Clergy and Program Staff

Nick HeadshotRev. Nicholas Knoblauch

I am a life-long member of the United Church of Christ. I am the fifth-generation member of a former German evangelical congregation in Columbus, Ohio. Growing up, I always found my home congregation to be an extension of my family. Between the pews, I found love, encouragement, and support. But perhaps the best thing my church ever did was send me to church camp. It was somewhere between the pine trees and open fields of rural Ohio, that I fell in love with God’s creation. In those sacred hills of rural Ohio, my curiosity of the divine would grow as it instilled in me a passion for building beloved community and stewarding sacred space. Influenced by my local church and camp experience, I would attend Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio (Historically Related to the UCC). During the summers, I would work on the summer staff at church camp. As my leadership grew, so did my awareness that a call in ministry was beginning to unfold. After graduating from Heidelberg in the spring of 2013, I began seminary at Eden Theological Seminary, in Webster Groves in the fall. Seminary was a wonderful time of spiritual, education, and vocational growth. Upon graduating from Eden Theological Seminary in the spring of 2016, I would complete a Clinical Pastoral Education Summer Intensitive at Laclede Groves Retirement Community in Webster Groves, MO. A few days after completing an intensive, I would pack everything I had along with my partner and her cat, and move to Montana where I would serve my first congregation. There in the great northern plains of southeast Montana, I would fall in love with parish ministry. The congregation gave me the grace to learn and grow as I discovered who I was as a pastor. In the nearly 5 years in Montana, I would fall in love with the place, the people, and the pace of life. But as life goes, it was time to return to the midwest. Since arriving in Union in February of 2021, it has been a whirlwind of excitement getting to know the beloved Zion congregation as my wife and I prepare for our first child. I look forward to settling down, getting to know the congregation and the community, as I discover how my calling will unfold here.




Connie Thompson - Administrative Assistant

 Connie has served as Zion's Administrative Assistant since 1980.  She is married to Daniel and they have two daughters, Amy and her husband Michael Eads who live in St. Clair and Jill who lives in Union.  Connie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, enjoys reading and watching her favorite baseball team...the St. Louis Cardinals!





alysha pic

Alysha Petry - Minister to Youth and Families

Alysha joined the Zion staff in 2009 as the Coordinator of Christian Education. In 2012 her position was expanded and redefined as the Minister to Youth & Families. When she is not playing or planning with her Zion family, she enjoys time with her two kids, Reed and Julia, and her husband Jeff. Jeff and Alysha spend their spare time kicking it with their favorite hobby, tae kwon do.


Mandy Frick - Coordinator of Elementary Youth

Mandy has been our Coordinator of Elementary Youth since Fall 2013. When she is not writing or looking for fun Faith Quest lessons she is spending time with her family and friends. She is married to Jason and they have two children, Ashley and Lucas.






KarenHeadShots-6 websize Dr. Karen Stafford - Music Director

 A native of Morrison, MO, Karen has been a member of Zion for   over  30 years and has been our Music Director since Fall of 2019.   That was quite a year for her, because she also retired from   Washington School District as a music teacher and earned her   Ph.D.  In addition to being Music Director, she is also an adjunct for   Central Methodist University and a student teacher supervisor for   Missouri State University. Karen enjoys swimming (and is very   proud of her lessons and the fact that she can finally swim   underwater!) and yoga, and is a novice crocheter. She is involved with Neighbors United Undoing Racism in Franklin County and the Four Rivers Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Karen is married to Gary and has two daughters: Liz Pace and Sarah Buscher.



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