2023 Appointments

Appointments effective July 1, except where noted.

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Sorted by Announced Date


Hoeke to Serve Franklin First UMC

Announced: 08-27-2023
About Connie Hoeke
Connie has been an Ordained Elder in the Western Pa. Annual Conference since June, 1998 and has been a Retired Elder since November 1, 2022. She was raised in the First United Methodist Church of Blairsville, Pa. in the Western Pa. Annual Conference and was baptized, confirmed and started the UMYF there. Following her graduation from high school, she attended Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. and graduated with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy. She worked primarily with children as an Occupational Therapist for 31 years during which time she owned a successful Occupational Therapy business for 26 years.

In 1988, she attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary part time and graduated in 1994 with a MDiv. She served at 2 churches in Knoxville, Tn, which were part of the Holston Conference and then served in the Western Pa. Conference at Bakerstown UMC, Castle Shannon UMC, and Baldwin Community UMC, all in the Pittsburgh District. She then served at Trinity UMC in the Washington District. Since 2013, she has been at Summit UMC in the Erie-Meadville District, as an unappointed Assistant Pastor. During this time, she has helped with Worship Leadership, served communion twice per month, and preached an average of once per quarter. She has also assisted in Pastoral Care as well as serving as a co-leader in the Stephen Ministry Program. She has served as the Adult Discipleship Coordinator for the last 3 years, focusing on small group development. She has also led Women’s Spiritual Retreats for the last 5 years.

From 2017 through 2019, Connie completed the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation through the Upper Room and graduated from an approved two-year program for Spiritual Direction in August 2022. She currently works as a Spiritual Director. She regards herself as a student of the Spiritual Life and has practiced contemplation and other spiritual practices and has taught and preached on these practices. Connie also serves as Chairperson of the Annual Conference Discipleship team and has implemented a Speaker Series on Spiritual Formation for the Annual Conference during the last 2 years. She hopes to lead the Discipleship team to develop other programs in the coming year.

Connie is married to her husband of 45 years, Rev. Dr. Tom Hoeke, who is appointed to serve at Summit UMC in Erie. They are proud parents of 2 adult children, Heather and Erik, and also proud grandparents of Pauline and Archer. Family is very important to her as are her friendships. She is excited about the opportunity to serve at Franklin First UMC in Franklin, Pa.

About Franklin First UMC
First United Methodist Church in Franklin, PA welcomes anyone with open arms into our church to come and worship with us. Our mission is to know Jesus and to make Jesus known. Once a month we offer a free dinner to our community.  Anyone can come and socialize and eat in our social hall or meals can be on a take-out basis. We also have several groups that meet regularly; those being the prayer group, Bible study , women's group, men's group, and quilters.

Miller to Serve Oil City: Grace

Announced: 08-27-2023
About John Miller
Miller received his B. A. from Grove City College in 1969 with a major in Philosophy and Religion, and the Master of Divinity degree from the Divinity School of Duke University, Durham, N.C., in 1972. Drew University School of Theology conferred a Doctor of Ministry degree on the Reverend John D. Miller in 1993 at the Madison, N.J. campus.

Miller was pastor of the five United Methodist congregations of Wills Creek and Hyndman Grace Charge in Bedford County, 1972-1975, and of the Tionesta and West Hickory United Methodist Charge from 1975 to 1979.  He was the Executive Director of Olmsted Manor from 1979 to 2001, and senior pastor of Mt Lebanon UMC in the south hills of Pittsburgh, 2001-2006, and First UMC-New Castle, 2006 until his retirement July 1, 2010. He provided 8 months of interim pastoral care at Cranberry-Rockland Charge during Covid.

Miller has been president of the North American Retreat Directors Association (currently Oikosnet-North America), moderated the World Collaboration Committee's planning committee for the first World Convention of Lay Centres and Academies held in Montreat, N.C., involving 400 global leaders in lay education.  He has served as Chairperson of the Conference Commission on Worship and the Continuing Education Committee. Furthermore, he served as the Registrar for the Western Pennsylvania Conference United Methodist Church Board of Ordained Ministry.  He was elected as a clergy delegate from the W. Pa. Conference to the 1996 General and Jurisdictional Conferences of the United Methodist Church and was a delegate to the 2000 Jurisdictional Conference.  He served on the Committee on Ordained Ministry for both Kane and Pittsburgh Districts and on the Ethics Committee of St Clair Hospital, Mt. Lebanon.

His role as senior pastor was to provide visionary leadership and energizing administration for each vital congregation. Preaching, teaching, spirituality, pastoral care and administration have engaged his parish ministry. Miller's role as Executive Director of Olmsted Manor was to guide a ministry of hospitality which encouraged personal enrichment, strengthened the local church, enhanced global awareness, and emphasized formation by God's Spirit.  Miller provided biblical, theological, and spiritual leadership for groups, coordinated ecumenical learning experiences in many countries, and administrative oversight of Olmsted Manor's program and staff.

He is married to Diane M. Cox of Rockland, formerly the staff Coordinator of the WPA UMC Conference Volunteer in Ministry (VIM). John and Diane have three children, Kelly C. Martini, free lance writer, Carrie Chelko, general counsel of Jackson National, East Lansing, MI and Adam, a practicing Veterinary MD in Warren, PA and granddaughters, Talia Celeste Martini and Sarah Dale Chelko, and grandsons, Andrew James Chelko, John David Martini, Jr., Carlos Humberto Martini and Coleman Russell Dale Miller.

About Oil City: Grace
Grace United Methodist Church will be celebrating 160 years this fall. Grace was established as a result of two pastors who came into the area to bring the gospel to those seeking their fortunes in the oil boom days in Venango County. Rev. McCombs, who had been a pastor for 12 years and Rev. Groves, young and newly appointed, were assigned to the President Charge in 1863. They began their work with a revival meeting at the Pinoak Schoolhouse. Subsequently Sunday School classes in homes and services in meeting halls developed a congregation that built their first church in 1869. As the congregation grew, the current building construction began in 1892 at the corner of Central Avenue and West First Street. Throughout Grace’s 160 years it has maintained a high focus on missionary work and education. During the great missionary movement in the early 1920’s, Grace built a school and church in PyengYang, Korea. At the height of Grace’s post World War II membership growth in the 1950’s, a huge three-storied educational building was constructed adjacent to the beautiful Romanesque church constructed in 1892. Today Grace’s congregation is much smaller due to decrease in local population, COVID restrictions, church division, and the general decrease in America’s church attending culture. However, the tight-knit congregation continues to support the ministry and many missions of Grace Church with a benevolent budget of $64,900. Currently a campaign is underway to provide much needed cleaning buckets to the Mission Barn in New Castle. Grace continues to have a mission to spread the gospel and make disciples. The congregation remains hopeful and hard working. The pastoral team that is currently being created to guide Grace throughout this transitional time will be welcomed with willing workers and good spirits.

Moudry to Serve Slippery Rock UMC

Announced: 08-06-2023
About Susan Moudry
Susan Moudry moved to the Pittsburgh area with her family as a child and grew up participating in the life of Ingomar UMC. A graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Susan earned her Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She served at Creekside and Indiana Trinity UMCs before beginning her graduate studies at Baylor University.
Susan holds a PhD in the history of Christianity. Her research interests include American Methodism in the nineteenth century, as well as the intersection of religion and politics. She published articles with Methodist History, Pneuma, and contributed a piece on women’s suffrage for The UMC’s General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
For six years Susan served on the WPAUMC Conference staff, as the first Coordinator of Clergy and Lay Leadership Excellence. Following, she was appointed to serve as the Director of Lay and Continuing Education at Brite Divinity School.
Susan is active with the WPA Conference Commission on Archives and History. Outside the church, she is a member of P.E.O. International, an organization that promotes the advancement of women through education. She enjoys traveling and board games. Her husband Matt currently serves as the Director of Administration and Generosity at Ingomar UMC. The Moudrys are the parents of two elementary-aged children. 

About Slippery Rock UMC
Slippery Rock United Methodist Church was established in 1834 and has been an integral part of this university town ever since. Although our congregation is currently smaller than it was ten years ago, the loving, dedicated members work together to build the church membership and continue outreach programs in the community and at the university. Our goals for the immediate future are focusing on education and fellowship, senior life, and support for SRU students. Our congregation is caring and welcoming, and our weekly worship, whether virtual or in our sanctuary, is filled with prayer, music, and the celebration of the love of Jesus in our lives.

Murray to Serve Arnold UMC

Announced: 07-30-2023
About Todd Murray
Todd Murray is a member of Holiday Park United Methodist Church and a Lay Servant for Arnold United Methodist Church. He received a Master’s degree in Religion along with Urban Ministry at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

In ministry, Todd served an internship with his wife Dawn at Lighthouse Missions which was located in Arnold, PA. He continued outreach by leading a Bible Studies class for the Alle-Kiski Community Center and provided grocery donations to Lighthouse Missions; he had a vision to continue with the community. After graduation he furthered with Nursing Home Ministries at Walden’s View until the year of 2021.
Todd is also the Rental Manager of a Social Hall. He has a passion for music and leads a violin-fiddle club at the Plum Community Center. He considers it a blessing to be able to share the Gospel with the congregation of the Arnold United Methodist Church.

About Arnold UMC

Estrada to serve Erie: San Juan/Henderson

Announced: 07-09-2023
About Israel Jonathan Estrada
Israel Jonathan Estrada is a native of Honduras and a graduate of Mercyhurst University with a BA in Music Performance.  Jonathan’s spiritual roots are in the Honduran United Methodist church where his Grandfather was a prominent minister.  His father is the music minister of Jonathan’s home Church in Tegucigalpa Honduras.  For the past 3 years Jonathan the Hispanic preaching assistant and worship leader of San Juan.   His new appointment as the pastor of both Henderson and San Juan allow him to focus full time on revitalizing these congregations as they move toward merger as one diverse congregation.  This will enable them to better focus on reaching the community around them.  Jonathan will serve as a supply pastor as he works toward  Licensed Ministry.  He believes he is answering God’s call, which was discerned by his Grandfather before Jonathan left Honduras.  Jonathan lives in Erie with his two sons Israel age 8 and Jackson, age 6.

About Erie: San Juan/Henderson
Henderson United Methodist Church
Henderson United Methodist Church has been a multi-racial congregation located in the east-central area of the City of Erie. Through their history they have successfully brought hope to their neighbors, welcoming all regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, economic circumstances or current life experience.  Many significant community ministries have been birthed by this congregation, including the Rainbow Connection and the congregation of San Juan.
Iglesia Metodista Unida de San Juan
San Juan United Methodist Church is located on property adjacent to Henderson United Methodist Church. Through the years they have maintained a unique position in our Annual Conference as a Hispanic congregation offering worship and study in the Spanish language and culture. Like their partners in ministry, Henderson UMC, the congregation has also suffered decline in their congregation.
A Plan for Revitalization. 
Both of these congregations exist in the heart of the east-central area of Erie.  A community that has recently begun to work hard at revitalization. Henderson and San Juan as a viable site for revitalizing and reestablishing a diverse congregation in the City of Erie. Surrounding these campuses are Hispanic, African, South East Asian and Middle Eastern families. The neighborhood borders several public housing complexes and contains some of the most impoverished households in the city. In order to better unite their efforts in reaching the community,   the congregations have agreed to work toward merger, as one congregation offering worship in both English and Spanish. 
Because of the location and heritage of San Juan and Henderson, these congregations, with the help and support of our Annual Conference Director of Congregational Development and Revitalization, Rev. Robert Wilson: and the Conference Coordinating Cabinet, these congregations are embarking on a plan of revitalization and development.  Israel Estrada’s assignment places a pastoral leader who is a member of the diverse Hispanic Community. As one who has experienced the immigration process, he is uniquely suited to uses his many gifts to bring vital ministry to the community as the congregation works toward revitalization.

Shaughnessy to Serve as Heartland Crossroads Associate

Announced: 07-09-2023
About Terry L. Shaughnessy

Rev. Terry Shaughnessy was born and raised in Franklin, PA where he was a member of First United Methodist Church until becoming a clergy member of the Western PA Annual Conference.  After graduating from Franklin High School Terry attended Clarion College (now Clarion University) for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Navy where he served with helicopter squadrons based in San Diego for eight years.  Upon his discharge from the Navy Terry completed his B.S. Degree for Human Resources Management from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles.  He then returned to Franklin and worked as a sub-contract buyer for Joy Manufacturing Company until the company experienced an economic downturn in their manufacture of underground coal mining equipment and his position was eliminated.

Upon the encouragement of a dear friend who was the Director of Christian Education at First UMC Franklin at time when Terry was deeply involved in the Christian Education department, he enrolled in the Master of Christian Education degree program at Duke Divinity School.  During his first assignment as an intern at Duke's Chapel UMC in Durham, Terry responded to God's call to pastoral ministry and changed his major to the Master of Divinity degree program at Duke.  For the remainder of his studies at Duke, he served as a Student Local Pastor for the Mt. Tabor-Riverview Charge in the Durham District of the North Carolina Annual Conference.

Following graduation from Duke Terry returned to the Western PA Conference for his first full time appointment at the Eastbrook UMC and where he was serving when he was ordained as an Elder by Bishop James Ault in 1988.  From there he was appointed to First UMC in Union City where he served for fifteen years.  After leaving Union City, Terry served Grove City Grace, Washington First, and Erie First UM Churches until his retirement in December 2012.  During this time  he also served on the Board of Directors for both Wesley Woods and Olmsted Manor as well as on the Board of Ordained Ministry for the Erie-Meadville District as both secretary and registrar.

After his retirement Terry moved to Zephyrhills, FL where he was involved on the prayer ministry team at New Walk Church and was a volunteer chaplain at the Florida Hospital of Zephyrhills.  In January 2016 he was asked to serve as interim pastor for Seffner First UMC in the South Central District of the Florida Annual Conference for six months.  He was then appointed as that church's pastor (part time) and served for two more years before giving up the sunshine and warm winters of Florida and returned  to live in  PA closer to his family and to return to ministry in the Erie-Meadville District once again with a part-time  appointment to the Cochranton UMC where he served for three years before retiring again.

Terry has enjoyed long-distance bicycling, taking trips to Gustavus, Alaska for halibut and salmon fishing, traveling with friends,  He is an avid Duke basketball fan who lived out one of his bucket list dreams by attending the 2017 season Duke/UNC game played at Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke and cheered Duke on to a win over Carolina.  After two years into his second retirement Terry has answered the call to return to ministry in the Erie-Meadville District once again by joining the pastoral leadership team of the Heartland Crossroads Cooperative Ministry where he will further full-fill his passion for preaching God's Word.

About Heartland Crossroads
The Heartland Crossroads Cooperative Parish is a fellowship of five small town and rural congregations. (Albion: Calvary; Conneautville: Valley; Hickernell; Palmer and Franklin Center.   The six congregations support each other’s ministries as well as cooperate together on many joint mission projects and worship experiences.  The Churches are served by a pastoral staff of a lead pastor, assisted by two part-time associates. The staff shares preaching and pastoral care responsibilities as they rotate through the congregations on a monthly basis. Terry will be serving as a third part-time pastor/preacher on the staff.  

Reese to Serve Rosedale, Verona, Community: Aspinwall and First: New Kensington

Announced: 07-07-2023
About Dale Reese
Dale grew up in the Kiski Area valley and attended Vandergrift UMC.  As a youth, Dale attended a Canadian Canoe Fishing Camp sponsored by our Camping program where he committed his life Jesus.  This began a faith journey that continues to this day.  In High School, he became involved with youth programming including becoming Greensburg District Youth President and Worship Chair of the Conference Youth Council.  Many pastors had great influence on Dale in that time, as he felt called of God to pursue ordained ministry. 

In a conversation with Bishop Nichols, he suggested Dale pursue a degree in Business Administration as many churches function more as a business than what pastors understand, and get the theological training in seminary.  So, Dale graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Penn State University. 

While at Penn State, Dale met his wife, Sylvia, while both attended the college Sunday School class at St. Paul’s UMC. They were married July 1983.  They have two sons who live in the Monroeville area.  Besides serving the church, they love to read and travel together.  Dale is also an avid golfer.

Dale has served United Methodist churches for over 40 years of ministry including Centerville, Ohio: Erie: Lakewood; Rochester: Zion; Windover Hills; and Trinity Tower.  Dale has also been the Conference Memoirs coordinator since 1999.  A believer in long term pastorates, Dale is one of those rare pastors who has a history of serving two United Methodist congregations for more than 10 years.

About Rosedale, Verona, Community: Aspinwall and First: New Kensington

About the First United Methodist Church of New Kensington

The First United Methodist Church of New Kensington, as it is currently known, was founded in 1869, with the Reverend John T. Riley serving as pastor and services being held in a frame building church on Bridge Street in the village of Parnassus (now a section of New Kensington).  New Kensington grew over the years, mostly due to the founding of ALCOA on its riverfront and so did its population and the city’s various churches.  By the 1960s our church had long been a vibrant part of the community with active outreach programs and multiple Sunday services and Sunday Schools.  But, as ALCOA and other industries moved away from New Kensington in the late 60s, our church membership dwindled.  There were few jobs and young people moved away in search of employment.  COVID didn’t help either and attendance dropped into the double digits and not infrequently, to the single digits.  While we do donate to Samaritan’s Purse each Christmas, our only remaining outreach program is the popular Food Bank, one of several in a city of need.  Our church was always known for its friendly congregation.  That remains true today, even with our almost exclusively elderly, small numbers.

About Verona United Methodist Church

Verona UMC is located in an urban area of Verona Township in the Pittsburgh District. The church opens its building with a variety of events on behalf of the members of the community such as Emergency Food Pantry, Clothes Closet, Children's Advocates Mission that helps families with small needs of all kinds, utility bills, and other assistance. The church partners with various community congregations and agencies to make those outreach ministries effective.  A prayer net is the heart of the church in terms of caring for people in spirit. The congregation is diverse in theology, ethnicity, talents, interests, and ways of expressing their faith.

About Rosedale United Methodist Church

Rosedale UMC is a faithful community of Christ located in Verona. Rosedale people are passionate in worshipping and gathering for the Lord. They offer their talents and times in leading worship service and serving the community. The church partners with Reconciliation Anglican Church on mission project throughout the year, such as collecting items for outreach projects. They house the Rosedale Community Food Bank to support people who are in need. The church is becoming more diverse in ethnicities and in age. The church has an active prayer chain, through which the congregants are strongly connected and support their families, friends, and neighbors in spirit.

About Community United Methodist Church in Aspinwall

Community UMC is a loving and faithful community located in Aspinwall, a small town along the Allegheny River just minutes away from Pittsburgh. The small, loving congregation has a heart for prayer ministry by sharing and lifting prayer requests of the members of the community. Their outreach ministry into the community is accomplished through Child/Family Advocacy programs at North Hills Community Outreach. The church supports the Community Child Development Center by sharing its building and praying for the staff and the children.

Poole to Serve St. Pauls: Youngwood and South Greensburg

Announced: 07-05-2023
About Don Poole
Don Poole has been a pastor in the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church for over 40 years, the last 12 of them at Salix Bethel United Methodist Church before retiring in July.  Don and Chrissy, his wife of 26 years, both grew up in Greensburg.  In 2000, they adopted their daughter, Rebecca, from Russia. They have been active in making disciples, mentoring, worship, leadership, youth, missions and camping ministries at every level of our Annual Conference.  Don has a heart to see people of all ages experience God in a real way through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He sees his calling to equip, lead and work with the others so as to live out the purpose of experiencing God’s presence and making disciples of Jesus Christ through all the world by prayer, worship, vision, leadership, programming, missions, ministry, team development and living our God’s calling in mission and ministry.  He has a very personal and interactive style in ministry looking to invite others to join together in doing the call to mission and service for Christ.  He looks to develop a team ministry atmosphere where all are equipped and invited to use their passions, talents, Spiritual gifts and individual styles to live out the calling of Christ in each of our lives.  He enjoys various styles and opportunities in worship, leadership and ministry that allow people to encounter and be changed by the Presence of Christ.  He feels our walk with Christ is a real, personal and living relationship that is lived out together in the body of Christ.

About St. Pauls: Youngwood/South Greensburg
South Greensburg:
 The South Greensburg church was organized in 1889 by a group of Christian believers who felt so deeply the need to have a place of worship that they mortgaged their own homes in order to build a church building.  With the mission “To Honor, Share, and Grow in Christ,” the congregation sees its purpose in the community of South Greensburg as reaching out and sharing the love of Jesus with everyone, until all come to know Him as their Savior and Lord.
Saint Paul: Youngwood
Saint Paul UMC is a small church with a big heart.  Established in 1901 at the home of Rev. H. J. Hickman, a group of dedicated Christians laid plans for the first church in Youngwood. The congregation still has a strong laity presence that is active in ministry in the community including the Westmoreland County Fair hospitality room.

Laude to Serve Clymer Charge

Announced: 06-25-2023
About Katrina Laude
Katrina was born in Nashville, TN, and grew up in Indiana, PA where she graduated from high school (1994) and then from IUP (1998). She then went back to Nashville where she earned her MDiv degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School (2002). A few years later, Katrina moved back to WPA where she began her ministry. She has now served in full-time ministry for 15 years. Katrina has two adult sons and a baby grandson. She enjoys watching British TV with her mother, mysteries, reading, writing, theatre, concerts, Converse Chucks, IUP women's basketball, Doctor Who, and playing the guitar. She has been a part of leading Celebrate Recovery, prison ministry, and leading a Bible study at the Recovery Center. Katrina loves helping people who see themselves as the remnants- those who feel that they've been left behind or are on the outside of the reach of God's grace. Katrina has a passion for social justice as well as mercy ministries. Katrina is currently studying about trauma therapy as well as Splankna healing ministry, and she is working to become certified as a life coach, a solution-focused therapy specialist, and to become a Freedom Coach through the Freedom Academy with Karrie Scott Garcia. 

About Clymer Charge
The Clymer Charge consists of the Clymer and Diamondville UMCs in the Indiana District. Both churches work well together in serving their community and sharing Christian fellowship with one another and through outreach ministries.

Nelson to Serve Calvary: Pittsburgh

Announced: 06-25-2023
About Beth Nelson
Rev. Beth L. Nelson grew up in the Mon Valley in the little town of Fayette City.  She graduated from Belle Vernon Area High School and then Otterbein College in Westerville Ohio.  Her educational journey took her to Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC and it was there that she fell in love with the city and all its ministry possibilities.  Her first appointment was to Erie and during her ministry there, she was one of the founding pastors of The Refuge, The Rainbow Connection and San Juan United Methodist Church.

Beth’s next appointments were Mars, Carnegie, and Coraopolis.  Beth was appointed as The Director of Training and Resources for the Annual Conference and spent many years as part of the Conference Program staff.  In 2011, Beth was appointed to Salem United Methodist Church in Wexford until she retired in June of 2020, after 43 years of service.  Since retirement, Beth has been working “part time” at the United Methodist Church Union.  She is the president of the CommonRoots Federal Credit Union Board of Directors and a Board member of The United Methodist House at Chautauqua.  She also serves on the Mission Strategy Team of the Pittsburgh District and the District Committee on Ministry.

Weekly, Beth volunteers at the Olive Branch, a fair-trade gift store and mission center in Wexford.  This is an outreach of Salem United Methodist Church and makes a positive difference throughout the world.  Through sewing projects, knitting, and crocheting, women are changing history for those in need.  In addition, the items sold in our store are helping women and children break the bonds of poverty and lead meaningful, healthy lives.  

In her spare time, Beth is a dedicated Pittsburgh sports fan!  She has been a Pirate season ticket holder for over 25 years.  Beth enjoys live theater, at the Benedum, in small theater venues and on Broadway.  She shares season tickets for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops.  Beth has a passion for traveling the world and an even greater passion and love for the city of Pittsburgh!
To relax, Beth loves to build jigsaw puzzles.  If she posts many puzzles in a row on Facebook, chances are she is stressed about something.  But she is always happy to welcome others to her puzzle building therapy.  Beth is known for having many “happy places” and Calvary United Methodist Church is her newest happy place!

About Calvary UMC
Calvary celebrates its over 125 years of ministry on the Northside of Pittsburgh. Our chapel opened on Christmas Eve 1893 while the sanctuary and official opening services took place in June 1895. Today Calvary is an active and growing congregation. Our congregation welcomes everyone, not just to our services but as part of our family. Missional outreach, educational opportunities and excellent musical offering with concerts and weekly worship highlights much of our excitement and faith filled energies.

Every year thousands of people visit our historic and nationally archived facility, but today we are also blessed with thousands of folks here for weddings, multiple programs, concerts and weekly worship services. As our sign proclaims: You are God’s Beloved and you are welcome here!

Siciliano to Serve in Extension Ministry at Pittsburgh Mercy

Announced: 06-24-2023
About Shane Siciliano
Shane was born and raised in Southwest Florida, but he has lived in Western Pennsylvania for most of his life.  Shane attained his bachelor’s degree and Master of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in community organizing and social administration, before graduating from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Shane worked to collaborate with others in Downtown Pittsburgh when the only homeless shelter for youth closed.  He helped establish a new base of operations at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center to provide these youth with housing, employment, and educational services.  As a social worker, he worked in McKeesport running HIV/AIDS projects.  Shane was ordained as a full elder while serving Point UMC and Alum Bank UMC in Bedford County.  His roots are in the Pittsburgh District where he also served Calvary UMC.  He is the current chair of the Commission on Archives and History and serves on the Connectional Leadership Team.

Shane enjoys visits and vacations with friends and family.  He enjoys concerts, theater, comics, game nights, loud music, and exercise competitions with his friends.  Shane has traveled to many states and countries including mission trips to Mississippi, South Africa, and Lesotho.

Shane believes that, inside and outside of the local church, we are all meant to be part of a team, joining to build up God’s Kingdom here on earth.  Shane is joining one of Pittsburgh Mercy’s Community Treatment Teams.  As a licensed therapist, he will work with a team of nurses, psychiatrists, and other specialists who provide services in each person’s actual home.  He will be the only drug & alcohol specialist on the team.  Shane loves that Mercy encourages team members to help beyond their mandate, taking patients on walks or to doctor’s appointments, moving or assembling their furniture, or making difficult phone calls.  Even though insurance companies expect hourlong therapy sessions, Shane never has to turn down a request for help and say, “That’s not my job,” “I’m on the clock,” or “Go ask someone else for help.”  Even as a therapist, Shane will be encouraged to offer the Sacraments, incorporate Scripture into therapy, and embody Christian service.  He is looking forward to approaching service through teamwork, knowing that God calls us to work together.

About Pittsburgh Mercy
Pittsburgh Mercy and Trinity Health have their roots in the Sisters of Mercy, founded in 1831.  In 1843, Pittsburgh became the very first American chapter of the Sisters of Mercy.  Today, Trinity has employees and services in 26 states and Pittsburgh Mercy is one of the largest health and human service nonprofit organizations and employers in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Together they serve more than 1.3 million people.  True to the spirit of connectionalism, it can take such huge economies of scale to effectively serve people who no one else will serve.  Community Treatment Teams (CTT) serve people with debilitating challenges like intellectual and developmental disabilities, severe physical limitations, or mental health disorders like schizophrenia.  Rather than leave them with poor outcomes from repeated trips to emergency rooms and missed appointments, CTT uses extensive funding to send healthcare providers to them, house by house.
Beyond the CTT program, Pittsburgh Mercy is locally known for award-winning ministries like Operation Safety Net and Bethlehem Haven.  Most famously, Pittsburgh Mercy started Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, the first Mercy hospital in the country.  Pittsburgh Mercy handed over the hospital to UPMC in 2007 to better focus on their mission of serving the needy and forgotten.  The past 16 years have been marked by a renewed focus on communities.  Pittsburgh Mercy and Trinity Health serve together in the spirit of the Gospel as a compassionate and transforming, healing presence within our communities.

Ciarimboli to Serve Craigsville UMC and Fenelton UMC

Announced: 06-11-2023
About Todd Ciarimboli
Todd Ciarimboli was born and raised in Greensburg, PA, where he graduated from Greensburg Salem High School. He received two Associates degrees in computer networking and telecommunications and then went on to earn a BS in Paralegal Studies from Kaplan University.  He graduated from United Theological Seminary in 2020 with a M.Div with a concentration in Wesleyan and Methodist Studies.
 After high school, Todd went into the US Marine Corp where he served in maintaining communications security in an artillery battalion.  After serving 8 years, he was honorably discharged in 2004.  For the past 18 years Todd has worked in the criminal justice field with the PA Department of Corrections and is currently working in PA Probation & Parole with the supervision and re-entry of individuals reentering society.  
Todd has served the FUMC Butler on the Administration Board, Mission Board, Care Teams, Prison Ministry, Youth Group, Drug and Alcohol ministries, hand bell choir, and as needed in any capacity.

Todd has a passion for Missions and Outreach to those who are disenfranchised and marginalized.  He has been married to Angie (Thompson) Ciarimboli since 2014. They have 5 children. Their oldest son Tyler is deceased.  Their remaining children are Aaron, Troy, Tori, and Jordan and range in age from 20 - 16. 

About Craigsville and Fenelton UMC
This charge consists of Craigsville UMC in Worthington, PA and Fenelton UMC in Fenelton, PA. These churches, located on the eastern edge of the Butler District and each with its own history and temperament, share a common mission: to glorify God and to honor the name of Jesus Christ. Their core convictions are that the worship of the Triune God is of primary importance and that the Bible, as God’s inspired Word, is the final authority in matters of life and faith. The churches are eager to enter a new season of ministry in the months ahead.

Kennedy to Serve John Wesley UMC as Part of Best Friends in Christ Charge

Announced: 06-11-2023
About Jerome Kennedy
Jerome Forkpa Kennedy grew up in Lofa County in northern Liberia, where his family was active in the William P. Kennedy UMC, a church named in memory of his grandfather, who was a local leader of the United Methodist Church. Jerome attended Sunday school and was active in the United Methodist Youth and other church organizations through high school.  While in high school, as he prayed and reflected on his vocation, Jerome said, "The Spirit helped me realize the sense of peace and fulfillment within me when I organized and/or led activities related to the church, as well as my desire to transform lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ."  

After accepting the call to ministry, Jerome studied at Gbarnga School of Theology (GST), the ecumenical theological college operated at the time by Lutherans and United Methodists.  His years at GST were disrupted by the Liberian civil war, which began on December 24, 1989 and by early 1990 had reached central Liberia, where GST was located.  The college was forced to close.  Students and faculty left the area and went to Monrovia while the war continued to spread.  In 1992, GST was relocated to Monrovia and Jerome continued his studies, graduating in 2005 with the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree.

Jerome's passions for ministry are outreach and mission, preaching the Word of God, and providing care for those he serves. "There are so many people who are not actively involved in a local church and the church was called not to be self-contained, but to also offer forgiveness, love, understanding, and salvation to those who seek," he says.  "Outreach and mission to all ages, children, youth, adults and the elderly is important because Jesus said whatever we do to the least we do to him (Matthew 25:40)." Jerome loves preaching biblical sermons and he preaches from the lectionary, which allows him to develop the discipline of doing exegesis on various passages, not just on those that might be his  favorites.  Jerome also is focused on empowering laity for active roles in the church. 

About Best Friends in Christ Charge
John Wesley UMC is a small, family church that sits on the edge of downtown Washington, PA.  In close proximity to the LeMoyne Center and Washington & Jefferson College, John Wesley is envisioning new ways to engage with the young folks at the Center and the young adults attending the college.  Outreach and community engagement is important to the members.  They work tirelessly to reach the people in the neighborhoods surrounding the church, while pooling resources with other faith traditions to show the love of Jesus in their community. Another staple in the family atmosphere of John Wesley is the fall picnic.  The picnic is not a church picnic, but a community picnic.  It is not unusual for a new face to become a new member.  This is not an official motto, but a stranger is a member of John Wesley they have not met yet.  A friendly congregation that strives to be a beacon of light in a community and a world that needs it.  

Bushik-Blosat to Serve Gethsemane UMC

Announced: 06-04-2023
About Patty Bushik-Blosat
Patty Blosat has been a Western PA resident for more than half a century! She and her husband Jim live in N. Huntingdon, PA and are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Patty is a licensed local pastor, a Certified Congregational Leader (CCL), and serves on the Older Adult Ministry (OAM) team. She has been instrumental in designing and implementing two continuing education seminars for Autism Awareness at Achieving True Self in Irwin, PA. for the District.

A hair designer by trade and a pastor by calling, she is also the author and originator of Ministry in Miniature in which she took the weekly lectionary Gospel readings and wrote them into vividly captivating rhymes for the kid in each of us to enjoy!  She has taught Sunday School from Jr. High to Older Adults including ALPHA and DISCIPLE 1-4, directed and participated in a STICK ministry that utilized sign language and is active with many outreach opportunities locally and globally.
To meet UMC educational requirements, Patty is enrolled in the MDiv program at Ashland Seminary. She has an MTh in Christian Education Administration and a DMin from Northwestern Theological Seminary.

Patty is looking forward to sharing God’s Word in the sanctuary and serving the youth out in the community at Gethsemane UMC!

About Gethsemane UMC
Built in 1901, the former EUB church Gethsemane, stands as a beacon of hope in a community that has strengths despite challenges over the years. The "Jesus kneeling" stained glass window in the sanctuary is a constant reminder to the people of the church of the importance of prayer and placing their faith in Jesus. The congregation sees itself as a visible presence of hope and possibility in the community. The congregation is small, family friendly and strong in outreach and building relationships within the community and with other local churches.

Dinger to Serve Lake Pleasant/Miller Station UMCs

Announced: 06-04-2023
About Linda Dinger
Beginning July 1st, Rev. Linda Dinger will be adding an additional congregation to her circuit and will be serving a new charge alignment.

After working as, a Dental Hygienist for 20 years in her native Erie, Linda studied accounting and worked as a CPA.  It was during this time that she finally answered the call to ministry through her involvement in Simpson UMC in Erie.  After graduating from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary she was ordained an Elder in 2007.  Linda served multiple church circuits in her 19-year career that included both rural and urban settings.  She retired in 2020.  After a short period of retirement, Linda returned to pastoral ministry serving the Mill Village/Millers Station Charge.  Linda will remain pastor of Miller Station where she begins her 3rd year of service.  The addition of Lake Pleasant will form a new charge alignment.

About Lake Pleasant/Miller Station UMCs
About Miller’s Station
The Millers Station congregation is a small membership church with a keen interest in serving its community and reaching new disciples for Jesus Christ. The Congregation appreciates biblical preaching and teaching, and close knit fellowship. 
About Lake Pleasant
The Lake Pleasant United Methodist church describes itself as a fun and loving congregation. They value traditional worship and biblical teaching.  They have traditionally been an anchor institution in the surrounding rural area where persons can find help and hope in times of need.

Linda Dinger’s experience and skills as a preacher, teacher and pastoral care giver, make her an excellent match for Lake Pleasant as she adds them to continued leadership at Millers Station.

Kolacz to Serve Kiski Charge

Announced: 06-04-2023
About Julie Kolacz

Rev. Julie S. Kolacz is a native of Venango County where she started her journey as disciple of Jesus Christ at the age of eight upon having a miraculous encounter with God.  God led her to attend Sunday school and church in a small Presbyterian church in Pleasantville. A significant life event occurred at the age of fifteen.  She was placed in foster care through the Bair Foundation and was welcomed by the family of Rev. John and Susan Seth.   Julie has been a part of their family for forty years and she is deeply grateful for their impact on her life.

 Pastor Julie graduated from Grove City College where she majored in psychology and religion. She holds a M.S. in community counseling from Georgia State University and a M.Div. in pastoral counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary.

Her ministry with the UMC first began in 1999 when she was hired as a director of Christian education.  Shortly thereafter, she was a director of youth ministry.  She has pastored local churches since 2005 primarily in rural communities and most recently in Vintondale, PA.  Julie has ten years of experience serving as a part-time chaplain at Meadville Medical Center (extension ministry).  She has worked as a mental health therapist in various community settings. Pastor Julie was ordained as an elder in 2016.

Julie’s passion in ministry is bringing healing and wholeness to the body of Christ through preaching, teaching, pastoral counseling, and discipleship. In her free time, she enjoys natural beauty and recreational activities – hiking, cycling, kayaking, and physical fitness.

Julie has a son, John Stephen, who lives in Fairfax, Virginia.  Additionally, there is Aslan, her Shih Tzu canine companion.

Julie is currently serving Blacklick Community UMC.

About Kiski Charge

The Kiski Charge is comprised of the New Beginnings UMC in Apollo and First UMC in Vandergrift. The churches have worked together as part of a charge for many years. Each church is active in their respective communities as well as doing many ministries together and supporting one another in outreach ministries and serving in love in the name of Jesus.

Peters to Serve Cambridge Springs/New Ireland

Announced: 06-04-2023
About Lawrence Peters
Larry Peters has served as Pastor of United Methodist churches in West Virginia and as an Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian church of Meadville. He was born and raised in Crawford County, graduating from Saegertown High School in 1975 . After High School he served several years in the Air Force and Army. Larry then returned home and graduated from Edinboro University with a BA degree in Political Science with minors in History and Geography. He received his theological education from Wesley Seminary, where he earned an M.Div degree.
In addition to his 29 years of pastoral ministry, Larry served two consecutive summers of campground ministry with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks that included the Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference.  He has been serving on loan to Western Pennsylvania since 2019.
 In this new appointment he will continue to serve on loan from that Annual Conference. Since returning to the Saegertown area in order to care for Mother,  Larry  his wife Susan, and their  teenage children, daughter Haiku and a son Travis, have made  their home in Saegertown.

About Cambridge Springs/New Ireland
This charge is new alignment of the New Ireland United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Cambridge Springs beginning July 1, 2023.

About First UMC, Cambridge Springs
First UMC in Cambridge Springs is an historic congregation in a community rich in history and cultural influence.  The Congregation is a significant presence in its community and maintains strong ecumenical relationships with other congregations in the area. First UMC values community service, local mission, vital worship and Biblical preaching.  They also maintain a strong music ministry.  Rev. Peters has served the congregation since 2019.

About New Ireland
New Ireland UMC is a vital small membership congregation in the rural village of New Ireland near Mill Village Pennsylvania.  The congregation has a rich history of reaching its local area with the good news of Jesus Christ. They value traditional worship and biblical preaching.  Reverend Peters’ years of pastoral experience in smaller membership congregations should help him give valuable leadership to this congregation that desires to expand its ministry of making disciples in its community.

Ramsey to Serve Calvary/Waterford Charge

Announced: 06-04-2023
About Pamela C. Ramsey
Pamela Ramsey heard the call of ministry after a life-threatening illness of liver cancer which lead to a liver transplant in 2012. During her surgical recovery she heard the call from God saying, “I have a greater plan for you!”

In 2016, Pam completed the UMC Local Licensed Pastor school and became a youth director. She received her first appointment on April 1st, 2017 as Youth Minister. In 2019, Pam became the pastor of St Paul UMC in Youngwood and in 2021 she began serving a second charge, South Greensburg UMC.

It is with great faith and trust in God that Pastor Pam Ramsey is called to serve Calvary and Waterford UMC. Mission community outreach is especially important to Pam and she looks forward to working with Calvary and Waterford UM churches to do the work of Christ our Lord.

About Calvary/Waterford Charge

Bach to Serve Crosstown Ministries/Valier Charge

Announced: 05-28-2023
About Edmund Bach
Edmund was born at Brookville hospital in 1979. He was baptized at the Clarington UMC and attended East Forest Elementary school until 1989. He went to middle school and high school in Waynesburg PA and was confirmed at First UMC Waynesburg. After attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering for two years, he lived in Pittsburgh for over a decade; working a variety of business management and culinary jobs. After moving back to the Jefferson County PA area, he joined First UMC Reynoldsville, becoming a very active member.

He served Goodwill Industries as an eCommerce Manager for years, growing their online sales revenue from $400K to over $2M per year and providing opportunities for dozens of workers with barriers to employment.  While serving in this role, he went back to school, earning a B.S. in business management.

Through his growing involvement in Lay Servant Ministries, including teaching many classes and serving as district co-director of LSM, he became aware God's calling for him to serve in pastoral ministry. He served first as an associate pastor supplied by the DS in the Grampian Charge, then as a part time local pastor in Falls Creek. He is now the pastor of the Valier Charge and a full time seminary student at MTSO. He loves to cook, and to spend time with his wife Morgan and two young children Victoria and Anthony. He is excited to be serving in this new charge, and exploring how the people of the United Methodist Church can share Christ with the people of Punxsutawney and Perry Township in new and renewed ways.

This is a new charge alignment in the Indiana District. The churches included in the charge are Valier, Frostburg: Hopewell, Hamilton, Woodland Avenue and Punxsutawney: Grace. The congregations are anxious to find new ways to do ministries in their community as part of a new charge.

Konegen to Serve Allison Park: Epworth

Announced: 05-28-2023
About Rebecca Konegen

Rebecca was born in Rome, N.Y., lived in Massachusetts, North Dakota and New York while her father served in the Air Force, before settling in Santa Clara, California her senior year of high school.  Her undergraduate degree is from DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana, in English Literature.  Afterwards, at the University of California, Riverside, she completed an M.A and two years of Ph.D. coursework, also in English Literature, with a focus in Medieval and Renaissance Literature.  

During the years she was at home raising her four children, she became an accredited La Leche League leader, and took calls and led meetings for 17 years, helping new parents with breastfeeding and parenting concerns.  Rebecca taught several years of English writing classes to first-year college students, including to many who spoke English as a second (or third) language.  Her passions in ministry include Scripture study, writing, and working one-on-one with people. 

Rebecca completed her M. Div. degree and graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary on May 27, 2022, and was appointed that July to McKnight United Methodist Church, where she continues to serve as senior pastor, and now she adds Epworth to her charge.  

Her family includes her husband of 30 years, Wayne Speir, and four children: Emma, 25, Margaret, 22, Matthew, 19, and Lucy, 12. Personal interests include reading in a wide range of genres, knitting, and gardening, and sometimes cooking.

About Allison Park: Epworth


Epworth is a small church with a big heart. Located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Allison Park, the congregation's strength is its passion to reach out to others through missions. Epworth supports mission efforts in their community and beyond. The church is a strong, loving, and active community of believers who work together in all programs and projects of the church. Epworth has an active Christian education program for adults and youth on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons. The Vacation Bible School is always a big hit with the children in the church and community, and our Peach Social and specialty fundraiser dinners are a community highlight.

Donaldson to serve Heartland Crossroads Cooperative Parish

Announced: 05-21-2023
About Gary Donaldson

Gary Donaldson was born in Butler, PA and was raised in Boyers were he attended the Boyers UMC.  He attended Moniteau High School where he met his late wife Gail.  Upon graduation he served four years as a CH-53 Helicopter electrician in the United States Marine Corp.  He was awarded two bronze stars for his participation in the evacuations of Cambodia and South Vietnam in April 1975.

After years of service to his home church he finally answered the call of God to ministry at the age of 34.  Gary graduated from Slippery Rock University in 1991 and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a MDiv. in 1995.

Gary served Eau Claire and Argentine UMC's from 1988-1995; Cloe, Covode and Steffy Chapel UMC's from 1995-2002, Russell and Akeley UMC's from 2002-2010, Alum Bank UMC 2010-2012 and Asbury Waterford UMC 2012-2019 when he retired to care for his sick wife. She passed in 2021 and now Gary has answered God's call once again.

During his ministry Gary was been the dean of Jr. Sr. High Horse camp at Wesley Woods for many years; was co-dean of One Way camp, led fishing camp for five years and golf camp for two. After hurricane Katrina Gary lead six work groups to New Orleans and has traveled to Kentucky Mountain Bible College for mission work groups.  He was the treasurer for Roy Gearhart Cutting Edge Ministries, served on District Committee on Ministries, Board of Ordained Ministry, Conference Evangelism Team, Camping and Retreat Ministry and District Trustee.

Gary has a passion for growing the church by developing disciples for Christ and teaching those disciples to be the church.  By God's grace he has seen growth in many disciples and those disciples have had major ministries in their communities of faith.

About Heartland Crossroads Cooperative Parish
The Heartland Crossroads Cooperative Parish is a fellowship of six small town and rural congregations. (Albion: Calvary; Conneautville: Valley; Espyville; Hickernell; Palmer and Franklin Center.   The six congregations support each other’s ministries as well as cooperate together on many joint mission projects and worship experiences.  The Churches are served by a pastoral staff of a lead pastor, assisted by two part-time associates. The staff shares preaching responsibilities, administrative roles, and pastoral care among the six Churches. Gary will be filling the lead role.  His passion for helping rural and small town churches grow and his experience as a pastoral leader should help these congregations develop there current ministries while finding new ways to make disciples of Jesus Christ

Helmbold to serve Mount Hope UMC

Announced: 05-21-2023
About Penny Helmbold
Born in North East (near Erie, PA), she grew up in Diamond,  (Titusville area), the middle child with 2 brothers.  She attended the Maplewood schools, graduating in 1987.  After high school, she attended St. Paul Bible College in Minnesota for 3 years, then later graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville with an Associates in Human Services.  She is currently attending Course of Study at Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Penny was raised in the Diamond Evangelical United Methodist Church and accepted Christ at age 5.  She was at the church every time the doors were opened if there was something going on that she could be a part of.  She taught Sunday School, 5-Day Clubs, helped with VBS, and was the youth representative to the Committee on Missions throughout her high school years.  During college, she taught Sunday School, was part of a puppet team, and participated in an inner-city ministry program.  As an adult, she taught Sunday School, led VBS, helped with an after school children's program, and went on a mission trip to Mexico.   

Penny was called to ministry as a pastor in May, 2012 officially and began her first assignment at the Tryonville/Hydetwon Charge in July of 2012.   After serving there for just over a year, she stepped back for personal reasons.   She was then called back into a pastoral role in 2017 at the Enterprise church in the Erie-Meadville District.   In 2018, both she and the Enterprise Church were transitioned over to Kane District where they became part of the Evergreen Charge (including Grand Valley and Sanford). 

Penny is the mother of 4 adult children (Nichole, Jenifer, Shawn, and Amanda) and Grammy to 4 (Liam, Alex,  Ben, and Rogue). She is also Grammy Pen to Compassion Child, Lorky, from Haiti.    Her family calls her the Crazy Cat Lady because she collects cat knicknacks although she puts her foot down at 3 live cats at a time.  She enjoys spending time with family, reading, and hanging out with friends.

She has been active in her community throughout her adult years as a Girl Scout Leader/Neighborhood Director, Stage Manager for Titusville Area Youth Theater, a member of Take Pride in Titusville where she helped to coordinate and run Earth Day events, the President of the Commuter Student Association at UPT, an auxiliary member of the Grand Valley Volunteer Fire Department, and other events and committees. 

About Mount Hope UMC
The Mount Hope UMC is a small rural congregation located in the village of Mount Hope near Meadville. It has a long history of support for local and world mission; and for maintaining an active fellowship among its members. They value personal relationships, pastoral care, biblical preaching and community ministry. Pastor Helmbold’s love of small congregations and focus on pastoral ministry should provide the type of leadership that will help this congregation continue its vital mission to its community. Her familiarity with the community and people, having been raised in the same school district, should assist her in providing leadership.

Bohinski to Serve Bairdford/Janes/Springdale

Announced: 05-14-2023
About Zack Bohinski
Zack Bohinski was born and raised in North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, PA, and graduated from Norwin High School. He attended Eastern Nazarene College on Boston’s South Shore, where he met his wife, Rachel, and later graduated from Southern Nazarene University, in Oklahoma City, earning a B.S. in Theology and Ministry. He earned his Masters of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2022.
Zack has extensive work experience in the food service industry both prior to pursuing a call to ministry, and as a bi-vocational minister.
He is a lifelong Wesleyan having grown up in the Church of the Nazarene, completing ministerial field education in Pittsburgh’s Lincoln Place neighborhood, and in Oklahoma City, OK. He was the Community Pastor at Norwin Church of the Nazarene prior to transitioning into pastoral service at Fells United Methodist Church on the Connellsville District.
Zack has particular interest and passion for creative ministry, Open and Relational Theology, hospitality, congregational discernment, and food justice ministries. He was highlighted as one of the “100 Food Rescue Heroes Sure to Inspire” by the 412 Food Rescue in 2021.
Zack has been married to Rachel since 2015, and they have two daughters, Lilly (5) and Vivian (2). They also have a cat named Barnaby. They enjoy food and travel. Zack is a sucker for a good farmer’s market, and he drags his daughters along every chance he gets.

About Bairdford/Janes/Springdale
Bairdford UMC, Creighton: Janes UMC, and Springdale UMC are a three-point charge in the Butler District’s Allegheny Valley and a strategic effort to provide Christ-centered worship, spiritual formation, and outreach in a portion of our conference where the mission field is complex and vast.

Each of these churches brings to the charge both a rich history and an exciting potential. Their priorities are these: creating worship that is as engaging as it is faithful; extending hospitality so that both members and visitors feel known, valued, and loved; and connecting with the surrounding community with the kind of tangible ministry that makes the love of Christ real, especially to those who are suffering.

Cobb to Serve Bobtown UMC

Announced: 05-14-2023
About Burl Gale Cobb Jr
Burl Gale Cobb Jr grew up in Morgantown, WV and graduated from University High School in 1990.  Prior to ministry, he worked at Woodworks, Duffer Sign Company, Davis Kitchen and Tile and Carpet One in Morgantown, WV.
He graduated from Colorado Christian University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and is currently enrolled in course of study at Spring Heights in Spencer, WV.  His first appointment was in 2004 with Baldhill and Taylortown United Methodist Church, then Taylortown joined with Bobtown and Mt. Calvary in 2006 and he served these churches until December of 2012. He returned to ministry July of 2015 when he became the pastor of the Jackson Community Charge serving Bethany and Valley Chapel United Methodist Church. 
Burl married his wife Cathy in July 199 and they have 5 children and one granddaughter.  In my ministry I try to bring drama and visuals to bring the scriptures alive.  

About Bobtown UMC
Bobtown United Methodist Church is located in the quaint, rural community of Bobtown in southern Greene County.  Bobtown UMC is a compassionate, loving community which takes pride in the way they reach out into the surrounding neighborhoods.  Bobtown has committed themselves to the growth of the church, not for enrollment purposes, but for the purpose of bringing as many people as possible to a relationship with God.  They are involved in yearly Vacation Bible School, have a youth group, community food pantry, and offer the community center to the neighboring communities in hopes of bringing others in the church and a conversation with God.  Bobtown UMC is focused on reaching out beyond their walls to show and have others experience the love of Christ. 
Mt. Calvary UMC is a rustic church in Garards Fort, Greene County, where hearts overflow with the love of Jesus Christ. One of the many strengths of Mt. Calvary is hospitality.  Mt. Calvary UMC has become a place where all are welcomed and embraced. Through community outreach, they work hand and hand with other organizations and churches to live out their call to be the hands and feet of Christ. Biblically grounded, Mt. Calvary enjoys studying the Word of God through Bible study and invites members of the church and the community to join in the experience.  Through outreach and personal interaction throughout the community, Mt. Calvary UMC shows the heart and person of Christ can also be found outside the church building.

Harrison to Serve Youngsville First and Lottsville UMC

Announced: 05-14-2023
About Tom Harrison
Tom Harrison was born and raised in a family of Roman Catholic, Kennedy Democrats in the “Borscht Belt” of rural upstate New York. He studied British literature and played football at Washington & Lee University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1983. For 34 years, he was an award-winning journalist, engaged in small-town newspaper reporting and editing, before answering God’s call to ministry at age 60.
Harrison is completing his Master of Divinity studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He served Butler First United Methodist Church as director of pastoral ministry during the COVID 19 pandemic of 2020-21. Followed by a one-year appointment as senior pastor of the four congregations of New Covenant Charge, Franklin District, he has accepted an appointment as senior pastor of Youngsville First and Lottsville UMCs in Kane District.

While attending seminary and working in Butler, he was elected to serve on Butler Area School District’s Board of Education and the board of Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School. He has been a professional Santa Claus since 2014.

Tom and his wife, Cherie, have four children, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and four moderately affectionate housecats.

About Youngsville First/ Lottsville
Youngsville First United Methodist Church has a long history of Christian witness in northwestern Pennsylvania. Its members (both current and past) have always strived to lovingly offer the warmest hospitality and genuine care for the residents of the Brokenstraw Valley. First UMC, while considered a “small” church, nevertheless can point to critical current local ministries which include the Brokenstraw Adult Activity Center (a gathering and learning ministry for older members of the community), the Youngsville First UMC Bell Choir, and local chapters of United Women in Faith and the Mary Martha Circle. The congregation actively provides financial and materiel support for the 2nd Street Food Pantry (sponsored by the Youngsville Area Ministerium), the Kane District Ramp Ministry, Wesley Woods, Ruth M. Smith Center, and Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. Well known for the historic stained-glass windows by Tiffany which adorn the sanctuary, the members and friends of Youngsville First UMC seek nothing more than to vigorously share the love of Jesus Christ with all.
Historic Lottsville UMC is located in the beautiful farming communities of Warren County, Kane District. Our faithful congregation represents generations of spirit filled members who
reach out to support many local community needs. The Lottsville UMC church family is known for its friendly welcome and love of singing both praise contemporary and traditional hymns. Come worship with us!

Grucza to Serve Polk/Balm Charge

Announced: 05-07-2023
About Paula Grucza
Paula grew up in McKean County, graduating from Bradford Area High School before heading to Erie to study mechanical drafting where she met her now husband Mark. They married in the fall after their graduation in 1982. Their journey continued as Paula followed Mark as he returned to the military; she worked in the field of drafting when possible as well as a clerk and secretary. Upon Mark’s retirement, they returned to Pennsylvania and settled in Emlenton.
A life-long Methodist, Paula’s faith has always been an integral part of her life. Finding a church at each new stop and serving in many capacities. But it was not until returning home that she began Lay Servant training, renewing the call God placed on her life many years earlier. Paula final followed her calling in 2017,  and was assigned as an associate pastor at the New Covenant charge. She continues her studies at MTSO while currently service a two-point charge, encouraging her congregations in outreach as they seek to serve their local communities.
Paula and Mark have been married for 41 years, with one son – Jonathan, who resides with his wife (Kristina) in Grove City. They have been blessed with four fabulous grandchildren – Taylor, Sloan, Reece and Brennan, who are their joy, spending as much time with them as possible.
Paula’ other interests include her menagerie of fur babies: four dogs, five cats. Reading, crocheting- a newly acquired hobby and spending as much time as possible with her mom.

About Polk/Balm Charge
The Polk/Balm Charge in the Franklin District is a newly formed charge that will bring both of these congregations together for ministry as of July 1.  Each church is committed to finding new ways to serve in Jesus’ name in their distinct communities and beyond.

Lindahl to Serve Bradford Cooperative Ministry: Custer City UMC

Announced: 05-07-2023
About Marjorie Lindahl
Marjorie Lindahl grew up in the Smethport area of McKean County. She attended the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Coleville, PA, where she received her first call into ministry. However, she had many excuses for several years.

She graduated from Smethport Area High School with a business degree. Many years later she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, PA and completed a Masters Degree of in social work at the University of Pittsburg main campus.

Finally, listening to God’s call she followed her husband Ron’s footsteps into ministry. Graduating from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, she has served God as an Elder in the United Methodist Church. Ron and she served God as a clergy couple retiring in 2013.

About Bradford Cooperative Ministry: Custer City UMC
Custer City UMC sits right on route 219 in Custer City, just a few miles south of Bradford, Pa. Originally as EUB church, the congregation is made up of faithful, loving, mission-oriented people who are devoted to their church. There is a strong outreach aimed at kids and a women’s group that meet monthly. This is a small town church that has retained its small town values; that is: worshipping God, prayer, reaching out to the community, and loving everyone.

Odarenko to Serve Little Hill UMC

Announced: 05-07-2023
About Dora Janeway Odarenko
Dora Janeway Odarenko was born in New York City and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. Her higher education includes a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College; a master’s degree in language and literature from Columbia University; and an MDiv from Berkeley Divinity School, Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School.
Prior to her appointment here in Western PA, she taught courses at a number of universities and at public and private schools in Connecticut. She was also an editor for The Feminist Press and a board member for the ECOC House in Chautauqua.  
Dora interned at rural Episcopal parishes in New Haven County, CT and served at Katonah UMC in New York as the Youth Director. She was the UMC pastor in Town of Esopus, NY; Gaylordsville, CT; Trumbull, CT; Roscoe, NY; East Branch, NY; and Downsville, NY.  She is presently serving the United Methodist Churches of Springdale, Janes, and Bairdford.
Dora is a published poet and an active writer that loves spinning, watercolor painting, birding, and tending her plants. She was widowed in 2007 and is a foster parent of five children. She has a special fondness for the Island of Iona, Scotland, and Celtic Christianity and has been invited to Chaplain at Bishop’s House for a week in Spring, 2024.

About Little Hill UMC
Little Hill UMC, surrounded on nearly all sides by trees is the quintessential “Little White Church in the Vale.” Located between Cranberry Twp. and Sewickley, the church has multiple housing complexes and neighborhoods within a five mile radius. Its 25+active worshipers care for one another with diligence. The worship hour is 11 am.  Adult Sunday School is held weekly at 10 am.  Bible Study meets on Wednesdays at Ashford Manor Clubhouse in Cranberry Township.  The Bible Study originated at Little Hill, but now includes participants from other churches as well. Primary demographic is solid middle-class with a few professionals in the mix. Little Hill is an aging church with most attenders above 60. The membership supplements offering income with fundraisers held throughout the year. The members support the local food bank with 10-20 bags of groceries donated monthly.

Oliver to Serve Jefferson UMC

Announced: 05-07-2023
About Roseanne Oliver
Roseanne Oliver was born and raised on the Northside of Pittsburgh where she graduated from Allegheny High School. She continued her education at Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio, receiving a BA in Religion and a BA in Africa and African American Studies, as well as an MPA Degree. Pursuing her call to ministry, Roseanne graduated with an MDiv. from Payne Theological Seminary in Ohio.

Roseanne is a retired Realtor and Property Manager. While a student pastoring in Ohio, she worked in Student Services for Wright State and the Central State Library. 

Roseanne served as Senior Pastor of the Trinity/Henderson/San Juan Charge in Erie, Pa. She has also pastored in the Ohio and Pittsburgh Conferences for the AME Church.

A lifelong Methodist, Matthew 22:35-40 is Pastor Roseanne's favorite scripture. Her interests are mission and evangelism.

Roseanne has one daughter - Monique, and a dog named Sophie. She is the proud grandmother of five grandchildren, and a new great granddaughter.

About Jefferson UMC
Jefferson UMC is located along the southern border of Allegheny County. Recent years have seen the development of several new housing developments. Coupled with lifelong residents, this community offers many opportunities for growth. Known in our community for 180 years, Jefferson Hills UMC is an open door home of worship and ministry.  As a household of faith we welcome each other home in Christ. We also lead each other out the doors of the church to be in ministry with all of God’s family. What we do in church and out speaks to our understanding of who God calls us to be.

Through worship, Christian education, mission, outreach and fellowship we seek to be faithful to God. Worship, supported by excellent music, both traditional and contemporary, is the backbone of our ministry. Constant learning anew about our faith and service in our community and throughout God’s creation are the hands and feet we offer in being about God’s business. Through presence in our community and beyond we seek to be faithful.

Through short term and mid-range goals we have diligently worked to strengthen the core of our membership and ministry while reaching out to welcome others. Following the pandemic we have strengthened our ministry through worship, fellowship, outreach and adult education. Our Women’s Bible Study and our new Men’s Prayer Breakfast ministries are ecumenical ministries. As a joint project of Outreach and Fellowship, we now volunteer quarterly at Cribs for Kids, a safe sleep program based in Hazelwood.  Other outreach includes our long-standing support for the residents of Mitchell Manor (Helping Hands), a home for seniors, as well as support of the Cloverleaf Food Pantry. We are a church which values and is blessed by active, strong laity who bring many gifts and graces to the Lord’s service.  

Through God’s grace and unconditional love, we know who we are and why we are…and we work diligently to discern God’s plans for our future with hope.

Wakefield to Serve California/Brownsville: First Charge

Announced: 05-07-2023
About Heather Wakefield
The only child of two educators, Heather J. Wakefield grew up in small towns in Pennsylvania (Crawford County), West Virginia, and Southeast Ohio. She received her BA in English from Clemson University and has an MA in Theater History and Criticism from Ohio University and an MS in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University. She is a firm believer in lifelong learning and loves meeting new people.

Heather’s spiritual journey has taken a few turns on her way to her current role as a United Methodist pastor. She was raised in the Roman Catholic Church but became a “spiritual seeker” during young adulthood. While serving as the Library Director of the Saegertown Area Public Library, she was drawn to the local United Methodist Church and found her spiritual home. Methodist theology and its call to service for others resonated with her on a deep level. After 7 ½ years, she left her position at the library and moved to Cambridge MA. There she earned an MDiv at Harvard Divinity School before moving back to Pennsylvania.

About California/Brownsville: First Charge
California UMC  is nestled along the Monongahela River in Washington County along with Penn West, formerly known as California University. We are a diverse congregation welcoming all who wish to worship God. We worship on Sundays at 10am in-person, on zoom, and on Facebook. We are a Faith community with a powerful prayer ministry. Our ministries include Good Eats that provide food for school children and their families; a re-sale shop which provides clothes, bedding, toys and household goods; tutoring for school children; a food pantry; a free monthly community dinner; a United Women in Faith group; Boy Scouts; and a youth group. Our mission statement reflects our passion to help all that we can; “Sharing the love of Christ by offering resources to persons in our church, community, and around the world who are in need.”
First UMC of Brownsville is a small congregation with a large heart.  Located in Brownsville, PA, First UMC strives to ensure that all of God’s children feel welcomed and loved by God. This community of faith has grown into a nurturing congregation, cultivating a space that cares for the whole person, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  A strong presence in the community is valued, as First UMC works hand in hand with numerous organizations in the Brownsville area, along other organizations in surrounding cities and neighborhoods.  At First UMC, we endeavor to be the "hands and feet of Christ." The congregation is inspired to show the love of Christ by becoming the "hands and feet" of Christ in the sanctuary, in the community and in the world.   

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