2018 Appointments

Appointments effective July 1, except where noted.

Sorted by Announced Date

Grucza Appointed to Emlenton Charge

Announced: 11-26-2018

About Paula Grucza
Paula Grucza was raised in a strong Christian family in the Duke Center/Bradford area. Her uncle was a United Methodist pastor and her family gave her a foundation of faith, for which she is grateful.  She met her husband Mark in college and they married shortly after graduation. 

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.
About Emlenton Charge
The Emlenton Charge consists of three churches: Old Zion, Big Bend and Emlenton. The churches are involved in their community in many ways, including participating in a backpack program and providing school supplies for the local school district. They also pack boxes each year for Operation Christmas Child. The ministerium in the area is very active and they participate by attending and hosting special services. The churches sponsor a weekly Bible Study at a local restaurant at the I-80 exit, which draws people from the community as well as those patronizing the restaurant.

Kolacz to Serve Oil City: Trinity, Bethel

Announced: 11-19-2018

About Julie Kolacz
Julie S. Kolacz has been appointed to serve Oil City: Trinity and Bethel UMCs, effective November 19, 2018.  Pastor Julie is a native of Venango County where she started her journey as disciple of Jesus Christ at the age of eight by attending Sunday school and church in Pleasantville. She is excited to return to the region and eagerly anticipates what God has in store for the people of faith and their local communities.

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.
About Oil City: Trinity and Bethel UMC
Trinity UMC and Bethel UMC, both located in Oil City, have a rich history in the oil region of Pennsylvania. The churches have an active children’s ministry, with Trinity hosting a Friday night children’s program and both churches playing an active role in a cooperative VBS each summer. They are currently working on strengthening their youth ministry. For over 50 years Trinity UMC has hosted weekly lunches for the community each spring and fall. People can go to Trinity Hall for lunch and fellowship or lunches can be delivered to area workplaces. The churches also reach out to their community and lend a helping hand to those in need. 

Canter Appointed to Youngsville

Announced: 06-04-2018

About Jeff Cantor
Jeff Cantor was born and raised in the Sewickley PA area. He was baptized Roman Catholic, but migrated to the Presbyterian church in his teenage years and, much later, he said, "found my solid footing as a United Methodist."

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."
About Youngsville: Evangelical and First UM Churches
The Youngsville Evangelical and First United Methodist churches are small town churches,  traditionally family generational churches, although that is changing with smaller families.  The people of the two churches vary in age from infants to those in their 90’s.  Both churches are family oriented and welcome diverse people.  Both churches offer Sunday School classes and Bible studies and offer a Vacation Bible School at or the other church every year.  The combined Youth Group is very active in the high school and community and other activities.  The high school group is coached and encouraged by the pastor as well as church members. 

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

Announced: 05-20-2018

About Jim Graham
Jim Graham was raised in West View, PA, the seventh of eight children.  Jim attended St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church as a youth and served as a lector during his high school years.  His desire to travel led him to enlist in the United States Navy after he graduated from high school.  He enjoyed his Navy career so much that he stayed for 20 years, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer in 2002.  Along life’s journey, he met his wife Suzan when he was stationed in Denver, CO, and they will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary in July.  Jim and Suzan have two sons, James Jr. (JJ) and Ryan, both of whom have left home to seek God's will for their lives.  JJ recently moved to Denver, CO for an electrical apprentice job and Ryan is a combat medic in the Pennsylvania National Guard, living in Slippery Rock, PA.  Jim and Suzan are also the proud parents of four rescue dogs and five rescue cats.
Jim was first led to ministry in the early 2000's when he was attending Grace Bible Church in Virginia Beach.  God chose a path of preparation by using him as an elementary Sunday School teacher, Small Group Leader, and VBS assistant in Virginia, and Christian Education Director, Children's Church teacher, Kid's Club leader, adult Sunday School teacher, and Communion Steward when he relocated to Pennsylvania in 2005.
Jim’s family began attending Harrisville UMC in 2011, and he wanted to get involved and make a positive difference.  God led him to serve on the Outreach Committee, Sunday school teacher, Friday Evening Prayer Partners leader, delegate to annual conference, and Lay Leader.  It was at Harrisville where God led Jim to become a Certified Lay Servant and it was at the 2016 Annual Conference where God called Jim to become a Licensed Local Pastor.  His wife Suzan is also a Certified Lay Servant who has been called to become a Licensed Local Pastor.
Jim’s experience as a Certified Lay Servant and his call to ministry enabled him to serve his Christian brothers and sisters at Barkeyville UMC in an extended capacity while their pastor was recuperating from a medical condition.
Jim earned his Bachelors of Science degree in General Information Technology from Capella University and his Masters of Science degree in Performance Improvement from Grantham University.  He works for the U.S. Government as a Program Analyst and plans to retire from that career in November 2020.
Jim believes his ministry extends beyond the church building and he has served his community as a youth baseball and football coach; youth soccer association board member, referee, and coach; and Bible teacher for Centershot youth archery.  He sees these activities as an outreach to show the love of Jesus Christ to the community, and unchurched kids and their families. Jim also cares deeply for all of God’s creatures and is always on the lookout for homes for rescue pets.

About Suzan Graham

Suzan 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."

About Emlenton Charge
The Emlenton Charge consists of the Emlenton, Old Zion and Big Bend United Methodist Churches in the Franklin District. The churches actively engage in outreach through a local food pantry and in other mission activities. A Bible study is held on a weekly basis and the churches offer Vacation Bible School. A prayer breakfast is held bi-monthly at a local restaurant. They also participate in community and ministerium worship and fellowship activities. 

Bowser to Serve as Army Chaplain

Announced: 05-13-2018

About Timothy Bowser
Rev. Timothy (Tim) E. Bowser was born and raised in Clarion County, PA. At the age of 12, he became a member of the Perryville United Methodist Church (the same church he was baptized in when he wasa few months old). Four years later he started to discern a call to pastoral ministry, the same time that his father, Pastor Richard E. Bowser, was finishing licensing school and received an appointment in the WPAUMC.
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.
About U. S. Army Chaplain


Lenk Appointed to Mt. Joy Charge

Announced: 05-11-2018

About Gene Lenk
Born in Anderson, SC, Gene Lenk and moved to PA at the age of five. His father finished seminary and the family moved to Shippenville to be the pastor of Emanuel Lutheran Church when Gene was nine. He grew up in the church learning about Jesus from an early age. He was older when he answered the call to active ministry, which like so many, he avoided until he could no longer say no.  "God has blessed us beyond measure with his grace and mercy and that is why I serve," he said. "My story is all about Christ’s love for all of us, no matter what we have done.  Christ still loves us and there is nothing we can do to stop him."

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."
About Mt. Joy Charge
The Mount Joy charge consists of Mount Joy UMC, St. Petersburg UMC and Foxburg UMC. The churches all participate in Bible Studies, support the local food bank and help their neighbors in need. The churches recently began worshipping together during Lent with other United Methodist churches nearby. Fellowship dinners are held on a regular basis in the churches as they invite the communities to join them. Vacation Bible School is a highlight of the summer as the churches reach out to the children in their area. On holiday weekends, the churches help to offer coffee and cookies to holiday travelers at an exit of Interstate 80 . The charge continually reaches out to schools and nursing homes in the area. The people of the church strive to create faith communities that are rooted in the Gospel and living lives that embody the Spirit of Christ.

Ackley-Killian to Serve Heckathorn UMC

Announced: 05-06-2018

About Deborah Ackley-Killian
Deborah Ackley-Killian is returning to active ministry from Family Leave that began after her husband, Rev. Earl Killian, contracted meningitis and encephalitis that resulted in permanent consequences and complications. Earl died in March from end-stage renal disease and received the promise of restoration and resurrection.  For the last two decades, Deborah served in a ministry of care-giving presence as wife, mother, friend and pastor.

"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. 
About Heckathorn UMC
Heckathorn UMC is located in Seneca, PA in the northern Franklin District. The church is blessed to have a multi-generational ministry. While many members have been part of the Heckathorn congregation all of their lives, there is ministry happening for children with a weekly weekday ministry throughout the year and the Sunday morning WOW (Worship our Way) children’s church.  The youth group meets regularly and the youth group members are active in many facets of the congregation’s ministry.

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

Announced: 05-06-2018

About Douglas M. Brink
When Douglas Brink came to know the Lord as his Savior and redeemer in the spring of 1973, he knew that God had plans for him and would use him one day. After graduation from high school, Douglas joined the US Army and served as a senior military policeman in the United States, Korea and Germany for 11 years. Douglas wanted to make the military a career, but with cutbacks in the armed forces, he had to follow a different career path.

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."
About Sheffield, Barnes UMCs
Sheffield UMC is on scenic Route 6 just east of Olmsted Manor and in the center of the Allegheny National Forest. The congregation continues to reach out in ministry and mission to their community and beyond. One example is their “Be Ye Kind to One Another” (BYKOTA) ministry where they take meals to people in the community each month. They also host a dinner each month, inviting everyone in the community to enjoy a free meal together at the church. The Ruth M. Smith Center, a National Mission Institution of United Methodist Women is also located in Sheffield.

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

Announced: 05-06-2018

About Laurajane C. Stone
Laurajane C Stone graduated from Oil City High School, Westminster College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She is married to Charles Stone, a general contractor, and they have three children: Jackson, Thatcher and Gideon. Raising her children to be compassionate and caring Christians is one of her biggest responsibilities. She believes it takes a village or multiple villages to raise children. Her children are a blessing to their family and a strong driver in her ministry to people of all ages. Laurajane has a teaching background and has worked with young elementary and middle school students. 

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.
About Greenville First UMC
First UMC is located in the heart of Greenville. The church offers two worship services on Sunday morning -- an informal time of worship held in the Fellowship Hall, followed by a traditional service in the sanctuary. Bible studies are held weekly. The United Methodist Men gather regularly for a breakfast meeting and the United Methodist Women host an annual ladies’ dinner in the fall of the year. The congregation supports UMCOR and other missions in the community including the Good Shepherd Center and others throughout the country. Because of their large church building in a central location, the congregation is happy to share its space with the Boy Scouts, a baton group and Zumba classes

Giles Bailey to Serve Nicklin/Deer Creek/Reynolds Charge

Announced: 04-29-2018

About Giles L. Bailey Jr.
Giles L Bailey Jr. was born in Danville, Virginia ,where the vast majority of churchgoers, as well as the Bailey family, were Southern Baptist. In order to get work, his family moved to Franklin, Pennsylvania and later became Episcopalians. Giles served in the Episcopal Church in many differing capacities. Giles would open the church on Sunday morning, then serve as the acolyte for the 8 a.m. communion service.
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.
About Nicklin, Deer Creek and Reynolds UMCs
Nicklin UMC has a continuing, very strong missions focus that the congregation wants to expand. Currently, they are involved in “Neighbor helping Neighbor,” through which they help with building projects for people in need in the community. The church supports national and international missionaries, sponsors mission trips, offers Vacation Bible School and supports UMCOR. The congregation is looking forward to working with the Reynolds and Deer Creek United Methodist churches in this new charge alignment.

Robison Appointed to Sheakleyville Charge

Announced: 04-29-2018

About Theresa A. Robison
Theresa A. Robison, who currently serves the First UMC of Greenville, Pa, will be appointed pastor of Sheakleyville Charge, effective July 1.

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
About Sheakleyville Charge
The Sheakleyville Charge consists of the Sheakleyville, North Salem and Kennard United Methodist churches in the Franklin District. The churches do many ministries together, including Vacation Bible School, Bible Study, an annual Christmas cantata and an active youth group. Each works hard at reaching out to their community and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Shaffer To Serve as Redbank Valley Associate

Announced: 04-22-2018

About Michael Shaffer
Growing up, Michael was very involved in his local church, attending Vacation Bible School and youth group. Eventually, he became a teacher at Bible School. After graduating from high school, Michael attended business school and worked managing pizza shops, in sales and as a masonry laborer.

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.
About Redbank Valley Ministry
Growing up, Michael was very involved in his local church; attending Vacation Bible School and youth group. Eventually, he became a teacher at Bible School. After graduating from high school, Michael attended business school and worked managing pizza shops, in sales and as a masonry laborer. Michael married and began building 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. Michael 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

Announced: 04-15-2018

About Chad Bogdewic
Chad grew up in Washington County and graduated from California University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Business Administration.  After graduating, he worked at Centerville Clinics, Inc. as the Assistant Director of Grants and Supports Services, where he wrote proposals for federal and state grants, managed several departments, and worked as the assistant to the executive director.
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).
About Sharpsville First/Oakland Ave. UMCs
First UMC in Sharpsville and Oakland Avenue United Methodist churches have been a two-point charge for two years and are exploring new ways of being in ministry together. Game nights have provided fellowship and a time for the congregations to get to know one another better.  The churches have a combined presence in a suburban and urban setting. They have been practicing new ways to show radical hospitality. A dinner was held to honor and thank local and community emergency responders for their service.  Vacation Bible School is a highlight of the summer for children in the community.

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

Announced: 04-08-2018

About Alison Berkey
Born in Hollsopple, PA, Alison (Ali) Berkey was baptized and grew up in the Lutheran church.   At age 10 she began to sense God’s calling to ordained ministry and participated in various activities within her church.  She attended college at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown pursuing a degree in communications, then earned a master of divinity degree in 2002 from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. 

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.

About Oil City: Calvary/Plumer UMCs
The Calvary and Plumer United Methodist churches are very involved in outreach in their communities. Calvary UMC offers a “Back Door Café” twice a month to provide food and fellowship to their neighbors. The ministry developed from the congregation seeing the need to minister to those who traveled down the alley that is located behind the church. The churches collect Christmas gifts for children of prisoners, among other outreach ministries. Music is an important part of worship that includes a choir and praise band. Along with Sunday School, there is an active youth group available for children and youth.

Wade Berkey to Serve Franklin First UMC

Announced: 04-08-2018

About Wade Berkey
Wade Berkey was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, attending the Belmont United Methodist Church and graduating from Richland High School.  It was at Belmont that Rev. Wilson first recognized God’s call upon Wade’s life. 
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.
About Franklin First UMC
First UMC in Franklin is a hub of ministry, spiritual growth opportunities and hospitality! Small groups are the foundation of spiritual growth, as well as Sunday School, Junior Church and Bible Study. The church hosts a free community dinner every month to provide food and fellowship to their neighbors. The church is also very involved ecumenically with other churches in Franklin and works cooperatively with two nearby United Methodist churches. They host a cooperative Sunday School class on Sunday mornings and Vacation Bible school each year.  Both United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men have active and engaging groups within the church. The church's overall vision is "to help people, within the congregation and without, to find Jesus as their Savior, Lord, and "best friend" in life's journey, and to grow as disciples for doing mission and ministry in the local and global community. These purposes unite the  congregation in a commitment to ongoing worship, sacraments, learning, prayer, spiritual discipline, service and loving relationships.”

C. Duffee to Serve Mt. Jewett/Hazel Hurst UMCs

Announced: 03-25-2018

About Cynthia Duffee
Cindy responded to the Holy Spirit's call on her life and entered into pastoral ministry in 2010. She completed the Course of Study School of Ohio: West Virginia Extension in the fall of 2017.

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.
About Mt. Jewett/ Hazel Hurst UMCs
The Mt. Jewett and Hazel Hurst churches are located along scenic Route 6 in McKean County.  These two churches are filled with passion for Christ and a passion to share Christ with others. They are doing outreach to local nursing homes and schools. When there is a fifth Sunday in a month, the churches do “church has left the building.” On those days they make it a point to visit nursing homes or do another kind of outreach project in their communities.
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

Announced: 03-18-2018

About John Emigh
John Emigh’s grandfather was a pastor/evangelist in the Methodist church, so he was raised by a P.K. mother who brought the children up deeply involved in the church.  Some of his best spiritual memories are of the little three-point charge his grandfather pastored (in the Central PA Conference) and of attending many revival services with his grandfather. 

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!
About Dubois First UMC
The people of DuBois First UMC are involved in the life of their church and the life of their communities. They strive to live up to the United Methodist slogan of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors,” as well as their Mission Statement: “Model Christ’s Love.”

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

Announced: 03-18-2018

About Lance Tucker
Born in Warren, PA., Lance Tucker was adopted at 6 months old and said he is am blessed to understand what being chosen and raised by loving parents meant. He grew up in the Epworth United Methodist Church in Warren where he was very involved in church youth program and ministries.

"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.
About Dempseytown: Oakland UMC
The mission statement of the Oakland United Methodist Church is: "We seek to encourage communion with God. We seek to increase commitment to Christ. We seek to serve in the community of faith. We seek to enlarge the Kingdom of God." 

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

Announced: 03-18-2018

About Jeffrey B. Little
Jeff Little was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. He graduated with an art degree from Edinboro University and was an aspiring cartoonist. Jeff worked with youth ministry while trying to break into the world of art. He ended up working as a campus minister at Edinboro University with the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach).

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.
About Saegertown UMC
Saegertown Church has been a source of strength and stability for the folks in Crawford County since 1829, when an ecumenical effort among Methodist, Lutheran and German Reform persons founded “Three Faiths Church.”  Since then, the Methodist Church has grown and prospered; today the congregation is visionary and vital.  Their ministry touches the lives of children, youth and adults.  They partner with community groups to reach out in several ways.  They care for one another and for those who have no one else to whom to turn.  They are always dreaming about the next-best-step, deep in prayer to discern the will of God for them and for the world.  They offer various styles of worship and lots of educational opportunities in order to meet the spiritual needs of persons from various backgrounds and walks of life.

Yurko to Serve Youngwood:Christ UMC

Announced: 03-11-2018

About Joseph Yurko
Joseph Yurko was born and raised in North Braddock PA, where he grew up in the Muhleman Memorial UMC.  As a young person, he was active in local, district, and conference United Methodist youth programs. 

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. 
About Youngwood: Christ UMC
Christ United Methodist Church is located two blocks off Rt 119, south of Greensburg in the community of Youngwood, where there are two United Methodist churches. Christ offered two weekly worship services, one traditional and one contemporary with a time of fellowship called Mission Café between them. The church has rebounding children (K-Force) and youth ministries (G-Force) that meet weekly. 

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

Announced: 02-25-2018

About Darrell Greenawalt
Rev. Dr. Darrell Greenawalt has been serving Saegertown UMC since 2012. Darrell grew up in Nixon UMC, south of Butler, where he graduated from Knoch HS. He earned a BFA in art history/photography from Ohio University, then returned to WPA in 1989 after earning a MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. Recently, Darrell completed a DMin program at Ashland Theological Seminary, where he focused on Pastoral Counseling - specifically fatherhood.

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).
About Franklin: Christ UMC
Christ United Methodist Church is located in the heart of the city of Franklin. Worship is at the center of the life of the church. There are three services each Sunday, including both traditional and contemporary worship. Music ministry is a strong asset of Christ Church, with many people using their talents and gifts to enhance worship. This intergenerational church has ministry and educational opportunities for all ages. The church has a strong Sunday School program and, in addition, an active youth ministry, Kingdom Bound Kids Club for elementary age children, a small group ministry and women’s ministry.  Christ Church is committed to reaching out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether it be in Venango County or around the world. Mission trips to Appalachia, the Dominican Republic and to Native American Missions are planned each year.

Bargar to Serve Rimersburg/Lawsonham Charge

Announced: 02-18-2018

About John F. Bargar
John Francis Bargar was born in Franklin, and has lived most of his life in Western Pennsylvania.  After graduating from Meadville Senior High School, he went off to college and then was invited by “Uncle Sam” to tour the world via the U.S. Navy for six years.  John met his loving wife Lynne (37+ years) after leaving the Navy and re-joining the collegiate world.  After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, he entered the business world, working for a small company in Meadville for 18 years.

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.

About Rimersburg/Lawsonham Charge
Located in southern Clarion County, the Rimersburg and Lawsonham churches are well known in the community for their ministries. The centerpoint is an afterschool program, “King’s Kids,” held weekly during the school year for elementary age children.  The weekly attendance is over 100 children. Along with that ministry, the church participates in the “Blessing Kids Project,” to provide food for needy children in the Union School District and hosts school children during release time. In addition, the churches send out mission teams on a regular basis, do a monthly nursing home visitation and sponsor a “Celebrate Recovery” group. The charge offers opportunities for individuals to use their God-given talents in the church, community or around the world.  

Janz To Serve Butler First UMC

Announced: 02-11-2018

About David D. Janz
The Rev. David Janz, a gifted teacher and preacher who serves as co-chair of the Conference Board of Ministry, has been appointed as senior pastor of Butler First UMC. Since 2007, Rev. Janz has served as the senior pastor of Christ UMC in Franklin, which has experienced growth in professions of faith and worship attendance and offers a variety of worship experiences. He is skilled in building and working with teams in the local church, as well as at the district and Conference level.

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. 
About Butler: First UMC
Butler First United Methodist Church offers the same message in a variety of worship settings at three campuses for about 1100 people each week. Traditional services are offered at its downtown campus sanctuary at 6 p.m. Saturday and twice on Sunday mornings; a God's Country service with country music and communion follows a 6 p.m. dinner on Saturday evenings, also at the downtown campus. The Crossfire campus outside Butler offers contemporary worship on Sunday mornings. Butler First offers several small groups and ministries to those in the community through a community meal, an addiction recovery ministry and a ministry to those transitioning back into the community from prison. 

Jeff Foor Appointed to Strattanville Charge

Announced: 11-01-2017

About Jeffrey Foor
Jeffrey currently serves as a part-time Associate Pastor of the Tionesta/Tylersburg/Helen Furnace/Scotch Hill Charge.  Jeff has enjoyed a distinguished career of over 35 years in banking, most recently as a Vice President and Small Business Specialist with First Commonwealth Bank.  After feeling a call from God to go deeper in ministry, Jeff will retire from First Commonwealth Bank effective December 31, 2017.  He is excited to begin his work as the full time Local Pastor of the Strattanville/Asbury/Corsica Charge on January 1, 2018.  Jeff and his wife Glea currently reside in Clarion. Their daughter Brittany and her husband Adam, who live in Swissvale, and are expecting their first child in February. 
About Strattanville Charge
The Strattanville Charge consists of the Strattanville, Asbury and Corsica United Methodist churches. The three churches have been on a charge together since 1970. They are all located on Rt. 322 from eastern Clarion County to Corsica, in Jefferson County. The Corsica UM church is at the eastern boundary of the Franklin district.

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.