As part of an effort to get back to the basics of Christian faith through local church ministries, the Western PA Conference has launched an experimental leadership model deploying two-person laity-clergy teams to work directly with congregations in two regions. In this Regional Staff Leadership Model, one staff member serves as a Regional Coordinator of Spiritual Formation (Love God) and the other as Regional Coordinator of Community Engagement (Love Neighbor). Two regions, covering four districts, were identified for the experiment: The Erie-Meadville/Kane region and the Butler/Pittsburgh region.
The regional staff works to help local churches to: 1) identify spiritual gifts / strengths for ministry, and 2) better understand their community and its needs. The goal is to help local churches more effectively apply their gifts/strengths in their community to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
The regional positions are part-time; three of the coordinators continue to serve in Conference/local church staff positions with time adjustments to allow for their regional roles. Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, as the Director of Connectional Ministries, provides supervision.
Tawni Betts - Love God
Tawni Betts grew up in Corry, PA, and graduated with a BA in Elementary Education from Grove City College. She has served as Director of Christian Nurture
at First Presbyterian Church Corry and later at Warren First UMC. Currently at Warren First UMC, Tawni is involved with a Covenant Discipleship ministry group,
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.
Megan Miles - Love Neighbor
Megan Miles graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2020 and was commissioned as a provisional deacon in 2021. Because she thinks “ministry is most exciting
when there is freedom to try new things, she is happy to be part of the Regional Ministry project. It allows her to follow her call as a deacon and “bridge builder” and use
her gifts of teaching, shepherding and encouragement as she helps churches discover how to best love their neighbors.
Megan is also on staff at Erie: Asbury UMC leading children and youth ministry. She grew up in West-Central Pennsylvania in the tiny town of Irvona with her parents and two sisters. She has worked with teens at a faith-based therapeutic residential center for in Missouri, been a camp counselor and dorm resident assistant and served as an intern in the Conference.
Susan Moudry - Love God
Susan Moudry 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 as pastor of Creekside UMC and Indiana: Trinity UMC. She is active with the WPA Conference Commission on Archives and History.
Susan values the opportunity to work more directly and intentionally with the Pittsburgh and Butler Districts in the new shared ministry post. She said it “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.”
Sandra Matoushaya - Love Neighbor
Sandra Matoushaya is a native of Harare, Zimbabwe and is the Missional Engagement Coordinator for the Western Pennsylvania Conference. 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.
She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Management and Marketing from Ohio Valley University and a Masters degree in International Development with a focus on NGOs and Civil Society at the University of Pittsburgh. She was hired as the Zimbabwe Partnership Coordinator in 2010 and, in 2018, became the WPAUMC Missional Engagement Coordinator. She currently chairs the UMVIM-NEJ board and serves on the UMVIM Inclusive board, a group formed with the hope of creating one platform to share resources within the denomination and collaborate for training.
Sandra enjoys the regional staff position because she is able to closely work with churches and ministries, provide resources, connect them with international ministries and “creatively ignite a 'Mission Fire' in the conference by sharing this amazing work."