Meet Our Staff

Rev. Dr. MJ Romano, Pastor

MJ is excited to have served the First Pres family since 2004. Her passions in ministry are in worship leadership and family ministry, and she loves a good potluck (maybe too much!). Her husband Chris Ludwig teaches science at La Junta High School, and they have two children, Elly and Karl. MJ stays active in the community through the Ministerial Association, Associated Charities, Wake Up Breakfast Committee, Fire Department chaplaincy, plus various school activities with her children. She also teaches philosophy and ethics at Otero Junior College.

You can email her at

Dean Rees, Organist

Dean is the organist for the church and for many years was a music teacher at Washington Primary School in Rocky Ford. He is active in many musical events throughout the valley including Picketwire Players productions, Grand Theatre productions, and is the director for the OJC Student and Community Choir.

Gwynn Root, Secretary

Gwynn grew up in La Junta and recently just moved back with her 1 year old son. She enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Aricka Hulsey, Children's Ministry

Aricka has been a member of the church her entire life. She is a loving mother of one daughter along with her husband. They love the outdoors and family time.

Steve Elwood, Janitorial Engineer

Steve is originally from South Dakota and moved here with his wife Kristen. They love to serve the Lord and share his word.

David Mackey, AV Tech

Ministry Staff


(Pictured left to right) Chris Ludwig, Praise Band Leader; Jeanne Brittain, Missions Coordinator; Marilyn Chambers, Worship Arts Director

(Not Pictured) Kristin Bickel, Congregational Care Coordinator; Kathy Parker, Treasurer; Dottie Burnett, Bookkeeper; Elisabeth Chamber and Angel Saucedo, Youth Ministries Coordinator; Patti Aldea, Personnel Director. Our Ministry Staff works hard to spread their faith in many ways.