Meet Our Staff:


Sheldon Henderson, Pastor

Sheldon comes to First Christian Church as second career minister. He has served two other
congregations as a full-time settled minister and has served three other congregations as part-time or as
an interim. Before accepting the full-time call to Newton, Sheldon helped organize and start the River
Valley Disciples new church start in Des Moines. He is currently their Spiritual Director on a part-time

Sheldon has been married to his wife Kim for over 35 years and they enjoy living in Des Moines in their
current house of over 33 years. It has been in that house where Sheldon and Kim have raised their two
children. Their daughter Devon (30) lives in Iowa City. Their son Thayne (28) just recently left the Army
after serving for almost six years and will be living in Des Moines.

Before becoming a minister, Sheldon made his living in the automotive and truck industry where he
found himself owning and operating several businesses in that field. From a towing company that he
and his brothers operated to an award-winning vehicle restoration and custom shop – anything
mechanical has not been far from his hands.

Early on in his life, Sheldon traveled and sang first tenor with a regionally based Gospel quartet called
the Ambassadors. He plays the guitar, trumpet, and just recently has started to learn the trombone. He
is currently completing a recording project of his original songs.

Other interests are snowmobiling in the winter, flying single engine airplanes, and attending the Drake
Women’s basketball games with Kim.

Julie Brown, Office Manager

Julie has served as Office Manager at First Christian Curch since July 2004. She worked at Principal in the pension department from 1979 through 2001. Julie was born in Marshalltown Iowa but has lived in Newton most of her life. She graduated from Newton High School in 1976. Julie has a daughter and two grandsons.

Tom Goeke, Custodian

Tom has had the privilege of being married to Theresa since April 4, 1986. He has lived in Newton since 2016 and started as custodian for First Christian Church in October 2017. Tom was previously in the Navy, worked for 21 years at Farmhand in Grinnell and 21 years at Lennox in Marshalltown. He has two children and two grandchildren.

Greta Wallace, Pianist/Organist

Greta has enjoyed the position of pianist/organist at our church since August 1999. She was born and raised in Pella Iowa and graduated from Central College with a degree in Psychology. Greta spent her days working at The Vernon Company in Newton for 27 ½ years before retiring early 2021 as Director of Human Resources. Many evenings are filled with volunteering at the Newton Community Theatre as a Board member (periodically) or accompanist of musical productions. At First Christian Church, she likes to play a variety of music for our church services, especially different arrangements of older hymns, and is also a pianist/vocalist for our Praise Band (Revelation). Greta loves spending time with her two daughters and sons-in-law, Heather and Tony Hiatt, and Nikki and Rob Hartz, and of course watching the many activities of her five grandchildren, Carly, Elise, Colin Hiatt and Paige, Henry Hartz.  

Cathi Wickett, Director of Music

Cathi has been the Director of Music at First Christian Church since fall of 2006. She was born and raised in Newton. After completion of high school in 1972, she continued her education at Wartburg College and received her degree in 1976 with a Bachelor of Music Education with emphasis in Percussion. She has been very active with her music by playing with the Pella Community Orchestra, Des Moines Community Orchestra, Newton City Band, Ames Municipal City Band and Grinnell College Community Band. She started her Christian faith as choir director at St. Luke United Methodist Church and transferred to First United Methodist Church as choir director with the addition of First Christian Church as Director of Music. She has also given piano and drum private lessons. “Melody Unlimited”, a singing group, was her passion for 18 years. She is very active with the Newton Community Theater. Cathi has a son, Curt,  and a daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Jordan Roberts. In addition, she has 4 grandsons, Bentley, Drayton, Brycen and Davin. Cathi works as a bookkeeper with Nuzum and Montalvo Law Firm.