Our Staff

  • Pastor Tim Ellington

    Pastor Tim is our Lead Pastor. He is a native of Seattle, Washington, and has lived in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and California. He graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Prior to coming to Kailua UMC, he served Trinity UMC in San Diego. Tim has been married since 1997. His wife Cindy is a Marriage and Family Therapist. Their two sons are Micah, 10, and Daniel, 8. Tim loves teaching and equipping people to be a part of what God is doing in the world. He is fascinated with sea turtles and loves 80’s music. 


  • Shelly Yuen - Office Manager

    Shelley was born, raised and has lived her whole life in Kailua.  Little know fact...she was baptized in the "little white church" in 1957 where the Kailua Bank of Hawaii stands now and she lives in the house she grew up in.  She graduated from Kailua High School and has been married to Gary Yuen for 34 years; they have a son, Kaiola and a daughter, Kiana.   Shelley loves to beach comb and create art with the gifts from the sea she collects.  Her family and friends are her greatest treasure.  

  • Mahe Vakauta - Worship Leader

    Mahe was born in 1987 in Tonga, youngest of 7 children, later moved we to the United States in 1992. Mahe spent his youth growing up on the Big Island and later moving to Oahu in 2000. Realizing his passion for praise and worship music, Mahe joined the United Methodist Hawaii District Praise Band “Souly His” in 2008. Continuing in the music ministry Mahe would become a Worship Leader at Kapolei United Methodist Mission, a Music Director for the Walk To Emmaus Community on Oahu, before joining Kailua United Methodist Church in 2015 as a Worship Leader. 

  • Carol Morse - Accompanist

    An accomplished keyboardist, Carol plays organ for our worship service and accompanies the choir . She performs in various places with a jazz ensemble led by her husband Jack called the Hymncats.

  • Steve Petranik - Tech Director

    Steve is our Technical Ministries Director, which means he’s in charge of sound, slides and video recording. This is the second time Steve has “inherited” the job; both of his children, James and Aliya, had this role and he took over in 2009 and 2016 when each went to college. He also sings in the praise band along with his wife, Ann. During the week, he is the editor of Hawaii Business magazine. 

  • Sue Pignataro - Congregational Care Coordinator


  • Nicia Platt - Welcome Team Coordinator

    As the “Guest Team Coordinator,” Nicia welcomes new visitors to KUMC and supports guests connect to the life of the church, through small groups and membership.  She is motived to help people develop their personal journey of faith.  A firm believer in God’s grace and love, Nicia enjoys participating in bible studies and learning about Jesus’ message of love, hope and light.  Nicia also is a Lamaze Childbirth Educator and teaches Lamaze twice a week in Honolulu and Kailua.  An avid reader, Nicia also likes hiking, ocean sports and beach time with her family. 

  • Briggs Christie - Choir Director

    Briggs Christie and his wife Carol moved from California to Hawaii in 1999 after falling in love with the islands' beauty and culture and have become part of the community through their involvement with numerous charity organizations and events. Originally from Vermont, Briggs comes from a musical family, singing in church choirs beginning at 10 years old. He began directing while in the Navy in 1979 and has been involved with choral music in multiple capacities ever since, including several roles in KUMC's music ministries from 2007 until 2014. He is proficient with a variety of musical instruments but can most often be found with his trusted baritone ukulele, a staple in his life for nearly 50 years.

  • Christine McElwain - Children's Ministry Director

    My name is Christine McElwain.  I have been married for 24 years to Tunis McElwain, and we have one son, Quinlan who is 12.  I am from Indiana, and have 2 associated degrees and a Bachelors degree in Family and Consumer Science.  Before attending KUMC, we were members of Pine Island UMC on Pine Island, Florida.  I served in many ways at Pine Island.  I have been a trustee, and served on the leadership committee and hospitality committee.  At PIUMC, I helped out in many children's ministries such as  VBS, Monday Fun Day, organized Easter Egg hunts, back pack program, and clothes for kids program.  Before leaving PIUMC, for my husbands work here in Hawaii, I was employed by PIUMC as the Nutritional Ministry Coordinator.  My main focus in this ministry was to cook and feed 30 children a night for an afterschool program while showing them the love of Jesus Christ.  


    KUMC children's ministry has many wonderful opportunities for your children.  Every Sunday we have a great Sunday school program.  During the year we offer many fun family events such as camp fire nights, movie on the lawn, fall festival, and the Christmas program.

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