2017 Appointments

Appointments effective July 1, except where noted.

Sorted by Announced Date

Chandler Wolf Appointed McKeesport Associate

Announced: 05-21-2017

About Chandler D. Wolf
Chandler Wolf, currently pastor of Calvary UMC in McKeesport, will continue serving in that city as an associate on the new McKeesport Charge. Chandler earned his Master of Divinity degree at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1977. In his ministry, he has served in many urban settings. He has been Director of Programs for East End Cooperative Ministries, Director of Bethany House Ministries in Northview Heights and St. Clair Village public housing communities in Pittsburgh, and has served as a pastor for Church of our Savior in Northview Heights and at Henderson UMC in Erie.

Chandler also earned a Master of Public Administration at the University of Pittsburgh and retired in 2016 from the Allegheny County Dept. of Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. He previously has worked for the Pittsburgh Housing Authority as a contract/development manager. He and his wife Sheila have four adult children. 
About McKeesport Charge
With the blessing of our Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koi Koi, the Rev. William B. Meekins, Jr.  has been appointed as the lead pastor at the new McKeesport Charge. The charge will include Beulah Park, Calvary, Christy Park, First, Kephart, and Wesley UMCs. With Rev. Meekins experience and leadership, the Pastor Chandler Wolf will bring both pastoral and community ministry experience to the Charge. The six churches will explore together how best to engage in shared ministry and revitalization in the McKeesport area. Each of the churches has strengths on which to build as they face the challenges of reaching people in a once-bustling city seeking to rebound from economic losses brought on by the decline of the coal and steel industry.  This shared ministry is expected to not only strengthen the ministries of the churches working together, but also bring hope to the people of McKeesport as they build relationships and make disciples for Jesus. 

Ed Wagner To Serve Dunlo, Sidman, Beaverdale Charge

Announced: 05-21-2017

About Edward I. Wagner
Ed Wagner has served as a part-time licensed local pastor at the Johnstown: Homestead Avenue United Methodist Church since 2011. Prior to this appointment, Ed served at the Conemaugh: First UMC from 2003-2006.  Before he entered ministry, and between these two ministry appointments, Ed was an active lay person at the Oakland UMC in Johnstown. Ed has completed 15 classes in the Course of Study at the Methodist Theological Seminary of Ohio and looks forward to graduation in the near future!  
Ed has been married for 28 years to Sue, a licensed social worker employed at Conemaugh Hospice.  Ed and Sue have three children: Son Matthew and his wife Carrie live in Chicago; son Jonathan recently graduated from Grove City College, and daughter Julia is a sophomore at Westmont Hilltop High School in Johnstown.
Ed is stepping out in faith as he accepts this new appointment at the Dunlo, Sidman, Beaverdale Charge on the Johnstown District.  He is leaving his full-time secular work in the economic development field to assume the role as a full-time licensed local pastor.  God has been tugging at Ed’s heart for the past several years to enter full-time ministry, and trusting fully in God’s providence, Ed has said yes.  He is excited about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with new partners in ministry and seeing what God can do in the Dunlo, Sidman and Beaverdale communities!
 
About Dunlo, Sidman, Beaverdale Charge
These three small churches are located east of the city of Johnstown.  Dunlo and Sidman have been yoked as a charge for many years; Beaverdale joined the Charge in 2012.  All three churches are very active in the Forest Hills Ministerium and participate in the missions and ministry of this ecumenical cluster of churches.  Each of the churches on the charge strive to be engaged in ministry to make disciples for Jesus Christ.  Dunlo has hosted a Super Saturday ministry for many years, providing a monthly outreach to children in the community.  Sidman has an active youth ministry on Sunday evenings that aids in the faith development of teens.  Beaverdale has a weekly Tuesday evening ministry for community children and youth that includes a meal and faith-based activities.  The congregations on the charge look forward to a new phase of ministry as they welcome Ed Wagner as their appointed pastor!    
 

Rendulic Appointed to Heartland Crossroads

Announced: 05-21-2017

About Matthew Rendulic
Matthew J. Rendulic grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania in an independent Baptist Church, the son of faithful parents who recognized God’s call on his life at an early age. He attended Mercyhurst University in Erie, earning bachelor’s degrees in Religious Studies and Applied Music. He then went to Westminster Choir College in New Jersey and earned both a Master of Arts and a Master of Music degree. He then continued his education at Princeton, where he received a Ph.D. in Sacred Literature. Matt has experienced the faith through interest and participation in a number of Christian traditions and was ordained through the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ.  He has been a pastor, an independent church consultant and church musician.  He also holds a Pennsylvania Private Detective license and has worked for the Nordstrom retail company as a Financial Private Investigator. 
 Matt began to serve Heartland Crossroads as a musician and is ready now to move into a pastoral role, bringing him full circle to the call that God placed on his life as a child.
 
About Heartland Crossroads
The Heartland Crossroads Cooperative Parish is more than a multi-point charge!  It is a structure which allows the participant churches to maintain their own identity and history.   At the same time it enables them to join their best qualities together in the spirit of cooperation. Overseen by the senior pastor, Rev. Bob Klingler, the leadership team organizes all the congregations to make sure that meaningful ministry is accomplished. Each church contributes its own unique strengths to the group, and each church is served by a team of pastors and other leaders, who also contribute their unique giftedness to the whole parish.  Since originally organizing a number of years ago, each church is now stronger and more vital.
 
The original member congregations -- Conneautville: Valley, Franklin Center, Hickernell and Palmer -- will be joined this year by Albion: Calvary and Espyville. The pastoral team also will be expanded to include two part-time associate pastors. These churches at the “heartland” of our region recognize that they, and indeed all of us, are at a “crossroads” moment in our connection when creative use of resources and people can lead us into a more vital, vibrant season of life and ministry.

Robison Appointed to Greenville

Announced: 05-21-2017

About Theresa A. Robison
Theresa A. Robison, who currently serves the Espyville UMC in the Erie/Meadville District, will be appointed pastor of Greenville: First UMC, effective July 1st. Theresa is a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary/Early Childhood Education, and Ashland Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in Spiritual Formation. Theresa’s passion for ministry includes teaching others about the love of God, and giving them opportunity to learn to love God and others. In that way, they are reaching out in that love by becoming and making disciples and through outreach into the community.  In addition to the church she serves, she has worked full time as a Customer Service Agent for Amazon.com. 
 
About Greenville: First UMC
First UM Greenville is a congregation that worships in two services every Sunday, one contemporary and one traditional.  They reach out to their community through a Food Pantry, an associate pastor of visitation, an annual Trunk or Treat Fest and Vacation Bible School.  The congregation also holds men’s breakfasts.  The church has been on a charge with Greenville: Calvary, but now will have their own pastor while continuing share a visitation pastor, secretary and music director.
 

Wade To Serve Heartland Crossroads

Announced: 05-21-2017

About Gary Wade
Gary Wade grew up in the Albion area and attended Northwestern School District. He also attended Erie County Technical School and graduated in 1990. Following high school, he served our nation in the United States Marine Corps for four years.  After his honorable discharge from the Marines, he attended Pennsylvania College of Technology and graduated with an associate’s degree in Heavy Equipment Operations and Mechanics. He has worked for Sarvis Equipment and currently works at Elk Creek Township. Gary and his wife Brenda have been married for 16 years. They are the parents of two children, ages 12 and 15.
 
About Heartland Crossroads
The Heartland Crossroads Cooperative Parish is more than a multi-point charge!  It is a structure which allows the participant churches to maintain their own identity and history.   At the same time it enables them to join their best qualities together in the spirit of cooperation. Overseen by the senior pastor, Rev. Bob Klingler, the leadership team organizes all the congregations to make sure that meaningful ministry is accomplished. Each church contributes its own unique strengths to the group, and each church is served by a team of pastors and other leaders, who also contribute their unique giftedness to the whole parish.  Since originally organizing a number of years ago, each church is now stronger and more vital.

The original member congregations -- Conneautville: Valley, Franklin Center, Hickernell and Palmer -- will be joined this year by Albion: Calvary and Espyville. The pastoral team also will be expanded to include two part-time associate pastors. These churches at the “heartland” of our region recognize that they, and indeed all of us, are at a “crossroads” moment in our connection when creative use of resources and people can lead us into a more vital, vibrant season of life and ministry.
 

Barb Bailey to Serve Bentleyville UMC

Announced: 05-14-2017

About Barb Bailey
A native of Punxsutawney, Barb made a commitment to Christ to serve Him and His church at age 10.  Barb relocated to West Virginia with her husband Ron where she responded to God’s call on her life to enter into full-time Christian ministry.  Ordained as an Elder in the West Virginia Annual Conference in 1998, Barb served several churches until her retirement in 2013.  A graduate of Fairmont State University with a B.S. in Psychology, Barb earned her Master of Divinity in 1996 at Methodist Theological School in Ohio.  She also earned a Master of Mental Health Counseling in 2011 from Waynesburg University, where she taught Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to New Testament classes as an Adjunct Professor from 2011-2016.  Barb is a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and is assistant spiritual director at the West Virginia Institute of Spirituality. Barb looks forward to “returning to her first love – parish ministry.”  Her passions include worship and liturgy, pastoral care and counseling, and working with young people.  Looking forward, Barb’s hope is to share in ministry together with the congregation so that in and beyond the walls of the church, Christ may be known more deeply and personally in people's lives. 
 
About Bentleyville United Methodist Church
Located just off I-70 in Washington County, Bentleyville United Methodist Church’s desire is to “make Christ visible” through its witness of outreaching love while equipping the congregation for ministry.  The friendly congregation at Bentleyville is known in the community for its food ministries to persons in need and Sunday morning worship that is Christ-centered and lay-led. The warmth and personality of the congregation makes everyone feel welcome and at home.  The church has an active United Methodist Men’s group and United Methodist Women’s group, weekly Bible studies, and summer Vacation Bible school. The congregation at Bentleyville also knows how to have fun together and laugh.  Guests find it a joy simply to be there.  The church’s hope for the future is to welcome new members while continuing to grow spiritually.  As a congregation, members look ahead with anticipation to what God will accomplish in them and through them as they work collaboratively to share Christ with the world. 

Bud Davis Appointed to Redbank Valley UM Ministry

Announced: 05-14-2017

About Derwood (Bud) Davis
Bud has been part of the Redbank Valley United Methodist Ministry (RVUMM) since its inception in 2008.  When this ministry was formed he was a member of the First United Methodist Church in New Bethlehem PA.  While part of the RVUMM, Bud became a Lay Speaker in 2010 and in 2014 he was called into ministry.  Bud is currently serving two of the seven churches within the RVUMM: New Salem and Putneyville United Methodist churches and will now be senior pastor.

Bud has a strong faith and a loving heart for Jesus Christ.  Bud believes that, along with God’s power and grace, his work ethic, dependability, and commitment to spreading the Gospel of Christ has served him well in his ministry.  Bud believes in the power of prayer and the thing that lifts him up and revives him the most is the blessing he receives when he visits someone who is homebound or hospitalized.  He says “When I visit with someone and pray with them I always leave feeling good and rejuvenated.  That’s what I believe ministry is about”.    
About Redbank Valley UM Ministry
Redbank Valley Ministry is made up of seven United Methodist churches: New Bethlehem First, Fairmont City, Leasure Run, Hawthorn Calvary, Oak Ridge, New Salem and Putneyville.  These churches collectively have over 220 people in worship on a Sunday. They will be served by a full-time pastor and a part-time pastor, with lay speakers assisting in leading worship.  These churches in the valley and hills around New Bethlehem and the Redbank Creek serve their communities well through worship, Sunday School, Bible Study, a Food Bank, a Coffee House and Vacation Bible School.  They reach out in local missions and travel to Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg and even New York City to feed the hungry and do mission work. 


 

Foos Appointed to Pleasant Unity

Announced: 05-14-2017

About Kimberly L. Foos
Kim Foos is a lifelong member of Arona United Methodist Church in the Greensburg District. Serving the Lord has always been her dream job, and she is excited to begin this journey. Kim is currently a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and has just completed Licensed Local Pastor training. Her husband Steve and her children, Abby, 7, and Alex, 8, along with her extended family, form an amazing support system. Kim spent several years working as a church secretary, and she is ready to combine that behind-the-scenes knowledge with what she has learned so far in seminary. Kim loves sharing the Word of God with others. 
 
About Pleasant Unity UMC
Located at the intersection of Pa Routes 130 and 981 in the rural community of Pleasant Unity, the church members pray and care for one another as family. The congregation is strong with people of all ages worshipping, praying and working together in ministry. The people love singing. They reach out to the community with the light of Jesus Christ to spread the word and make disciples for our Lord. 

Jennifer Craig Appointed to West Springfield/Cranesville

Announced: 05-14-2017

About Jennifer J. Craig
Jennifer J. Craig was born and raised in Clifton, NJ, minutes away from Manhattan.  She attended Mount Aloysius College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.  She and her husband Todd have five children, three sons and two daughters ranging in age from 11-22.  Jennifer has a wide variety of interests and talents.  She is a gifted writer and has worked in a hospice program as a bereavement counselor and director of volunteer activities.  She even drives a school bus! She is full of energy and enthusiasm.  Jennifer believes strongly in unity among Christians. Jennifer currently serves as the associate pastor of the Glasgow Larger Parish in the Johnstown District.

 
About West Springfield/Cranesville Charge
West Springfield and Cranesville United Methodist churches are on the northern tier of the Erie-Meadville District, minutes from the southern shore of Lake Erie. The congregations have worked together on a two-point charge for many years.
 
West Springfield traces its history to 1800 when a circuit rider from Ohio was invited to come to the new settlement and preach there.  It is the “mother church” of the original Erie Circuit. The first church, built of round logs and covered with clapboard, was the first church building in the territory of the Erie Conference. Today West Springfield is a caring congregation, dedicated to the community in which they live and looking forward to the future guided by the Holy Spirit.
 
Cranesville UMC traces its history to 1835 when Methodist Societies in Cranesville and Wellsburg joined forces to create a strong congregation.The building has seen a great number of modifications through the years, many of them done by the church members themselves! Cranesville Church is a warm and loving group of people who love their church and envision a bright future.  They are dedicated to missions and work to spread the love of God in Christ to everyone!
 

Kurt June Appointed as Ebensburg Associate

Announced: 05-14-2017

About Kurtis June
Kurtis June will be appointed to Ebensburg United Methodist Church as an associate pastor.  Kurtis was born in Corpus Christi, TX, raised in Hudson, NY, and moved to Pennsylvania in 1992. He is a recent graduate of licensing school and plans to continue his theological education and training while serving in this new role at Ebensburg UMC. 
 
Kurtis will conduct the bulk of his ministry at Doe Valley OHV, an EUMC satellite campus, in Cairnbrook, PA.  Over the past few years Kurtis has been leading people to Christ through his example and teaching in the Doe Valley community. 
About Ebensburg UMC -- Doe Valley OHV Campus
Doe Valley OHV is a campground for campers operating off-road vehicles, primarily Jeeps.  Ebensburg UMC's campus there is a unique ministry, a new and exciting way to reach new people in new places in Western Pennsylvania.  Kurtis has recently been named the chaplain for the campground, which has never had an official chaplain in its history.  Kurtis will join the EUMC ministry team of the Rev. J.R. Virgin and the Rev. Matthew Scott at Ebensburg UMC. 

Les Hutchins to Serve Latrobe Bethany UMC

Announced: 05-14-2017

About Leslie A. Hutchins Jr.
Rev. Les Hutchins Jr. has been appointed pastor at Bethany UMC, effective July 1, 2017. Les has been the senior pastor of the three-point Fishertown Charge in the Johnstown district since 2013. Ordained an elder in 2014, he is dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Les and his wife Delores have been married 26 years and are natives of Washington Pa., where family members still reside. Les served as a staff member at John Wesley UMC, was licensed to preach in 2006 and served Speers and Dunlevy UMCs while attending California University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He served as senior pastor of the Faithful Followers Charge on the Indiana District while attending United Theological Seminary, where his concentration was church renewal. Les is the Western PA Conference Secretary of Global Ministries, serves on the Commission on Religion and Race, and is a section leader at Annual Conference. He has a passion to empower and equip the people of the church to share the love of Jesus Christ and carry out the great commission in the local community and the world. Les is humbled by his new appointment and looks forward with great excitement and enthusiasm to serve the Bethany UMC and Latrobe community in new and challenging ways.
 
About Latrobe Bethany UMC
Bethany UMC has dedicated 114 years to serving Jesus Christ and helping others to know Him. In 1903, the church was planted in the south side of Latrobe, Pa., as a part of the United Brethren denomination. The church continued to serve as an Evangelical United Brethren congregation, and, since 1968, as United Methodist.

Bethany embraces the commission set forth in Corinthians 1:27-31, “You are the body of Christ and each one of you are a part of it.” The church spreads the love and teachings of Jesus Christ outside the walls through an active Community Connection team, which hosts block parties, Christmas caroling, and “Into the Fields” disciple training. Bethany’s people serve and support mission teams and numerous outreach programs which help local and world initiatives. Bethany Church has an active “After School Club” ministry, and Vacation Bible School. It offers Bible-based teachings through Sunday school classes for all ages, Bible study offerings and small group studies. Music has always been at the heart and foundation of the church, and worship services offer a blend of traditional hymns and contemporary pieces. The church cares and ministers to one another through prayer teams and a Care Team ministry. 
 

Meier To Serve New Alexandria UMC

Announced: 05-14-2017

About Beth A Meier
Beth A. Meier will be appointed to the New Alexandria UMC in addition to Saltsburg First UMC, where she currently serves. Beth experienced the call of God on her life while in her teens. While earning her bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies at Grove City College, she received the call to be a pastor. Female pastors were not yet well received, so she was discouraged in pursuing ministry. She followed various paths in life, but none fulfilled that longing deep inside. A few years ago, she heard God’s voice once again and obeyed. Beth became a Licensed Local Pastor in 2015, and was assigned to Saltsburg First United Methodist Church in November 2015. She is currently enrolled full-time at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Beth has three wonderful children and three amazing grandsons. She loves serving God as a pastor and knows she is where God would have her to be. Preaching, teaching and caring for her church family are her gifts in ministry.
 
About New Alexandria UMC
The United Methodist Church of New Alexandria was formally established in 1876 and has been an integral part of the Christian community working together to make disciples for Jesus Christ.  The church is very mission-minded and is dedicated to supporting community needs and outreach programs.  Over the years, they have maintained a strong focus on ministering to children, with weekly Sunday School and community Bible School and church camp ministries.  The congregation includes gifted musicians who share their talents through special music and community choir performances.  The church is also known for its annual peach festival held by the women each summer.  Then central theme promoted by church parishioners is to love one another, promote happiness, and welcome everyone to share in the good news of the gospel.
 

Alsdorf To Serve Diamond Evangelical

Announced: 05-07-2017

About Jerome A. Alsdorf
Jerome A. Alsdorf was born and raised on a dairy farm in Northwestern Pa. He and his wife Lisa are parents of two daughters, ages 4 and 1. He has been working in ministry at Titusville First UMC for the past 10 years, serving as a youth and contemporary worship leader.  Jerome enjoys hunting, fishing, music and being with his family.  His appointment at Diamond Evangelical UMC will allow him to continue his work at Titusville First, where imets well loved and appreciated.
 
About Diamond Evangelical UMC
Diamond Evangelical UMC was founded in 1859 as part of the United Brethren tradition, meeting first in a schoolhouse until 1868 when the church building was constructed.  A significant renovation and expansion was completed in 1954 and another in 1979.

Diamond Evangelical is a giving church; when a call goes out for a need, the people respond quickly to see that it is fulfilled. The church is filled with dedicated people who work hard to be the Body of Christ.
 
The congregation looks forward to working together on a new vision with new direction and guidance. They enjoy fellowship and find great meaning in mission involvement. Their choral music program is strong. Each year they sponsor cantatas at Easter and Christmas. Those special programs reach many in the community.
 

Lawler Appointed to Nebo/Fairview Charge

Announced: 05-07-2017

About William Lawler
Shaped by his family and the local church all his life, Bill was told at a young age he would someday “grow up to be a minister.”  At 14, he committed his life to Christ and, at 15, as part of the church’s “Youth Sunday," preached his first sermon. Like many, Bill spent much of his life doing other things all the while resisting God’s call on his life until now.  Describing his call to serve the church as a pastor, Bill describes it this way, “I’ve been boxing with God for a long time. I know now I’m not going to win.”  Bill is a Certified Lay Speaker and presently serves as an unpaid chaplain for an area senior care center.  Previously, Bill was a worship leader and speaker at an assisted living facility while also serving as worship leader and speaker at a truck stop ministry in the Washington District. Bill’s passion for ministry extends to dramatic presentations of the Gospel and serving on the church’s Staff Parish Relations Committee.  Bill is asked often to speak at churches on both the Washington District and neighboring Districts. When he’s not serving the local church, Bill also gives himself to working with the Washington County Special Olympics, serving at Jumonville as a Discovery Camp leader and coaching girls basketball.  Bill is married to Karin, who he describes “as my best friend.”  Together they have two children, daughter Charlie, 9, and son, Lehman, 5.  Bill is in the beginning stages of the candidacy process and looks forward to attending the June Orientation to MInistry event at Annual Conference this summer.
 
About Nebo/Fairview Charge
Nebo and Fairview United Methodist churches are set in some of the most beautiful parts of Greene County on the Washington District.  Self-described as “very rural and five miles from the nearest gas station or grocery store," week in and week out the Charge seeks to bring God’s light and love to the world and take God’s Word into the communities they serve and beyond.  Committed to welcoming and serving others so that Jesus’ outreaching love and compassion may be made known through their witness, the churches look to a future that will find them reaching more people with the Good News of Jesus.  Known especially for their outreach, the strength of their prayers and the ways in which the congregations offer hope to those who are hurting and a “safe haven” in the midst of life’s storms, both congregations are devoted to serving Christ, following wherever He leads and being like Him in every way. 

Butterfield Appointed to West Middlesex

Announced: 04-30-2017

About Earl Butterfield
Pastor Earl has been in the ministry for nine years. He has been appointed to the Dunlo and Sidman churches from 2008 to the present, and in 2012 the Beaverdale church was added to the charge. Earl believes that he was called into ministry to make disciples for Jesus Christ and uses Matthew 28:18-20, The Great Commission, as the basis of his ministry.  He is very involved in the churches he serves through worship, Bible School, Bible Studies and youth group. Earl serves on the Johnstown District Committee on Ministry. He is the chairperson for the fellowship of Licensed Local Pastors and Associate Members and by virtue of this office serves on the Conference Board of Ministry. In his current community, Earl is the Fire Chief of the Dunlo Volunteer Fire Department and is also a member of the Board at Arbutus Park Manor.  He and his wife Beth have two grown children, four grandchildren and one great granddaughter who is the apple of their eye.  
 
About West Middlesex UMC
West Middlesex UMC worships an average of 65 persons on a Sunday. The church has a strong music ministry with a choir directed by a college professor and accompanied by an accomplished pianist. The congregation also sings contemporary praise songs during weekly worship.This congregation sits in the center of town and is a vital part of the community. The people are active in the Shenango Cluster of UM Churches and also join with other churches in their town for VBS and other projects.
 

Penny Helmbold Appointed to Enterprise UMC

Announced: 04-30-2017

About Penny S. Helmbold
Penny S. Helmbold came to know Christ at age 5 and has been active in the life of the church in a multitude of ways ever since. Penny is the mother of four, ranging in age from 17-24.  She is also the grandmother of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old.  She holds an Associate of Arts degree in human services from the University of Pittsburgh.  She volunteers with “Love in the Name of Christ” in Titusville and participates in the programs of several other churches and organizations.
 
About Enterprise United Methodist Church
Enterprise Church traces its roots back to 1862, when a pastor serving nearby realized that the Village of Enterprise lacked worship services.  The building has been in continuous use since construction in 1870. The congregation is vibrant and growing.  They are deeply involved in the community, supporting several missions and ministries of outreach, including a soup kitchen, Wesley Woods, Love Inc., a local retirement home, a community VBS and several others.  The people learn and grow through an active Sunday School and ongoing Bible Study.
 

Armstrong appointed to McKeesport Charge

Announced: 04-23-2017

About Pamela S. Armstrong
The Rev. Pamela S. Armstrong, currently pastor of New Hope UMC in Pittsburgh District, is a second career clergywoman.  She has served New Hope for six years while simultaneously serving at Light of Life Rescue Mission for five of those years and East End Cooperative Ministry for two years.  Pamela has a heart for those who are marginalized and hurting and has worked extensively with those experiencing poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental illness. 
Born in Kittanning, Pamela grew up in a military family, living in several states and in Germany.  She returned to Western PA to attend college and worked in the veterinary field for the next 28 years.  Exposed to the United Methodist church and to mission work by the veterinarian with whom she worked, she joined Ingomar UMC and began travelling to Kenya during summers to use her medical training for medical missions.
In 2004, Pamela earned a Youth Ministry/Community Ministry Degree from Geneva College and continued her education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, graduating in 2009 with an M.Div. and Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry.
During seminary, Pamela worked with then WPAUMC Mission/Volunteers in Mission Coordinator Diane Miller for two years as one of her field education requirements. She participated in a Conference mission trip to Paraguay and the Cooperative School of Christian Mission (now Mission U).  Pamela launched the Mission U program for middle school youth and served 6 years as Dean of the Youth Mission U. She has been a study leader for both the adult and youth schools and has led workshops on poverty at churches in the Western PA area.  She also is a certified Circles/Bridges Out of Poverty trainer and has served on the Conference Poverty Team.
Pamela has been blessed to have led mission trips with teens, homeless individuals, and members of New Hope UMC to various countries in Europe, Haiti, and Costa Rica.  She served on the Mission Board at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary  for three years) and been a member of the Advisory Committee for Rainbow Christian Missions for 2 years.
Pamela’s certifications in Formational Prayer/Healing and in Addiction Counseling have been well-used in the healing ministry at New Hope UMC.  Following a period of discernment, New Hope UMC has identified their calling to the community and has partnered in ministry with the Salvation Army and other churches. 
Pamela is the proud parent of three married children -- Philip, Jonathan  Erica -- and has three  grandchildren (Isabella, Lorelei, Stella).  Her youngest child is about to complete her first year in college.  She enjoys gardening, art, animals, youth, learning, travel, entertaining close friends and creating new ministries/programs.  

 
About McKeesport Charge
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoit has appointed the Rev. William B. Meekins, Jr, as the lead pastor at a new McKeesport Charge that will include Beulah Park, Calvary, Christy Park, First, Kephart, and Wesley UMCs.  With William’s experience and leadership, the Rev. Pamela S. Armstrong will add her knowledge of community engagement and mission work to the Charge.  The hope is that the six churches will explore together how best to engage in shared ministry and revitalization in the McKeesport area. Each of the churches has strengths on which to build as together they join the people of McKeesport in facing the challenges of revitalizing a community that grew around the steel and coal industry. We expect that this shared ministry will not only strengthen all of the churches working together to make disciples for Jesus, but also will benefit the community and people of McKeesport.
 

Belknap Appointed to Little Cooley, Teepleville

Announced: 04-23-2017

About Denny R. Belknap Sr.
Denny is a lifelong resident of the Erie area. He graduated from McDowell High School, attended Case-Western Reserve University for Architectural Engineering and served in the U.S. Army before purchasing a construction business from his father in 1975. He operated the company until his retirement in 2006 and did additional study at the Behrend College of Penn State University.
 
Denny has been active at Erie Lakewood UMC as chair of the Trustees, Lay Leader and as a member of several other committees.  He answered a call to ministry first as a Certified Lay Minister, then as a Local Pastor.  He received training to serve as an intentional interim and has served as interim pastor for 12 churches in the Erie-Meadville District.  Most recently he has served as associate pastor of Heartland Crossroad Ministry, a cooperative parish in which four churches participate.

 
Denny has been active in district leadership roles, serving as chair of the district Board of Trustees and Committee on Buildings and Location and as member of the Board of Directors of the Erie United Methodist Alliance.  He is also vice-chair of the district corporation board. He and his wife Rae Lynn have three sons and five grandchildren,
About Little Cooley and Teepleville UMCs
The Little Cooley and Teepleville churches are set in rolling hills and farmlands northeast of Meadville in the Erie-Meadville District. 
 
Little Cooley UMC traces its roots back to the Evangelical United Brethren tradition, being organized in 1860. The congregation built the church they still occupy in 1867; it has been in continuous service ever since. Members of the church find meaning in helping those in need and enjoy a stellar reputation in the community as caring, loving people. They participate in “Release Time,” so that public school children can receive a spiritual education. They also support the ministries of the Wesbury United Methodist Community for senior citizens.
 
Teepleville Church was organized in 1877 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and met in a school house until the church building was completed in 1882 for a cost of $1,800!  It has been in continuous use ever since. The congregation joins with other Christians in the community to provide “Camp Venango for Jesus,” a wide-ranging summer educational opportunity for the young people of the area. The members of the congregation are dedicated to their savior and to their church!
 

Lola Turnbull Appointed to East Brady/Sligo

Announced: 04-23-2017

About
Lola, currently pastor of the Benezette Charge in Kane District, is gifted in teaching. She loves to see God’s transformation in people as they study God’s Word together. She has a strong pastoral bent and celebrates the good things the church has done/is doing. Lola believes it is important to project a sense of success, vision, and hope in the church today. Her goal is to help people follow Christ and to swell the size of heaven. She believes more can be accomplished together than apart. In preaching and worship leadership, she enjoys digging into our history and resurrecting old-time traditions. She looks for fresh ways to help people see Christ. In addition to the Benezette Charge, which includes Weedville, Caledonia, Benezette, Sterling Run and Sinnemahoning, Lola's has served as pastor at Fifth Avenue UMC in New Brighton; King’s Chapel, New Castle; Christy Park, McKeesport and Bell Chapel, Buena Vista; Crafton; Clintonville Grace, Peters Chapel and Rankin Chapel. 
 
About East Brady and Sligo UMCs
Both of these churches sit in small towns and reach out to their communities. The Sligo church houses a day care center and the East Brady church provides a Bible Study in a senior high-rise across the street.  Together the churches see 87 people in worship on a Sunday.  They praise God and live out their faith through a food pantry in East Brady and VBS at Sligo, as well as many other ways.  These are friendly churches with good people who love the Lord and desire to share the love of Jesus 

Luke Whipple Appointed to Bakerstown

Announced: 04-23-2017

About Luke Whipple
Luke A. Whipple has been appointed as a full-time associate pastor at Bakerstown UMC, where he has served since 2015 as a part-time local pastor, most recently as Youth Ministry Director.  Luke gratefully acknowledges God’s providential hand, especially in the past year, as he completed seminary and he and wife Rachel welcomed their first child, a daughter. He centers his life in prayer and lives into his call to ministry by pointing others to God for rest, healing, assurance, purpose and fulfillment of life in a weary, broken, and skeptical world.  His theological perspective is evangelical and charismatic.  Teaching, worship planning and leading, healing ministry, and preaching are Luke’s gifts.  His visioning and well-developed organizational skills have led to a creative and growing youth ministry, an effective multi-media ministry, and a contemporary worship team that fashions worship experiences to fit the tenor and mood of the liturgical year.  Luke’s leadership style embraces collaboration and peacemaking.  He partners with other UMC pastors to support ministries with the poor and youth. He is committed to developing, training, and empowering laity to be discipleship-makers. He enjoys leading Bible studies with youth, young adults, and young parents and seeks to build affirming relationships with and among parishioners following the classic Wesleyan model for church community.  Luke eagerly looks forward to continuing his ministry with and among the congregation and as a partner in ministry with his wife who is Bakerstown’s children’s ministry director. 
 
About Bakerstown UMC
Bakerstown UMC has a 150-year tradition and presence in Gibsonia and surrounding suburban communities. It is a welcoming, age-diverse, forward-moving congregation seeking to learn, understand, and grow in faith and discipleship with a strong vision of community and world outreach. Traditional and blended worship experiences are enhanced by a strong music ministry of traditional and bell choirs and a praise band, as well as state of the art sound and visual equipment. Its Chapel in the Woods, dedicated to a 12-year-old girl, is an inviting place to spend quiet time, reflect on one’s relationship with God, celebrate baptisms and weddings, and have Bible study and other small group gatherings and discussions. Bakerstown has vital, growing children’s and youth ministries, creative theme-specific preschool and kindergarten summer camps, a separate Vacation Bible School, and extensive pre-school and pre-kindergarten programs that meet state standards for early childhood education. Spiritual formation, discipleship, and nurture ministries for people of all ages are available through Sunday school and small adult groups. This year the congregation will celebrate paying off the 2001 mortgage on its large, open, and inviting sanctuary.
 

Alice McClymonds to Serve Mt. Hope/Pine Grove

Announced: 04-16-2017

About Alice McClymonds
Alice M. McClymonds has been appointed to serve the Mt. Hope and Pine Grove UM Charge starting July 1, 2017.  Alice has been retired for the past two years, but has decided to once again serve God as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Her husband Seth is retired from the trucking business. They will continue to live in their home near Saegertown, Pa. Seth and Alice are blessed with four children and 16 grandchildren. (Their son Seth is pastor of First UMC in Bradford.)  Alice has served under appointment at Enterprise UMC, Shermansville UMC, Mumford Chapel UMC, Faith Geneva UMC, and Mt. Hope and Pine Grove Charge.  
 
About Mt. Hope/Pine Grove Charge
Mt. Hope and Pine Grove are two small rural churches near Meadville, Pa.  The congregations have a deep love for God and desire to reach out to their respective communities.  They both have an active UMW group that cares for others and ministers to the needy.  VBS is an important outreach program for all the children in their surrounding areas.  Mt. Hope offers a luncheon once a month where they receive an offering to support their mission outreach.
 

Mikell Named Assistant to the Bishop

Announced: 04-11-2017

About D. Renee Mikell
The Rev. Dr. Renee Mikell, currently pastor of West View UMC in Pittsburgh District, is second career clergy, having served in the Western Pennsylvania Conference for the past nine years. She is dedicated to lifelong learning and has sought to strengthen the local church through outreach, preaching, discipleship practices, spiritual growth, and fostering an inclusive awareness of God’s Kingdom at work among all people. Renee began as senior pastor at Albright UMC in 2008 while attending seminary. She has served congregations in Pittsburgh, Butler and Greensburg districts, has participated on Conference  committees and is also a member of the Alumni Council at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

While attending seminary in Atlanta, GA, she was student chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital. Renee has previously offered lay leadership for churches in Atlanta, serving as Sunday school teacher for children, planning and participating in outreach, working with teenage youth and seniors. From 1998 to 2004, she served as Transition Team Leader for the North Georgia Conference initiative to form an intentionally multi-cultural congregation. 
She served as a communications coordinator for a district UMW and received Special Mission Recognition Award from the General Board of Global Ministries.  As an elected lay leader, Renee traveled once to Port Harcourt, Nigeria where she served along with her pastor as member of a teaching and revival ministry team. She also initiated and led a daily Bible study ministry with homeless people at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.

A native of Western PA, Renee studied information science and spent 16 years pursuing a secular career. She worked as a business analyst and in business system development for Time-Warner, Turner Broadcasting; and in supervisory roles in application support analysis and automated scheduling. While in seminary in Atlanta and after returning home to complete her seminary education, she worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Transportation Security Officer.  She is a 2010 graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary (2016) in Washington, D.C.  She also attended Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA after earning a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in the areas of Religion and Sociology. Her overseas travel has included trips to: Jamaica, Nigeria, Cairo, England, and most recently Zimbabwe for a six week cultural immersion project.

Renee enjoys bowling, music, reading, cooking, and travel.  As a pastor, preacher, teacher and mentor she finds joy when God allows her to witness spiritual growth and transformation in the lives of others. She also considers it an honor to participate. Renee is proud parent of two young adult sons Keenon and Kenneth.
 
About Assistant to Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi
The assistant to the Bishop handles administrative matters, sits on the Coordinating Cabinet, represents the Bishop on boards and at events when needed, and carries out many other ministry duties as assigned. 

Jodie Smith Named Franklin District Superintendent

Announced: 04-10-2017

About Jodie Smith
Jodie Smith has been appointed to serve as the Franklin District Superintendent as of July 1, 2017. Jodie, a native of New Castle, has been the senior pastor of the Redbank Valley United Methodist Ministry, a seven-church co-operative ministry in the New Bethlehem area of the Franklin District, since the co-op was formed in 2008. Jodie was instrumental in getting the churches to work together in planning, and sharing pastors in worship and leadership. The co-op under Jodie's leadership has lifted up and sent forth several people who now serve as local pastors in other churches.  Before her appointment to Redbank Valley, Jodie served White Chapel UMC from 1999-2008.

Jodie earned a B.S. degree in elementary education from Slippery Rock University. Her path to ministry included working as a secretary, legal secretary and in marketing for a manufacturing firm, all of which in one way or another prepared her for her call to ministry. Jodie received her Master of Divinity Degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained an Elder in 2005. She currently serves as the chair of the Franklin District Committee on Ministry as well as the District Superintendency Committee. Jodie’s gifts for ministry include preaching, teaching and administration. Her passion in ministry is outreach and getting the church beyond the walls of the church building, particularly to serve the homeless and those in need. Jodie is humbled by this appointment and looks forward to continuing to serve in the Franklin District and new and challenging ways!
 
About Franklin District Superintendent
The Franklin District is made up of 104 churches where nearly 6,000 people worship every weekend.  The churches are in small towns and rural areas.  They include large and small churches with just a few or many in attendance --places where teachers and farmers sit side by side in worship and fellowship.  These churches hold professors and truck drivers who all love the Lord and prayerfully live out their faith in their community and beyond. The district is the birthplace of the U.S. oil industry. Geographically, it extends from the Allegheny National Forest to the Ohio border. The historic French Creek, and the Allegheny, Clarion and Shenango rivers run through its valleys. The intersection of Interstates 80 & 79 further make the Franklin District the crossroads of Western Pennsylvania. 

Chris Morgan to serve as Interim Senior Pastor at Bethel Park: Christ

Announced: 04-09-2017

About Christopher A. Morgan
Christopher A. “Chris” Morgan has been appointed as Interim Senior Pastor at Christ UMC in Bethel Park, effective July 1, 2017. Interim appointments are sometimes made when congregations are in transition, such as at the end of a long pastoral appointment or when making critical changes in the size of staff or scope of ministry. Interim pastors are charged with focusing on specific administrative or pastoral responsibilities.  Once those specific tasks have been completed, the interim pastor may or may not be appointed to the church through the regular appointment process.

Chris has served as an associate pastor for eight years and as executive pastor since 2015. He preaches primarily at the contemporary worship service, and works with the youth ministry.  His personal mission is to share the love of God with everyone he encounters and help them to discern their gifts and God’s call on their lives.  Chris has an effervescent personality and a love for people.  He is highly relational, builds and nurtures effective ministry teams, and works well with all people. He is organized and sees administration and leadership as his principal pastoral gifts. As executive pastor, Chris’ responsibilities include managing a staff of more than 20 and overseeing Christ Church’s $3.9 million capital building and missions campaign, which is scheduled for completion on time at Easter. Beyond the local church, Chris serves on the Conference Episcopacy Committee and the Keystone United Methodist Credit Union board. Previously, he was a member of Connectional Leadership Table and served as chairperson of its Nurture Committee. He also is involved in the South Hills Interfaith Movement, an ecumenical ministry. Chris’ wife, Jennifer, is employed as a receptionist at Christ Church. They have two daughters. Chris is excited for the opportunity to continue to work with Associate Pastor Seth McPherson, a tremendous staff, and a theologically diverse congregation.  He looks forward to strengthening and growing the traditional and contemporary worship services as the congregation moves forward in its new season of expanding vision, ministry, mission, and community and global engagement.
 
 
About Bethel Park: Christ UMC
Christ UMC is located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Bethel Park near South Hills Village. It has a large, diverse congregation and offers traditional and contemporary worship experiences on Saturday and Sunday, enhanced by an excellent music ministry through adult, children, youth, and bell choirs and a praise band.  The congregation’s GROWednesday ministry for children, youth and adults is active and vibrant, offering a food, fellowship, classes, and a communion service. Throughout the week, Christ Church offers a wide array of spiritual formation, discipleship, and nurture ministries for people of all ages, including Sunday school, state-certified children’s and adult daycares, men’s and women’s Bible studies, singles ministry, monthly adult luncheon fellowships, year-round recreation and fitness programs, and special community programs, including interfaith panels, symposiums on racial issues, homelessness, and the epidemic of drug overdoses. The congregation strongly supports outreach and mission through its participation in Volunteers in Mission, the South Hills Interfaith Movement and Family Promise. It provides substantial funding for Eighth Avenue Place’s urban ministry and partners with the UM Church Union to meet the needs of children and adults living in poverty in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.  The Nyadire Connection, a significant global partnership between United Methodists in southwestern Pennsylvania and the Nyadire UM Mission in rural Zimababwe, grew out of this congregation's work with UMCOR to renovate and support the mission hospital. Today TNC continues to work with the hospital, most recently raising funds to rebuild a network of six rural health clinics, and also seeks to meet needs identified by Zimbabweans working with children at the mission's primary and secondary schools, an orphanage, the teacher’s college, and nursing school. This Easter, Christ UMC's congregation will celebrate completion of a $3.9 million capital building and mission support campaign.  
 

Fehl to Serve Corry First UMC

Announced: 04-09-2017

About Jonathan J. Fehl
Jonathan has a passion for seeing how God is moving in Western Pennsylvania and throughout the world. Between growing up as the son of an Air Force pilot and serving as a missionary in Mozambique, he has lived on four different continents, and God has used those experiences to plant in him a heart for the world. After earning a degree in history and classics at the University of Florida, he proposed to his wife Katherine on the beach in Mozambique. They moved to Kentucky, where he earned an M.Div. and a Th.M. in World Missions from Asbury Seminary. When they moved to Pennsylvania, he served as associate pastor at Crossroads Church,  leading campuses in Bridgeville and East Liberty, as well as helping to develop leaders and ministries at the North Fayette campus. Since 2013, he has served at Bethany Church in Latrobe, where he focused on renewing the church’s love for the community and desire to reach those who are far from God. He has a passion to equip the people of the church to do the ministry of the church. Jonathan and Katherine have two sons and two daughters, ranging in age from 3 to 13.
 
About Corry: First UMC
The congregation of First UMC of Corry, PA was first established in the 1860’s.  In 1994, the congregation caught a vision to be a church equipped to meet the needs of a changing culture.  They sold their aging, landlocked building and built a new completely accessible facility with ample parking and a sanctuary equipped to support emerging worship styles. The church has a strong Sunday School, is engaged in the community in a number of ways, is technologically adept, has a long history of support for local and international mission, and embraces an active and growing youth group.  They are led by the Holy Spirit, grounded in the Scripture and willing to take risks to reach God’s people, supporting their mission statement, “Transforming the World Through the Love of Jesus Christ.”
 

Hargraves to Serve Brownsville First/California Charge

Announced: 04-09-2017

About Dawn R. Hargraves
Dawn Hargraves, currently serving in extension ministry as the Washington District coordinator of Community-based Ministry and Racial Inclusion, will serve as pastor of both California and Brownsville First United Methodist churches, effective July 1. A graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Social Work, Dawn earned an MSW at the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a social worker with Odyssey Health Care in Pittsburgh and as a community organizer for the Mon Valley Initiative before becoming a Licensed Local Pastor. Since she was licensed to serve the local church in 2011, Dawn has been an associate pastor at the Greater Purpose Charge, lead pastor at the McDonald/Noblestown Charge, and associate pastor at United Community Charge.  Dawn is a member of the Conference’s Connectional Leadership Table.  Called to ministry at the age of 10, Dawn likens it to seeing the lights of a football stadium at night off in the distance, but unsure of what she was being called to. Dawn is quick to say her life has “been transformed by God’s love” and “God’s amazing grace.”  Her gifts of administration, leadership and healing have enabled Dawn to serve well in the places where God has set her apart. She is passionate about social justice, equity, the dismantling of racism, and "others" God has created, including those who were once a part of the church but have drifted away.  Dawn and her husband Scott, whom she affectionately describes as her best friend, have two children – Talon, 15, and Lillian, 11. Scott, a.k.a. Dr. Hargraves, is an associate professor and coordinator of clinical education for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at California University of Pennsylvania.  

 
About Brownsville First/California Charge
Located on two sides of the Monongahela River, Brownsville First and California United Methodist churches have more than the river in common. Bothhave a rich history of proclaiming Christ and his love in the Mon Valley.  Beginning July 1, they will begin a future as a new two-point charge serving the Mon Valley.  Committed to proclaiming the Good News of God’s love made known in Jesus as they care for each other and those in their communities, members of the soon-to-be-formed charge look forward to helping others experience the life-changing difference Jesus can make in people's lives.  The churches share a mission field ripe with opportunities to reach out beyond the walls of their buildings to residents of area nursing homes where they already are engaged in meaningful ministry; students at California University where members are faculty members and administrators, and people affected by the decline of the coal, steel and other industries and in need of hope for a brighter tomorrow.
 

Lee Appointed to Cooperstown Charge

Announced: 04-09-2017

About Hae Seon Lee
Hae Seon was born in Pyonteak, Republic of Korea. Three months after his birth, his parents, Seong Sang and Mi Hae ,were sent as missionaries by the Korean Methodist Church to Sri Lanka. Hae Seon grew up in Sri Lanka before attending high school in Pohang, Republic of Korea. He completed his BA in History and BA in Philosophy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and will finish his Master of Divinity Degree at Drew University this May. He has served as youth pastor in New York at Plainview UMC and Korean UMC of Staten Island and as a seminary intern at Livingston UMC. He hopes to apply the things he has learned in his new ministry.
 
About Cooperstown Charge
This charge is made up of three churches -- Cooperstown, Franklin: Bethel and Bradleytown. These are vibrant churches with unique ministries and personalities.  Together they see over 170 people worshiping on a weekend.  There is strong lay leadership in worship and in the ministries of each church through service, witness and prayer.  Each church is a very important place in its community and serves the rural area through outreach, worship, mission, VBS, Bible Study and compassionate acts.  Together the congregations are excited to be moving into a new chapter of ministry with Hae Seon Lee as pastor.
 

Matthew Scott Appointed to Ebensburg

Announced: 04-09-2017

About Matthew C. Scott
Matthew C. Scott is a newly certified Candidate for Ministry who is in the process of completing Licensing School. Matt is on the Deacon’s track with a particular emphasis in worship leadership and missions and will start work toward a Master of Divinity degree at United Theological Seminary in the Fall of 2017.  Matt earned a Bachelor of Arts in music from Slippery Rock University in December 2015 and currently leads the praise and worship service at Ebensburg UMC, as well as the RISE service at Garfield Street UMC (part of the United for God Cooperative in Johnstown).  He also oversees the musical technology for these two worship sites. Matt is already leads the youth group at Ebensburg and is planning the church's 2017 mission trip. As Matt moves into the associate pastor position at Ebensburg UMC, in addition to his current responsibilities at the church, he will be the primary preacher at two new satellite locations, the Saint Michael’s U.M. Church and the Lilly U.M. Church.   He also will assist Senior Pastor J.R. Virgin with pastoral care and administration for Ebensburg U.M. and its four satellite locations. Matt recently completed his first six-year contract with the Army National Guard and will continue to serve in the 28th Division Band.  In June 2017, Matt will marry Alyssa, his high school sweetheart. 
 
About Ebensburg UMC
Ebensburg United Methodist Church is a vital, growing church that is effectively reaching new people for Jesus!  The church holds two worship services on Sunday morning and has a growing Sunday School.  In addition, the church has a 6:34 p.m. (Psalm 63:4) contemporary worship service on Saturday led by the Praise Band Illuminate the Way.  For the last several years, the church also has offered a Sunday morning service on the nearby St. Francis University campus where 35-40 students worship with a live praise band and worship leaders, then receive the morning message from the Ebensburg Church via livestream. Beginning on July 1, 2017, the Ebensburg U.M. Church will add nearby Lilly UMC and St. Michael UMC as part of its ministry network.  As these existing churches link up in ministry with Ebensburg, the sphere of positive mission and ministry will be extended into neighboring communities for the sake of making new disciples for Jesus Christ!  The Rev. J.R. Virgin, senior pastor, will continue to provide ministry leadership for the Ebensburg U.M. Church as well as its new and existing satellite sites. He looks forward to working with Matt Scott as the new associate pastor.   
 

Allan Brooks to Serve Chippewa UMC

Announced: 04-02-2017

About Allan Brooks
Allan K. Brooks, who has served as the Franklin District Superintendent since 2015, has been appointed as the Lead Pastor of Chippewa UMC effective May 1, 2017. Allan and his wife Cheryl, a developmental therapist currently working in mental health rehabilitation in Butler, have two daughters: Carly, who will be married to Max Marze this summer, and Maggie, who will graduate from the University of Pittsburgh main campus in May.  Allan has served churches in Pittsburgh, Warren, Fredonia/Big Bend and First UMC of Johnstown, a United Methodist Historic Landmark.  Allan was Lead Pastor at Baldwin Community UMC from 2007 – 2015, leading the congregation back to spiritual and financial health.  The church was able to move into different styles of worship in four worships times, held three capital campaigns to update their building and replaced the 70-year-old heating system.  In the 1980’s he ran the Pittsburgh Youth Basketball League for suburban and inner-city youth.  Allan has co-led camping programs for inner-city youth, taking them backpacking and canoeing.  He also served in New Jersey at Ocean Grove Camp Meeting as Director of Children and Youth.  At Ocean Grove, he was able to launch new programs, basketball outreach, beach festivals and produce Christian concerts with Third Day, Michael W. Smith, Jeremy Camp and others. He was the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference staff, implementing Safe Sanctuary policies across the state and running youth leadership events.  Allan has a  degree in theater, is on the Wall of Fame at Little Lake Theatre, has acted in many shows and also started two community theaters during his ministry.
 
About Chippewa United Methodist Church
The Chippewa United Methodist Church has been an influential presence in the Greater Beaver Falls area for more than 200 years. Since its origins as the first Methodist meeting north of the Ohio River, the congregation has faithfully sought to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Once a rural community, Chippewa has seen many changes and is now in the midst of continuing suburban growth. The people of Chippewa are resilient in their faith and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as they face them with the Spirit and Savior who leads them.
 

Meekins to Lead New McKeesport Charge

Announced: 04-02-2017

About William B. Meekins Jr.

William B. Meekins, Jr., has a commitment to local and global mission, inclusiveness, and connecting with God’s people across socio-economic, theological, and racial barriers. He has lived this out in many ways as a pastor, district superintendent, and leader in the Conference, the Northeastern Jurisdiction and at the denominational level. He currently sits on the United Methodist Church's Connectional Table, which works to ensure that the denomination's energy and resources are focused  on increasing vital congregations by developing principled Christian leaders, creating new places for new people, engaging in ministries with the poor, and improving global health. He also serves on the Northeastern Jurisdiction's Committee on Investigations.  Previously he served on the UMC's General Board of Global Ministries and has an extensive understanding of global mission and diverse cultures through travel to several continents. William has served the past three years as assistant to the Bishop, carrying out numerous duties and representing the office at events and with ecumenical organizations. Previously William served eight years as Superintendent of the Greensburg District and eight years as senior pastor of Garden City UMC, a racially diverse congregation in Monroeville. Early in his ministry he served congregations on Pittsburgh's North Side and has been a board member of Bethany House ministries. William also has served many years as a chaplain at area Veterans Administration facilities. William earned his Master of Divinity at Gammon Theological Seminary and currently serves as a member of its Board of Trustees. William has fond memories of his years serving in the camping program as a dean for many years. He once was a runner, but said that now he "only walks.”

About McKeesport Charge

With joy and anticipation, a new model of ministry is being launched in the McKeesport area with the appointed of the Rev. William B. Meekins, Jr as the lead pastor at the new McKeesport Charge. The charge will include: Calvary UMC, where William's late father once served as pastor; Beulah Park, Christy Park, First, Kephart, and Wesley UMCs. With William’s experience, leadership, and knowledge of the area, and the assistance of other appointed clergy, the six churches will explore together how best to engage in shared ministry and revitalization in the McKeesport area. Each of the congregations has strengths on which to build as together they address the challenges of ministry in an area still suffering from the loss of a once-thriving steel industry that provided well-paying jobs for a diverse population. The shared ministry model is expected to not only strengthen the ministries of the churches as they build relationships and make disciples for Jesus, but also benefit the McKeesport community.


Pam Ramsey Appointed Lower Burrell Associate

Announced: 04-02-2017

About Pamela C. Ramsey
Pam, who will serve as an associate pastor at Bethel UMC in Lower Burrell, describes her journey with God as a circuitous route. When she was called 12 years ago to sing with a praise and worship team, Pam had no idea where it would take her.  In 2010, Pam started Disciple Bible Class and began building a stronger relationship with God. This was her saving grace as her life quickly changed: She received a diagnosis of liver cancer, a subsequent transplant, and her marriage disolved. As Pam explains it: "At this time in my life I was so covered by my Lord, my family of Christian brothers and sister, and God’s Word, that my faith in Him lead me through the valley of the shadow of death.  My marriage had fallen apart, and it wasn't long before I had a liver transplant and again the Lord covered me through my illness. I was the recipient of what I perceived as miracles, tremendous blessings in healing. In the midst of that I heard a call from my Lord that, He has a greater plan for me.  I didn’t know what that meant, but I felt it was to continually move forward in His name, so I have." Pam completed four years of Disciple Bible Study and is in her third year as a facilitator. She has also completed four lay ministry classes, Stephen Ministries class, and Leadership Training.  She recently completed Licensing School. During this time Pam has preached as a certified lay speaker in various United Methodist churches.  In October 2016, she was hired as the Youth Director at Bethel United Methodist Church in Lower Burrell, PA. 
About Lower Burrell: Bethel
Bethel UMC in Lower Burrell is a church with a long history of ministry to children and youth.  There are Sunday school groups of all ages including elementary, middle school, and high school age students.  The Sunday evening youth group is now blessed with a new youth pastor in Pam Ramsey.  Bethel’s ministry to their youth is one of the many opportunities to make disciples who will transform the world. 
 

Terry Brown Appointed to New Ireland

Announced: 04-02-2017

About Terry T. Brown
Terry T. Brown is a licensed local pastor currently serving the Diamond / Enterprise Charge. Terry has served Diamond for six years and joined with Enterprise three years ago years. Prior to completing Licensing School in 2011, Terry was a Certified Lay Speaker and preached in many small churches throughout the Erie-Meadville District. He also taught Junior/Senior/Adult Sunday school classes for 38 years at Valley Church in Conneautville. Terry loves and appreciates the small church and its family atmosphere. His strengths are preaching, singing and teaching. A Navy veteran and retired industrial electrician, Terry and his wife Kathy will celebrate 45 years of marriage in August. They have two children and five grandsons.
 
About New Ireland/ Lake Pleasant Charge
The New Ireland and Lake Pleasant United Methodist churches are staples in the community. New Ireland was founded in 1876 and Lake Pleasant in 1871.  Both churches have their roots in the Evangelical United Brethren tradition, and both have served the community well since their birth.  They are in rural places and draw their membership from the hills and farms of the region.  The congregations are made up of people filled with a spirit of cooperation and harmony who find great meaning as they serve our Lord through serving others.
 

Tickle Appointed to Fairview UMC

Announced: 04-02-2017

About Jack Tickle
Jack Tickle has been serving as the pastor of South Greensburg UMC since graduating from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2013.  Previously he served two years as a youth minister with some pastoral responsibilities at Irwin First UMC and before that interned at his home church, Holiday Park UMC, primarily leading children and young adult ministries. Jack earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications: Emerging Tech & Multimedia with focuses on video editing, graphic design, and audio system management. He has a passion for reaching people where they are, as well as equipping and encouraging others to find their unique place in the body of Christ. He has a deep appreciation for a variety of worship styles, approaches to ministry, and engaging in ministry with people of all ages and walks of life. He believes the best way to reach people is through genuine love for all, recognizing everyone’s sacred worth in God’s eyes. This June, Jack will be ordained at Annual Conference. Jack considers his family as part of his ministry team!
 
About Fairview UMC
The Fairview United Methodist Church exists for the purpose of fulfilling the vision of Christ as stated in the Great Commission.  We are under divine obligation to make disciples, baptize children and adults, and teach them the Word of God. The church has two worship services: The Ignite Service, a contemporary service with a praise team, and a traditional service. Fairview offers a variety of opportunities for small groups to come together, including adult Sunday School and Bible study. There is a wonderful library with an abundance of material for spiritual growth. The United Methodist Women plan and promote programs and activities for the congregation. The church offers both a children’s ministry and a youth group. 
 

Bill Beatty Appointed to Warren: Grace UMC

Announced: 03-26-2017

About William "Bill" Beatty
Bill has been appointed to serve Grace United Methodist Church in Warren, PA effective July 1, 2017. Bill is a native of Kane and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Bill has served as an interim pastor at Hill Memorial UMC in Bradford, the Brockport Charge, Warren: First UMC as an associate, Christ: Bethel Park as an associate, Pittsfield: Otterbein UMC and Corry: First UMC. The four gifts that are consistently identified in Bill’s ministry are preaching, teaching, mercy and faith. He loves to preach, to lead Bible study and lead worship, and he has a love for people and a desire to see them grow into all that God has for them. Bill and Lori will celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary this June and they have two daughters, Rachel who is a freshman and Eliana who is in 7th grade.
 
About Warren: Grace UMC
Warren: Grace UMC is a place where the congregation strives “to know Christ and make him known.” The church is known for their strong music program and longstanding commitment to missions—supporting missions through prayer, finances and hands-on work. Teams make annual mission trips to Red Bird in Kentucky. Worship is a central part of life at Grace UMC which offers three differently styled services each Sunday. They also reach out into their community through a food pantry, dinners, and distribution of free hats, mittens and gloves.
 
 

Bob Ellson Appointed to Mount Pleasant

Announced: 03-26-2017

About Robert V. Ellson
Bob and his wife Jill have been members of First UMC in Murrysville for 32 years and Bob is currently appointed as the Associate Pastor there.  After an enjoyable and rewarding business career, Bob answered God’s call into full-time vocational ministry 10 years ago. Walking through the process towards ordination and being nurtured by his home church has been a joy and a blessing. Bob and Jill look forward to the next chapter in their ministry together serving God with the good people at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church.

Bob has a BA and an MBA degree from Robert Morris University and is currently completing studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity degree. His wife Jill  earned both a bachelor's and master of science degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania to become a speech pathologist and audiologist. She is currently employed as a speech therapist in early childhood intervention for a human services organization in Pittsburgh. Bob and Jill have two adult children, Cassandra and Joshua, and in June they will welcome a daughter-in-law, Frankie, into the family.
 
About Mount Pleasant UMC
Mount Pleasant UMC is known as the "clock tower church" because of the 4-faced clock which towers above the town and is a landmark for the community. Mount Pleasant is a congregation of faith-filled followers of Jesus who are passionate about missions (both local and national) and engaging young families in the life of the church. They have a strong music program, are a caring and nurturing congregation, provide practical ministries to people in the church and community, and have a strong UMW presence. This active lay-driven congregation is open to new ideas and its people are excited about following God's new direction for their church.

Ed Gresick Appointed to Grampian Charge

Announced: 03-26-2017

About Edmund C. Gresick
Rev. Ed Gresick was a history teacher, enforcement officer for the PA Fish Commission and a Navy Gunner's Mate among other occupations before attending Duke Divinity School and entering pastoral ministry. He has served churches in the Kane, Franklin and Erie-Meadville districts since 1992 when he was appointed to the Mt. Jewett Charge. He later served Stoneboro Charge, Sugar Lake Charge, Franklin: Grace, and Titusville First UMC. 
 
About Grampian Charge
The Grampian Circuit consists of four churches (Saint Paul, Hepburnia, Chestnut Grove, and Curry Run) located on the eastern fringe of the Indiana District.  The churches of the charge are each proud of their history in the rural communities where they reside.  One of their strongest outreaches is the annual gently-used clothing give-away which takes place two weeks before school starts in late summer.  This event draws in large numbers of families from a 35-mile radius.  Free backpacks are also distributed to children at this time.  The charge is also active in the Community Vacation Bible School sponsored by the Grampian Ministerial Association.  Over 150 students take part, ranging in age from pre-K to 90s, with a class dedicated to adults.  The congregations have a deep appreciation of intersecting with the community as evidenced in strong participation in Relay for Life, Grampian Days planning, and other civic-oriented events.
 

Rex Wasser To Serve Lower Burrell: Bethel UMC

Announced: 03-26-2017

About Rex Wasser

Rex Wasser has a lot of experience in our Conference, having served churches in five different districts over 31 years. He grew up in a parsonage, worked on summer camp staff, and did a two-year stint as a home missionary. He served as dean of camps a Jumonville for 25 years and is a section leader at Annual Conference. Presently serving the Greenville UM Ministry, Rex is excited by the opportunities at Lower Burrell.  He has an adult son and daughter and a delightful grandson who are the joy of his life.


 
About Lower Burrell: Bethel UMC

Bethel UMC is a Christian community of faith that sees itself as active and committed, joyful, loving and caring in service. They have a strong ministry with children and youth and support a number of outreach and mission efforts. They are working to develop a vision for the future focusing on making disciples for Jesus.


 

Wade Barto To Serve at Knox UMC

Announced: 03-26-2017

About Wade Barto
Wade S. Barto has served Tucker UMC, Otterbein UMC (now Ashes to Life Ministry,) Bennett Run UMC, Beaver Falls First UMC and Lander UMC. God has gifted him with a love of people and worship where he brings the scripture into everyday life. He enjoys working with youth and leading Bible studies. He believes that being humble before the Lord and following the Wesleyan rules of “Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God” are good standards to live by and to teach to others. Wade and his wife Sherry have a wonderful family: son Jacob, his wife Chelsea and grandson Drake; and their daughter Caitlin.  They all love the Lord and are willing to serve God in many ways.
About Knox UMC
Knox UMC has had a vision of a new building on a new site for more than 12 years.  They have prayed, raised over $750,000 and asked God for the right time. Their guiding principle has been, “In God’s time!”   The congregation broke ground in August of 2016 and construction now is well underway.  The ground has been prepared and graded, water basins have been installed, and the frame, sides and roof of the new church are in place.  The congregation hopes to worship for the first time in God’s new facility in June or July of 2017. Praise God!
 

Bob Zilhaver Named Connellsville DS

Announced: 03-21-2017

About Robert Zilhaver

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has selected the Rev. Robert Zilhaver, pastor at Lakeside United Methodist Church in DuBois, to become the Connellsville District Superintendent, effective July 1.

Bob has served for 24 years on the Indiana District, the past 14 at Lakeside. He served Timblin/Porter/New Salem churches from 1993-1997 and Brookville Evangelical UMC from 1997-2003. His tenure has included several capital campaigns; he helped two churches recover from flood damage, and most importantly reached hundreds of new people through the power of God’s Holy Spirit to enter the Kingdom by baptism and profession of faith.

Bob has been married to Amy (Andrus), a reading specialist,  for more than 30 years. They are the parents of Laura, currently studying at Western Michigan University to be a band director; Sara, who works at Goodwill Industries in DuBois; Polly, who will graduate in May from Kent State University in Hospitality Management, and Robert, Jr., a sophomore at Clarion University studying to be a history teacher and playing defensive line for the Golden Eagle football team.  Robert also serves as a youth director at Lakeside UMC.

Youth ministry is one of Bob’s passions.  Starting as an assistant youth pastor at Clarion First UMC, his home church, he has worked in and led youth ministry at all levels of the denomination. Recently he helped the Northeastern Jurisdiction youth leadership group organize the 2016 Jurisdictional Convocation in Lancaster.  He served on the planning team for the Global Youth Convocation in Berlin, Germany in 2010.

Bob and Amy have been deans of a Mini-Camp at Wesley Woods for 22 years; they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary by dining on hot dogs cooked by first-graders.  Bob served eight years on the Wesley Woods board and was chair of the capital campaign to raise money for the new pool and locker rooms.

Bob helped organize and write the charter of the Indiana District Union and serves as its finance chair.  He has served as registrar of the District Committee on Ordained Ministry and a member of the superintendency committee.  

On the Conference level, he is the Administrative Chair of the Conference Board of Pensions, and has served on the Conference Committee on Finance and Administration, the Board of Ordained Ministry. He has good memories of work on the Conference Dialogue Team as Co-Chair with Rev. David Keller for Service of Hope at 2004 General Conference and author of RS 703 Formation of a Task Team on Homosexuality and the Unity of the UMC, and as a member of the Anti-Hate Group Task Force.

Bob has been a delegate to the 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences, serving as secretary for the WPAUMC delegation in both 2012 and 2016 and secretary for the General Conference Credentials Committee in 2012.

Currently Bob sits on the executive committee of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. He chairs its finance committee. Previously he served on the General Board of Discipleship and its Upper Room Division, as well the adult worker representative on the Division on Ministry with Young People. Bob is a member of the Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee and has been the Vice-Chair of the Jurisdictional Rules Committee.

Outside of the formal structures of the Church, Bob has worked in advocacy, missions, and ministry development.  He is the founder and president of Partners in Alliance: A Western Pennsylvania AIDS Ministry that has served those dealing with HIV/AIDS and their families since 2000. He co-chaired the Northwest Pennsylvania AIDs Coalition. As a member of Association in Advocacy, he has helped clergy and churches resolve disputes in over 75 cases in 16 annual conferences.

Bob has led numerous work camps, including Uth 4 Missions, raised funds to build a church in India, a woodshop and seminary in Paraguay, helped Lakeside UMC work with the Rice Foundation in Honduras as well as with a new church plant in .  In ministry development, he  secured initial gifts and wrote by-laws for the Youth Ministry Scholarship Fund, the Timothy Fund (to assist educational expenses), the Richard Burns Evangelist Endowment, and the Bernie Shuey Local Pastor’s Fund to help local pastors on the Indiana District.

A 1979 graduate of Becker High School, an experimental school at Clarion University, Bob  attended Virginia Military Institute on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship and graduated with a degree in Physics and German in 1983.  He earned an M. Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1997.  At seminary he was awarded prizes for the highest standing in pastoral care, highest average in graduating class, highest achievement in all departments, and The Fred McFeely Rogers Prize in Biblical Studies.

Prior to entering the ministry in 1993, Bob served as an officer in the U.S Army (Ret. Major) in field artillery.  He received the Bronze Star for his service during Desert Storm; the Meritorious Service Medal for Operations and Planning for Somalia; the Humanitarian Service Medal for the Hurricane Andrew Relief Effort; and numerous other Army achievement medals.

Bob is honored to be the first District Superintendent selected by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and looks forward to the opportunity of joining with the people of the Connellsville District to “See and Follow Jesus.”
 

About Connellsville District Superintendent

The Connellsville District, located between Monongahela and Hyndman on Pennsylvania's southern border with Maryland and West Virginia, includes 96 churches with 13,912 members in a large geographical area. Last year there were 118 baptisms and 130 professions of faith in the district, which includes two Conference camps -- Jumonville, near Uniontown, and Camp Allegheny in Stoystown.  The district is known for its small membership churches and its compassionate heart.  It includes most of Somerset County and and all of Fayette County, which has the second highest rate of poverty in Pennsylvania. It is the home of the Connellsville Area Community Ministries (CACM), a regional United Methodist mission agency providing assistance to people in need and partnering with other organizations to offer training to help individuals break the cycle of poverty. CACM is supported by many United Methodist and other churches and organizations in the area. 


Anette Gerber Appointed to Greensburg First UMC

Announced: 03-19-2017

About Anette V. Gerber

Anette V. Gerber, who currently serves the West Springfield and Cranesville UMCs in the Erie-Meadville District, will be the appointed senior pastor of Greensburg: First UMC, effective July 1st.  A graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and Duke Divinity School, Net’s passion for ministry includes a vital spiritual life, passionate worship, intentional disciple-making and a heart for the marginalized folks in the community. Her gifts lie in vision, discernment, training and empowering leadership, systems thinking and spiritual formation. Net is married to John E. Gerber. They have three children and three grandsons.  Net is excited to be partnering with Greensburg:  First and doing ministry together.
 

About Greensburg First UMC

First United Methodist Church of Greensburg has roots that go back to 1799 class meetings in the home of Samuel Bushfield.  The English Gothic style sanctuary hosts three worship services weekly.  Traditional worship experiences happen on Sunday mornings at 8:30 and 10:45, and a contemplative Ekklesia Service takes place on Saturday evenings and features a different musician(s) and the celebration of Holy Communion each week.  After a five-month residential experience with About Face Church Outreach Consultants, the congregation established a SPARK Mission Team, taking seriously their motto ‘Representing Christ as a Light within the City.’  This team now has a multi-faceted outreach to shelters that are housed within steps of the church building.  The church offers ministries for children of all ages. Bible Studies and classes are offered for all age groups, as well as short-term programs such as Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  Additional outreach to the community includes a monthly food bank distribution, weekly Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and holiday meals. The congregation looks forward with excitement as it moves well into its third century of ministry.


 

John Gerber Appointed to S. Greensburg, Youngwood

Announced: 03-19-2017

About John S. Gerber

Born in St. Marys, Pa., John was raised in the church, but high school years evidenced a falling away from worship.  Many difficult life experiences and poor choices led John to the realization that only God could bring order, healing, and purpose to the chaos he had created.  After John gave his life to Christ at age 21, he was given the opportunity to lead a number of Sunday School classes and in the process of leading, he was learning about the redemptive power of God’s infinite love, grace, and mercy.  Answering a call to ordained ministry, John served student pastorates at Ceres UMC in Western Pennsylvania, and at Siler City: West End UMC in the North Carolina Conference.  After earning an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration from Houghton College and a Master of Divinity degree from The Divinity School at Duke University, John’s first full-time appointment was serving the good people at the Tidioute/East Hickory Charge in the Kane District for 13 years. He has also been blessed to be in ministry with wonderful people at the Wattsburg/Phillipsville Charge, the YESS God Faith Shared Ministry, and at his current appointment, the Fairview United Methodist Church.  John has a passion for helping people establish a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  He believes it is essential to cultivate relationships with the people where he is appointed, both in the congregation and in the community at large.  John also encourages the people he serves to form vital and meaningful relationships with God, with each other and also with those outside the church, so the love and grace of Jesus in them can add meaning, encouragement and strength to the lives of others and draw them into relationship with Jesus.  John enjoys and finds value in a variety of worship styles and settings.  He also enjoys working with people of all ages and walks of life, always seeking to cultivate a hunger and passion for knowing, loving, and serving the God who not only created us, but loves us more than we can ever know or imagine.  John is looking forward to working with and among God’s people at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Youngwood and at South Greensburg United Methodist Church to see what challenges, possibilities, and wonders God has in store for us!

About South Greensburg/ Youngwood: St. Paul's

The South Greensburg United Methodist Church offers both contemporary and traditional worship services, reaching out to all ages. The church was founded in 1889, and has always been a strong spiritual presence in the community. There are two Bible Studies offered, one during the day and one in the evening.  In addition, there is an Adult Sunday School Class on Sunday morning. The church has an active Youth Fellowship and charters the local Boy Scout/Cub Scout Troop. Their Mission Statement is "To Honor, Share and Grow in Christ."  The congregation believes that their purpose in the community of South Greensburg is to reach out and share the love of Jesus with everyone we meet.

Youngwood: St. Paul's United Methodist Church's membership is mostly older and the relationships are deep and welcoming. One of its goals is to continue to interact with the community and hopefully attract more members and especially younger people to continue God's work through the church.  The church is very prayer-oriented and strong in its mission outreaches.  This connectional church knows the importance of reaching into the community and the world through ties with the United Methodist Church and the local ministerium.  The congregation is hopeful that its challenges can be addressed with the help of their new pastor and affiliation with the congregation at South Greensburg.



 

Julie Kolacz Appointed to United Methodist Community Charge

Announced: 03-19-2017

About Julie S. Kolacz
Ordained as an Elder in 2016, Julie is a native of Pleasantville, PA in Venango County whose passion is to integrate her training and experience in theology and psychology so others may experience the “wholeness” or “Shalom” of God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and life lived in harmony with others. Julie serves as the part-time pastor of two rural congregations (New Ireland and Lake Pleasant UMCs) on the Erie-Meadville District, where she also serves as chaplain at Meadville Medical Center. In addition to her experience in the local church, Julie has worked as a therapist with Christian Counseling Associates of WPA, Family Counseling and Children’s Services, and Youth Advocates.  Julie is a graduate of Grove City College with a double major in Psychology and Religion.  She also has earned a Master of Science degree in Community Counseling and a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling. Her son John is a senior at Meadville Area Senior High School and plans to attend Virginia Military Institute in the fall.  When invited to serve the six churches that make up the United Methodist Community Charge, Julie asked if there wasn’t a seventh we could add just to make the Charge complete!
 
About United Methodist Community Charge

True to its name, United Methodist Community is made up of six churches (Beallsville UMC, Centerville UMC, Marianna UMC, Mt. Zion UMC, Scenery Hill UMC, Taylor UMC) on or near historic Route 40 in Washington County “united” in their desire to make Christ known in the communities by proclaiming through word and deed the transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Best known for the warmth of their welcome, generosity, acts of kindness and serving others without being asked, UM Community is missional in its outreach, Christ-centered in worship and strategic in its partnerships with other area churches, service agencies and groups.  Like many churches in Western Pennsylvania, UM Community has a growing vision to help children and young adults experience the love of God for themselves, while providing opportunities and care for those who have faithfully served the church and community all their lives. The Charge is served by both a full-time and a part-time pastor. The Charge offers both traditional and contemporary worship expressions, including a Saturday evening service. 


Kathleen Schoeneck Appointed to Turtle Creek, Pitcairn

Announced: 03-19-2017

About Kathleen Schoeneck

After serving for a number of years in ministry, Kathleen transferred from the Presbyterian Church USA to Western Pennsylvania Conference in 2011, and was received into Full Membership in the WPAUMC in 2016.  Kathleen has served Johnstown: Christ and Park Avenue UMCs; Allegheny River West Bank: Natrona Heights Grace and Creighton Janes/Walter Chapel; and is currently working with the saints in ministry at the Penn Center East Charge: Penns Woods, Center Avenue in Pitcairn and First UMC in East McKeesport. Kathleen, and her husband Ed Schoeneck, pastor of Monroeville UMC, are the proud parents of daughter Elisha. Kathleen Schoeneck has a passion for small church ministry and empowering laity. She is excited to be serving both McMasters UMC of Turtle Creek and Center Ave. of Pitcairn. Both churches strive to minister to the prospective communities. She looks forward to helping them both discern what the call of the Holy Spirit is for mission and ministry in these two connected neighborhoods.

About Turtle Creek: McMasters/Pitcairn: Center Ave.

Center Avenue United Methodist Church is a small family oriented congregation located in the heart of Pitcairn. They have been happy to be a part of the Penn Center East Charge and are looking forward to their new charge. Outreach to the community of Pitcairn is something that CAUMC is known for, especially their involvement with the Pitcairn Food Bank and a senior highrise community. The adult Sunday School class, weekly prayer group and Confirmation class are a few of their active ministries. With faith, trust and perseverance, CAUMC has begun and continues to grow, despite the need to worship in a fire hall. Their motto has been “The Church is the people, not the building”. Center Avenue United Methodist Church continues to keep the heart and hope of Christ visible in Pitcairn.

While the people of McMasters UMC have increased in age and declined in numbers, they have a heart for the people of the valley in which they live. They are involved in the local ministerium and community worship services and events. They have a monthly movie night and regularly host a community meal at the church. Their present ministry at a local senior citizen high rise is an outreach that is appreciated and successful in the community. Their primary goal as a church is: “To make McMasters Church a community that truly reflects the Kingdom of God through intentional outreach to those who have been pushed to the margins of society.”


 

Ben Zimmerman Appointed to Allegany Headwaters Charge

Announced: 03-12-2017

About Benjamin Zimmerman
Ben Zimmerman has been appointed to serve the Allegany Headwaters Charge in Port Allegany and Roulette, PA.  He currently serves as associate pastor in charge of youth at Otterbein UMC in Greensburg.  As youth pastor, Ben has learned to build strong relationships while having fun, and looks forward to sharing these skills with the good folks in “God’s Country.”  He is a lifelong learner who tries to discover something new every day, and believes that we all can grow and experience God’s creation in new and adventurous ways.  He looks forward to being active in the communities of Port Allegany and Roulette.  He has a degree in secondary social studies education from Indiana University of PA (2003) and earned his M.Div. from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2012.
 
 
About Allegany Headwaters Charge
The Allegany Headwaters Charge is made up of Trinity UMC in Port Allegany, Riverside and Fishing Creek UMCs in Roulette. These two communities are at the headwaters of the Allegany River in eastern McKean and western Potter counties. The congregations are known for their Christian love and friendly, welcoming spirit. Trinity Church sponsors various outreach events during the year including a “Fair on the Square” they host fair on the Port Allegany town square. Riverside hosts multiple recovery group meetings each week, and during the winter they have monthly soup runs;  they prepare homemade soup and deliver it to shut-ins and others in the community. They are passionate about sharing the love of Jesus Christ with everyone they meet.

Bill Blair Appointed to Indiana Grace UMC

Announced: 03-12-2017

About William J. Blair
Rev. William J. Blair, who has served since 2011 at the Connellsville District Superintendent, has been appointed as senior pastor of Grace UMC in Indiana effective March 15. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Asbury Theological Seminary, Bill served as pastor of Titusville First UMC and the HOME Charge. Because the congregations at both the church and the charge grew by 100 percent during his tenure, Bill was honored with the Denman Award for Evangelism in 2010. He started contemporary services and children's ministry at both appointments. As a pastor, Bill served as a camp dean for 13 years at Camp Allegheny and Wesley Woods and has served on the boards of both Wesley Woods and Jumonville.  Bill has served on District committees on the the Superintendency and Ordained Ministry, and on the Conference Evangelism Team, Conference Rules Committee and an advisory group to Conference Sessions. Trained in Natural Church Development, as a mentor and as a Volunteers in Mission team leader, he led 12 mission trips for Disaster Relief, including five to areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Raised in church, Bill had life-changing profession of faith at age 24 and responded to a call to full- time ministry at age 29. He had previously been a dairy farmer.  Married to his wife Beth since 1986, the Blairs are parents to daughter Shanda Tomer, who is married to Westley and recently gave birth to a daughter Raelynne; son Jordan, a freshman at Penn State's Fayette campus; high school junior Ryan; and Preston, who will be 10 in August. 
 
About Indiana Grace United Methodist Church
Grace United Methodist Church is one congregation worshipping in two locations: a downtown campus with a Saturday evening coffeehouse worship as well as traditional and modern worship Sunday morning; and a modern service on the Indiana U of PA campus. One of the largest membership churches in the Western PA Conference, Indiana Grace encourages all members and attendees to become involved in small groups. Among many ministries, Indiana Grace partners with other churches and service agencies in Project Share to provide housing, utilities, medicines and other life necessities to the unemployed and underemployed in the area and the Family Promise ministry to homeless families. During 2016, Grace was instrumental in remodeling and updating a local community center that serves those in need. 

Cyndi Bloise Appointed to Jefferson Hills

Announced: 03-12-2017

About Cynthia Bloise
Rev. Dr. Cyndi Bloise has been appointed pastor at Jefferson (Hills) UMC, effective July 1, 2017.  Pastoral ministry is Cyndi’s second vocation.  She was a speech-language pathologist who worked with adults and children with stroke and head injuries.  She began serving as a part-time associate at Monroeville UMC in 2002 while attending seminary, and was later appointed as senior pastor at Pitcairn: Center Avenue where she started the Circles anti-poverty initiative.  Currently, Cyndi is senior pastor at Beulah Park and Christy Park UMCs in McKeesport. She is committed to leading congregations to engage and serve the needs of the church’s surrounding community. Cyndi’s doctoral work on “The Missional Church” led to the Mon Valley Circles Initiative.  She partnered with the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank and United Methodist Church Union to begin a summer feeding grogram at both McKeesport churches and with the Pittsburgh Dream Center to bring a mobile food pantry there.  Cyndi is excited about Jefferson Hills’ passion for mission and outreach, youth ministry and community engagement.  She has been married to her husband, Frank, for 30 years, and they have three adult daughters. 
 
About Jefferson Hills United Methodist Church
Jefferson UMC is nestled in the growing Pittsburgh suburb of Jefferson Hills Borough. The friendly congregation welcomes, values, and engages children and youth in an exciting ecumenical ministry in cooperation with Jefferson United Presbyterian Church.  Their seniors’ ministry extends beyond the congregation to connect with Mitchell Manor seniors’ home in Clairton.  The church's two Sunday traditional worship services are engaging, joyful and inspiring.  Sunday Christian education classes, seasonal Bible studies, and a community women’s Bible study anchor adult discipleship-formation.  Strong laity leadership and commitment support the congregation’s extensive outreach, which includes ramp-building, clothing, inner-city meals, Samaritan’s Purse shoebox, and Ward Home Angel Tree ministries.  The church is a distribution site for Produce to People, supports two food banks, offers community programs in cooperation with first responders, collects medical equipment for Global Links, and is an active Volunteers in Mission partner. 

Deborah Kociban to serve Templeton Charge

Announced: 03-12-2017

About Deborah Kociban
Pastor Deb currently serves the McKeesport: First/Kephart/Wesley charge and has been appointed to the Templeton/Widnoon/Kellersburg charge, effective July 1. She loves inviting people into a deeper walk with Christ, working together with congregations in mission and is excited to see what Christ will do in their midst.  Deb finds great joy in serving Christ and desires for all to share in that joy.  She currently serves on the Board of Ministry for the conference.  Deb has been married to George since 1982.  They are blessed with one daughter, Whitney.  
 
About Templeton Charge
The Templeton UMC charge consists of three churches -- Templeton, Widnoon and Kellersburg. Located north of Kittanning in a beautiful country setting,  Cherry Run Family and Youth Camp is only a few miles away. There is an active and supportive laity team that helps to bring God’s word and love to the congregations and community. The people are very active in several outreach programs in the community, including lunches for the sick and elderly, pancake breakfasts, Creekside dinners, and Christ Stock, a homeless outreach program, and are involved in several worldwide missions trips as well. They have a growing youth group, along with an adult Sunday school and bible study group that meets weekly. The vision is to meet the needs and minister to our community and spread God's living word to all. 

Erica Wellner Appointed to Marion Center UMC

Announced: 03-12-2017

About Erica Wellner
Erica Wellner has been appointed to serve Marion Center UMC starting July 1, 2017. Erica has been serving as the pastor of Covenant UMC and associate pastor of Grace UMC in Warren since January 1, 2015. A Provisional Elder who hopes to be ordained at Annual Conference in June, Erica earned her MDiv and Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation from Asbury Theological Seminary. She has a passion for worship, discipleship, spiritual formation, and the sacraments. Her mission in ministry is to help all people come to realize how high, wide, deep, and long the love of God is for them in Jesus Christ.
 
About Marion Center UMC
The First United Methodist Church of Marion Center was organized in 1837 when the people were ministered to by circuit riders.  Later the church had appointed pastors that shared their leadership with various communities in the area.  In 1980 the church became a "singular" pastorate that still continues in 2017.  The church motto, "A Church at the Heart of the Community at Heart" is lived out through its clothing cupboard, a men's dart ball group that meets weekly, support of a community kitchen, and an active youth group.  The church has been very missioned-minded and has a strong United Methodist Women's Unit. Sunday School and weekly and seasonal Bible studies. Marion Center's gifted musicians that share their talents through the choir, bell choir, children's bell chimes, and often special music. In December, the congregation invited the community to "A Journey to Bethlehem" and the response was so great, plans are being made for December 2017. Other community and family oriented programs are offered throughout the year, including a Vacation Bible School offering in partnership with two other local churches. 

John Emigh Appointed to Dempseytown: Oakland UMC

Announced: 03-12-2017

About John Emigh

John Emigh has been appointed to serve Oakland UMC in Dempseytown.  John’s grandfather was a pastor/evangelist in the Methodist church, so he was raised by a P.K. mother who brought the children up deeply involved in the church.  Some of his best spiritual memories are of the little three-point charge his grandfather pastored (in Central PA Conference) and of attending many revival services with his grandfather. John  and Amy were married in 1991. John has served churches in Derry, Greenville, Karns and Oil City.
 

About Dempseytown: Oakland UMC

Oakland is a church that worships 160 or more folks every Sunday with a full sanctuary.  The youth have to set up folding chairs in the lobby and watch from there.  They have recently remodeled the entrance of their church to make room for all the people before and after worship.  They have an active ministry with children and youth, reach out to their community, and support a Celebrate Recovery group.  Mission is very important to them and they travel locally, nationally and globally to work for the Lord.


 

Matthew Williams Appointed to Johnstown: Calvary

Announced: 03-12-2017

About Matthew Williams
Matthew E. Williams, currently the associate at his home church Ebensburg UMC on the Johnstown District, will be appointed to serve the Johnstown: Calvary UMC, effective July 1, 2017.  A graduate of Saint Francis University with a B.S. in Biology/Pre-Medicine, Matthew is currently completing his second year as a student at Drew University Theological School.  Matthew has served for the last several years as the mission trip coordinator at the Ebensburg church, and in his current role as associate, manages the cell group and technology ministries, and assists with preaching, worship, and pastoral care.  Matthew also plays in the Ebensburg UMC Praise Band and is involved in RISE, an outreach ministry at Garfield Street UMC in the city of Johnstown.  In addition to the new appointment at Johnstown: Calvary this summer, Matthew has two other important events taking place: in May, he will marry his high school sweetheart Taila; and in June, he will be commissioned as a Provisional Elder at Annual Conference.
 
About Johnstown:Calvary
Johnstown: Calvary United Methodist Church is located in the historic West End of the city of Johnstown.   Known for its long-standing preschool ministry and its vital music ministry, the church strives to be a beacon of hope in a neighborhood that has been impacted by the economic downturn in this rustbelt region.  Some of the church’s ministries include an annual clothing give-away, support of the local food pantry, connection with and support of many community organizations, involvement in the West End Ministerium, and a strong education focus, including Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Bible Study.   Calvary has a strong lay leadership that continues to provide the foundation for excellent ministry to make a difference in the name of Jesus Christ for this ever-changing section of the city of Johnstown.  
 

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