Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, has announced the names of the clergy and laity who will serve as regional Conference staff in an experimental leadership model designed to get back to the basics of Christian faith -- Loving God and Loving Neighbor--through local church ministries.
"As the Director of Connectional Ministries who will be supervising our Regional Staff Pilot Project, and as a member of the Sustainability Task Force which developed this new model of ministry, I am beyond thrilled to see how the movement of the Holy Spirit will inspire new ministry and make new disciples for Jesus," Rev. Dunn said. "We have assembled two teams with excellent clergy and lay leaders who are fully committed to assisting our congregations discover a new expression of ministry within their particular contexts."
In the Erie-Meadville/Kane Region, Tawni Betts of Warren First UMC will serve as Regional Coordinator of Spiritual Formation and Megan Miles, director of Children and Youth Ministry at Asbury UMC in Erie, will serve as Regional Coordinator of Community Engagement.
In the Butler/Pittsburgh Region, Rev. Susan Moudry, Conference Coordinator of Clergy Excellence, will serve as the Regional Coordinator of Spiritual Formation, and Sandra Matoushaya, Coordinator of Mission Engagement, will be the Regional Coordinator of Community Engagement.
The regional staff positions are part-time and three of the coordinators will continue to serve in their current Conference/local church staff positions with time adjustments to allow for their new roles. The goal is to help local churches more effectively apply their gifts/strengths in their community – all to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
"Even with all of the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and the looming denominational separation, we cannot neglect the most crucial part of our mission as the church – making disciples!" Rev. Dunn said. "We cannot afford to wait until things are sorted and cleared out – people need Jesus, not tomorrow, but today!”
Tawni Betts grew up in Corry, PA, and graduated with a BA in Elementary Education from Grove City College. After graduation she served as Director of Christian Nurture at First Presbyterian Church Corry, and then at Warren First UMC for four years. Tawni met her husband Chad in college, and they have two adult children, Amanda (husband Colin Kenney) of Cincinnati, and Nathan. She spent the past 25 years raising their children and holding leadership roles in support of their activities.
At Warren First UMC, Tawni is involved with a Covenant Discipleship ministry group and serves as a lay minister, SPRC chair, and team teaches the new member and confirmation classes. She also volunteers weekly with the Women’s Care Center of Warren.
“The past several years I have especially enjoyed studying and then leading classes about the Holy Spirit—encompassing the fruits of the Spirit, Spiritual disciplines, and gifts of the Spirit,” Tawni said. “I am excited to work with congregations in the Erie-Meadville and Kane Districts to help them identify and use their Spiritual gifts to share God’s love with their communities. This is an exciting project that has great potential for local churches!”
Megan Miles graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2020 and will be commissioned as a provisional deacon this year. She was excited when she heard about the pilot project.
“I think ministry is most exciting when there is freedom to try new things. I also feel that my call as a deacon and “bridge builder” will be best used in this area where I get to use my gifts of teaching, shepherding and encouragement as I help churches to discover how to best love their neighbors.”
Currently on staff full-time at Erie: Asbury UMC leading children and youth ministry, Megan worked with youth at Shelterwood Academy, a faith-based therapeutic residential center for teens in Missouri. She has been a camp counselor and dorm resident assistant at summer camp and served as an intern in the Conference.
Megan grew up in West-Central Pennsylvania in the tiny town of Irvona with her parents and two sisters. In her free time she enjoys creative arts, music and watching sports.
Susan Moudry who moved to the Wexford area as a child and grew up participating in the life of Ingomar UMC, graduated from Edinboro University with a BA in music education and earned a Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. In 2019, she earned a PhD in the history of Christianity from Baylor University.
For the past five years she has served as the Coordinator of Clergy and Lay Leadership Excellence for the Western PA Conference. Prior to her graduate work, she served Creekside UMC and Indiana: Trinity UMC. She is active with the WPA Conference Commission on Archives and History.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work more directly and intentionally with the Pittsburgh and Butler Districts,” Susan said. “This new approach to shared ministry gives us the chance to go deeper, coming alongside one another in ways which speak more boldly to our Wesleyan heritage, while also seeking to discern where God is at work today.”
Outside the church, Susan is a member of P.E.O. international, an organization which works for the advancement of women through education. She is currently a local chapter vice president. She enjoys traveling, baking, games and organizing. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her husband and two young children.
Sandra Matoushaya is a native of Harare, Zimbabwe and is the Missional Engagement Coordinator for the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Management and Marketing with a minor in Information Technology from Ohio Valley University. She has always had a desire to help as many people as she can.
After earning her Masters degree in International Development with a focus on NGOs and Civil Society, she hoped to work for an Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) or non-profit to gain experience that could be applied in Zimbabwe. But God had other plans for her, providing the opportunity to work on the Conference staff. She was hired as the Zimbabwe Partnership Coordinator in 2010 and has been able to help foster relationships between the conferences and churches in both areas.
In 2018 Sandra became the WPAUMC Missional Engagement Coordinator. In the role, she assists in fundraising for projects of Western PA's Global Partnerships, as well as coordinating, teaching, resourcing and equipping churches through missional experiences.
Sandra currently chairs the UMVIM-NEJ board to collaborate and share resources. As the chair Sandra is also part of the UMVIM Inclusive board, a fairly new group formed with the hope of creating one platform to share resources within the denomination and collaborate for training. She was nominated as the Treasurer for this board.
“This pilot program is exciting because it is an opportunity for me to work closely with local churches in the two districts, Sandra said. "I will be able to closely resource churches and ministries, share and connect churches with international ministries and creatively ignite a 'Mission Fire' in the conference by sharing the amazing work."
Learn more and watch video on Regional Staff Pilot Project
See Frequently Asked Questions about the Regional Staff Pilot Project.