Rev. Dr. M.G. Martell Spagnolo, Senior Pastor
Martell comes to Sioux Falls after a nearly twenty years in the ministry. He had served as the pastor for the Conway Village Congregational Church for over six years. Prior to that, Martell served as a Roman Catholic Priest and Pastor in the Diocese of Camden for nearly ten years where he was known for his love of Sacred Scripture and his liturgical finesse. During his service to the church, Martell was a television priest for channel 6, WPVI, Philadelphia, PA from 2000 to 2008. He was also: a founding member and Vice President of Build a Better Bridgeton, New Jersey State Police Chaplain, Critical Incident Team Member, served on many non-profit boards mostly related to music, theater and the arts. Martell is a professional vocalist.
Martell received his Doctorate of Ministry from Andover Newton Theological Seminary, Newton Centre, MA. He received his MA and M Div from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA. He has done post graduate study in Medieval Liturgy at University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL. He has taken graduate courses at DeSales School of Theology, Dominican House of Studies and Catholic University, all in Washington, DC. His undergraduate work was at the University of Delaware.
Martell is very happy to be serving at First Congregational Church UCC. He thinks that the church is a gem in the crown of a lovely city.
Rev. Ryan Otto, Pastor
After graduating with a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, Ryan was called as Associate Pastor to First Congregational Church UCC in October 2008. He served as Acting Senior Pastor for nearly three years until being installed as Pastor in September 2017.
Prior to seminary, he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Government at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Ryan grew up on an acreage outside of Pierce, Nebraska, where he learned a love of nature and the outdoors. He has an incessant desire to learn, which has led him to explore questions on a variety of subjects. His wife Louisa has a passion for science and education. They have two incredible daughters who challenge them to see the world anew every day.
Ryan is a singer and songwriter, trail runner, and homebrewer. His song "Juntenos, Espiritu" published in Gifts in Open Hands, a global worship resource collected and edited by Maren Tirabassi and Kathy Eddy. His most recent music composition was Joyous Light: An Advent Pageant.
Ryan is a member of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (Target 2030), a program established by the United Church Board of Ministerial Assistance to support and challenge young clergy in their first years of ministry.
Becky Pagone, Christian Education Director
I grew up in Spring Valley, MN and after high school attended Augustana College where I graduated with a BA in elementary education and special education. I worked in the Sioux Falls Public Schools for several years in special education and received my master's degree in educational leadership from SouthWest State University. I married #7 on FCC's church league softball team (not Mickey Mantle) more like John Pagone. I became an active member at FCC's bell choir and boards. Then #7 and I decided to start a family and work toward building our own softball team. We enjoy Ellie, Katie, Michael, and Jacob at all their stages. I am grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the life of the church as Christian Education Director.
Tanya Harris, Financial Administrator
Greetings and welcome to First Congregational United Church of Christ. My position has me involved in many aspects of church life as finances, donations, paying bills, etc. affect our church life in multiple ways. I have many more responsibilities, which makes my work interesting. I married Dana Nelson and gained a beautiful granddaughter in the process. Our children are grown. I find it exciting to see them carve out their niche in our world. My undergraduate degree is in Accounting. I am currently attending the University of South Dakota working on a Masters of Public Administration degree. I also volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, The Community Outreach and our church. My motto is “Life is an Adventure.” God has blessed me beyond all expectations and in ways that continuously surprise me.
Chris Laughlin, Office & Communications Coordinator
I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful team at First Congregational Church. I have worked in many different positions but this one is very special to me - First Congregational Church has felt like home since I became a member over 20 years ago. I am married to Rick Laughlin. We have two daughters - Rochelle and Mallory. Rochelle is married to Dean Lund and they have blessed us with four grandchildren. I enjoy sewing, walking, reading and spending time with my family.
Paul Vincent, Custodian
For almost twenty years I have been the everything man at FCC: the sound man and keeper of the grounds, greeter, cleaner-I've done it all but preach. Before joining the staff I traveled for twenty years in a band as the bass player then I joined a local Sioux Falls jazz and classic rock group. I like to laugh, tell jokes and enjoy life.