Reverend Layloni Drake, Senior Pastor
Born December 1955 at Patrick Air Force Base to Bob and Mary Drake, Layloni moved almost every year after that until she was 7 years old. They settled in El Paso in 1963. In 1974 Layloni graduated from Coronado High School, El Paso, Texas. In 1978 she graduated from McMurry University, Abilene, Texas. In 1980 she was ordained Deacon. In 1981 Layloni graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, where upon she received her first pastoral assignment to a two point charge of Wesley UMC in Alamogordo and Cloudcroft UMC in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
After two years of pastoring she was ordained Elder. At the conclusion of two and half years of pastoring, Layloni enter the United States Air Force as a military chaplain. During the course of her military chaplaincy she was assigned to Peterson AFB, Osan AB, and Lowry AFB.
During her time in the service she fell in love with Raymond Craig. They were married in 1986. Their sons Peter and Phillip were born in January of 1988 and daughter Alysha were born, April 1991. After serving six and half years she discontinued her service as a military chaplain and began her service in the ministry of motherhood. With Peter and Phillip both ill early on, it was time to give full time status to motherhood.
At the conclusion of this leave of absence for motherhood ministry, she resumed her active pastoral ministry. She was assigned to St Mark’s UMC in El Paso as an associate pastor for two years. Then Layloni was assigned to St Luke UMC as senior pastor for four years. The next assignment was to First UMC at Gallup. There she served for seven years. Her current assignment is Asbury UMC as of June 2009. Her husband Raymond is also a veteran and has worked in the area of education in Mathematics, Special Educations, as well as, computers and networking.
Dr. Todd Seelau, Acts 2 Pastor
Our Acts 2 pastoral leader is United Methodist minister Todd Seelau. If you haven’t heard this engaging and earnest young man preach, you might want to attend an Acts 2 worship service to catch one of his well-thought-out sermons. There’s another Rev. Seelau in the conference, and that’s his dad, Gary, who is pastor at Los Alamos UMC. So Todd’s a PK – preacher’s kid – and understands the ministerial lifestyle well. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from McMurry University, a master’s in theology from Candler School of Theology (associated with Emery University in Atlanta), and a doctorate in ministry from George Fox University in Oregon. Todd has worked at dozens of places – including a guitar center and Hewlett-Packard – before realizing that he was running away from God, and that he was supposed to be a pastor. He became a United Methodist probationary member in 2005, served at Clint/Fabiens UMC, and then became a full elder in 2007. Music is a big love in his life, with rock being his favorite. A drummer, Todd has done “studio stuff” and still plays locally, especially with the band “Next 2 the Tracks.”
Verallen (Vera) Kleinhenz, Music Director
Vera has been a choir director, organist, music instructor, composer, and arranger for over 30 years. After studying with Dr. Lee Kjelson at the University of Miami, she went on to become the Music Director for Air Force and Navy chapel choirs in California, Mississippi, Arizona, Guam, and New Mexico where she now resides.
Vera was also the director of the Keesler Chorale in Biloxi, MS, and the Skylarks at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona. On Guam, she served as Assistant Director of the Guam Symphony Chorus and the University of Guam Chamber Singers. She was the soloist for the Guam Territorial Jazz Band that toured the Micronesian Islands frequently.
She is the full-time Music Director/ Organist at Asbury United Methodist Church in Albuquerque and was the director of the Albuquerque Civic Chorus for 12 years. She started with the Albuquerque Civic Chorus as an Assistant Director under Michael Cooke and was selected as Director in 2000. She retired in June 2012. She has written several arrangements for the chorus which have been performed in various concerts. In July 2012 she started Soli Musica (Latin for Only Music ), a community chorus with a wide range of repertoire (for their website, please go to www.solimusica.com). Vera is also a voice instructor and choral and handbell clinician. Vera is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Association of Lutheran Musicians, Handbell Musicians of America, the Choristers Guild, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, and the Albuquerque Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. As a published composer and arranger, she is also a member of ASCAP.
She helped form a new chorus named Expressions of Joy in June of 2011. The members of this chorus are mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged adults (for their website, go to www.abqjoy.com). Vera’s SATB, SAB and 2 pt arrangement of the official state song, ‘O Fair New Mexico,’ was featured in school districts throughout New Mexico during the 2012 Centennial. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Music at the University of New Mexico in December of 2009. Vera graduated in May of 2012 from the University of New Mexico with a Master of Music in Choral Conducting. For her website, please go to www.vkleinhenz.com.
Dacia Lust, Youth and Children’s Music Director
Dacia Lust directs Asbury’s youth choir and children’s choir. She has an exciting worship and arts program with lots of fun and music for Asbury’s grade school-age children on Sunday afternoons. Dacia began her music career with piano as a youth, then studied vocal performance and piano pedagogy in college, earning double degrees at Texas Tech. She teaches piano and voice privately, and has directed the children’s and youth choirs at numerous churches in NM and Texas. She’s sings first soprano with the New Mexico Symphonic Orchestra Chorus and has lent her voice to Italian arias at the Macaroni Grill, among other venues. But, more than her talent, Dacia works to give of herself. To her, music is more than a career. “I think music is a gift from God. God gives us music, art and nature to keep us in a connection with that deeper part of ourselves. Music nurtures and inspires people, and Dacia prays that parents see how that benefits their children and their spiritual growth.” Dacia has a daughter, who is attending McMurry University , and a son at LaCueva High School.
Kelly Clark, Mother’s Day Out Director
Kelly has been in Albuquerque since the age of 6 living mostly in the NE Heights. Kelly received her Bachelors in Education from the College of Santa Fe Albuquerque Campus. She used that degree to get 3 years of teaching under her belt before she came to Asbury to take over the Mothers Day Out Program in 2009. She is currently a single mom of two beautiful girls, Taylin and Teagan(dont be surprised to hear them call her by her nickname, Turtle). Taylin was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 5 and handles it with such strength.
Dru Ann Kuntz, Church Office Manager
Dru Ann & her husband, Dave grew up in NE Ohio. After living in Illinois for 8 years while Dave attended graduate school they moved to Albuquerque in 1985. They have 3 grown children, Alan, Lynn & Sara. Dru Ann worked as a dental hygienist for 20 years and in 1998 retired and began working at Asbury as the office manager. In 2006 Dru Ann took a few years off to take care of her ailing father and medical needs of their 2 daughters. Dru Ann returned to Asbury UMC as the office manager in 2009. Throughout the year she enjoys playing handbells with Enchantment Albuquerque Handbell Ensemble.
Tracy Cross, Asbury Youth Director
Hi my name is Tracy Cross and I’m the new Youth Director here at Asbury UMC. I’ve been doing youth ministry for the past 7 years and I’m excited to have the opportunity to come here. I’m originally from Hobbs, NM and have lived in Albuquerque for the past 5 years. Currently I’m going to school at New Mexico Highlands University for my Masters in Social Work. I’ll be graduating from Highlands with my MSW this May! I really enjoy reading books and playing roller derby, and I’m connoisseur of sweet tea and Chinese buffets. I’m excited to see the amazing things that God is going to do through us here at Asbury.