Appointments effective July 1, except where noted.
Sorted by Announced Date
Grucza Appointed to Emlenton Charge
After school, Mark returned to the military where they spent almost 20 years traveling to various duty stations as he served in the US Army. As a military spouse, locating a new church home was a first priority, during which time Paula served the church in many capacities: Sunday school teacher and on various committees including worship, nominations, and finance.
It was shortly after a Walk to Emmaus experience that Paula first felt God’s call to ministry, but it was many years later before she totally answered that call. Upon Mark’s retirement, they returned to Pennsylvania. Not long after, Paula began lay servant ministry classes and became a lay servant. She eventually became the Director of Lay Servant Ministries for the Franklin District. Continuing to feel God’s call, Paula was assigned as Supply Associate Pastor to the New Covenant Charge in July of 2017 and completed licensing school in August of 2018.
Paula and Mark have been married for almost 37 years. They have been blessed with one son and four beautiful grandchildren. She has worked full time for 21 years as a secretary, and is retiring to enter fully into the ministry, as she looks forward with excitement to where God will lead her and the congregations of the Emlenton Charge.
Kolacz to Serve Oil City: Trinity, Bethel
Pastor Julie graduated from Grove City College where she majored in psychology and religion. She holds a Master of Science in community counseling from Georgia State University and an M.Div. in pastoral counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary.
She comes to the Oil City churches from the UM Community Charge - six rural churches on the Washington District. She also has 10 years of experience serving as a part-time chaplain at Meadville Medical Center (extension ministry) and served as part-time pastor of two congregations on the Erie-Meadville District - New Ireland and Lake Pleasant UMC.
She also has served as a Student Local Pastor of Teepleville UMC, a youth pastor at Christ UMC in Franklin, and as Director of Christian Education at Stone UMC in Meadville.
She has worked as a mental health therapist with Christian Counseling Associates of WPA and two wrap-around agencies proving mobile therapy – Family Counseling and Children’s Services and Youth Advocates.
Julie has a son, John Stephen, a cadet in training at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.
Canter Appointed to Youngsville
Jeff graduated high school from Sewickley Academy in 1977. After high school, he worked and attended college part-time, eventually receiving a BS in Management from Robert Morris University. Along the way he enjoyed multiple professional career paths, from hospitality management to software development to management consulting.
Jeff married his wife Kathy, who works as Practice Manager at Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest, three years after completing high school. They have been together for nearly 38 years. The Cantors are blessed with three grown children – Sara, Stephanie and Rick, each of whom has created a successful career of their own. They look forward forward to grandchildren one day.
Jeff felt God’s call to ministry at numerous times in his life, but finally responded in 2013. He completed Local Pastor Licensing School in August 2013 and received his first appointment, to Harrisville United Methodist Church, in July 2014.
"God has generously blessed me throughout my life, even when I didn’t understand or recognize God’s grace as such. One of those blessings has been, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, a gift of discernment," Jeff says. "This gift has allowed me to remain keenly self-aware, practicing a rigorous form of self-honesty. This has helped me to be better able to relate not only to others as individuals, but to the broader human condition, particularly as it relates to faith and the role it must play in our ultimate peace and serenity.
"I feel that God has called me to put this gift to use, not only in ministry to those who already believe, but to offer a positive, attraction-based example to those struggling with the question of faith in their lives."
The churches describe themselves traditionalists -- believers in God the Father, the Holy Spirit and in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They believe Christ was born of a Virgin, lived on earth, and theybelieve in the Resurrection and that Christ will come again and judge the earth. They follow John Wesley’s’ teachings and believe in prayer, answered prayer and the Bible as the Word of God.
Youngsville was once a booming town with steel, lumber, and oil industries in the area. A retail and catalog facility has provided employment for over a century. Like many small towns, they have experienced an exodus of many families and young people.
Youngsville First United Methodist Church is a historic church with beautiful stained glass windows facing the Main Street and a side street depicting John Bunyan’s Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. Evangelical United Methodist's newest sanctuary was built in early 70’s and it handicapped accessible.
The churches recently supported an athletic group by preparing meals for the athletes before game time. Fundraisers meals also are prepared for community members and monthly meals are offered during the fall- spring season for those obtaining food distribution. The people are community-minded in the sense that they help one another. Funeral Dinners are prepared for deceased members, deceased member’s families and those families who do not attend any church in the community.
Evangelical United Methodist Church has built and installed 30 ramps for the disabled, including veterans in Warren, Forest and McKean. The First United Methodist church is hosted a June “Fest” with games, face-painting, a bouncy house and a Local Teen Christian Band. The Charge churches also hold annual pies sales, recycling events and a have a booth at the County Fair. A Food Pantry is hosted by Evangelical United Methodist Church, with all churches contributing food and personal items. Second Harvest of Erie PA supplies a large share of food items that the church purchases from the organizations.
A Preschool is held at the First United Methodist Church. Many members from both churches belong to Love Inc. that Mobilize Local Churches, Transform Lives in the Name of Christ. Many members volunteer at a local Thrift Store that supports this organization.
“Shoe Boxes” are filled yearly to be collected by the Samaritans’ Purse ministry. Items are collected for a local camp that provides a week at camp for low-income and at-risk children. The churches both support UMCOR and collect items for varies ministries, as well as providing prayer and financial support for local and international missionaries.
Grahams Appointed to Emlenton Charge
About Suzan GrahamSuzan M. Riga Graham will serve as a supply pastor and associate at the Emlenton Charge. Suzan grew up in Colorado with her brother and mother. She lost her father two weeks before her ninth birthday. She has always been an over achiever and determined to be remembered by those who know her. She graduated 7th in her high school class and thought she wanted to be a doctor. God had other plans, of course.
She met her husband of 27 years at college in 1990. They married and moved to Norfolk, VA in December of 1992, when she was seven months pregnant, and lived there for 13 years. In January of 2006, she moved to Western Pa for her husband's job.and has made Slippery Rock her home. They have two grown boys James - James, 25, lives in Parker, Colorado and Ryan,22, lives in Slippery Rock. Both boys are successful in their own lives and still have their childhood faith. Someday Suzan and her husband, Jim, hope for daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
Suzan is self described as a Jill of all trades and master of none. She has worked in many professions from janitor to safety/ dispatcher for Maersk Lines with over 200 truck drivers under her wing. She has been a paraprofessional substitute, secretary of two churches, a LifeMatters healthy relationships presenter at the Alpha Omega pregnancy center in Slippery Rock, sales associate at Lane Bryant and Children’s Place, counter help at Simplified meals by Ginger in Slippery Rock, and a direct care provider for seniors and special needs adults through Capital Healthcare.
Suzan’s passions are music, children, animals, and helping people to make Jesus their best friend for life. Her ministries over 25 years at various churches include; nursery work, children’s church, Sunday school, numerous VBS weeks in whatever task was needed, music ministry, outreach committee chair, youth ministry, mission trips, women’s retreats, Special needs ministry, Lay servant ministries, and others.
Suzan’s community activities over the past 25 years include: USS Mississippi family support group President, t-ball and soccer coach, Centershot archery participant mentor, Soccer and Wrestling school Boosters president, classroom room mom, school prayer mom, and Mom’s taxi service for more than just our own two.
Suzan is a member at Harrisville UMC and also serves at First Church in Butler youth ministries. Her call to ministry came in a very short time over the past year and a half. As she puts it: "God didn’t really give an optional time frame, he said “now.” and here I am." Life with Jesus is a roller coaster; filled with anticipation, whips, curves, and many upside down hanging memorable moments. People are not a project; they are an investment of time, love and care."
Bowser to Serve as Army Chaplain
After graduating from Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School, Tim went on to Clarion University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Studies with minors in History and Psychology. He then went on to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (serving as a student pastor) and graduated with his M.Div in 2007.
Tim has always felt a call to serve others, and for some, it was no surprise that he would become a pastor. However, he has always felt a greater calling to serve not only those in the church, but those outside the local church. For 15 years (including the years as a student and commissioned pastor), he has served the local church and their communities. But he always felt as if he should and could be doing more. This past year God began to place another call in his life, one which has been a lifelong dream.
On June 6, 2018 Tim will report to Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course (CHBOLC) at Fort Jackson, SC, where he will train to become a US Army Chaplain. Tim will attend the school with rank of Captain (03) and will be commissioned to Active Duty upon arrival at CHBOLC. After graduation, Tim will be stationed at Fort Bragg, NC where he will serve as an Army Battalion Chaplain of the 2nd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division.
Tim is one in a long line of family members who have served in the military; both of his older brothers were born on Army installations. He has always had a deep respect and admiration for the men and women, and their families, who serve this great nation. He is excited and looks forward to serving these brave men, women, and their families in what is an extraordinary, yet humbling call from God.
Lenk Appointed to Mt. Joy Charge
Gene earned a BS degree from Clarion University in Business Management with a double major in management and marketing, has done MBA course work in personnel management, has a permanent Certification in Education, and is currently enrolled in the Methodist Course of Study, with expected completion in the fall of 2018. Advance Course of Study is on the horizon with a goal of being ordained as an Elder.
Gene and his wife Melanie were married in 1972. They have two married daughters, Jeannie and Megan, and four grandchildren: Lexi, Cole, Bryanna, and Hanna. They have made Knox their home since 1976.
He has served as senior pastor to the Emlenton United Methodist Ministries since July 1, 2015. This ministry includes Big Bend UMC, Emlenton UMC, and Old Zion UMC. Previously he served as an associate at the Redbank Valley Charge. Gene has served as a Certified Lay Minister, a Certified Lay Speaker, a Stephen Minister, and worship leader. He has also served in almost every church leadership position, including Council, SPRC, Finance, Worship, and Lay Delegate to Annual Conference.
"I am excited to be able to share the word of God, to share the Good News of Jesus and of salvation that he has made available to the world. I am anxious to be about the work of the Lord, teaching, preaching, healing, encouraging, discipling, and loving as we discover the gifts of the Spirit given to us and how we can meld those gifts together to become the church that God intended for us to be," Gene said. "I love worship, I love to sing, I enjoy bringing honor and glory to our God, and I look forward to exciting the congregations of Mt. Joy Charge to help me raise the rafters as we praise our Lord, our Savior, and our King."
Ackley-Killian to Serve Heckathorn UMC
"Our lives are shaped by the sacred vows we make before God and one another," she said. "On a hot humid summer day, my parents brought me to First Bethel United Methodist Church where I was baptized and nurtured in the faith. On an unseasonably warm winter day, I pledged to honor and keep Earl Killian in sickness and in health. As Advent began on a snowy November day, we promised to raise our infant daughter, Grace, in a Christian home and to lead a life of faith before her. On hot rainy days in Grove City, Earl and I both promised to serve the Lord in a Ministry of Word and Sacrament."
Deborah is a graduate of Adrian College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Their adult daughter Grace is a student at Harvard Divinity School and Tufts University in Boston.
In active ministry, Deborah served Goodwill Industries as a chaplain and four local congregations--Walton, Warren Grace, Johnstown Christ and New Castle Epworth-- as pastor. She has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Wesbury Board of Directors, Camp Allegheny Board of Directors and several District Committees on Ministry. For several years, I was dean of the Nature Quest Mini Camps at Camp Allegheny. She was elected as a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference in 1996.
Throughout the years of Family Leave, the Killians participated in the life of faith at Mt. Lebanon UM Church where Deborah served as Stephen’s Ministry Coordinator, Confirmation Coordinator, Samaritan Ministries Cooperation, Youth Director Mentor, Adult Sunday School teacher and guest preacher. She also substituted at Asbury Heights and South Hills Partnership. She currently serves as part of the ministerial team at South Hills Partnership (Carnegie, Fairhaven, Hilltop and Spencer churches) preaching at monthly Communion Worship and providing pastoral care. She also serves as a chaplain at Gracious Living Personal Care Center in Castle Shannon.
"As my husband Earl has entered into a new life of joy and resurrection in the Church Triumphant, I too enter a new personal and professional lifestyle awaiting the future with joy and hope as I return to active ministry at Heckathorn Church," she said.
Heckathorn UMC is a member of the CHRISTAR cluster of United Methodist Churches in the area surrounding Seneca. The cluster hosts a weekly, “Free Skate” for the community at the local Roller Skating Rink during the school year. In addition, the congregation participates in a clothing ministry, a ramp building ministry, supports a food pantry, sponsors mission trips, hosts Vacation Bible School and helps their neighbors in need.
Brink to Serve Sheffield, Barnes UMCs
After his service, Douglas held a variety of jobs, including installing fire alarms in New York City corporate facilities and Atlantic City casinos. In all of his jobs, he developed a variety of skills and through them all, he met lost souls and led others to Christ.
His best job, he says, was working as a shepherd for his wife's uncle in Somerville, New Jersey. The 600-acre spread just 40 miles west of New York City was the largest sheep farm east of the Mississippi river with nearly 2500 sheep. Dealing with that many sheep made scripture references really come alive for him and provided great illustrations in preaching. When urban sprawl and other factors intruded on his life, Doug once again answered God's call and returned to his roots of Western Pennsylvania to begin the process of ministry.
He Douglas completed licensing school in 2007 and later graduated from Course of Study at MTSO. His first appointment was to the Cherry Tree Charge of the Johnstown District. After nearly eight years, he moved to his current appointment at the Mt. Joy Charge in Franklin District. As senior pastor there, he brought the three churches into a real working relationship with each other and also with two ecumenical groups. The relationships led to combined services and a pulpit exchange that resulted in strong bonds with their communities.
Douglas believes that if the church is not outside of its buildings and working with local organizations in making communities better places to live, then the church is not alive. The Charge has provided free coffee along the rest stops of Interstate 80 during the holidays, helped raise funds for struggling fire companies, and supported local schools. The St Petersburg church provides a free spaghetti dinner every month for the community and Foxburg may be the only church that uses a hotdog cart as an outreach along the Allegheny River trails.
Douglas proudly calls himself "Circuit Rider" because he loves the excitement of traveling to the many different churches and bringing the Good News of the Gospel to the people of our rural areas because "they are the church."
Barnes UMC is in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest at the intersection of Route 948 and 666. They partner with Sheffield in BYKOTA and the monthly community dinners. They support missions locally and globally. Barnes is a warm, inviting, family-oriented church with all generations present at worship. In 2017 they received the highest number of new members in the Kane District relative to their average worship attendance.
Stone Appointed to Greenville First UMC
Laurajane currently serves Cherrytree UMC and Worden Chapel UMC, a two-point charge. Her second and third sons were baptized within those charges. Previously she did a seminary internship at Bakerstown UMC with Pastor Mark Stewart where she focused on music ministry, preaching, new worship events, a women’s breakfast on Good Friday and starting a young adult group. She was also a preaching and Bible Study pastor at Sugarcreek Charge (Oak Hill, Reno, Lupher Chapel and Sugarcreek UMC) during her last year of seminary.
Laurajane grew up at Trinity UMC in Oil City and was married there. Her eldest child was baptized there. She and her family reside in Franklin School District in Venango County. Laurajane looks forward to serving God in a new city with new people. Her children are ready to worship with new friends and her husband is looking forward to worshipping in a new sanctuary.
Giles Bailey to Serve Nicklin/Deer Creek/Reynolds Charge
One morning, alone in the sanctuary, Giles yelled at God: “Who are you?” “Where are you?” Why don’t you ever talk to anybody?” The answers did not come that morning, but they were to come later.
Upon graduation from high school, Giles attended Slippery Rock State College to study teaching young people how to have a better life, especially in the areas of sports, fitness, and health. While at Slippery Rock, Giles had an experience with God through the Four Spiritual Laws and Campus Crusade for Christ ministries. Having learned to play guitar, he quickly applied this to the Christian Fellowship ministry on campus. Music ministry and leading worship continues to be a very important part of Giles’ life.
After graduation from college Giles moved back to Virginia to begin a career as an aquatic professional, teaching folks of all ages how to enjoy the water safely. Living in the suburbs of Washington DC, Giles became involved in the Jesus freak movement and the Roman Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Giles briefly considered becoming a Roman Catholic, but then became a member of a nondenominational Pentecostal church. Increasingly uncomfortable with suburban metropolitan life and missing the beauty of the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania, Giles returned to Western PA continuing to work in aquatics and adding competitive swimming. It was very rewarding to be involved with the “good clean fun” of families working together to be successful at “swimming faster”. Giles considered this a calling from God, but… one day… this calling left.
Asking, “Okay God, what do I do now?” Giles felt a call to pastoral ministry at a Church of God youth retreat and later a call specifically to the United Methodist Church.
For the past 20 years, Giles has found a welcome home in the United Methodist Church serving at Reynolds UMC and Deer Creek UMC. In 2013 he was graduated from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Giles and his wife of 37 years, Dottie, are empty nesters. They have two adult daughters: Jessica Bailey of Clearfield PA and Hannah Bailey of Ambridge PA.
Robison Appointed to Sheakleyville Charge
Theresa graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary/Early Childhood Education, and Ashland Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in Spiritual Formation.
Theresa’s passion for ministry includes teaching others the about love of God, and giving them opportunity to learn to love God and others, reaching out in that love by becoming and making disciples serving in the community. In addition to the church she serves, she has worked part-time as the Ramps of Hope Coordinator for All God’s Children Ministries
Shaffer To Serve as Redbank Valley Associate
Mike married and started his family at age 19. There were times in his life where he drifted away from the church. Following a divorce, he found his way back to church and credits his wife Amy for helping him to see his true calling in life – to share the love of Christ with others. He and Amy are the parents of eight children.
Mike has served as pastor to the Mount Nebo UMC and the Hickory Square UMC. He feels blessed to be able to be a shepherd in Jesus’ name, sharing his own encounters with grace with those he serves.
The Redbank Valley United Methodist Ministry is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a cooperative ministry. It is comprised of seven churches (New Bethlehem: First, Fairmount City, Leasure Run, Putneyville, Oak Ridge, Hawthorn and Oak Ridge) all located in the New Bethlehem area in Clarion and Armstrong counties. While each church has ministry of its own, they celebrate what each one brings to the combined ministry. Outreach to the local community and beyond is at the heart of what they do best. The churches host monthly dollar dinners, serve at soup kitchens in Pittsburgh on a regular basis, collect items for UMCOR, volunteer at the Mission Barn and Mission Central, support the local food pantry and help those in the community who need assistance. Additionally, churches have supported mission trips to New York City and Kentucky, sponsor Vacation Bible School for the community and currently have three Bible Studies.
Bogdewic to Serve in Sharpsville, Sharon
Chad was called into ministry when he was 25. He went to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree and a Master’s Certificate in urban ministry. He focused his studies on racial reconciliation and economic equality. In addition to his M.Div, Chad also earned a Master of Sacred Theology from PTS, studying ancient and modern idolatry, the phenomenology of prophecy, and the prophetic response to the form of idolatry of modern America, which he argued was individualism, mammonism, and nationalism.
Chad was ordained an Elder in 2016 and has served mainly in small town and rural settings. He is excited to be able to use his education to work in suburban and urban ministry.
Chad enjoys writing, and is a published author. His book is “American Idols: A Prophetic Indictment Against Idolatry in the United States.” One of his sermons has also been published in a Southwestern Pennsylvania publication. He enjoys reading, especially books on racial and gender equality and reconciliation, Old Testament theology, and prophecy. He currently serves on the Butler District DCoM, the Conference Disability Concerns Committee and the Young Adult Team, and is a resource person and grant writer for the denomination’s U.M. DisAbility Committee.
He is married to Patricia, a social worker who is working on her MDiv from United Theological Seminary in hopes of becoming a Deacon with a focus on disability ministries. They have two children, Eliyana (6) and Jonathan (4).
The churches are part of a cluster of United Methodist churches in the Shenango Valley that are very actively involved in ministry together including taking annual mission trips, packaging meals for the hungry and shared worship services. Their mission is to share God with the least, the last and the lost.
Ali Berkey to Serve in Oil City Area
Unfortunately, the Lutheran Church did not believe she was called to be a Lutheran pastor so she continued searching for God’s calling in her life. After owning a preschool/ daycare center and being a hospital chaplain in North Carolina, she still felt God calling her to ordained ministry, this time as a United Methodist.
In 2009, she became a member of Belmont UMC in Johnstown. In 2011, she was appointed to Mt. Tabor and Robinson UMC. She then served a five-point Cooperative Parish that included the Karns City/ Chicora Charge, the Faith Community: Bruin and Fairview campuses and Ridgeville Charge. Here her gifts for ministry in preaching and teaching God’s Word, as well as her compassion for all people, were lifted up. Ali’s passion is seeing the best in everyone and championing the gifts God gives us all.
In 2014, she married Rev. Wade Berkey and became a step-mom to Natalia, now a junior at Asbury University. In 2015, nearly 30 year after first hearing her calling, she was ordained an elder. She is currently serving the Allegheny River Charge, consisting of Union Ave, Manorville, and Ford Memorial UMCs.
Her husband Wade is also a United Methodist Elder and will be serving First UMC in Franklin. They come with their rescue dog Shirley and deaf cat Nilla. Ali enjoys gardening, scrapbooking, card and candle making, and bicycling with Wade.
Wade Berkey to Serve Franklin First UMC
Wade entered the work-world as a draftsman—when draftsmen used real pencils, T-squares, and triangles! One of the gifts of a draftsman is to be able to conceptualize a project before it is built or even designed. After a successful career as a draftsman, a move into production management, and graduating from Robert Morris University with a degree in management, Wade came to the realization that God was indeed calling him to ministry.
In 2004, Wade accepted his first appointment in the church as a student pastor. He attended Asbury Theological Seminary and graduated in 2010. He was ordained an elder in 2012. He is currently appointed to First United Methodist Church in Kittanning and has previously served in the Grampian UM Charge, Karns City/Chicora UM Charge, and Faith Community Charge in Bruin, PA.
Wade’s gifts for ministry include preaching and teaching God’s Word, prayer and intercession, administration, and visioning—being able to conceptualize ministries even before they have been “built”!
Wade is the father of a beautiful daughter Natalia, who attends Asbury University and is in her junior year of studies. Natalia has served on mission teams in Zimbabwe, Egypt, Beirut, Lebanon, Arizona, and Haiti. Wade is married to Ali, and as a clergy couple, they serve God not only in their churches, but in their lives together.
Ali will be appointed to Calvary and Plumer United Methodist churches in Oil City. Wade enjoys spending time with Ali, their rescued dog Shirley and their deaf cat Nilla. He also enjoys bicycling, photography, cooking, and listening to music.
C. Duffee to Serve Mt. Jewett/Hazel Hurst UMCs
Cindy’s life experiences and her heart for all people are her strengths in ministry. She is passionate about putting Christ front and center of the ministry of the church. She believes when the church of Jesus Christ lives out its faith, on a personal level and through the body of Christ, God’s grace comes shining through and the kingdom of God will not only grow, but become a beacon of light to those who are searching for hope and peace in their lives.
Cindy believes the church must be seen and participate in community events and meet the needs of its neighbors. But, most importantly, serving others must be from the heart. She is a strong advocate for those who are struggling and need a helping hand to put food on the table. Cindy also firmly believes laity hold the keys to the vitality and impacting presence of God in the worship service and community. She supports, encourages and is thrilled to see laity using the gifts God has given them in ministry.
Cindy was raised in Coal Hollow, Elk County, and is a graduate of St. Mary’s High School. Cindy and Rev. Ken Duffee have three grown children and are blessed with five grandchildren. She enjoys family time, riding a motorcycle, and a good cup of coffee.
The churches help support an orphanage in Kenya and a missionary doctor in Papua New Guinea. The Mt. Jewett Church is the site for the local food pantry, and both churches are well known in their communities as the place to go when one needs help or someone to pray with. The churches also offer significant prayer support of the local hospital staff and patients.
Emigh Appointed to DuBois First UMC
His personal mission statement is: “To get to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.”
After graduating from Allegheny College, John was hired by the DoD as a civilian computer programmer at the Philadelphia Naval Base in and later promoted to instructor in Columbus Ohio. A few years later he answered God’s call to full time ministry. He is a graduate of Ashland Seminary.
He and Amy are excited to come to Dubois First and join in the work of building up the Kingdom. Jesus IS Lord!
Sunday morning church services are at 8:15 and 11:00 am. There is a casual service on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 called The Gathering. Their is a dedicated choir, choir director and organist who provide inspirational music on Sunday mornings.
The church is in a very visible location in the heart of downtown DuBois, and has used that visibility to reach out to the community. There is a free community soup supper every Wednesday evening starting with devotions at 4:45 p.m. On the second and fourth Wednesday of each month it is combined with a free clothes closet carrying gently used, clean clothing for people of all ages and sizes. Since 2001, the church has hosted a community 9/11 service that has been well attended each year. In the past several years, they combined that service with a blessing of emergency vehicles and crews.
The church supports UMCOR and served as the central location for work teams and the distribution of UMCOR cleaning buckets when flooding hit the area a few years ago. They participate in Community Days each June by hosting a children's program and providing a train for children to ride around the City Park. The church also hosts the DuBois Ministerium's annual Lenten lunches and services. Each Easter morning, they host a community sunrise service at an outdoor location.
Sunday School classes for all ages offer Bible-based teachings. With three adult classes to choose from, there is something of interest for everyone. Youth Group meets each Wednesday evening and our youth help with the Wednesday evening soup suppers. Various bible studies are offered throughout the year.
Since our pre-school, Sonny Days, opened its doors several years ago, the response of the community to a Christian based pre-school has been very enthusiastic. Classes for children aged 2-1/2 to 5 are well attended; in fact, Sonny Days is now offering summer classes.
Prayer is an integral part of the life of the church, with an active prayer chain and encourage our congregation to uphold one another in prayer.
Lance Tucker to Serve Oakland Dempseytown
"Like many people, I felt I knew best for my life and followed the path that I laid down for many years," said Lance. "I have held many jobs in my life including general contracting, heavy equipment owner/operator, railroad dismantling, logging, trucking, car dealerships general manager, garbage collector, horse farm owner/manager, and sales representative.
"God finally got my attention again and I returned to His presence and developed a relationship with Him. I moved to Lander United Methodist Church where I became very involved in its ministry. As I began to grow in my relationship with our Father in Heaven, I felt God calling me to serve and shepherd His people and I again felt chosen and knew I had to obey and follow."
In 1999, at the age of 40, Lance said he "surrendered to God -sort of- stipulating that if pastoral ministry was where He wanted me, then He would have to open the doors, as my life was very full at the time. Well, He did. God opened the door for me and I became a Full Time Local Pastor in 2001 doing the Course of Study at Wesley Theological Seminary, and going on to become an Associate Member of WPAUMC in 2007."
Lance has served as senior pastor on the Bear Lake/Lottsville Charge, Brockport Charge, Hyndman Larger Parish, and DuBois First United Methodist Church. He also serves as the Chair of Arrangements on the Conference Sessions Team, as well as head of Conference Safety, and on the Board of Directors for Wesley Woods.
Lance and his wife Amy have a blended family of five wonderful grown children and 14 "not spoiled, but greatly loved grandchildren."
As he and Amy move forward in this spiritual journey that God has placed before them, they look forward to faithfully serving in His love and grace.
The congregation lives into that mission statement in many ways. Sunday worship is a dynamic, blended service for the multi-generational congregation. The church pariticpates in and supports many missions, both locally and globally. The Annual Missions and Minisstry Auction, which was first held in May 2010 is Oakland's largest fundraising event of the year. Proceeds are used to support both the Mission Team and Oakland Building fund. The annual goal for the event is to raise $6,000, and it is often exceeded.
The VEnango-Hatchie Project is going into its 17th year and has helped countless people in the community and across the globe. Its mission is to help elderly and those at risk of losing their homes due to repair issues. The church also supports the local food bank, hosts a "Celebrate Recovery" group and has an active children's and youth ministry. Oakland UMC is located in the village of Dempseytown in the northernmost area of the Franklin District.
Little Appointed to Saegertown UMC
After working with campus ministry Jeff worked as a manager of a Christian bookstore and eventually became a full-time youth director at a United Methodist church in Franklin, PA. Growing up in the United Methodist Church he realized while doing youth ministry that he had been running from pastoral ministry.
Jeff graduated from Asbury Seminary in 2007. He began his opportunity of ministry serving both Johnsonburg United Methodist Church (as a senior pastor) and Kane First United Methodist Church. In 2011 he continued the pastoral journey at Franklin First United Methodist Church where he currently serves. He will begin a new chapter July 1 at Saegertown UMC.
Jeff loves to incorporate art in worship has a passion for discipleship and relational small group ministries. When not involved with ministry, Jeff enjoys drawing, bike riding, board games and hanging out with his cat Sam.
Yurko to Serve Youngwood:Christ UMC
A 1993 graduate of Thiel College in Greenville, he earned his M.Div. from The Methodist Theological School of Ohio in 1998. He has served in a variety of settings since his return to Western Pennsylvania, most recently as pastor of Sharpsville and Oakland Ave. UM churches in the Franklin District.
Joe has always been passionate about relationships, and sought ways to better those relationships, both with others and with God. His preaching and teaching style is conversational and he strives to meet people on a variety of levels.
Married in 2006, Joe and his wife Adaina (Dana) have two children, Tyler (20) and Zakery (15). Joe’s mother Rebecca also lives with the family. The family includes two boxer dogs, Owen and Leia. For fun, the family likes to go fishing, but also enjoys being together no matter where they are.
The well-maintained, fully accessible facility is used by multiple community groups. It houses a Community Clothing Closet and Food Bank, hosts weekly NA and AA groups, and provides meeting space for civic and business groups. This last year it were the regional drop-off for Operation Christmas Child boxes.
The leadership has set their goals around the theme of HOPE:
- Hospitality - inviting, welcoming, receiving of new people;
- Offering Christ - offering opportunities to make a commitment to Christ;
- Participation-growing in faith by participating in the means of grace;
- Engaging the Community – Sharing God’s love by serving others in word and deed.
Greenawalt To Serve Franklin: Christ UMC
Darrell’s 29-year ministry career began at Jeanette: Gethsemane UMC. He later served Lander UMC, South Greensburg UMC and Girard/Lake City UMC’s before moving to Saegertown, where he has been helping the church to develop an intentional discipleship plan focusing on small group development.
Darrell married Sharon in 1998 and is the very proud father of four boys: Nathan, 28; Aaron,26; Noah,16, and Toby,13. The family enjoys hiking, biking and traveling. Their family also includes a black cockapoo dog named Trixie.
During Darrell’s ministry, he has served on the Sessions Ministry Team, the Superintendency Committee of the Greensburg District, the Erie-Meadville District Committee on Ministry, the Episcopacy Committee, and on the board of directors of EUMA (The Erie United Methodist Alliance).
Bargar to Serve Rimersburg/Lawsonham Charge
During those 18 years, John and Lynne raised two wonderful kids, Joshua and Sarah. Joshua and Sarah have now completed their collegiate careers and have “left the nest.” John also graduated from Gannon University with a master’s degree in business administration, served as a Lay Speaker of the Saegertown UMC for 12 years, and enjoyed doing prison ministry for seven years at Albion SCI. John and Lynne maintain a residence in Saegertown, PA since Lynne is a teacher with the Penncrest School District, and has been the Treasurer of the Saegertown Library for several years. After all their married years of life together, they still enjoy Friday Night “Date Night,” enjoying home-made gluten free pizza, movies, board games and the kids when they stop by for a visit.
And then God called again. John left the business world, working as assistant chaplain at Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community in Meadville and serving the Shermansville and Palmer United Methodist churches as a student pastor (2005 – 2008) and as an interim pastor of the Congregational Christian Church in Meadville. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Ashland Theological Seminary in 2007. John served under full-time appointment with the Pymatuning Charge (Jamestown, State Line, and Westford) in Franklin District for eight years (2008 – 2016), and the past two years has served as pastor of the Cochranton UMC in the Erie-Meadville District.
John’s passion is to make disciples for Jesus Christ, helping them to realize that asking Jesus to be Lord and Savior is only the beginning of an awesome adventure of life eternal in Christ Jesus. He enjoys his annual sojourn to Aldersgate Renewal Ministries’ Holy Spirit Conferences, playing a round of golf and riding his bicycle on occasion. He is humbled to be able to serve in any capacity as a servant of the Lord and is looking forward to rejoining the Franklin District to make new disciples in the communities of Lawsonham and Rimersburg, as pastor of that Charge.
Janz To Serve Butler First UMC
Rev. Janz's preaching style is conversational and interactive and, although his administrative skills are evident, his greatest joy comes from preaching and teaching. Before being appointed to the Franklin Church, Rev. Janz served eight years as pastor of Christ UMC in Erie. A graduate of West Virginia University with a major in music education, he earned his master of divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Rev. Janz and his wife Betsy have an adult son and a daughter who is a college student.
Jeff Foor Appointed to Strattanville Charge
The churches reach out to their communities to spread the good news of the Gospel as well to help those who are in need. They serve meals to their neighbors through Clarion Food for Friends, are very involved in the Second Harvest Food Distribution, participate in Operation Christmas Child and the Potato Project in the district. They celebrate their long history of ministry and fellowship.