The Nyadire Connection Names New Leaders



The Nyadire Connection (TNC) mission support organization is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and has selected a new leadership team as part of its “Forward 15” strategy for the future.

Founded in 2006 after a mission trip by 18 Pittsburgh residents to Zimbabwe, TNC ( is a faith-based, all-volunteer, non-profit organization that supports the Nyadire United Methodist Mission in the northeastern part of Zimbabwe. Since its founding, TNC and its donors have provided more than $5 million of financial and administrative support for 12 programs focused on orphans, health, and education.

As part of TNC’s leadership transition, Chairman Drew Harvey, in photo above, and Treasurer Richard Dickey, both members of Christ UMC in Bethel Park, will be retiring from the roles they’ve held since the organization’s inception and will be succeeded by a five-person leadership team of experienced TNC members.

“Through the generous support of our donors, the commitment of our program leaders, and the strong relationships we have with our friends in Zimbabwe, TNC has built a solid foundation during the past 15 years,” Harvey said. 

Drew Harvey with children at The Nyadire Mission in 2009.

“As we transition to a new leadership team, we look forward to the next 15 years with just as much energy and passion,” he added. “Personally, I have been blessed by the many TNC relationships I’ve developed over the years, both here and there, and I expect to remain involved as we continue to fulfill our mission.”

The new leadership team members, who will officially begin work on Jan. 1, 2022, are:
  • Ralph Duckworth of Dutilh United Methodist Church, Chairman and Director-Strategic Outreach;
  • Chuck Billerbeck of Christ UMC in Bethel Park, Director-Finance; 
  • Debbie Little of Dutilh UMC, Director-Strategic Inreach; 
  • Sandy McKnight of St. Paul's UMC in Allison Park, Director-Administrative and Programs; and 
  • Tim Wesley of Dutilh UMC, Director-Communications.

Members of the leadership team have been involved in TNC for an average of about 10 years and bring extensive professional expertise to their roles.

In a joint statement the new team members thanked Drew Harvey and Richard Dickey for their many years of dedicated service, adding:  “Under their leadership, along with the efforts of the entire TNC team and our partners in Zimbabwe, our organization has made a difference in the lives of many people. We are committed to maintaining these important relationships and building on our accomplishments for at least the next 15 years.”

In 2006 the TNC team provided medical and pastoral care, conducted a Vacation Bible School for primary school children, and converted a dormitory into individual rooms at the Nurses’ Training School. The members returned with a commitment to develop a lasting relationship with the people and institutions connected with the Mission. Over the years, TNC has supported programs and projects including building maintenance, water wells, irrigation systems, food relief, rebuilding and expanding rural medical clinics, hospital equipment and medicines, scholarships for orphans to attend school, and solar power for the hospital.

Tim Wesley's 2020 reflection on TNC, published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, provides some insight.

The Western Pennsylvania group works with Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area and partners with leaders at The Nyadire Mission on programs and projects. The Mission includes a hospital, primary and secondary schools, an orphanage and many other services to the community.

TNC's 15th anniversary celebration is scheduled for Nov. 14 at Dutilh United Methodist Church in Cranberry Township. All are invited to attend to learn more about the various ministries and hear from friends in Zimbabwe. Get details and purchase tickets here.