Our Pastor…Rev. Jody Topping
Rev. Jody Topping currently serves as pastor at Faith United Methodist Church. She was raised in Southern California where she and her parents attended Tujunga UMC. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, and later earned a Masters in Human Resource Administration from Ottawa University. For 25 years, she was employed by various public sector employers in human resource administration, where she was able to use her compassion for people to help them through the difficult situations in their lives.
In the early 1990s, she and her husband David, along with their two children joined Los Arcos United Methodist Church in Scottsdale, AZ where she became involved in music ministries, Christian Education, and church administration. In the mid 1990s, she felt God calling her to do more than she was already doing at Los Arcos, but the call was not clear…at least not at that time. It wasn’t until several years later that God’s call became clear: she needed to become a church pastor in the United Methodist Church. So in 2008, she attended seminary, first at Claremont in California, and later at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. She graduated from Iliff with her Masters of Divinity Degree in June 2012.
While at Iliff, she served as a Pastoral Intern at Gold Canyon UMC. When her internship was completed, she remained on staff at Gold Canyon as Director of Congregational Care until May 2014.
Pastor Jody was Commissioned as a Provisional Elder by the United Methodist Church in June 2014, and one week later, started her appointment as Pastor at Faith United Methodist Church. She is passionate about social justice issues, LGBTQ rights, church revitalization, sharing the gospel with children and teens, ministering to the homeless, and reaching out to the community to spread the good news of Christ’s love for all. She welcomes all people into the life of the church, especially those of different ages, races, skin colors, and sexual orientation. “God’s love is available to all people…and so should ours.”
Organist/Handbell Choir Director…Francine Martyn
Francine Martyn was born and raised in Southern California. She began taking piano lessons at age 7. She played clarinet in her high school marching band, as well as in the USC Concert Band under the direction of Art Bartner. At the University of Southern California, where Francine earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1987, she studied piano, organ, and clarinet. She continued her music studies at Claremont Graduate University, and received her M.A. in music in 1991. Francine has been the organist at several churches covering a wide range of denominations. She began in 1982 at South Hills Presbyterian Church, then she played at Walnut United Methodist Church for seven years under the direction of her former high school band director. She has also played at Redeemer Lutheran Church, and as guest organist at Desert Garden United Church of Christ in Sun City under the direction of Sandy Dyke, former choir director at Faith. Francine continues to have the amazing opportunity to play as guest organist for the Christmas and Easter programs at Glendale Seventh Day Adventist Church, with former Faith choir director Dennis Marsollier, and former Faith organist Claudia Marsollier. After her two children came along, Francine felt called to begin a teaching career in general education. She came to Phoenix with her family in 2002 to begin her teaching career, after living in California, Australia, and New York. She has taught 4th grade and 2nd grade, and is currently in her eighth year of teaching 1st grade. Francine feels blessed to have returned to Faith United Methodist Church in 2009 after a brief stint as organist between 1994 and 1996, and to have the opportunity to rekindle old friendships, and enhance the worship experience with her musical gifts at the organ and piano. Now that her children, Derek, 22, and Janette, 19, are grown, Francine is pursuing a long deferred passion for medicine, and is hoping to attend school in the near future to become a physician’s assistant.
Choir Director…David Topping
In addition to being our choir director and the pastor’s life partner, David Topping is also the Computer Systems Manager for the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church (Faith UMC is in the Central West District of the Conference). He also sings professionally in the GRAMMY-winning Phoenix Chorale, performs frequently with choirs and orchestras as a bass-baritone soloist, and is on the board of the Arizona Bach Festival. He is actively involved in online choral activities, and helped create ChoralNet.org, the internet’s hub of choral music information. David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from CSU Fullerton (where he and Jody met in choir) and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Arizona State University. He also studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt, Germany.
When he and Jody married, they were both serving as music directors of United Methodist churches in the Los Angeles area, and after moving to Arizona, David was the music director of Los Arcos United Methodist Church in Scottsdale for over 18 years. Topping has taught music in public schools at all levels, from elementary through community college and plays guitar and ukulele.
Office Assistant…Michael German