2022 Appointments

Appointments effective July 1, except where noted.

Go to summary listing

Sorted by Announced Date


Harrison Appointed to New Covenant Charge

Announced: 05-01-2022
About Tom Harrison
Tom Harrison was born and attended school in the Syracuse, New York area and was a Rotary Exchange student in Puebla, Mexico.  Tom holds a BA in English Literature from Washington and Lee University, where he lettered in football. Currently, he is a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and serves as Pastoral Assistant and Director of Pastoral Care at his home church, Butler First United Methodist.

Tom has worked as a newspaper journalist, investigative reporter, news editor, editorial editor and executive editor. He won multiple awards of distinction in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio while working for newspapers in Corry, Meadville, Greenville, Sharon, Grove City and Beaver. Additionally, Tom was the publisher and editor of a weekly Christian newspaper. He has served as a substitute teacher for special needs students, founded and served as trustee of adult literary councils, is currently a member of the Butler Area School Board and is a professional Santa Claus.

Tom and his wife of 16 years, Cherie, live in Butler and are the parents of four grown children and their spouses, eight grandchildren, one great grandson, and four hypertension reduction units, aka housecats. He loves cooking, baking bread in particular, and plays a convincingly jolly, tubby Santa Claus; while Cherie is a globetrotting gramma with a passion for scrapbooking and sugar cookies. Tom and Cherie are looking forward to Tom’s first appointment at the New Covenant Charge.
About New Covenant Charge
The New Covenant Charge consists of four churches in the Franklin District; Parker, Callensburg, West Freedom and Perryville UMCs. The churches are involved in local ministry, both as a charge and ecumenically with other churches in the area

Cindy Duffee to Serve Fertigs Charge

Announced: 03-20-2022
About Cynthia A. Duffee
Cindy grew up in Coal Hollow in Elk County and graduated from St. Mary's Area High in 1979. After an experience similar to the story of Samuel, she left a retail career and answered God's call into ministry.

Cindy completed the Course of Study in 2017 and has been blessed to serve churches in the Franklin, Erie/Meadville, Indiana and Kane Districts. She looks forward to once again being part of the Franklin District, a place where she calls home.  Cindy’s emphasis for ministry is encouraging congregations (regardless of size and age) to invite people to come into the presence of Christ through the ministry of the church. Her passion is freeing and equipping as many laity as possible to use their gifts in the life of the church: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it”  (1 Cor. 12:27).

Outside the local church, Cindy has served on the district and conference levels. Volunteering at local food pantries is something she greatly enjoys. She is known to frequently say, “The ground at the foot of the cross is level, no clichés or judgments to be found in Jesus. However, it is there you will discover Jesus’ amazing grace.”

Cindy and her husband Ken will celebrate our 43rd anniversary this year. Ken is an ordained elder in the UMC. They have three adult children and five grandchildren: Blaine and his wife Ashley are parents of grandchildren Payton, Maddox and Dexter; daughter Sarah and her husband Trevor Hile are parents of grandchildren Gwen and Greyson, and son Joshua Duffee. Cindy enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and with friends.  She and Ken are avid motorcycle riders and are members of the Christian Motorcycle Association.  They enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and a good cup of coffee. 
About Fertigs Charge
The Fertigs Charge in the Franklin District consists of the Fertigs, Ashland and Pine City UMCs. While each church has its own ministry, they work together well in ministry and outreach. Strengthening and deepening their faith are of primary importance.  Prayer and fellowship are important as well. There is a covenant prayer group that meets weekly, as well as men’s and women’s small groups. The churches sponsor Vacation Bible School, support the local food pantry and have a blanket ministry. Additionally, the churches participate in an annual mission trip and work together with neighboring UM churches to repair homes.

Ken Duffee to Serve Sugarcreek/Grace Charge

Announced: 03-20-2022
About Kenneth L. Duffee
Ken entered pastoral ministry in 1994 as a student pastor and graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary in 2001 and was ordained an Elder in 2004. Currently serving Evans Memorial UMC, his past appointments include: the Greene Hills Parish, Wheatland/Farrell, Emlenton, Clark/ Charleston, and Ringgold/ North Freedom. Ken has served on the Conference Connectional Table, as Chair of the Conference Evangelism Team, on the Franklin District Committee on Ministry and both the Franklin and Kane District committees on Buildings and Location.

Ken and his wife Cindy, a licensed local pastor, have been married for almost 43 years and have three grown children and five grandchildren.

Ken believes that pastoral ministry should be based on Ephesians 4: 11-13, which instructs pastor/teachers to equip “God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” while striving for spiritual maturity in Christ. He also feels that the ministry of the laity is an essential part the church. It is essential to focus on developing and empowering leaders, and creating an environment within the church that is inviting, encouraging and supportive of all of God’s people.  His ministry has been focused on having a visible and supportive presence in the community, developing small group ministries, emphasizing continual spiritual formation through worship, prayer, Bible study, and other forms of Christian training.

Ken has been enormously blessed by God in all of his appointments and service to the church. Although there have been challenges and difficulties, overall, he considers it a privilege and joy to serve God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirt with the churches of the WPA Conference.
About Sugarcreek/Grace Charge
The Sugarcreek/Grace Charge in the Franklin District includes Grace UMC, Sugarcreek UMC, Oak Hill UMC, Reno UMC and Lupher Chapel UMC. The churches are located in communities north of Franklin.  Each church has its own distinct ministry and outreach in its community, but since the inception of the charge two years ago, all five churches enjoy worshipping, working and fellowshipping together.

Schanely Appointed to Sharon Area Co-operative Ministry

Announced: 02-20-2022
About Kelley M. Schanely
Kelley is a native of Eighty-Four, PA and a graduate of Ringgold High School. She graduated Penn State University in 1996 with double major in Journalism and Political Science. Her home church is Edwards Chapel UMC in the Washington District. She held various leadership roles in her home church such as Youth Sunday School teacher and Mission Committee Chairperson.

Prior to attending seminary, she worked in advertising and marketing.

Kelley attended seminary at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and graduated with a M.Div. with a specialization in Church Leadership in 2009.  She was commissioned a Provisional Elder in 2009 and ordained in 2011.

She has served the Redstone Parish (Little Redstone, Newell and Star Junction UMCs) in the Connellsville District, Dubois: Mt. Zion in the Indiana District and is currently serving Washington: First UMC in the Washington District. She has served on various committees on the district and Conference levels and currently serves as Co-Chair for the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM). Kelley also serves on the Conference Zimbabwe Partnership committee. She participated in the Zimbabwe Immersion Program for six weeks in 2014, and in 2017 was blessed to return to Zimbabwe serving as an adult leader for ZIM Camp with amazing youth from around the Western PA  Conference.

Kelley’s guiding scripture is Micah 6:8 and she most identifies with the Parable of the Prodigal Son. She has a love and passion for small congregations and believes small congregations can do mighty things by the power of the Holy Spirit. While she has learned to not to take herself too seriously, she does take the church’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ very seriously.
Kelley is married to Mark and they will be celebrating their 19th anniversary on June 14 this year.  They have two “furry ones”—a tuxedo cat named Pumpkin and a pitbull Izzi. Kelley and Mark’s interests include Star Wars, Doctor Who, and the opera. Kelley also enjoys traveling and is taking a kickboxing class where she is learning to appreciate the fine art of round kicks, wheel kicks and upper cuts. They are both very proud of their nephews Kevin (20) who lives in Nashville, TN and Jason (16).
About Sharon Area Cooperative Ministry
Sharon: First and Oakland Avenue United Methodist churches participate in community ministry, support the West Hills Partnership in the city of Sharon and play an active role in ecumenical ministries in the community. The churches are part of the Sharon Area Co-operative Ministry with the West Middlesex UMC and First UMC in Sharpsville. Cooperative ministries include a joint Bible Study, community worship experiences and supporting a community garden. The churches are also an active part of the Shenango Valley Cluster of United Methodist churches where they join together in worship and outreach activities.

Dyson to Serve with ELCA Synod

Announced: 09-05-2021
About Doug Dyson
Rev. Doug Dyson grew up one of four sons of a United Methodist pastor in New Jersey, spending most of his childhood in Princeton, NJ. After high school he married his high school sweetheart Linda and together they raised their two married biological daughters Casey (31) and Heather (30) along with six adopted children Shayne (23), Evan (22), Chris (22), Tyler (22), Samantha (21), and Daymon (20).

Rev. Dyson studied psychology at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, NJ. He received his Masters of Divinity, with a focused specialization in Church Revitalization and Renewal, from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH.

Rev. Dyson began in ministry in the same conference in which his father served, starting as a student pastor in 1996. Through his ministry there he served in rural, suburban, and urban settings in both small and large churches, crossing denominational lines. Although he got his start in the United Methodist Church, in 2002 the family relocated to Punxsutawney, PA to run a youth center for the Salvation Army. For a time, he served as interim pastor for the Independent Reformed Church, St. John’s in Sprankle Mills, PA, before returning to the United Methodist church in 2007 as a local pastor serving in the Marchand Charge and began the process towards full ordination in the Western PA Annual Conference. He was ordained an Elder in 2017. He has been serving since 2016 at Sharon First UMC and currently is senior pastor of the Sharon Area Cooperative Ministry.

Pastor Doug’s passion is summed up in the quote, “A great commitment to the Great Commission lived out through the Great Commandment makes a great church.” He believes that Jesus calls us to love God with all that we are (an ever-deepening discipleship for every believer) and to love our neighbor with all that we have (This is a love that is ACTION above all). For Pastor Doug, this is the very heart of the Christian call.

In his new appointment, Doug will provide leadership in developing systems and implementing strategies for revitalizing existing congregations and new meeting places for new people. In addition, he will work closely with all congregations within the Synod as well as the Synod Council, the Bishop, and newly formed Cooperative Parish
About Northwest PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Northwest PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is comprised of 74 congregations in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. The territory covers all or part of 15 counties: Armstrong, Cameron, Crawford, Clarion, Elk, Erie, Forest, Indiana, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, Warren, and Westmoreland. 

The United Methodist Church is in full communion relationship with the ELCA. 

McVay to Serve Cherrytree/Worden Chapel/Coopertown

Announced: 05-30-2021
About David McVay
David McVay has been assigned as a supply pastor for the newly formed Cherrytree/Worden Chapel/Cooperstown Charge in the Franklin District. A member of Seneca United Methodist Church where he has served on the worship committee and as a worship leader, David served as a supply pastor for the Cherrytree church and Worden Chapel for the past year.

Born and raised in Cranberry Township, Venango County, he is a graduate of Cranberry High School and Venango Technology Center. For the past 12 ½ years, David has served as the Office Administrator for the Jacob A. Weaver/Willis E. Sommers Companies in Cochranton, PA.

In the summer of 2011, God called David to baptism and full communion with the church. Since that time, he has been called to many of ministries, including teaching Sunday School, Children’s Church, and Vacation Bible School. Following his passion with food and cooking, he has been involved in the Monthly Community Breakfast at Seneca United Methodist Church.

David has felt God’s call for many years, but much more strongly over the last few years. Under the mentorship of his pastor, he engaged in more active ministry and enrolled in the Lay Servant Program. He has begun the candidacy process to become a local pastor.
About Cherrytree/Worden Chapel/Coopertown Charge
These three churches are located in northern part of the Franklin District and are forming a new charge alignment as of July 1, 2021. The congregations are committed to supporting mission, being involved in community activities and fellowship. They each try to impact their community through their faith in Jesus Christ. Each year they support Relay for Life through monthly soup suppers.

Dan Miller to Serve Pymatuning Charge

Announced: 05-16-2021
About Daniel C. Miller
Daniel Clark Miller was born in Etna and grew up in Shaler Township. He attended Epworth UMC from third grade and was active in VBS, MYF and Sunday School. He was first in the pulpit achieving the God and Country award in Boy Scouts. He started working in retail, where he spent over 40 years. After a severe illness, he returned to the United Methodist Church at Rochester First UMC. He became involved in the Nothing but Nets Anti-Malaria campaign, became the Butler District Lay Leader and started taking Lay Servant Ministry Classes.

After ignoring God’s call to enter the ministry, he finally broke down and answered the call. After attending licensing school, he was appointed to Branchton and West Liberty UMC, and later picked up Ridgeville. He enjoys the challenge of COS, and likes to read and fish. He has been married to Karen for 36 years.
About Pymatuning Charge
The Pymatuning Charge consists of the Westford, Jamestown and State Line United Methodist churches. The churches work together on community fundraisers, mission projects such as packing backpacks for school children, clothing giveaways, free Thanksgiving dinner, a strawberry stand at local fairs and events and fundraising dinners.

Mains Appointed to Oil City: Calvary

Announced: 05-16-2021
About Denise Mains
Pastor‌ ‌Denise‌ ‌Mains‌ ‌grew‌ ‌up‌ ‌in‌ ‌Southern‌ ‌Butler‌ ‌County,‌ ‌Middlesex‌ ‌Twp.‌ ‌She‌ ‌worked‌ ‌for‌ ‌many‌ ‌years‌ ‌in care homes ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌Reality‌ ‌Orientation‌ ‌coordinator. These experiences‌ ‌helped‌ ‌develop‌ ‌her‌ ‌love‌ ‌and‌ ‌concern‌ ‌for‌ ‌not‌ ‌only‌ ‌the‌ ‌physical and ‌mental‌ ‌health‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌older‌ ‌community‌, ‌but‌ ‌for‌ ‌their‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌well‌ -being‌ ‌as‌ ‌well.‌ ‌ ‌
Denise was actively involved in the church throughout her life. She began attending Lay School after she moved to Emlenton and became a member of the Emlenton UMC. It was at Lay School that she felt her call to ministry. Denise‌ ‌finished‌ ‌her‌ ‌Course‌ ‌of‌ ‌Study‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌West‌ ‌Virginia‌ ‌extension‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Course‌ ‌of‌ ‌Study‌ ‌School‌ ‌of‌ ‌Ohio‌ ‌in‌ ‌2019.‌ ‌ ‌
Currently‌ ‌serving‌ ‌as‌ ‌pastor‌ ‌of‌ ‌Clintonville‌ ‌Charge,‌ ‌Denise ‌‌previously‌ ‌served‌ ‌Kaylor‌ ‌and‌ ‌Queenstown‌ ‌churches‌ ‌in‌ ‌the Butler‌ ‌District.‌ ‌Beyond‌ ‌the‌ ‌local‌ ‌church‌ ‌she‌ ‌serves‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Franklin‌ ‌District‌ ‌Board‌ ‌of‌ ‌Church‌ ‌Location‌ ‌and‌ ‌Buildings,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌Conference‌ ‌Nominations‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌Sessions‌ ‌teams.‌ ‌ ‌
Pastor‌ ‌Denise‌ ‌is‌ ‌passionate‌ ‌about‌ ‌sharing‌ ‌the‌ ‌love‌ ‌of‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌.‌ ‌She‌ ‌truly‌ ‌loves‌ ‌connecting‌ ‌with‌ ‌people‌ ‌throughout‌ ‌the‌ ‌community.‌ ‌She‌ ‌encourages‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌members‌ ‌of‌ ‌her‌ ‌congregations‌ ‌to‌ ‌remember‌ ‌that‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌all‌ ‌called‌ ‌to‌ ‌leave‌ ‌the‌ ‌church‌ ‌buildings‌ ‌and‌ ‌serve‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌kingdom‌ ‌of‌ ‌Our‌ ‌Lord‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌Christ.‌ ‌

Denise‌ ‌is‌ ‌widowed‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌mother‌ ‌of‌ ‌three‌ ‌and‌ ‌grandmother‌ ‌of‌ ‌five.‌ ‌She‌ ‌loves‌ ‌family‌ ‌time,‌ ‌golfing‌ ‌with‌ ‌her‌ ‌grandsons,‌ ‌attending‌ ‌baseball‌ ‌games‌ ‌with‌ ‌them,‌ ‌crocheting‌ ‌and‌ ‌other‌ ‌crafty‌ ‌projects.‌
About Oil City: Calvary United Methodist Church
Calvary UMC is a mission-minded church dedicated to serving the community and beyond. They have a “Mission of the Month” that they support through financial giving. Additionally, they are known in Oil City for their “Back Door Café,” an opportunity for people to have lunch and enjoy fellowship. Men’s and women’s Bible Study groups and a Bible Study led by the pastor are important elements of their desire to grow as disciples.

Tom Phillips Appointed to Cranberry, Rockland UMCs

Announced: 05-16-2021
About Tom Phillips
Tom was born and raised in Franklin, Pennsylvania, graduated from Valley Grove High School in 1969, and attended Penn State University, graduating in 1973 with a BS in Animal Science. He worked in the Social Service field for 25 years, helping people become re-employed after losing their jobs. Tom felt his call to full-time ministry in 2003 and said yes to God’s call upon his life.  All of his experiences while attending Grace United Methodist in Rocky Grove prepared him for a life in ministry. He attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and graduated in 2012.

After serving for 15 years at two charges, Greater Oil City United Methodist Charge (7 years) and then Blacklick Community United Methodist (8 years), Tom planned to retire from full-time ministry and serve as a fill-in as needed.   Tom’s gifts for ministry are preaching, listening, being present and visitation as well as a gift of helps.

Tom and his wife Karen will be celebrating their 49th anniversary this July and enjoy when they can get together with their three children and their families.   They also have six grandchildren to take up some of their time as schedules allow.  Tom also enjoys gardening, hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania and building things with his hands.   
About Cranberry & Rockland United Methodist churches
The Cranberry and Rockland UMCs are located near Cranberry in Venango County. The churches have been together on a charge for many years and share special worship services and Bible studies. Both churches are very dedicated to supporting local, Conference and international ministries and missions.

Melissa Geisler To Serve Franklin First UMC

Announced: 05-09-2021
About Melissa Geisler
Melissa Geisler was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and has earned several degrees, an Associate of Arts in Elementary Education from Broward Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of South Florida and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. She is currently working on a Master’s degree in Social Work from Edinboro University.

Melissa’s life has always been nurtured by the church. Activities she participated in as a youth and college student confirmed her call to ministry. She was commissioned as a Diaconal Minister of Christian Education in 1992 and was ordained an elder in 2016.

She served as an Associate Pastor for the Community Churches Charge in Washington, PA (Beallsville UMC, Mt. Zion UMC, Marianna UMC, Taylor UMC, and Centerville UMC), and as Senior Pastor at both Trinity UMC and Lawrence Park UMC in Erie, PA. 

Her spiritual gifts include teaching, helping, and administration.  Personal interests include spending as much time as she can with family, searching for sea glass on the shores of Lake Erie, reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, crafts, and walking. Melissa is the mother of two young men (Andrew, 18 and Caleb, 21) and the wife of 25+ years to Ron, an Ordained Elder in the Western PA Annual Conference
About Franklin: First UMC
First UMC in Franklin is a friendly, welcoming congregation located in the heart of downtown Franklin. The congregation is involved in the Franklin Ministerium and participates in its mission and worship events. Additionally they support many local, Conference and international ministries. They offer a free community dinner on a monthly basis for their neighbors in the area.

Ron Geisler Appointed to Oil City: Grace UMC

Announced: 05-09-2021
About Ronald Geisler
Ron was born and raised in Washington, Pennsylvania. He began following Jesus and received a call to full-time ministry through the faithfulness of the West Washington United Methodist Church. He attended Grove City College (1991) and Asbury Theological Seminary (1995).

Ron is an ordained elder, serving in ministry since 1993. He has been the pastor of churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Pennsylvania and has been privileged to work at church planting in the greater Canonsburg area of Washington County.

With the spiritual gifts of teaching, leading, and encouragement, Ron offers expertise in discipleship training, leadership development, and the creation of strategic missional goals. In 2016, he received the Erie-Meadville District "Turtle Award" for "serving the Kingdom with courage and an entrepreneurial spirit and being willing to stick your neck out for Jesus!"

Ron is a certified discipleship/leadership coach and a member of the International Coaching Federation. One of his great passions is seeing churches and people find a REBOUND and move from struggle to success. In 2018 he created Rebound Life Coaching where he writes, teaches, and coaches.

He and Melissa met in Kentucky and have been married since 1995. They are the parents of two adult sons.
About Oil City: Grace United Methodist Church
Grace UMC is a very mission-minded church both in their community and beyond. The church’s worship service is broadcast live on a local cable station and allows homebound members and others to be part of their worship service each week. The church supports and participates in the Salvation Army food ministry, Mustard Seed Missions, Venango Youth for Christ and ABC Life Center. Additionally they are part of the mission and worship events of the Oil City Ministerium. Beyond their community, the churches have taken mission trips to Appalachia and the Dominican Republic.

Ali Berkey Appointed to West Erie Parish

Announced: 05-02-2021
About Alison Berkey
Ali Berkey was born and raised in Jerome, PA, a small town in the northern part of Somerset County.  She attended Conemaugh Township School District, where in high school she participated in marching band, forensics, and softball. Ali holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Gettysburg.  After seminary she worked as a domestic relations intake clerk, a welfare intake clerk, a preschool teacher, a before/after school coordinator, and an adjunct instructor at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.  At Highlands, she also earned a degree in Early Childhood Education went on to own and operate a successful preschool and a before/after program for several years.

Ali then completed Clinical Pastoral Education in Greenville NC and, in 2011 returned to Western Pennsylvania and sought ordination in the United Methodist Church.  She was ordained an Elder in 2015. Her appointments in  included Mt Tabor, Robinson, the Faith Community Charge, the Allegheny River Charge and most recently, Calvary and Plummer UMCs in Oil City.  

In 2014, Ali married Rev. Wade Berkey at the Outer Banks NC.  She enjoys gardening, hydroponic gardening, biking, scrapbooking, making homemade cards and candles.  And, on Fridays, she enjoys dates with her husband.
About West Erie Parish
The West Erie Parish is a new alignment of four suburban congregations west of the City of Erie. 
Fairview UMC is situated in a growing suburban community and, in recent years, the church has developed important ministries to youth and children, including a pre-school that is helping them reach young families. 

Girard UMC, located in the heart of Girard, has a long-standing reputation as a landmark institution in its community. The congregation has a rich history of community service, traditional worship with excellent music, and vital fellowship ministries.

First UMC in Lake City is a small congregation with a deep desire to reach its community.  After devastating water damage throughout the building in January 2020, they are hard at work restoring their building. At the same time, they are planning creative ways to make new disciples of Jesus Christ, once they resume in person worship.

Weis Library is also situated in the growing suburban area of Fairview.  In recent years the congregation has enjoyed a renewed focus upon community outreach and mission.  Their state of the art “Christ Center,” with kitchen, gym and classroom areas, positions them well to grow into a community center.  The congregation values vital contemporary worship and biblical preaching. 

The West Erie Parish will be served by Ali and Wade Berkey as a pastoral team using their varied gifts in all four congregations.  This unique approach will help empower the congregations to find ways to work together as they make disciples for the transformation of the Erie West area.

Blake Appointed to Polk/East Grove/Center Charge

Announced: 05-02-2021
About Matthew Blake
Matthew Blake is a native of Titusville, PA. When God called him into ministry, the Holy Spirit guided and encouraged him to sell everything and follow Jesus. He has been blessed ever since.  He has served appointments in the Franklin, Johnstown and Kane districts where he currently serves a chrge in Bradford.  

Matthew’s ministry model is of the evangelistic style, through preaching, teaching and leading. He believes in meeting people where they are within the community; building relationships and forming gathering places outside the walls of the church, whether it be in a store front, coffee shop, or a walk in the woods. Personal relationships are integral to Matthew’s ministry, first between the believer and God and Jesus Christ as personal Savior and then between pastor and parishioner and community. He strongly encourages evangelism and disciple-making in his ministry and loves trying new and exciting ventures within the church and community.

Matthew is married to Laura and between them they have six children and 14 grandchildren. On his days off you will find him on the family farm tending to the herd of Black Angus cattle that he and Laura own or hunting, fishing, trapping or camping.
About Polk/East Grove/Center Charge
The churches in this charge are very mission-minded, whether it be through supporting international missionaries or children and those in need in their communities. Polk and East Grove churches each host after school programs during the school year. Together the churches sponsor Blessing Boxes at different places in the community for those who are food insecurities.

Wade Berkey Appointed to West Erie Parish

Announced: 05-02-2021
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. Ed Wilson first recognized God’s call upon Wade’s life.

After graduating high school, Wade earned an Associate Degree in drafting—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, Wade moved into production management and attended Robert Morris University, graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in management.  It was then that he 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. His appointments included Franklin First UMC, Kittanning First UMC, 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 attended Asbury University and is employed in Human Resources near Pittsburgh.  Wade is married to Ali, and as a clergy couple, they serve God not only in their churches, but in their lives together. 

Wade enjoys spending time with Ali and their rescue dog Shirley. He also enjoys bicycling, photography, cooking, and listening to an eclectic collection of music that includes Contemporary Christian music, blues, and classic rock.
About Erie West Parish
The West Erie Parish is a new alignment of four suburban congregations west of the City of Erie. 
Fairview UMC is situated in a growing suburban community and, in recent years, the church has developed important ministries to youth and children, including a pre-school that is helping them reach young families. 

Girard UMC, located in the heart of Girard, has a long-standing reputation as a landmark institution in its community. The congregation has a rich history of community service, traditional worship with excellent music, and vital fellowship ministries.

First UMC in Lake City is a small congregation with a deep desire to reach its community.  After devastating water damage throughout the building in January 2020, they are hard at work restoring their building. At the same time, they are planning creative ways to make new disciples of Jesus Christ, once they resume in person worship.

Weis Library is also situated in the growing suburban area of Fairview.  In recent years the congregation has enjoyed a renewed focus upon community outreach and mission.  Their state of the art “Christ Center,” with kitchen, gym and classroom areas, positions them well to grow into a community center.  The congregation values vital contemporary worship and biblical preaching. 

The West Erie Parish will be served by Ali and Wade Berkey as a pastoral team using their varied gifts in all four congregations.  This unique approach will help empower the congregations to find ways to work together as they make disciples for the transformation of the Erie West area.

D. Bell Appointed to New Virginia UMC

Announced: 04-11-2021
About D. Andrew Bell
Drew Bell is a native of Scottdale, Pa. His parents, Rev. Audrey Bell and the late Rev. David Bell, and his brother, Rev. Jonathan Bell, all received a call to ministry and have served as pastors. 

Drew is married to Sally, who is currently a student at MTSO and serves Calvary UMC in Greenville. They have a son, Alex, 3, who helps to keep them young. He currently serves the  East Grove/Polk/Center Charge and previously served Penns Woods and New Kensington First UMCs.

Drew’s education and work before entering ministry was in science. He has a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Allegheny College and earned advanced degrees in developmental genetics from Carnegie Mellon and entomology from Penn State.  He worked in medical research for UPMC, agricultural research at Bayer Corporation, and defense-related research for DARPA, and taught at both St. Vincent College and Bucknell University. Drew rearned his M. Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

A member of the Order of St. Luke, Drew considers himself an orthodox United Methodist and adheres closely to Wesleyan standards of life and liturgy. He strongly believes that the Holy Scriptures are best honored by being lived out in our day to day life, so that we may all be evangelists by example.
About New Virginia United Methodist Church
The New Virginia UMC is located in Hermitage in the Franklin District. The congregation is very mission minded, whether the mission be local or global. The church participates with other area United Methodist churches in the Shenango Valley Cluster for worship and outreach activities and an annual mission trip to Red Bird Mission.  The Youth Group (CHAOS) also participates in annual mission trips. Worship on Sunday morning includes children’s church for the youngest members of the congregation. The congregation sponsors a “Blessing Box” in the church yard, which has been an important outreach to the community, with non-perishable food items offered free to those in need. The congregation seeks to live out the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.

Carr Appointed to Oil City:Trinity/Bethel/Plumer & Franklin District Ministry Assistant

Announced: 03-28-2021
About Thomas Carr
Tom Carr was born in Grove City, PA, graduated from Bethel Park High School, Grove City College and the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. While completing an internship at McMasters UMC the summer before his senior year of college, Tom was encouraged to become a pastor.  That experience began his discernment of his call to ministry 40 years ago in August 1980. In his 39 years of ministry, he has served churches in New Garden, Ohio and in the Washington, Connellsville, Butler, and the former Pittsburgh East District. He currently serves Reynoldsville UMC in the Indiana District.

Tom also has served in both district and Conference-level ministry positions. He describes himself as a highly relational individual and pastor, with all the strengths and weakness that go along with being such.

He enjoys movies (especially old and classic movies), woodworking and scroll saw, music, and slot car racing with his grandson and has some interest in model railroading. Tom has been married to Leah since 1984. They are the parents of two daughters, Lynette and Krista, and the grandparents of two.
About Oil City: Trinity/Bethel/Plumer Charge; Franklin District Ministry Assistant
Although these churches have been part of a charge in the past, July 1 will mark a new beginning of the three churches working together in the greater Oil City area. Each of the churches have a rich history in the oil region of Pennsylvania. The churches all reach out to their community and lend a helping hand to those in need.  It is their hope to strengthen and grow their ministries while working together.

Franklin District Ministry Assistant
The District Ministry Assistant for the Franklin District will play an important part in the new Shared Ministry model that will be implemented in the Indiana and Franklin districts on July 1. The District Ministry Assistant will serve part-time to carry out some of the duties of a superintendent that can be delegated to elders. These duties may include conducting charge conferences, facilitating district ministries, organizing district Volunteer in Mission projects, as well as relating to district pastors and congregations.

Greenfield Appointed Indiana District Ministry Assistant

Announced: 03-14-2021
About Howard A. Greenfield II
Howard Greenfield is an Elder, who retired in 2017 after serving 41 years in full-time ministry throughout the Western Pennsylvania Conference.  He and his wife Trudy reside in Indiana Pa. and are enjoying the history and beauty of Indiana County!

Howard has enjoyed his current service on the Indiana District Superintendency and Location & Building committees.  He looks forward to participating in the newly formed District Connectional Council. Within the Indiana community, he founded the regional Indiana Pastors' Network, meeting monthly for fellowship and organizing community ministries.  At Grace United Methodist Church
of Indiana, Howard and Trudy lead both a book study and a weekly small group.

Prior to retirement, he served on the Conference and District Boards of Ordained Ministry, chaired the Order of the Elder, organized district clergy retreats and book studies, and served on the Episcopacy Committee. In retirement, he has led spiritual formation retreats at Olmsted Manor.
About Indiana/Franklin District Ministry Assistant
The District Ministry Assistant for the Indiana District will play an important part in the new Shared Ministry model that will be implemented in the Indiana and Franklin districts on July 1. The District Ministry Assistant will serve part-time to carry out some of the duties of a superintendent that can be delegated to elders. These may include: conducting charge conferences, facilitating  district ministries, and organizing district Volunteer in Mission projects, as well as relating to district pastors and congregations.

Kolacz Appointed to Blacklick Community

Announced: 03-14-2021
About Julie Kolacz
Rev. Julie S. Kolacz is a native of Venango County, where she started her journey as disciple of Jesus Christ at the age of eight by attending Sunday school and church in Pleasantville.  Pastor Julie graduated from Grove City College where she majored in psychology and religion. She holds a M.S. in community counseling from Georgia State University and a M.Div. in pastoral counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary.
Her ministry with the UMC began in 1999 when she was hired as a director of Christian education.  Shortly thereafter, she was a director of youth ministry.  She has pastored local churches since 2005, primarily in rural communities and most recently in Oil City, PA.  Julie has 10 years of experience serving as a part-time chaplain at Meadville Medical Center (extension ministry).  She has worked as a mental health therapist in various community settings. Pastor Julie was ordained as an elder in 2016.
Julie’s passion in ministry is bringing healing and wholeness to the body of Christ through preaching, teaching, pastoral counseling, and discipleship. In her free time, she enjoys the beauty of nature and recreational activities – hiking, cycling, kayaking, and physical fitness.
Julie has a son, John Stephen, a cadet in training at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.  Additionally, there is Bandit, her Shih Tzu canine companion.
About Blacklick Community United Methodist Church
Blacklick Community United Methodist Church is located in Southern Indiana County in a pleasant valley along the Blacklick Creek and is part of the Johnstown District. Blacklick is a community of families whose ancestors have been in the in the area since the 1830s.  Many have very deep roots, both in the area and the church. 

This family of believers have open hearts that reach out to meet many needs.  They provide an after-school program for elementary grades, a pre-school, are active in the Backpack lunch program and other activities with the local school.   They have a heart for missions, both locally and nationally.   There is a very active Sunday school program for children through teenagers.  They also open up for many participants from the community with a game dinner, lawn fest, and VBS.  One of their big projects is collecting and sending out the Christmas Shoe boxes.  A heart for God’s work is strong in this congregation.

Bobin to Serve Heckathorn

Announced: 03-07-2021
About Jeffrey Bobin
Jeff Bobin is a graduate of Mohawk High School in Lawrence County. He earned Bachelors degrees in  Accounting/Business Administration from Geneva College and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Robert Morris. After working in business and teaching, he answered the call to ministry and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Jeff currently serves the Littles Corners charge in the Erie-Meadville District. He has served appointments in Butler, Beaver, Erie and Crawford counties and also served eight years on Conference staff as the first facilities manager.

Bringing strong preaching and teaching skills along with a love for storytelling, Jeff works hard to make the Bible come alive in today’s culture. Because of his varied experience, he is known for building connections and helping churches, pastors and people find resources. An avid reader who loves to learn across many disciplines, he also enjoys photography, public speaking and loves baseball.

Jeff is married to Kerry and they have three children and two granddaughters scattered around Western PA. Kerry is a registered nurse. She loves to sew, especially quilting. The couple likes to travel and explore history together.
About Heckathorn United Methodist Church
Heckathorn UMC is located in rural Venango County in the Franklin District. The congregation is very focused on community outreach and mission. It is part of the UM Christar Cluster, which sponsors local work-camp missions and the “Truly FreeSkate” outreach at a local skating rink, allowing families in the community to enjoy free roller skating with Christian fellowship and learning. The church also serves as a site for a summer feeding program for area school children and is a partner in the local food pantry. 

Heckathorn UMC offers WOW (Worship our Way) for elementary age children, and has an active Sunday School program, a weekly Bible Study and many fellowship opportunities.

R. Cox to Serve Ringgold Charge

Announced: 02-21-2021
About Ronald E. Cox
Ronnie Cox has served as pastor of the Cooperstown Charge since July of 2019. Born and raised in the Erie area, he previously served at  Lake City First UMC and as the youth minister at Park UMC. 

A graduate of Erie First Christian Academy, he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree at Penn State's Behrend college in 2017. While at Behrend, he was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, and under the guidance of Rev. Dan Owen, Ronnie discerned the call into pastoral ministry.

In 2017, he entered Northeastern Seminary in Rochester,NY, then transferred to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2019, when he began serving the Cooperstown Charge. He expects to graduate with a Master of Divinity in 2022.

Holding to Wesleyan theology, Pastor Cox believes strongly in Christian tradition and in the power of the Spirit to work in our lives. He also believes in the power of the Means of Grace, especially in acts of Mercy. He considers his ministry and appointments to have affirmed his call to ministry and deepened his relationship with Christ and his church.

About Ringgold Charge
The Ringgold charge is comprised of  Ringgold, North Freedom and  Timblin United Methodist churches. The charge was established in the mid-to-late 19th Century with Ringgold and North Freedom. Timblin joined the charge in 2020.The churches are in Jefferson County near Punxsutawney, on the Indiana District.

Each congregation has been shaped by the history and traditions of their rural setting. They are committed to show Jesus' love to the community and the world. Each of the churches has laity leadership in their  worship services and are involved in their communities with various ministries. 

North Freedom has a community Thanksgiving Dinner each year. Their Outreach program provides medical equipment to those in need. 

Ringgold also has a community Thanksgiving Dinner. The Men in Mission and Women of Faith are active in ministries in the community and the area.
Timblin has a food pantry and an outreach to the children in its community.