Church Staff


Rev Ken Burgard has served in the United Methodist Church for 22 years, first as a youth minister, and then as an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is married with three kids (one in College, one in Jr. High, and one in middle school). He completed his Masters in Divinity from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and his B.S. in Zoology (pre-med) from Eastern Illinois University.  He also serves on the faculty of the Illinois Great Rivers License to Preach school as the bible and teaching instructor.

He is a student of the Wesleyan tradition of faith, which means that all lessons are taught with a practical bent. Christianity is a faith to be lived out (not just taught and considered). In his work with the denomination, he has served on the Board of Church and Society, and the Board of Ordained Ministry at both the district and conference levels.

He has had the opportunity to visit mission fields in Africa, Indonesia, and a Dakota Sioux reservation. He has lead mission work in the Appalachian Mountains, and been active in fundraising for projects in Liberia, and with the United Methodist program Imagine No Malaria.

Most of his free time is family time, but he enjoys a good hike, loves a good board game, and appreciates a good story (be it film or song or book). His library is open to all church members, and he is always happy to recommend a book or a resource.

Contact Pastor Ken via email at: or by calling the church office at 309-378-2651

Youth Minister

Kyle Boward has been with Downs UMC serving in some capacity since 2015.  He grew up in the Tri-Valley community, and attended youth group at Downs UMC.  He has fond memories of establishing his faith here, learning from some of his current volunteers!  Kyle began his ministry journey by volunteering for the children’s ministry back in the spring of 2015, where he eventually accepted an internship to help plan events and design programs for the church in the summer.

His favorite thing about being part of Downs UMC and this community is being able to help grow and mold young minds.  His greatest victory is hearing a member of the youth group share their faith story and loves helping make sure they have a positive church experience.  His favorite events so far at Downs UMC have been leading the Timber-Lee Ministry, something that changed his life as a high school student, and trying a new Junior High Retreat to Southern IL, to celebrate the end of the year with those students.

Kyle has a degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism Management from the University of Illinois, and spends much of his free time engrossed in the sports world.  His hobbies include attending every possible sporting event from amateur to professional leagues (he is an avid Cardinals fan and makes a point of seeing 5-10 games a year).  Kyle also tries to stay connected to sports by participating, he currently plays in the McLean County Men’s Baseball League and the McLean County Prairie Chickens Vintage Base Ball Team.

Office Administrator

Janice Cuba has been the Administrative Assistant since October 2005.  She is married and has 3 grown children, and 4 grandchildren.  Janice has a Bachelor Degree in Administrative Office Management from Western Illinois University.

Janice has been a member of the Downs UMC since 1984 and has served as Nurture Chair, Ad Board Chair, Treasurer, Youth Choir Pianist, Youth Puppet Ministry Coordinator, Worship pianist/organist, UMW Treasurer, VBS Coordinator and Choir Director.  She loves the Church Family and watching others grow in their faith and stepping out to do more for the mission of Downs UMC of Making Disciples of Jesus Christ.

In her free time, she enjoys being with family, reading, crocheting/knitting, enjoying quiet time and riding 4-wheelers in their timber property.

Choir Director

Janice Cuba has served as choir director since the Fall of 2000.  Her music training comes from piano and organ lessons along with music class in High School.  It was a real step out of her comfort zone when she took on the directing.  Prior to that time she had been a member of the choir and enjoyed singing with a fun-loving group.  The choir has done numerous cantatas, and pre-COVID you would hear the choir on the 1st Sunday of the month.

None of the choir music could be done without our fantastic accompanists, and church members willing to take an hour each week to practice.  Choir has a great time fellow-shipping, and praising God through their music.  Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.  The one thing we know we will do in Heaven is sing, so everyone is welcomed to get some practice in!


Content coming soon!