Our Staff


The Rev. Dr. Dennis Lipke was born in Durban, South Africa, and for over forty years he has served small, medium and large sized Methodist Churches on both sides of the equator. Included in this time were some great missionary opportunities, both full- time and short term. Dale and Dennis Lipke have been married for forty-three years and are partners on this incredible faith journey. With three married children: Charmaine, Caroline and Andrew, and their spouses: Edwin, Joseph and Myriah, they are the proud grandparents of five grandsons, two granddaughters – and one granddaughter on the way!

In 1987, God opened the way for them to come to the United States and in 1993, they became citizens of their beloved, adopted homeland. The Rev. Dr. Lipke served here at Ginter Park UMC as pastor from 1992 – 1997. He was our twenty-first pastor. Dennis retired from the Virginia Conference at the end of June, 2012. He never imagined that the unique opportunity would arise whereby he might return to Ginter Park UMC and minister among his friends again. He thanks you for this privilege!

Minister of Pastoral Care

The Rev. Dr. Natalia Shulgina was born in the USSR.  Raised in an atheistic family, she became Christian during her medical studies, upon meeting a team of United Methodist doctors on their mission trip to Russia. Several years later, she left her medical career to become a pastor.  Natalia is an ordained elder in the Russia United Methodist Church; prior to her coming to America, she served “Love and Salvation” UMC in Moscow.  She came to the U.S. in 2002, to study theology, with particular concentration in practical theology, pastoral care, and spiritual formation. Her teaching responsibilities extend back to Russia, to the Moscow Theological Seminary of the Russia UMC.

The Rev. Dr. Shulgina and her husband Mark Kunze have been visiting members of our congregation since 2010, when they relocated to Richmond.  In 2017, Natalia joined our staff as a minister of pastoral care.  In her work, she seeks to bring together her knowledge of different cultures, academic disciplines, and clinical experience to help people in need.  She sees her ministry as an opportunity to empower our entire congregation to become a “community of care”—a place where people support each other on their journey towards deeper healing and growth.