995, Karen had the thrill of getting to play the pipe organ for mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Not many organists get that privilege! Karen lives in West Des Moines with Larry, her husband of sixty years. They have a grown son and a grand-kitty. Karen keeps showing up at the organ because, she says, “It’s the way I worship.” Each time, before worship, she prays, “Help me do this for your glory.”
I’m Larry Williams, CEO of Next Level Media Marketing. I’ve been married to my beautiful wife Daineya for nine years, and we have a wonderful daughter Jalaiyah. I served as a Staff Pastor in Tampa, FL and Sacramento California for 4 years after graduating from the University of South Florida with a BA in Organizational Communication and a minor in Leadership Studies.
I love anything outdoors – camping, fishing, hiking – and traveling. I’m also a bit of a jokester and love making people laugh.