High Desert UMC Staff

Pastor Reuben Thomas

Rev. Thomas comes to High Desert UMC after serving for six years at St. Paul's UMC in Socorro, NM. Prior to that appointment, he served seven years at First UMC in Grants, NM and three years as associate pastor at St. Stephen's UMC in Albuquerque. Reuben is a second career pastor having worked for thirty-one years for the Federal Highway Administration. He is a graduate of Clemson University with degrees in Civil Engineering and, following retirement from the Federal Government, he completed the required course of study at Perkins Theological Seminary at Southern Methodist University to become a licensed pastor following retirement. The primary focuses of Reuben's ministry are biblical preaching and teaching, hospitality, missions, spiritual growth and a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jenny Kottenbrook, Office Adminstrator

As our office administrator, Jenny's right at home in church. She and her husband, Charles, pastored churches in Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Hawaii, and Mississippi for nearly 50 years. They have two grown children, Jennifer and John, 6 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Jenny enjoys collecting recipes and cooking, but says she doesn't really have any hobbies, other than "hanging out" with her husband of 55 years!

Frank Rotolo, Music Director

Frank comes to us with 30+ years of experience teaching, coaching and performance vocal, choral and band music. He presently is a substitute teacher for the Rio Rancho Public Schools District. Frank holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music in Choral Education from the University of Arizona. He also has a Master's Degree in Vocal performance from Michigan State University.

Arlene Westgaard, Pianist

Arlene started piano lessons at the age of 8 and graduated from the Mary J. Kennedy School of Music in Troy, New York. In high school, she played a pump organ at a country church. Arlene moved to Rio Rancho, NM in 2001. She opened Arlene Westgaard's Piano Studio and taught 20 students. Great Fun! She was the accompanist for the choir of St. Paul's United Church in Rio Rancho for 8 years. She now enjoys accompanying the High Desert UMC choir.