2017 Appointments

Appointments effective July 1, except where noted.

Sorted by Announced Date

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 U.S. Army ROTC Scholarship and graduated with a degree in Physics and German in 1983.  He began his ministerial studies in 1993 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and graduated with a M.Div. 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. Greenburg, 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.  

Randy Landman Appointed to West Newton/Herminie Charge

Announced: 03-12-2017

About Randolph K. Landman
Rev. Randy Landman, who currently serves as the pastor at the Mt. Pleasant UMC, will become the pastor at the West Newton/Herminie charge in the Greensburg District as of July 1.  Pastor Randy is a graduate of Laurel Highlands High School, the University of Pittsburgh (with a degree in chemistry), and Asbury Theological Seminary (with a M. Div degree).  He has pastored churches in Western Pennsylvania and Southern California with the Free Methodist Church and was an assistant pastor at Grace UMC (Washington District) before his current appointment at Mt. Pleasant.  He places a strong emphasis upon the Bible in every area of the church and believes that ministry to children and youth is essential because most people who become Christians make an initial commitment when they are young. He has served as a music director in different churches and has led contemporary praise teams.  Pastor Randy is married to Dawn who, in his opinion, "is the ideal pastor's wife".  Randy and Dawn have three girls: Mollie, 16 and in 10th grade, is talented in music and started a Bible Study at her high school;  Malorie, 10 and in 4th grade, loves swimming, and Mylie, 7 and in 1st grade, is the life of every party!  The Landman family is very excited to begin ministry with the people at West Newton and Herminie.
About West Newton/Herminie Charge
The West Newton/Herminie Charge consists of the First United Methodist Church in West Newton and the Herminie United Methodist Church in Herminie. Beginning its fourth year as a charge on July 1, 2017, it belongs to the Yough Cluster, through which they offer joint services during Lent and some fellowship events.  

The West Newton Church was established Feb 28, 1839 and the current structure built in 1880. FUMC West Newton's music ministry is alive with an accomplished organist playing a pipe organ that was installed on Oct. 29, 1905. It was purchased for $3,000, of which $1,250 was given by Andrew Carnegie. The pipe organ is registered by the Organ Historical Society as being an antique still in use with original parts. The bell choir, established in 2013, plays in the West Newton Church and in several churches in surrounding communities.  West Newton has a praise team as well as a chancel choir. FUMC West Newton is connected to the community through its Angel Tree project with the local elementary school, a Boy Scout troop, Meals on Wheels and missions led by the United Methodist Women. Quilters meet every Tuesday make quilts with the proceeds donated to the Trustees or the church.  The church also has a scholarship fund that provides grants to any member seeking to further their education beyond high school. 

Begun as a United Brethren Church in 1851, Herminie UM Church is celebrating 166 years strengthening the faith of Christians in the rural Sewickley Township area.  With ministry and missions as goals, the congregation strives to be active in the community.  They welcome local families with an annual Back to School event, a Harvest Festival, Vacation Bible School, and an active Boy Scout Troop.  Sharing Thanksgiving services with neighboring Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches is a tradition. Worship and fellowship with their sister West Newton church is becoming a valuable part of  spiritual life.  Enjoying both praise songs and traditional hymns allows people of all ages in the congregation to express their love of God.  Learning about Christ continues in Sunday School for children and youth, a weekly adult Bible study, and with our very active Ladies Fellowship group. The church's  purpose is based on Philippians 1:27, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."

David Coul Appointed to Murrysville

Announced: 03-05-2017

About David S. Coul

“Pastor Dave” has been appointed to serve the First United Methodist Church in Murrysville, PA, effective July 1, 2017.  Dave is a second career pastor who has been engaged in active ministry since 1999. Prior to that, he served our country for 23 years in the United States Air Force. Dave supports the conference camping ministries in several ways, including serving as one of the deans for the Algonquin canoe camp and as a Wesley Woods board member. Using John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer as his benchmark, Dave continues to follow God’s guidance for his life and ministry. Dave has two older children from a previous marriage and has been married to Jane A. Elliott-Coul for 30 years. They have two children: Lindsey Myers (Drew) and David.  Rev. Dave Coul believes that healthy churches grow, and it is the ministry of all believers to work to keep the church healthy. He has applied that concept to his pastoral ministry at Baldwin Community UMC, Fairhaven UMC, Good Shepherd UMC, and Knox UMC where he presently serves. The Knox congregation is building a new church, which they hope to use for worship by the end of June. 

About Murrysville: First UMC

The congregation of First UMC was founded in 1832 with the original church building constructed in the heart of Murrysville in 1913. In 1959 First UMC became a one-point charge. A weekday kindergarten opened in 1960 and grew to become the First United Methodist Preschool, a vital part of the church's current ministry. With a heart for Jesus, intentional discipleship, prayer, and spiritual development, the congregation is welcoming and growing, offering many opportunities for worship, discipleship, ministry and mission for all ages. First UMC offers a contemporary worship service with a praise team and a traditional service with a chancel choir on Sundays. Child-care is offered during both services. There is a strong small group ministry, women’s ministry, outreach program, and mission involvement with local through international impact. First UMC has an exciting children’s program – King’s Kids - provides kids from age 3 to 5th grade with worship, education, Vacation Bible School and opportunities for involvement in ministry. The youth group – Encounter - meets each Wednesday in their dedicated “Annex” led by a praise team with large group teaching and small group discussions and worship. First UMC is also open and connected to the community and is home to many community groups and activities throughout the year. 

Heidi Helsel Appointed to Windber: Calvary UMC

Announced: 03-05-2017

About Heidi M. Helsel
Rev. Heidi M. Helsel, who currently serves the HOME Charge in the Connellsville District, will be the appointed pastor of the Calvary United Methodist Church in Windber, PA, effective July 1, 2017.  A life-long United Methodist who was ordained as an Elder in 2014, Heidi is looking forward to walking alongside the Windber: Calvary congregation in ministry.  Heidi brings with her to this ministry opportunity the gift of creativity in worship, a love of outreach into the community, a deep commitment to servant leadership, and above all else, a passionate faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Heidi is part of a clergy couple; her husband Rick serves the Somerset: Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church.  Heidi and Rick are blessed with their two beautiful, talented teenage daughters, Sarah and Christina.
About Windber:Calvary UMC
Calvary United Methodist Church is located in the picturesque town of Windber in Somerset County.  The result of a 1970 merger of the predecessor Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren congregations, the Calvary U.M. church continues to provide vital and dynamic ministry to the community.  Blessed by a fully accessible building constructed in 1982, the church hosts the Windber Area Community Kitchen, providing free and welcoming meals twice a month.  In addition, many other outreach ministries enable the congregation to make good connections in the community.  In recent years, the church has offered an “innovative” worship service on Sunday evenings, in addition to the traditional Sunday morning worship service.

Nancy Shute Appointed to Monaca UMC

Announced: 03-05-2017

About Nancy Shute
Nancy Shute, currently pastor of Bethel UMC in Lower Burrell, has a passion for ministry to make disciples and empower congregations to become more engaged in the larger community.  Nancy desires to see the church play a pivotal role in ministering to the physical, spiritual, and social justice needs of marginalized people in the local, as well as global community. She looks forward to building on the rich heritage of Monaca’s pastoral leadership to see the church become the agent for change in the world that it was birthed to be. Nancy’s gifts for ministry are in leadership development, discernment, vision, and administration. Nancy is married to Richard Shute.
About Monaca
Monaca is at the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers. The Monaca United Methodist Church is typical of many "rust belt" churches that never say die. The congregation has a strong history of community outreach and continues to search for ways to find new places for new people. One example is the recently completed Carey Community Life Center – a state-of-the-art multi-use facility designed for community engagement. Monaca is a congregation that offers a place of strong connections for all who are looking for a church home. 

Nate Fugate Appointed to Pittsfield: Otterbein UMC

Announced: 03-05-2017

About Nathanael Fugate
Nate has served at Lakeside United Methodist Church in DuBois as the associate pastor for the past four years. Beyond the local church, Nate works as an advocate for life all over the denomination, fighting for the equal protection of the sacred life of mothers and their children. He has a passion for teaching Scripture and helping the stories and history of the Bible become our history through engaging preaching, study, and reflection. Nate is musically gifted and enjoys using his talents in conjunction with other musicians, especially his wife, to worship the Lord and make a joyful noise. Nate and his wife Holly have been married two years and have a son Israel and another child due in late September.
About Pittsfield: Otterbein
Otterbein Church is located in Warren County just west of Youngsville in the community of Pittsfield. The Otterbein church is known for its commitment to and involvement in missions. Many members have been on mission trips and some have gone on to serve full time as missionaries, pastors and in other areas of ministry. The congregation seeks to faithfully live into their mission statement to be a family of believers serving God through worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission living the cross-centered life.

Ronald Emery Appointed to Derry/Hillside

Announced: 03-05-2017

About Ronald L. Emery

Ronald L. Emery has been appointed to serve the Derry/Hillside charge in Derry, PA effective July 1, 2017. Ron entered ministry in 2000 after accumulating  a vast array of life experiences from which to draw. He has served the Shanksville/Central City Charge, Seward, the Coalport Circuit, Eldred, and the Grampian Circuit. God has gifted him in areas of administration and placed within him a passion for worship in many contexts. He attempts to relate the common things in everyday life to the precepts in Scripture, as evidence that God's Word breathes just as real today as it did when it was written. He likes to interject subtle humor to confound the belief that it is sacrilegious to smile in church. His life adage is that it is important to walk humbly before God first, and then maintain that same posture before all others one encounters. Ron and his wife Sue have been married 30 years and have three wonderful daughters: Tyler, Morgan, and McKenna.

About Derry/Hillside Charge

The Derry/Hillside charge consists of two churches in the Derry Area. Derry: First United Methodist is in the borough of Derry, while Hillside United Methodist is located nearby in Derry Township, near Ridgeview Church Camp. These two churches are active in supporting the needs of their respective communities especially in times of crisis; house fire or other disasters, etc. They also sponsor local families in need during the holidays and Derry church provides free Thanksgiving meals and delivery. Derry church supports a large children’s ministry and Bible study. Hillside supports World Vision children, a Boy Scout Troop and more. Both churches possess an active laity and are dedicated to the furtherance of God’s Kingdom through faithful worship and good works.

Steve Morse Appointed to Central HIghlands UMC

Announced: 03-05-2017

About Stephen Morse
Stephen (“Steve”) Morse, who has served as pastor at First Greensburg UMC since 2011, is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance, and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Steve’s passion is “to connect people with God and God with people”. An experienced music director and song leader, Steve provided worship and music leadership at Annual Conference for many years and continues to do so.  Steve believes in what he describes as “relational theology” that sees God at work in and through individual relationships to bring people to the perfection of the Christian life. Steve and Lynne look forward to what God holds in store.  The couple has two daughters, Bethany and Gabrielle.  Bethany is the Animal Care Manager at Animal Friends of Westmoreland.  Gabrielle is a freshman at Westmoreland County Community College.
About Central Highlands Community UMC
Known for its music ministry, outreach in the community and as a place to go for help, Central Highlands is made up of faithful people who love the Lord and who are willing to get their hands dirty serving others. The church is strategically invested in several local partnerships, including with area schools, Scouts and other organizations designed to meet people’s needs. The church enjoys a “genuine spiritual presence” and is committed to becoming more “missional” in its ministries, more diverse in its make-up and, to making and nurturing disciples of all ages.

B.T. Gilligan appointed to Nixon UMC

Announced: 02-26-2017

About William T. (BT) Gilligan
William T. “BT” Gilligan will assume pastoral responsibilities at Nixon this summer and is looking forward with great excitement to this new appointment. BT has great pastoral sense and will offer the care of Christ to the constituents of Nixon while sharpening their focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. BT has had been especially effective in ministry with children and youth and outreach efforts that provide food for children on days that school is not in session. While serving at California UMC, he engaged in ministry with college students. On the Conference level, he chairs the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry.  BT and his wife Amanda, the Conference Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, are the parents of Samuel, 8, and Olivia, 6.
About Nixon UMC
Nixon United Methodist Church in central Butler County, across the street from the Butler County airport, offers a mix of the rural charm of Western Pennsylvania and the suburban incandescence of Butler, Cranberry, and Mars. The Nixon congregation has an undying desire to serve Christ through community, regional, and international mission involvement. The church seeks to make God's love real for all people -- children, youth, young adults, middle-aged, and senior saints.

Ed Saxman appointed to Grace UMC of Grove City

Announced: 02-19-2017

About Ed Saxman
Ed has been a pastor since 1989. He has served the Amity UMC, First UMC of Bridgeville and currently serves Oakland UMC of Dempseytown.  He is the founder of the Autism Initiative (a respite ministry for families living with autism); a long-time dean of Jumonville’s Creative Arts Camp, and a board member for the Three Rivers Walk to Emmaus.  Using 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as a benchmark, his goal is to bear witness to the presence of God through his life by adhering to the Wesleyan standard, “do no harm, do good, and love God."  Ed believes that relationships are the key to building the Kingdom of God.  Ed and his wife Susan celebrate a wonderful family: Paul, Megan (Mike) and Jonathon and one amazing granddaughter, Victoria. 
About Grove City Grace
Grace United Methodist Church originated in two camp meetings.  Soon after these meetings a “class” was formed in each neighborhood.  All the “classes” came together to build the first church in 1844. Grace exists to be a transforming, serving church, sharing the love of Jesus Christ with all.  Its purpose is to glorify God through prayer and worship and to nurture believers to evangelize new disciples for Jesus Christ as we serve our neighbors, near and far, with the love of Jesus.  Grace Church is known throughout the Grove City area for their friendliness and community involvement. Over 315 people worship on a weekend at Grace in a Saturday night and a Sunday morning worship experience.

Rich Pearson appointed to Kantner

Announced: 02-19-2017

About Rich Pearson
Rev Richard Pearson has been appointed to Kantner UM in Stoystown, PA, near Camp Allegheny. Rev Pearson is well known to Annual Conference members who likely have seen him moving about the front of the room with his camera. Pearson shares Kantner’s passion to minister to children and youth.   Both the pastor and the congregation embrace traditional and contemporary worship and are excited about their future serving God in every way possible. 
About Kantner
The Kantner congregation there has enjoyed growth and solid health during the tenure of Rev. Dennis Zimmerman, who is retiring.  Sunday’s worship is opened with a set of praise and worship music , then transitions to a traditional style.  The service is live streamed both on the Internet and to the fellowship hall, where an overflow group watches from tables.  There is a vibrant children’s program and many outreach ministries, including a laity-led study at the local trailer park. 

Steve Gruver Appointed to Windover Hills

Announced: 02-19-2017

About Steve Gruver
Steven J. Gruver has served Pittsfield: Otterbein UMC in Kane District for the past 15 years, and previously served at Townville/Troy Center and Bradford First UMC.  Beyond the local church, he remains very involved in the Bethel Park Camp Meeting near Bedford, PA.  He has a passion for leading contemporary and informal traditional worship services.  He recognizes that God’s grace is the margin of difference in his life, and is gifted in leading teams to seek the vision and leading of the Holy Spirit.  He is very relational and seeks to help others experience transformational relationships with Jesus through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  Steve is committed to leadership development and empowerment of laity.  He is a musician, enjoys riding his motorcycle, and spending time with family.  Steve was recently married.  He and wife Elizabeth have five adult children. 
About Windover Hills
Windover Hills UMC in the Pittsburgh suburb of South Park was launched as a church plant by Baldwin Community UMC and a Conference group in 1958. It has grown significantly in recent years and the congregation is very welcoming and age-diverse with long-standing and recent members, including young families who can choose to attend a contemporary or traditional worship service.  There is a vibrant music ministry provided by a praise team, chancel choir, and children’s choir. The church operates a pre-school and has a thriving Sunday school, Christian education program, and small groups for children, youth, adults and seniors.  The congregation is missions-focused and supports several inner-city children and adult feeding ministries, another United Methodist missional community in the Mon Valley, and two missionaries in Australia and Latvia.     

D. Chris Livermore appointed to Charter Oak UMC - Jeannette

Announced: 02-12-2017

About D. Chris Livermore
Chris Livermore has been serving the First United Methodist Church in Murrysville for the last five years. The Murrysville Church has increased missional awareness; financial stewardship has grown, and small group participation has multiplied as a part of an intentional discipleship process. Prior to coming to Murrysville First Church, Chris served at Youngwood UMC, Community UMC in Harrison City, Miller UMC, and Hillside/Torrance UMCs. Chris has served on a variety of Conference committees – New Church Starts, New Communities of Faith, Parish and Community Development, and BOOM. He also has served on the district committee on Buildings and Locations. Chris and Carla, his wife of 35 years, have a son Shane, who is a freshman at Waynesburg College.
About Charter Oak United Methodist Church
Charter Oak Church is one church in multiple locations. Chris Whitehead is the Lead Pastor. Chris Livermore will become pastor of the new Jeannette Campus. Charter Oak Church is known for a clear process for making disciples, leadership development, vibrant children’s and student ministries, and a heart for reaching all of Westmoreland County with the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The people of Charter Oak Church serve locally through partnerships with Adelphoi Village, Union Mission, and Westmoreland County Food Bank; regionally through partnerships with Eighth Avenue Place, Appalachia Service Project, and World Vision; and internationally through Won by One to Jamaica, Zimbabwe and Black Forest Academy in Germany.