Paul Mitchell became Senior Pastor at Pioneer in July, 2021 – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously he has served United Methodist churches in Vashon, Riverton Park, Rainer Beach, Snoqualmie, Edmonds, and Los Angeles. Paul began life as a United Methodist preacher’s kid in South Dakota. He was an architect for 17 years in New York City and Los Angeles before responding to his vocation as a pastor. His Master of Divinity is from Claremont School of Theology, where he was awarded departmental honors in Biblical Studies as well as the Good Shepherd Preaching Award. He and Mary Eaves Mitchell met in college in Denmark and have been married since 1988. They have three adult children – Ian, Tegan, and Fay. Paul is a social justice contemplative, a science fiction fan, a CrossFitter, and loves to cook and sing.
Tanya Sorenson, M.Div., M.Ed.
Pastor Tanya earned her M. Div. at Seattle University, an ME in Teaching Mastery, and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration.
Tanya has served as a lay associate pastor, taught at several colleges, and has been instrumental in staff development in higher education over the years. More importantly, Tanya comes with optimism, enthusiasm, and drive to serve the church and community with your assistance.
Billie Fitzsimmons, C.L.M
Congregational Care Pastor
Billie’s role is to provide leadership, vision, relational and spiritual support to our congregation. Members and friends who are in care facilities, homebound or hospitalized are a focus of our nurturing, outreach, & witness.
She spent many years working in the healthcare field and enjoys supporting holistic care for the congregation. Intentional caring for one another is life-giving. The ministry of presence that we provide can lift a person spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. This strengthens their overall wellbeing and relationship with the church and with God. Billie is married to Doug and they have a daughter and two grandsons. Billie enjoys good coffee and friendship, bible study, reading and other simple
pleasures in life.
Music Director and Organist
Terri serves as Music Director and Organist. Her responsibilities include the planning and facilitating of all facets of the church music program. She considers it a privilege to have shared in ministry at Pioneer Church since 1986 when she and her family moved to Walla Walla from Honolulu.
When Terri is not in the midst of organizing music, you will find her planning amazing travel adventures with her choir-director husband Terry, enjoying their 4 awesome grandchildren, creating quilts and watching NASCAR.
Dr. Terry Koch
Terry, a Northwest transplant from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, is the Choir Director at Pioneer Church as well as at the College Place Village Seventh-day Adventist Church. At Village Church he directs the sanctuary choir, the handbell ensemble, and the children’s choir. He is also the assistant to the Artistic Director of the Walla Walla Choral Society.
Terry has degrees in Music Education and was a music teacher for 46 years at the pre-school through college levels, but primarily Kindergarten through Junior High. He received his doctorate in sacred music and has directed church music since he was 16 years old. Terry is married to his favorite accompanist, Pioneer’s Music Director, Terri Koch.
Laura Rose-Grabinski is a local musician and artist. She studied Business, Hospitality, & Tourism Management, Psychology, and Visual Communication. She works in Marketing, Graphic Design, Website Design, & social media.
She has two beautiful children (Liliana & Ethan). She is a passionate advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, notably serving as a Crisis Counselor for The Trevor Project, and works closely with several other nonprofit organizations. When she’s not working, you can find her knitting, sewing, crafting, and traveling.
As the new communications specialist/audio-video technician, she works with the worship team and pastors to connect our community through digital platforms including our worship live stream.
Kate Kroum is our office manager and bookkeeper. She joined our staff in 2021 and has been a great addition to our team! She is a dedicated member of our Godly Play team, and enjoys playing with her two wonderful daughters, Roslyn and Riley.