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Pastor's Message


Grace and peace be with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, our strength and our hope!


Welcome to Ypsilanti First UMC! I am so grateful that you’ve found us.  I hope that you will be as blessed by the acceptance and ministries of this congregation as I have been! I believe – I know – that God is already at work in your heart and in your life.  I would love to join you on your journey of growing in love and grace.


Officially, I am the Rev. Briony Desotell, but I usually go by “Pastor Bri.” I grew up in Menominee, up in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Both of my parents were public school teachers.  They instilled in me not only a faith foundation but also a life-long love of learning. I studied psychology and religion at Hope College.  I received my Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School.  I received a Master of the Arts in Spiritual Formation and Evangelism from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.


I have been in full-time ministry since 2006.  I have served as lead pastor at Ypsilanti First UMC since July 2014. My passion for ministry is preaching and teaching. I love leading the people of God in worship.  I am delighted to help others dig deeper into the scriptures and hear the old, old stories in a new way, to discover God’s message for us today.


I am also, in good Methodist tradition, a very “practical theologian.” I like to ask: how does what we believe matter to how we live? how does it matter, when the rubber hits the road? I absolutely believe how we think, how we pray, and how we worship shapes how we live throughout the week, as we do our best to love God and love our neighbors more and more each day.


I love being in ministry at Ypsilanti First.  The members of this congregation are incredibly accepting, generous and mission-minded people. We are a church that is genuinely committed to being God’s hands and feet, to showing God’s love, not just among ourselves but in our larger community and the world. (To catch just a glimpse of that love in action, check out our Outreach Ministries!).


My husband, Rev. Mike Desotell, is also a United Methodist pastor serving in the Ypsilanti area. We have two daughters – five and one! In addition to keeping us on our toes, they challenge us to keep reshaping our own images and understanding of God’s patient, generous, grace-filled love. We are also the parents of a strong and courageous little boy who, through his battle with leukemia, taught us what courage really looks like. Our Carl loved generously, he forgave easily, and he did not let the pain or the fear steal his joy or his laughter. Although he passed away at just nineteen months, his life made a lasting impact – and his ministry touched many more people than I could ever hope to reach! We do our best, in our family and in our faith, to honor Carl by choosing to love, choosing to laugh, and choosing to hope, always. Love really is stronger than death; thanks be to God that death is not the end of us. Love always wins.


Now you know a bit about me – I’d love to get to know you! Won’t you consider joining us for a Sunday worship service or a special event? You are also welcome to call the church and set up a time to meet!


The Lord bless and keep you, and give you peace.

Pastor's Office Hours -

Tuesday & Thursday,      

10 am to noon.


Or call office for appointment,


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209 Washtenaw Avenue

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

​Telephone: ​734-482-8374

Email: fumcypsi@fumcypsi.org