2020 & 2021 Retirements

Seungho "Andy" Baek

New Hudson UMC

Growing up an introverted person, I never imagined speaking before a crowd. When I came to the United States as a graduate student in 1981, I never dreamed that I would become an ordained minister. 

Even then, God had a definite plan for my life journey.

Nurtured and baptized by Rev. Young-Bong Yoon in Detroit KUMC, God reminded me of His Word. I developed a visional statement for my pastoral ministry which is: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

God led me to a cross-cultural and cross-racial ministry for most of my pastoral career of 33 years. I am very proud of being part of the UMC for our strong stance against racism and strengthening racial ethics throughout the denomination. I am immensely grateful to the UMC for inviting me to participate in the ministry of God’s kingdom.

Throughout my ministry, my wife and children have been a major part of my work in the local churches, being actively involved and sacrificing along with me; for this I am very grateful. They have been an amazing blessing.

Cross racial ministry is not easy. We must be proactive and intentional in dismantling the misunderstandings and prejudices over racial ethnic issues. This is where the mandate of God’s kingdom leads us to what we will experience in heaven: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). Praise be to God!

[(FE) – D 1987, FE 1993]

1997 Transferred from Wisconsin Conf; 1997 Grand Rapids Suhbu Korean New Church Ministry; 2001 Appointed Extension Ministries (¶344.1b,c) GBGM (New Church Ministry-Suhbu Korean Congregation; 2005 Suhbu Korean UMC (Re-named Church of All Nations 2006); 2006 Church of All Nations/Oakdale; 2008 Schoolcraft; 2010 Appointed in Other Conferences (¶346.1) West Ohio Conf, Columbus Korean; 2012 Union City (¾ time)/Athens (¼ time); 2015 Appointed in Other Annual Conferences (¶331.88, ¶346.1) Detroit Conference, Ann Arbor District, Dundee; 2018 New Hudson

Pamela A. Beedle-Gee

Trinity UMC, Sebewaing

John and I have truly been so blessed to serve God. After all the years, and all the adventures we’ve had, one story from the first year of my ministry stands out. I’d like to share it with you now.

Evan turned five the year I helped with the kindergarten class. His teacher had her baby just before Christmas, so I was teaching his class about the nativity. Each week I introduced a character, and we learned all about them. Now it was Christmas. Putting the characters in front of Sophia and Evan, I asked them to tell me the story. It was going well. All the characters made it to the manger.

“What happened next?” I asked. Evan quickly gathered Joseph and the shepherds and put them in front of the hay dripping from the roof. Then Evan had Joseph jump in the air as Evan announced, “and he scores!”

What just happened?” I asked. “He shot a basket,” replied Evan. “But where is the hoop?” I asked. “Under the hay!” he replied, looking at me as if he couldn’t understand why I even asked that question. Before Sophia could get upset and take Joseph from Evan’s hands, I gently put my hands over theirs and said, “I don’t remember that part of the story.”

“While Jesus sleeps, Mary cooks dinner, and all the boys play basketball.” As easy as that, Even had written himself and his family into God’s story.

Oh Lord, give us the eyes of a child! Amen.

[(FE) - PE 2003; FE 2006]

2003 Grosse Pointe (Assoc); 2009 Garden City: First; 2018 Sebewaing: Trinity  

Terri L. Bentley

First UMC, St. Louis

My call to ministry came long before I listened to God. I had to stop arguing and say, “Yes, Lord. Here I am.” I give thanks for the people at Wacousta Community UMC for encouraging

and helping me say yes. Many things happened in that community church that shaped my faith, including trips to Ichthus, Disciple Bible Studies and district camps.

My first appointment took me to Stevensville UMC where again I found beautiful people of God. They taught me much in those first years of ministry. Rev. Gene Lewis was a wonderful example as I served as his associate. One of the most memorable events from Stevensville was my trip to Liberia with others from the congregation.

From Stevensville God brought me to St. Louis where I have served for more than 12 years with faithful people. Throughout my ministry I have been blessed to have the support of my husband Tom. His shared commitment to the church has enabled me to do more than I could have done. He has worked beside me in Haiti, Liberia, and on Native American reservations, always helping wherever he was needed. We are thankful to staff and to the people in our congregations who served as partners in ministry. We have treasured friendships. I give thanks for my colleagues and the wisdom, love, and support we have shared.

We are looking forward to time with family as well as new adventures God has for us. God’s work never ends. We are always called to love and serve others.

[(FL) – FL 2002]

2002 Stevensville (Assoc); 2008 St. Louis: First  

Christine J. Bergquist

Bark River UMC; First UMC, Hermansville

Since childhood, the life-sized picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd has been before me at the Bark River church. It is in my home parish that I have had the unique privilege of serving 

for the past 30 years. It has beckoned me throughout, not only to follow Jesus, but to serve him as well. Camp Michigamme and Cursillo sealed that call in my life and led me into ministry in my mid-thirties.

Being a part-time Local Pastor gave me the opportunity to raise our two children and to also serve in Hospice chaplaincy, and in more recent years, as a RSVP volunteer with the senior program in Bark River.

It has been a blessing to serve those who had been my spiritual mentors while I was a youth and young adult. I’ve stood at the bedsides and bid many of them farewell and “God be with you till we meet again at Jesus’ feet.” Children and youth that I have baptized and confirmed are now marrying and having families of their own, and the circle of life continues.

I began serving a second parish of Hermansville First ten years ago, another small rural church nestled in the beautiful Upper Peninsula’s Northern Skies District, so that added new faces and blessings to my ministry.

It is a bittersweet time for me, but I look forward to traveling with my husband Gary in our retirement. I know God will continue to use me in the kingdom, so am open to God’s leading me forward through the ages.

[(PL) - PL 1990]

1990 Bark River; 2009 Bark River, Hermansville: First

Daniel W. Biteman

Alden UMC/Central Lake UMC

It has been my high honor and privilege to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and his kingdom through the West Michigan/Michigan Conference over the past three decades. Each church 

I served was unique and filled with believers who loved the Lord. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lead them in their service to the kingdom. I loved them, and they loved me back, and together we made a difference. Each church, and the people therein, holds a special place in my heart. In the end, may the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified!

[(FE) – FL 1983, D 1988, FE 1996]

1983 Fife Lake/South Boardman; 1987 DeWitt: Redeemer (Assoc); 1988 Lane Boulevard; 1996 Grawn; 2006 Lawton: St. Paul’s; 2010 Alden/Central Lake

Carleton R. Black

Ravenna UMC

After a 36-year career in manufacturing, I answered God’s call to vocational ministry. Having spent those first 36 years as a Certified Lay Speaker was scarcely enough preparation  

for pastoral ministry.

I accepted the assignment to Ravenna UMC as a bi-vocational DSA for the first year. In the second year, I was appointed full time and gave up the unusual split schedule for the 24/7 expectations of “full-time.” I’ve been blessed to serve in that pleasant small town for nine years and will miss the quiet days and comfortable traditions of so many lifelong residents. While the congregation faces many of the same challenges as other churches, I am confident that their almost 150 years in the community is just the beginning of their continued faithful service.

[(FL) – FL 2012]

Ravenna (DSA ½ time); 2011 Ravenna PTLP ¾ time); 2012 Ravenna (FTLP)

John W. Boley

Clergy Assistant to the Bishop

I came into the West Michigan Conference as a second career pastor after attending Duke Divinity School. I grew up in a United Methodist parsonage in the Detroit Conference.  

But as a “PK”, it took me a long time to sort out the genuine call of God from the general desire to go into the family business. After leaving a previous career and going to seminary, I have never looked back, and I feel totally blessed to have been able to serve the United Methodist Church of Jesus Christ.

I have served with wonderful people in all of my appointments. When I was asked to be a DS, and Clergy Assistant to the Bishop, it was hard to give up being a pastor of particular congregations, but of course there are also great rewards in this later form of service.

Even though they are severely challenged right now, I am a believer in itineracy and connectionalism. There is a freedom in being told where to serve and where to live. Being “called and sent” is not only theologically foundational, it is personally fulfilling and liberating. And the Church must connectional – discipleship, justice and compassion are best pursued as a collective.

We all know that the Church is in challenging times right now. But of course, it has always been such. I have great faith and confidence in the Church of Jesus Christ and the UMC. The Gospel message of love, justice and compassion will live on through the Church until the end of time.

[(FE) – D 1991, FE 1994]

1992 Mancelona/Alba; 1997 Lansing: Central; 2002 Mt. Pleasant: First; 2010 Kalamazoo: First; 2014 UM Connectional Structures (¶344.1a,c) Kalamazoo District Superintendent; 2016 UM Connectional Structures (¶344.1a,c) Clergy Assistant to the Bishop

John J. Britt

Lambertville UMC

Thirty-eight years: Thirty-seven and a half of them in the present Central Bay District. Seven Bishops. Fifteen District Superintendents. One incredibly gifted wife and helpmate: 

God’s beautiful, cherished gift. Without Janine’s gifts and graces, I would not be a pastor. We graduated from seminary together, raised four children together. Discipled hundreds. Loved thousands. Wept, laughed, prayed and sang together – and still do – introducing “praise songs” in two churches that now have them in their souls.

Countless heartaches. Innumerable headaches. And more precious souls than grains of sand along Lake Huron. Miracles, literally. Spiritual oppression, literally. Depression, elation, and a Peace that Passeth Understanding.

Record length pastorates in every appointment, either longest or shortest, except for this last one, which I am loath to leave except I can no longer accomplish all that needs doing.

Pre-breakfast meetings with CF&A using magic markers and graph-paper for charts that enabled conference legislation to pass without opposition when faced with potential tabling and delay.

With age comes the inclination to reminisce, hoping to find “significance” to one’s time on earth. Yet, the better I know My Lord and the Indwelling Spirit, the more I understand Paul’s declarations that my “righteousness” is merely rubbish, and I am truly, the worst of sinners; and yet God loves me as much as anyone on earth.

Unspeakable joy to share. Always to share.

May God’s grace and truth be with us all.

[(FE) – PE 1982; FE 1984]

1982 Warren: First (Assoc); 1982 Sterling, Alger, Bentley; 1990 Mio, Curran Sunnyside; 2005 Pigeon: First; 2015 Millington

Dennis B. Bromley

United UMC, Ludington

I have been very blessed with the charges I have been appointed to serve. Epsilon and Levering, the first two-point charge helped me to grow to become the pastor I am. When Pellston was added 

to that charge in 1993 they joined with the other two to assist in my training and development. The successful merger of Levering and Pellston to form New Hope of North Emmett County was an exciting time in my ministry, and my time with New Hope was far too short for me.

Clare UMC was my next stop, and a true blessing in my development. Clare encouraged my continuation to achieve my Elder’s Orders, and my training in multigenerational grief work, particularly working with youth at Camp Good Grief with Laura Ruhle.   I felt my time there was far too short as well.

Coming to Ludington to serve has completed my time as a full-time pastor (at least for now) and was indeed too short a time to be among such wonderful people. I have learned much at each stop and have attempted to use my gifts and graces to the best of my ability.

Thank you to all those special people who have traveled with me on this journey, my family, my friends, and most of all those who have supported my ministry through the years.

[(FE) – D 2000, AM 2000, PE 2014, FE 2016]

1993 Epsilon/Levering (DSA); 1993 Epsilon/Levering; 1997 Epsilon/Levering/Pellston; 2003 Clare; 2013 Ludington United

Kathy E. Brown

First UMC, Plainwell

[(FE) – D 1985, FE 1987]

1985 Traverse City: Central (Assoc); 1990 Litchfield; 2001 Hastings: First; 2010 Plainwell: First


Mary S. Brown

Montague UMC

[(FE) – FD 1994, FE 1997]

1995 Baldwin/Luther (¶426.1); 1996 Transferred from Detroit Conf; 1996 Baldwin/Luther; 

1998 Bellaire: Community; 2009 Traverse City Christ and Kewadin; 2009 Grawn; 2014 Montague; 2016 Medical Leave

Margaret E. Bryce

Adjunct Professor, Ashland Theological Seminary

[(FE) PL 2008, PE 2012 (Church of the Nazarene); FE 2014]

2008 Attica; 2013 Downriver; 

2018 Leave of Absence; 2018 Adjunct Professor of Practical Theology, Ashland Theological Seminary, Detroit Campus


Brian R. Bunch

Faith UMC, Delton

God's plan is always the best.  I worked at three other vocations before God called me to pastoral ministry, and I have been most blessed to do His work.  The seven churches I've 

had the privilege of serving as pastor have each been a joy and blessing.  I met, loved, and was loved by so many wonderful people.  As always, God knew what He was doing in waiting until I was older to call me to the pastorate.  I had a lot to learn and there were many patient people to help guide me along the way. 

My life has been eternally enriched by the people I worked with, and I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had in youth work, kid’s clubs, choirs, mission trips at home and abroad, special services, skits, puppets, parish bands, conferences and seminars, teaching Bible studies and Sunday School classes, and work projects. 

My first church was Losantville in the North Indiana Conference, beginning December 1991, and then served Brooks Corners, Sears, Barryton: Faith, Merritt-Butterfield, Moorestown-Stittsville, and Delton: Faith, after moving to Michigan to pursue my soon-to-be-wife Kendra.  She has been a blessing and active partner in ministry at each church.  Soon we are moving on to new opportunities and ministry experiences, believing that Christians do not retire, but simply change areas of ministry.  So, we are looking forward to serving Jesus in new capacities.  I give praise and thanks to God for the privilege of serving these almost thirty years!

[(FL) – FL 1997]

1997 Brooks Corners and Sears; 2002 Brooks Corners/Barryton-Chippewa Lake/Sears; 2005 NE Missaukee Parish: Merritt-Butterfield/Moorestown-Stittsville; 2012 Delton: Faith


Janet S. Carter

Chaplain, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

[(FD) – PD 2005, FD 2009]

2005 Deacons Appointed Beyond the Local Church (¶331.1a) 

Chaplain, Heartland Home Health Care & Hospice and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services; 2006 Deacons Appointed Beyond the Local Church (¶331.1a) Chaplain, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (¶331.1a); 2009 Deacons Appointed Beyond the Local Church (¶331.1a) Chaplain, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (¶331.1a) and Grand Rapids: First (Deacon); 2011 Deacons Appointed Beyond the Local Church (¶331.1a) Chaplain, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (¶331.1a)


Patricia L. Catellier

Chapel Hill UMC, Portage

After spending thirty-four years as a high school French and English teacher, I felt God’s call to ministry. Teaching had become a sort of ministry for me; I found that God was nudging me into 

deeper relationships beyond the walls of a high school as I became actively involved in the life of the Whitehall United Methodist Church.

During my discernment process, I was blessed with thoughtful mentors who gave me space to figure out what God was doing in my life. Kay Bosworth and Tim Boal nurtured my early rumblings about my call to ordained ministry. Lynn DeMoss, my mentor through the process, was there to challenge me and support my decision. I am grateful for them.

At 57, I entered Garrett on the deacon track and never looked back. Soon after graduation, I landed a CPE residency at Bronson Hospital which reaffirmed my call to hospital chaplaincy. I worked part-time at Borgess Hospital for seven years then came to Portage Chapel Hill where I have served the past several years. The church warmly welcomed me, and it has been a joy to serve there. These past years, I have served with Barry Petrucci who has been a trusted mentor, colleague, and friend.

As I look toward retirement, I am excited about having unstructured time to travel and reconnect with friends in the Muskegon area. I would also like to be involved with social justice issues like immigration and voter registration. I plan to serve in ministry as God calls me – wherever that may be.

[(FD) – PD 2010, FD 2014]

2010 Deacons Appointed w/in UM Connectional Structure (¶331.1b) Chaplain, Borgess Medical Center (LTFT ½); 2015 Transitional Leave; 2016 Portage: Chapel Hill (Deacon) (LTFT ¼)


Stephen MG Charnley

First UMC, Kalamazoo

My appointed ministry and my partnership with my wife Cindy began in the beautiful rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine in southeastern Wisconsin serving dairy farm families. As we 

planned our wedding at this three-point charge, the parish suggested we have the service at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00, to mirror our Sunday schedule! I treasure our time in Wisconsin, especially being ordained an elder by Bishop Marjorie Matthews, our first woman bishop.

Moving to the city of Kenosha, we welcomed our first child Iain. When Iain’s first sentence was “Daddy, vroom vroom bye-bye!”, we felt God’s nudge to step away from the pace of a large urban church. Taking a paternity leave so I could more fully be involved as a father, we sojourned to Michigan, enjoying four wonderful years of family focused life, including the arrival of our daughter Autumn.

While serving in Michigan, I prize being invited by the UMW to teach in their School of Christian Mission, enjoying the fellowship and friendships. I’m grateful for a teacher who invited me to her elementary classroom after remarking how much I resembled Abraham Lincoln. That began a 30-year passion for portraying the president in schools and community; recently Abe interacted with persons from age 6 to 104. I’m thankful to our beagle O.D. (Our Dog), who accompanied me on pastoral visits.

In all my appointments, we have been given the great honor and privilege to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

[(FE) – D 1978, FE 1982]

1988 Transferred from Wisconsin Conf ; 1988 Newaygo; 1994 Gull Lake; 2008 Greenville: First; 2013 Greenville: First, Turk Lake/Belding Cooperative Parish; 2014 Kalamazoo: First


Lisa L. Cook

Sanford UMC

As children of God, we worship God and make connections with God’s people. Growing up at Troy First UMC, Al Bamsey was our minister. He made connections count. He connected with

our congregation and with my brother Dean Prentiss and me at our elders’ ordination and was my husband Ron’s mentor and friend.

Being a minister, God has allowed me to make connections, also. In my 23 years of ministry, I have made lifelong connections with God’s people in five different appointments and throughout the conference. It has been a pleasure to do mission and be in ministry with many laity, clergy, committee members, district superintendents, bishops, and Emmaus Walk pilgrims.

God is now leading me to make new connections. My husband and I will be meeting and helping people build forever homes for their families through Habitat for Humanity. For our retirement, we have chosen to give away all our possessions except those that fit in our RV. We will be full time “RVer’s,” making new connections, and helping out on various Habitat projects.

We are grateful to be in the Michigan Conference where financial plans have been set in place so ministers can retire well. We are thankful for my parents and siblings, our son and daughters, their spouses and children who enrich and enliven our lives. Through mission and ministry opportunities, we will continue to make connections with God, God’s people, and our family all over the world.

[(FE) - PE 1997; FE 2000]

1997 Tawas (Assoc.); 2000 Saginaw: Kochville; 2004 Northville: First (Assoc); 2009 West Branch: First; 2014 Sanford


Richard L. Dake

Clarkston UMC

On March 27, 1956, I was baptized into the Church.  I have been blessed by the gift of mentors l Dalton Bishop and Jerry Stewardson. At the Divinity School of Duke University, 

 I learned to breath Grace and was blessed with friends like Brian, Kay and Bob.  

I was honored to serve four congregations, (Springville (1980-85), Ypsilanti: St. Matthews (1985-92), Chelsea (1992-2004) and Clarkston (2004-2021).  In each appointment, I walked alongside laity who taught me well, gave me authority before I earned it and grace when I struggled.  I was blessed to have staffs who were partners in ministry. Together, we all grew, the church thrived, and most days were sacred fun.  On days of challenge, God’s grace was more than sufficient. I am proud to have been part of a Clergy Session where we welcomed all who were called by Christ, without prejudice.  I am proud to have played a part in breaking the glass ceiling of women as Senior Pastors of Large Churches.  

My parents, Ralph and Audrey supported me completely.  My brother Jim remains my best role model.  I could not have made it this far or be able to take the steps forward without my wife Laura beside me.  I continue to seek to make our daughters, Emily and Elizabeth, my sons-in-law, Martin and Matt and our grandchildren Leah, Alaina, Jasper and Caroline half as proud of me as I am of them.  I am humbled to be so richly blessed. Thanks be to God!

[(FE) – PE 1979, FE 1982]

1980 Springville; 1985 Ypsilanti: St. Matthew’s; 1992 Chelsea: First; 2004 Clarkston


Martin M. DeBow

First UMC, Eaton Rapids

As I look back, I can truly say that the call to ministry has been both satisfying and challenging.  Serving side by side in the local church with some of the finest people you could meet has

brought elation and a deep sense of purpose and meaning. And yet, one cannot escape pain and disappointment when serving God in this world.

In ministry I’ve leaned heavily upon the promises of God. While serving I’ve learned much about God’s unconditional love for all people. I too believe that nothing can separate us from God’s great love for us! Living in the trenches of day-to-day ministry, serving where the need is great, both Philippians 4:13 and Matthew 19:26 have been my companion. Yes, we can do all things when walking this road with Jesus Christ. And our hope is great because all things are possible with God!

It has been an honor to serve God and our Michigan Conference.

[(FE) – D 1985, FE 1988]

1986 Grovenburg; 1990 Coopersville; 1997 Robbins; 2008 Lansing: Asbury; 2014 Eaton Rapids: First


Rosemary R. DeHut

White Pine Community UMC, Bergland UMC, Ewen UMC

[(PL) – PL 2002, FL 2008, PL 2018]

2002 White Pine; 2008 White Pine, Ironwood: Wesley; 

2018 White Pine Community; 2019 White Pine Community, Bergland, Ewen (LTFT ¼) 


Julius E. Del Pino

Grand Blanc UMC

The Reverend Dr. Julius Ernest Del Pino was born in Savannah, Georgia and grew up in a Methodist parsonage along with five siblings in the state of Minnesota. He received his B.A. 

degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, majoring in American History; Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

Dr. Del Pino previously served on the faculty of Saint Paul School of Theology (with tenure) in Kansas City, Missouri; taught in the Doctor of Ministry program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago; and served on the faculty of Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Del Pino has been awarded numerous awards for his commitment to social justice and community service. He is the co-founder of a group called “Friend’s United” whose mandate is to develop bridge-building activities between the Arab and non-Arab citizens of Dearborn. He served on the Detroit Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

Most recently, he has taught in The Native American Course of Study, sponsored by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. He has lectured across the country and in Europe. Recently, Dr. J was honored at Northwestern University, Garret-Evangelical Seminary, in Chicago, along with four other seminarians, for the publishing of an historical account of the establishment of The Garrett Black Seminarians Anthology 1968-1971. Dr. Del Pino is currently working with his spouse, Reverend Laurie Smith-Del Pino, on a manuscript entitled, Running Spirit No More. They have six children between the two of them and four grandchildren.

[(FE) - PE 1970 Cal. Pacific; 1976 FE Cal. Pacific]

1998 Trans from California-Pacific Conf.; 1998 Detroit: Metropolitan; 2004 Incapacity Leave; 2005 Dearborn: First; 2008 Rochester Hills: St. Luke’s; 2016 Grand Blanc


Barbara J. Fay

Frankfort UMC/Elberta UMC

I heard the call to pastoral ministry when I was living in the Upper Peninsula, the mom of two young daughters and one very supportive husband. It seemed absurd that God would call me, 

someone so unexperienced in “the church” and certainly “uneducated” in theology, but he did. With affirmation and encouragement from all around me, I answered reluctantly. I believed that God would show me the way one step at a time, and he did that, too. That was 28 years ago. As many of us would say, “It’s been quite a journey.”

I have loved being a pastor. It has its challenges and struggles, but God and God’s people have been gracious and patient with me. I believe in the local church, no matter how large or how small. The Church has a mission: to make disciples of Jesus Christ. I pray we will, as did the early disciples, risk it all for the sake of that call. It is a new day and challenge for our United Methodist Church. May God find us faithful to share the Good News with everyone.

I would like to thank my husband Fred and our daughters Katie and Erin. They have encouraged me more than they’ll every know. They have sacrificed, too, for the “sake of the call.” I am so looking forward to lots of “Grandma time” with Jake, Lucas, Jaycie and Cecilia.

I thank the dear people within the churches with whom I’ve served. We have served well together. Thank you all and many blessings.

[(AM) – FL 1997, PL 2007, AM 2009]

1997 Ganges (FTLP); 2004 LP w/o Appointment; 2007 Plainwell: First (Assoc) (PTLP); 2010 Frankfort/Elberta


Nickolas K. Genoff

Millington UMC

[(FL) - FL 2004, PL 2013, FL 2020]

2004 Port Huron: Washington Ave.; 2007 Port Huron: Washington Ave, Avoca; 

2009 Croswell: First, Avoca; 2013 Applegate, Buel, Croswell: First; 2019 Medical Leave; 2020 Millington


Gary R. Glanville

Swartz Creek UMC

[(FE) – PE 1980, FE 1983]

1981 Saginaw: Ames (Assoc); 1983 Saginaw: Swan Valley; 1987 Utica (Assoc); 1989 Ann 

Arbor: Calvary; 1996 Romeo; 2015 Swartz Creek


Jon W. Gougeon

Reese UMC

[(FL) – FL 2003]

2003 Sterling, Alger, Garfield; 2010 Reese

Carter M. Grimmett

St. Paul's UMC, Rochester

[(FE) - PL 2002, PE 2007, FE 2010]

2002 Detroit: Conant Avenue; 2003 Westland: St. James (LTFT ½); 2006 Westland: St. James

(LTFT ¾); 2007 Westland: St. James, Inkster: Christ; 2008 Detroit: Peoples; 2013 Detroit Peoples, Calvary; 2014 St. Clair Shores: Good Shepherd; 2017 Rochester: St. Paul


Kevin J. Harbin

Christ UMC, Fraser

God is Good! All the Time! I have experienced the goodness of serving God these past 24 years. At the discretion of my Bishop, whenever called to move, I did. My wife Ellen explaining to our

six children (four now adults and married) each January that this is the season that at the Bishop’s direction our family could move. We taught, and modeled for them, that submission to authority, ultimately God’s authority, will always lead to blessing even when the move didn’t make sense. Some moves made sense. Some did not. However, each move led to blessings. Each church allowed us to use our giftings and not try to be like the previous pastor. Great grace was on all our appointments as good things happened at each.

Now, I retire, younger than I expected. However, another calling on my life and ours together. Another move that doesn’t make sense, but we can see that God is in it. Ellen and I are joining the staff at Adult & Teen Challenge, a one-year residential treatment program in Detroit, to serve as Campus Directors for adult men and women dealing with drug, alcohol, or other life-controlling addictions. Helping lives put their faith in God and turn from their self-destructive ways. Helping them to become more than sober or clean but saved and cleansed! Who knows, maybe those who have disagreed theologically, might work together closer than ever before. Addiction doesn’t care who you are or what you believe!

[(FE) - PE 1996, FE 1999]

1996 school (Asbury); 1997 Fairgrove, Gilford; 1999 St. Charles, Brant; 2002 Imlay City; 2011 Swartz Creek; 2015 Fraser: Christ


Judith A. Hazle

Shepardsville UMC

God prepares us and calls us into ministry. Coming from a secular background of working in mental health and ministering to the incarcerated, I thought I would use this experience in the life

of the church; yet while serving the church, I also used what I learned in my family life. My wonderfully supportive husband of 45 years ministered alongside me with family who joined us in music ministry. God provided for me as I gave my all to serve the church family.

I feel blessed to have been called by God to serve as a Local Pastor. I served as a Certified Lay Minister in 2009, assigned to the appointment I now leave as a Local Pastor. I have served in many church roles including the Prison Fellowship Committee. I thank God for using my gifts of counseling, compassion, empathy, and teaching in my ministry and pray I have accomplished all He desired.

I will miss leading and caring for God’s sheep; each one has been a unique joy to serve. I have been a witness to those who found Christ as their Lord and Savior. Participating in weddings, funerals, Bible studies, and Sunday worship has been such a blessing. It has been exciting and inspiring to watch God’s people grow.

It has been a privilege for me and my husband to serve God’s people. Although I am retiring with some sadness in my heart, God has told me it is time to take care of myself. I will continue to serve God as He calls me to new opportunities. Thank you for putting your trust in me to serve God’s people.

[(PL) – CLM 2009, PL-2012]

2009 Shepardsville (CLM ¼ time); 2012 Shepardsville (PTLP ¼) 

Benton R. Heisler

Dir of Connectional Ministries, MI Conf

Benton’s clergy ministry covered more than 35 years.  The ministry that he and his wife of 43 years, Linda, shared together, began 10 years before his ordination.  Benton and Linda

participated, in multiple conference camps, retreats, work camps and youth ministry events. Before his ordination, Benton served as a middle school math and science teacher and basketball coach.

Benton is passionately committed to Jesus Christ and it has been evident as he served as an intern in a 13-congregation cooperative parish in seminary, pastored for 17 years in five different congregations, and for 18 years served the West MI and Michigan Conferences as a District Superintendent and the Director of Connectional Ministries. In 2008 Benton was awarded The John and Ruth Mount Outstanding Alumni Award for Parish Ministry, by the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Benton strived toward the vision that every congregation could be committed to boldly sharing Christ.  He empowered them to serve and restore people and places of community, for the Kingdom of God and the transformation of the world.

Benton was a leader and/or member of six General & Jurisdictional delegations as well as the North Central Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy and the Committee on Appeals, the Conference Boards of Camping, Ordained Ministry, and several task forces.

Benton and Linda look forward with great anticipation to what God holds in store for them in the years ahead.

[(FE) – D 1985, FE 1988]

1986 St. Joseph First (Assoc); 1988 Charlevoix/Greensky Hill; 1992 Lansing: Asbury; 1997 Mt. Pleasant: First; 2002 District Superintendent, Lansing District; 2009 Director of Connectional Ministries, West MI Conf and 2018 Detroit Conf; 2019 Director of Connectional Ministries, Michigan Conference


Virginia L. Heller

St. Paul's UMC, Grand Rapids

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jack and I had tried for about seven years to get pregnant when the doctors told us that it was no use.  There would be no baby.  Six years later I called Jack.  “I’m pregnant.”  Jack was soon to be 60 and was looking at retirement.  “This is not what I had planned for my retirement years!  I want to golf!”  When I got home, he asked me what I thought of the name, Duncan Russell.  I thought, he really does not want this child!  And I really did not want that name!

I have loved being a pastor.  Trust me, it’s not all roses, but I have loved it!  But this last year has been very difficult.  I don’t know how to minister in the middle of COVID.  I don’t know how to minister from a distance.  Or…maybe I do know, but I don’t like doing it this way.  Either way, it’s hard, and it’s not what I wanted for my final memories of ministry.

And now I am looking at retirement.  I am reminded of Sarah being told at age 90 that she was going to bear a child.  In her old age, her dream was finally going to come to fruition.  (Please note: she did not name her child Duncan Russell!) 

Sometimes I dare to peek at my future in retirement and it scares me.  Will I become a couch potato, watch tv all day, and eat bonbons?  (The bonbons sound good!)  I see some of you and you tell me you are busier than ever!  (That sounds scary, too!) 

And then I remember I have a grandson coming.  I know the joys that that will bring!  I know what I still have to offer to a church, and I can do just the parts I want.  No more year-end EZRA reports!  I can sew.  I can attend family weddings and celebrations because I will be freer on Sundays! 

Growing old has wonderful benefits.  Knowing and loving this incredible God is amazing grace!  God has plans for me, blessings, a future, a bright hope.  Wow!  God’s not done with me yet, or with you, and never will be.

[(FE) – D 1996, FE 1999]

1996 Muskegon: Central (Assoc); 1998 Keeler/Silver Creek; 2004 Battle Creek Baseline/Bellevue; 2011 Portage: Chapel Hill (Assoc); 2013 Leland; 2014 South Haven: First; 2018 Grand Rapids: St. Paul’s    

Trevor A. Herm

Romeo UMC

I have served six churches in my 34 and a half years of ministry and have enjoyed the time and ministries I shared in each place.

As an associate in Port Huron, 

I worked with youth, did visitation, and worked with the Blue Water Leisure Ministry supervising at two campgrounds and a Vesper Cruise we started on the St. Clair River. Burton Christ was my longest appointment of ten years, and it was here that I met my wife of 23 years. Carol has been such an asset finding ways to get involved in each place we served. She also introduced me to clogging, and we have clogged at many church and community events. In Richmond, I served on several school committees, joined Rotary and Kiwanis and was a chaplain for the police and fire departments. Cheboygan was definitely the most beautiful church with its many windows looking out into the woods. We saw many deer; even a bear was sighted by one of our elderly members, but it turned out to be Carol dressed in a brown coat walking through the woods to church. My last church, Romeo, is very active in mission projects including a weekly free meal and a lunch buddy program at the local elementary school.

We will be retiring to our home we built in Houghton Lake 20 years ago. We look forward to visiting family and enjoying a couple months in Florida.

[(FE) - PE 1984,  FE 1988]

1986 Port Huron: First (Assoc); 1989 Yale, Greenwood; 1994 Burton: Christ; 2004 Richmond: First; 2010 Cheboygan: St. Paul’s; 2017 Romeo 

Elizabeth A. Hill

Heritage District Superintendent

God made a way for me to hear the call on my life when as a shy child I heard the words, “I will use your voice.” As a University of Michigan student, I fell in love with children and headed into

a teaching career. I attended Eastern Michigan for a MA in special education in the area o deaf education. I was using my voice in helping my students with their voice. This was a remarkable time in my life!

I was an active United Methodist in a church that allowed opportunities to grow in my faith in God and develop my leadership skills. I found opportunities to take youth and adults on mission trips that led to a deeper understanding of God and God’s people by being the hands, feet, voice, and heart of Christ.

Realizing God’s call on my life, I entered the ministry and have enjoyed serving God’s people through designing and leading powerful worship. I love to preach! I enjoyed leading studies for all ages, assisting an ecumenical group, and participating in a rotating homeless shelter. While serving churches, I was trained as a Ministry Mentor, a facilitator in the Vital Church Initiative program, as well as being trained in Healthy Congregations.

I found that God has a great sense of humor, because as an urban Detroiter, I moved first to the suburbs, then the Upper Peninsula, and then to the position of District Superintendent. What a joy it has been to serve God in these varied appointments! I look forward to discovering how God will use my voice into the future. God is so good!

[(FE) - PE 2006, FE 2009]

2006 Birmingham: Embury, Royal Oak: St. John’s, Gladstone: Memorial; 2015 Blue Water District Superintendent; 2018 Ann Arbor District Superintendent; 2019 Heritage District Superintendent  

James E. Huff, Jr.

First UMC, Memphis; Lamb UMC

After 35 years as a road builder, I was called to be the Protestant Chaplain at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan. During that time, I had gone through License to Preach School 

and the COS at Methodist Theological School of Ohio.

In 2005, I was called to serve two small membership churches in what was the Blue Water District (now East Winds), Memphis First and Lamb. This charge is the only one I have served in my 15 years of ministry. During that time, I became a chaplain for the police, fire, and EMS. In 2011, along with three others, I helped to organize and run the Blue Water United Methodist Free Store in Port Huron.

God has led me in many different directions during my ministry, and I would not change anything for the world. I just pray I leave knowing things were changed for the better.

[(PL) - PL 2005]

2005 Memphis: First, Lamb


Robert M. Hughes

Concord UMC

Over the course of my time in ministry in the Michigan Conference, I have served at Union City UMC (2004-2012), Reading UMC (2012-2012), Allen UMC (2015-2016), and Concord 

UMC (2016-2021) along with various boards and committees at the District and Conference levels along with several mission trips to Haiti.

When I received my call back in 1997, I heard that still small voice of God offering a great adventure if I was willing to follow the call. Once I finally did, the whirlwind of God’s great adventure began in earnest – finishing undergrad and seminary followed by 16 years of ministry to the communities I served.  As I look back at the highs and the lows, the joys and the sorrows, the laughter and the tears; was it all worth it? The only answer I can give is a resounding YES!

Prior to entering ministry, I was a lead computer systems programmer for the DoD. I look back with fond memories, but also with a sense of regret that all the work that I did there was fleeting and of little real consequence. Projects that I spent years developing were cancelled on a whim.

In contrast, what I have done in ministry matters.  It matters to individuals, churches, communities and more importantly to the Kingdom of God. God promised a great adventure; serving in ministry has been all that and more.  As I prepare to enter retirement, I am anxiously awaiting the next phase of that great adventure to the Glory of God.

[(FE – PE 2006, FE 2009]

2004 Union City; 2012 Reading; 2014 Leave of Absence; 2015 Allen; 2016 Leave of Absence/Concord (DSA) (LTFT ½); 2019 Concord


Ronald G. Hutchinson

Silverwood UMC; First UMC, North Branch

[(PL) -  PL 1998]

1998 Silverwood; 2008 Silverwood, North Branch (LTFT)

Esther A. Irish

Columbiaville UMC

The year is 1951. Standing on the deck of the naval ship the SS Sturgis, the lights of the New York harbor lit up the sky, and Lady Liberty welcomed my family to these United States of

America. We had arrived with the clothes on our backs, a suitcase full of pictures, and the hopes and dreams of a future where anything was possible.

Hi, my name is Esther Irish; many years have gone by since I was that little girl, and oh, what an adventure it has been! My husband Dave and I were married in 1964. We have three daughters, one son-in-law, seven grandsons, and two great-granddaughters. We are expecting three more additions to our family in the spring.

I began my United Methodist journey at the First UMC of Mt. Morris. While there, God put many people in my path to encourage and guide me, helping me hear and respond to God’s call of ministry as a clergy person. Though I began this journey later than many, through God’s grace, my time of serving has been filled with friends and colleagues that have helped make this journey so rewarding. I am very thankful for each of you. Now I begin a new adventure of RETIREMENT, a new chapter for Dave and me. I’m not sure yet what this new chapter is going to look like, but I am sure about the Author. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.” (Isaiah 12:2)

[(FL) - PL 2008, FL 2017]

2008 Flint: Dimond; 2013 Caring Covenant Group Ministry: Columbiaville


Eric L. Johnson

Harrisville UMC, Lincoln UMC

Pastoral ministry and service have always been my goal in life. First hearing God’s call at the age of thirteen, it only took me forty-seven years to answer. In the meantime, I kept active as a

certified hospital chaplain, church camp pastor, youth director, cook, and bottle washer. In 2005, I met a wonderful saint of the church named Marie Hingelberg, who introduced me to the Local Pastor’s program. She became my inquiry mentor, guide, teacher, and cheerleader.

In 2007, my lifelong quest was fulfilled with my appointment to the first of six churches. I cannot say the ride has always been smooth, but with God’s help, it’s always been rewarding. Reaching mandatory retirement age way too soon, I find myself far from ready to step back, sit down, and relax.

There is still much to be done, perhaps now more than ever in the history of the United Methodist Church. Gospels to teach, brokenness to heal, pain to comfort, souls to welcome, and above all, forgiveness to seek. Whatever the future may hold for Karen and me, this church, my congregations, and the future will always be in my prayers.

May God’s peace and blessings continue to be with all my brothers and sisters in ministry.

[(PL) - PL 2007, FL 2012, PL 2018]

2007 Port Sanilac; 2012 Sandusky: First; 2013 Seven Churches United Group Ministry: Gaines, Duffield; 2018 Harrisville, Lincoln (LTFT ½) 

Melody P. Johnson

Chaplain, Porter Hills Presbyterian Retirement Community

[(FE) – PE 1974 N Illinois, 1976 FE W North Carolina]

1974 school (Duke); 1974 school, 

CPE, NC Baptist Hospital; 1976 Haw River Parish (Assoc);

1978 Greensboro: Morehead; 1984 Director of Religious Life, Epworth Heights; 1994 Trans to Detroit Conf; 1994 Birmingham: First (Assoc); 1998 Epworth Heights Assembly: Director of Religious Life (¶335.1a), Epworth Heights Assembly, Ludington; 2002 Corporate Chaplain Porter Hills Presbyterian Retirement Community


Carolyn A. Jones

Community UMC, Romulus; Resurrection UMC, Detroit

Who am I that God should choose me to shepherd his people? That was the question that I reflected on for many months before answering the call to ministry. 

I began shepherding God's people in 2016 at Sterling Heights United Methodist Church. In the ensuing years I have served the people of Howarth UMC in Lake Orion, Paint Creek UMC in Rochester, Stephen's UMC in Dearborn Heights, and Community UMC in Romulus and Resurrection UMC in Detroit. Retirement has arrived much too soon. Those who serve the Lord, however, never fully retire. Following his lead, I look forward to continuing to serve in other capacities.

[(FL) – FL 2016, PL 2018, FL 2019]

2016 Howarth, Paint Creek; 2018 Dearborn Heights: Stephens (LTFT ¾); 2018 Romulus: Community (LTFT ½), Dearborn Heights: Stephens (LTFT ½); 2019 Romulus: Community (LTFT ½); 2019 Romulus: Community, Detroit: Resurrection

Bradley P. Kalajainen

Cornerstone UMC, Grand Rapids

Colleen and I are grateful for the opportunity to serve here in West Michigan over the last 40 years. We were welcomed from the very beginning and have dearly loved the people of 

Freeport-Middleville, Grand Rapids First, and Cornerstone. Each of those first two appointments played a major role in preparing us to plant churches.

I am appreciative of the many District Superintendents along the way who encouraged us and supported us in the work of starting churches. I’m glad that Cornerstone has been able to give back and support others many times over. 

At Cornerstone, we were joined by so many faithful people who simply wanted to do something for God. Our staff and volunteers have been some of the best people I will ever meet. I’m grateful for my pastor co-workers, Alex Fernandez, Marcus Schmidt, and Greg Wood. I am especially grateful for the years Ken Nash and I spent together, and I wish him God’s best as he returns.

Thank you, Michigan Conference, all the people who loved and supported us. You have allowed us to live out God’s assignment here in this beautiful part of the Mitten. Colleen and I wish you all God’s very best in the days ahead.

[(FE) – D 1982, FE 1984]

1981 Freeport/Middleville/Parmalee (Assoc); 1982 Freeport; 1985 Grand Rapids: First (Assoc); 1995 Grand Rapids: Cornerstone


Peggy A. Katzmark

Robbins UMC, Brookfield Eaton UMC

[(FL) – PL 2007, FL 2014]

2007 Omard; 2011 Omard, Peck; 2014 Robbins; 2020 Robbins, Brookfield Eaton

Brenda K. Klacking

Churchill UMC, Mio UMC

Time flies when you’re having fun! It must be true because the last 20 years have flown by.

I never planned to be a pastor, but God laughs at our plans 

sometimes. He showed me in scripture the story of Moses saying, “I can’t speak.” God said, “Go and I will give you the words to say,” and He has been faithful to do as He promised for 20 years.

I was blessed to serve six to eight years at each of my appointments. It was always difficult to leave people who were and continue to be part of my family. I am grateful for the people who supported me “behind the scenes” at the churches and the leaders who encouraged me to be a better pastor each day.

Along the way, my prayer was always that I would be able to make a difference in this world and in the spiritual walk of those I met – that they would remember me as a pastor who led them by loving them.

As I go into retirement my only plan is to be a full-time wife to my husband Tom, who has supported everything I did. He sacrificed and allowed me to be a part-time wife for 20 years. I thank God for laughing at my plans and blessing me with His better plan.

[(FL) - PL 2000; FL 2013]

2000 Glennie, Curran: Sunnyside; 2008 Whittemore, Wilber; 2013 Whittemore, Wilber, Churchill; 2014 Churchill, Mio


Janet M. Larner

Shepherd UMC, Blanchard-Pine River UMC

I experienced something at an early age that today we would name a call to ministry. It was this sense that God sometimes asks us to do something with our lives that we

 would not think of on our own. Nurtured in Sunday School and church camp, that sense of God wanting something from me eventually led me to acknowledge a call to pastoral ministry eventually to Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC. Throughout this journey, God put wonderful people in my way, especially at Wesley, many who kept me grounded, and I wish I could name them all.

I will thank God for all the parents who trusted me to teach songs of faith to their children. Thanks to all the teens who asked their questions and shared their dreams. Thanks to all the campers who paddled a river of lived in a cabin. Thanks to all the adults who willingly opened their minds and hearts to learn something new about God’s grace and how we live it as followers of Jesus. Thanks to all the candidates I had the privilege of mentoring. I thank God for all the colleagues who encouraged me, laughed with me, and shared the call with me. Last, but certainly not least, I thank God for my life partner Peter, who has been with me every step of the way. It has been a wonderful journey; one I never could have imagined. God really does give more than we could every ask.

[(FE) - PE 1979, FE 1984]

1981 Sterling, Alger, Bentley; 1982 Sutton-Sunshine, Bethel; 1986 Beaverton: First, Dale; 1991 Bay City: First (Assoc) (LTFT ½); 1994 Wagarville; 1994 Gordonville; 2002 Sabbatical Leave; 2003 Sanford; 2011 Voluntary Leave of Absence; 2011 Churchill; 2013 Corunna; 2017 Shepherd, Blanchard-Pine River

George H. Lewis

First UMC, Howell

I give thanks to God for every blessing along the way of pastoral ministry. I thank God for calling me to the work. I thank God for my education at Asbury College and Asbury Seminary. I

thank God for the churches that God has allowed me to serve. I thank God for family and friends who supported me throughout these decades. I thank God as I end my ministry and retire.

As I retire, I look forward to spending more time with my wife Sherry, my children, and their families. It will be a blessing to attend more grandchildren’s events. I will get a chance to spend more time on hobbies such as gardening, fishing, playing games, and making puzzles.

As I look back, I’m reminded of what Gandolph once said,

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I  have found. It is small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

I haven’t changed the world, but I have changed a life. I haven’t stopped all crime, but I have visited the prisoner. I haven’t ended hunger, but I have fed a child. I haven’t written a book, but I have spent my life sharing one. I haven’t saved the world, but I have offered many One who did.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

[(FE) - PE 1989, FE 1992]

1990 Kilmanagh, Unionville; 1993 Carleton; 1998; Cheboygan: St. Paul’s; 2010 Howell: First


Jane D. Logston

Bear Lake UMC/Arcadia UMC

[(FE) – D 1988, FE 1991]

1994 Transferred from West Virginia Conf; 1994 Quincy; 1996 Mason: First (Assoc); 1998 Family Leave; 2001 Appointed 

in Other Annual Conferences (¶337.1) Newberry, Detroit Conf; 2003 Lawrence; 2006 Hinchman/Oronoko; 2012 Berrien Springs/Hinchman/Oronoko; 2014 Bear Lake/Arcadia; 2018 Medical Leave


Robert K. Lynch

Allegan UMC

[(FE) – D 1993, FE 1995]

1992 Mason: First; 1995 Paw Paw; 1999 Kalamazoo: Milwood; 2006 N. Muskegon: Community; 2012 Allegan

Ernesto Mariona

Homer UMC, Midland; Gordonville UMC

A native of El Salvador, I came to the U.S. with my family in 1984. I never thought I would be a minister, but I had a call to follow. I attended the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, 

New York, and became an ordained minister under the American Baptist denomination in 1995. One day in 2007, Rev. Melanie Lee Carey asked me if I would like to be part of the UMC.

I became a local pastor in Ypsilanti and was hired to be the associate pastor with Rev. Carey. Then in 2008, I became the pastor of Brant and St. Charles UM churches. Eventually my credentials were accepted, and I became an elder. After almost ten years in those churches, I came to Gordonville UMC and Homer UMC in 2017.

My journey has been a beautiful one of blessing. During my years in St. Charles, I met my wife Judy, and it has been a wonderful journey for us. In our combined families we have four girls and three boys, nine grandchildren and give great grandchildren.

I am grateful to the UMC for giving me the opportunity to serve as a minister. I hope I have contributed to the spiritual journey of my parishioners. As the book of Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for everything, and so my time for retirement has come. Now I will enjoy my days with my wife and family traveling, watching movies, reading books, playing chess, and playing my ukulele before the Silver Cord snaps (Ecclesiastes 12:6). God bless you all!

[(FE) - FL 2008, American Baptist Convention; FE 2011]

2008-2017 St. Charles; 2008-2015 Brant; 2017 Midland: Homer, Gordonville


June M. Marshall-Smith

Novi UMC

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119

As I venture into the new chapter of my life, I have been honored to have served God in

Dearborn and Novi. I am humbled to retire with such esteemed colleagues. While I will remain in part-time ministry, I value the friendships, camaraderie, and connections of ministry with all of you. I can review my life and ministry and see God’s hand in our journey.

My parting reflection: I am awed with the many ways my previous careers remarkably prepared me for aspects of ministry. Paralegal and claims adjusting, specializing in fraud are trainings I wish I could ‘gift’ to new pastors.

I am looking forward to traveling, spending time with my daughters and their families: Dawn Dingman, Elizabeth Bramhall, and Corinne Smith (soon to be Labardee).

May God bless you!

[(FE) - PL 2006, PE 2007, FE 2011]

2006 Dearborn: Mt. Olivet; 2007 Novi


Jonathan D. Mays

Greensky Hill UMC, Charlevoix

[(PL) – PL 2015]

2012 Charlevoix: Greensky Hill (DSA) (½ time); 2015 Charlevoix: Greensky Hill (PTLP ½)

Cherlyn E. McKanders

Mt. Vernon UMC, Washington UMC

As God propels me into a new season of my life and ministry, I count it all joy! I am grateful for having had the privilege of serving the Mount Vernon and Washington United Methodist

Church these last four years. During my time as pastor, I met dedicated servants, learned much about myself and experienced the awesome love God has for his people.

T.S. Eliot once said “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” Retirement is my new beginning; a time to engage more with family, appreciate the past, passionately look to the future, and be thankful.

To all those in leadership and my colleagues who guided, nurtured, and prayed for me throughout this journey I say thank you. I remember Bishop Woodie W. White my beloved pastor who led me to Christ and instilled in me a passion for social justice, Bishop Linda Lee, Dr. Tom Robinson, Bishop Steven Bennett who saw in me what I could not see in myself, Dr. Julius A. McKanders who showed me how to love generously, shared his thirst for the word and joy in preaching as a model in pastoring, and Pastor Donald Beasley for giving unselfishly of himself to support my ministry. God has been good!  At the forefront of my mind is God who made this day possible, the One who continues to do a new thing in all our lives.   

[(PL) – PL 2017]

2017 Mount Vernon (LTFT ½); 2019 Mount Vernon (LTFT ½), Washington (LTFT ¼)

Dale P. Ostema

Central UMC, Traverse City

I was ordained Deacon in 1987 and Elder in 1990. My appointments in the West Michigan and Michigan Area Conferences include: Baldwin Covenant Community, 1988; Charlevoix/Greensky Hill, 

1993; Charlevoix, 1998; Cadillac, 2000; Traverse City Central, 2007.

The past 34 years of ministry have been a wonderful and challenging journey. My family and I received incredible support from the congregations I served. The opportunities he had to cry and laugh and serve Christ together as community were transformative. I’m deeply grateful for the trust placed in me by Bishops, District Superintendents, colleagues and church laity. In turn, I gave my best and found, as I did, Christ’s amazing grace upholding me. My calling is still with me, although I sense it searching for new expressions. I trust God in Christ to continue to speak and pray for grace to hear and respond. “By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” Philippians 3: 13-14 The Message

[(FE) – D 1987, FE 1990]

1988 Baldwin: Covenant Community; 1993 Charlevoix/Greensky Hill; 1998 Charlevoix; 2000 Cadillac; 2007 Traverse City: Central

Sherry L. Parker-Lewis

Senior Director of Church Relations, UM Foundation of Michigan

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

Thanks be to God for the 

congregations of First UMC of West Branch and Churchill UMC who nurtured me into ministry. When I began hearing the whisper of sacred call, these faithful people affirmed my worth and my gifts.

Thanks be to God for dear friends and family, including my mother Carol Parker and my spouse Rev. George Lewis, who have filled my life with encouragement and love.

Thanks be to God for the congregations of Wooden Shoe UMC, Wagarville UMC, Hartland UMC, Hardy UMC, First UMC of Ann Arbor, Dundee UMC, Trinity UMC of Chesaning and First UMC of Brighton and Whitmore Lake. I carry with me stories of their faithfulness and compassion, generosity and selfless service in the name of Jesus Christ. Through ministry in these churches and their communities I have been challenged and inspired. I am a better person for serving with these followers of Jesus Christ. I have grown in faith and discipleship.

Thanks be to God for those who have said “yes” to serving Christ in powerful ways during my years of ministry. I am grateful to have served with many courageous parishioners in mission. I have been blessed to walk alongside men and women who have claimed their Christian vocations and now serve as clergy and missionaries. I count each of them as God’s gift.

Thanks be to God for the United Methodist Church that supported my theological education, connected me with colleagues who have my heart and sent me into places where I would find God’s grace again and again.

And finally, thanks be to God that impactful ministry does not end with retirement. I look forward to continued service with the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan, in my community and in the United Methodist Church.

[(FE) – PL 1991, PE 1996, FE 1999]

1991 Wagarville: Community, Wooden Shoe (LTFT ½); 1994 Hardy, Hartland (Assoc); 1995 Ann Arbor: First (Assoc); 1997 Dundee; 2002 Chesaning: Trinity; 2008 Brighton: First; 2020 Sr. Director Church Relations, United Methodist Foundation


James A. Payne

Beacon of Light UMC, Standish; Christ UMC, Arenac County

[(AM) – PL 2005, FL 2010, AM 2018]

2005 Watrousville; 2010 Sterling, 

Alger, Garfield; 2013 Sterling, Alger, Standish: Community; 2019 Standish: Beacon of Light, Alger; 2019 Standish: Beacon of Light, Arenac County: Christ


Patricia A. Pebley

Hillside UMC/Somerset Center UMC

I have always said God has to have a sense of humor, and it was very much proven when he called me into pastoral ministry. I had never imagined that my faith journey would lead me into this 

beautiful, life-altering calling.

I was a pastor’s spouse for 20 years and in my 16th year as a human resources manager, when God called me into the ministry in 2008. I had many reasons and excuses as to why I could not fulfill this calling. I was one who stuttered when nervous, and public speaking brought all those nerves to the forefront.

After a time, I accepted God’s calling and found myself enrolled at United Theological Seminary. This calling into pastoral ministry, the one I had tried so hard to talk myself out of, ended up being the most rewarding aspect of my life.

I am so grateful for this faith journey which allowed me to serve some of the most amazing congregations. I am so thankful for the tough experiences, for they taught me what it means to feel compassion, sympathy, and empathy. I will forever be grateful for the love, understanding, and support that was shown during my ministry when I needed to care for my disabled spouse. There will never be enough gratitude for those who served as my mentors and guides, who were my accountability partners, and who listened and loved me through all those moments when I was so unsure. Above all, I thank God who made this and all things possible.

[(FL) – FL-2014]

2012 Jackson: Trinity/Parma (LTFT ½); 2014 Hillside/Somerset Center


Stephen K. Perrine

Calvary UMC, Monroe

I first sensed a call to ministry growing up in the Coldwater, Michigan Wesleyan Church. My faith matured in college and I found a home with the Methodists at

Wesley Seminary. While in seminary I served a four-point charge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Upon 1975 graduation and return to Michigan, I was appointed the associate at Flushing.

Ministry can take forms other than pastoral ministry so after two years at Flushing, I went to Wayne State University to receive a Masters in Clinical Social Work in 1981. During the next 15 years I worked in Community Mental Health, including the State of Michigan, and served United Methodist Churches in several DSA appointments as a dual career pastor including 2 years at South Mundy, 7 years at Detroit Messiah, 1 year at Harper Woods Redeemer, and several interim positions.

In 1995 I was reinstated and appointed to Warren Wesley for 3 years, Beverly Hills for 5 years, South Rockwood for 14 years with the last 4 years as a 2-point charge with Monroe Calvary, finally landing at Dearborn Good Shepherd. I am indebted to my wife, Connie. She has been helper, encourager and my co -laborer in Christ’s service. I am grateful to my wonderful children, Jolee, Alicia, Stephen and Karen, and grandsons, Jack and Harry who have prayed for me and are my joy. I also give thanks to all the faithful Christ followers who have helped me both in and beyond the church walls. Soli Deo Gloria.

[(FE) – PE 1974, FE 1976]

1975 Flushing (Assoc); 1977 Honorable Location; 1995 Reinstated; 1995 Warren: Wesley (LTFT ¾); 1998 Beverly Hills; 2003 Leave of Absence; 2006 South Rockwood; 2016 South Rockwood (LTFT ½), Monroe: Calvary (LTFT ½)

Jon R. Powers

Chaplain, Ohio Wesleyan University

I dislike St. Paul. He reminds me too much of myself: a sinner of the worst order who yet seeks to become faithful to Christ. The opening words of my chapter in the recent book Displaced

Persons captures both my confessional heart and the root of my life’s fumbled ministry:

“My ignorance about Muslims and all things Islam was an innocent result of my being born on the cold summer shores of Lake Michigan in Ludington, Michigan, 70 years ago, third in the line of seven poor pig-farm boys, to an uneducated but brilliant Englishman father and an irascible and comparatively highly-educated Swedish mother, and then raised through much of my childhood by an illiterate but wonderfully wise old woman who was a blood-blend of Oklahoma Chickasaw Indian and African American. My next-door neighbor, who also was my sometimes Sunday School teacher, was a shrunken little man with beautiful long white hair who played the piano and occasionally had me and my brothers up to his house to sit straight-legged on his old horse-hair couch as we consumed milk and cookies while we listened appreciatively to him play and sing for us the songs that he had written. It wasn’t until years later, when I saw him on national television as a guest on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, that I realized he was the famous author of the hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross” – I just knew him all those years as my gentle, loving neighbor, the Reverend George Bernard.”

[(FE) – D 1972, FE 1975]

1974 East Lansing: University (Assoc); 1978 Portage: Chapel Hill; 1978 Hillside; 1981 UM Connectional Structures (¶344.1a,c) Chaplain and Director of Church Relations, Adrian College; 1988 UM Connectional Structures (¶34431a,c) Chaplain, Ohio Wesleyan University


Timothy R. Puckett

North Adams/Jerome UMC

I’m reminded of the Parable of the Sower. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was eight years old with joy and thankfulness. But, as I started junior high, the bullying started. So, I tried to be

as inconspicuous as possible. I fell away a little. It makes me sad. Rocky ground.

As an adult, my focus changed. I wanted to get married, raise a family, and start a career. I did these things. I got married and helped raise two wonderful daughters, started a career, and enjoyed life. Cares of the world.

But there was something missing. I could sense God’s call. Then in 2000, I was divorced. I asked God, “Why?” But He was always with me. He again proved Romans 8:28: “All things work for good for those who love God.”

I sensed His call again as He blessed me with my beautiful wife Esther in 2003 and two more wonderful daughters. I started candidacy, college, and seminary. Out of that, God brought eight and a half years of wonderful and sometimes incredibly difficult ministry with four wonderful congregations, thirty, sixty, and one hundred fold. And God was faithful every step of the way.

Would I do it again? That’s a tough question. I don’t know any calling that could be any harder. But I do know this: I wouldn’t trade this journey that God has taken me on for a million dollars. God is good, all the time. He always has been. He always will be. Amen.

[(PL) – PL 2011]

2011 Frontier (PTLP ¼); 2012 Frontier/Osseo (PTLP ½); 2014 North Adams/Jerome (PTLP ¼)

Dianna L. Rees

First UMC, Wyandotte

To God be the Glory! It is with true honor and humility that I have been able to serve God’s people in the capacity of a minister. When called into ministry, God assured me that God would

be with me on the journey. What a journey it has been! Throughout these past seventeen years, I am blessed to have served four wonderful congregations. I have met some of the most interesting, loving, caring, and grace-filled people who make up these churches. It is through obedience of God’s call on my life that I have been able to do things that I would never have dreamed I could. God amazes me!

My family also amazes me. They have been by my side through it all! If it weren’t for my husband and children stepping up to the plate over the years to take care of things of the household, I’m not sure I would have been able to accomplish all the things that I have.

It is now time to close this chapter of my vocation and see where the next one will open, for I know God is not done with me yet! To God be the Glory, indeed!

[(FE) - PE 2003, FE 2006]

2003 Armada, West Berlin; 2011 Imlay City; 2013 Wyandotte: First


Ellen O. Schippert

Applegate UMC; Buel UMC; First UMC, Croswell

I entered pastoral ministry as a second career and found myself serving four town and country congregations over a span of 13 years. My first career in

architecture emphasized creating the physical realm of what we can see and touch. Pastoral ministry emphasizes the spiritual realm of a God who loves us unconditionally and desires to be in relationship with us and for us to be in relationship with one another. My ministry has been one of making the spiritual life concrete as we live our faith with hope and in tangible ways as the body of Christ through worship, Bible study, outreach, and more.

My last two years at Forester UMC were also years when my husband Fred was very ill. During that time the congregation ministered to me as much or more than I ministered to them. I am very grateful for their generous acts of mercy. I stepped out of pastoral ministry for three and a half years to care for my husband and then grieve my loss when he died.

I wasn’t sure about returning to pastoral ministry as I didn’t think I had much left to give. God knew otherwise, and for the last year and a half, I have served the Applegate, Buel and Croswell First United Methodist Churches. I am thankful to these congregations for pulling me back into life with a ministry focused on helping them see a future that is likely to look different from the past, yet still filled with hope.

[(PL) – PL 2007, NL 2015, PL 2019]

2007 Forester; 2015 No Appointment; 2019 Applegate, Buel, Croswell: First (LTFT ¾)


Robert D. Schoenhals

First UMC, Ferndale

Trite as it sounds, life really is a journey. Starting out as a smug fundamentalist and “programmed” to be a preacher from childhood, looking back on 50 years filling pulpits is

wistful and wonderful. Whether or not I was well suited to this life, it has blessed me, and I have tried to serve well. Along the way I’m grateful for the formative influence of a Free Methodist college professor, an urban pastor who showed me how to love people and the city, and an education in the tools of biblical studies that heightened my lifelong fascination with the remarkable treasure we call the Bible. It was this same Bible that led me away from the rigid beliefs of those early years. Warmed hearts also need active minds and open arms – to all of God’s creation.

I am deeply grateful to all the people of the congregations and the campus ministry I have served, with continuing friendships from virtually all of them. Whether I was endured or endeared all had something to teach me, and the great variety of ministries and locations ensured that life didn’t grow dull. Most of them grew, sometimes in several ways. And now I am grateful to be continuing to serve the amazing Ferndale First United Methodist Church in my retirement. Along with Jill Warren, my spouse, in acts of mercy and justice, we serve God in the diverse beauty of human life. Whether heart-hurting compassion, passionate protest, or prophetic preaching, it’s about Jesus.

[(FE) - PE 1973, FE 1976]

1970 Bethel UCC; 1972 Chaplain, Green’s Chapel; 1975 Armada, Omo: Zion; 1983 Seven Churches United Group Ministry: Byron; 1990 Parish Director, Seven Churches United Group Ministry: Byron; 1995 Wesley Foundation, University of Michigan; 2002 Indianapolis: Central Avenue; 2004 Grayling: Michelson Memorial; 2006 leave of absence; 2007 Bloomfield Hills: St. Paul; 2010 West Bloomfield; 2012 Lincoln Park: First; 2013 Ferndale: First

William R. Seitz

Oscoda UMC, Oscoda Indian Mission

As I was packing up items to move, it occurred to me that I was coming full circle.  That is, I moved from our farm to my first appointment and I’m moving back to our farm from my 

last appointment.  In between, there have been 30½ years of serving 8 churches during 5 appointments (5½ years at Owosso: Burton Community and Carland UMC’s, 7½ years at First UMC in Iron Mountain, 7½ years at Davisburg UMC, 3 years at Central UMC and Algonquin UMC in Sault Ste. Marie, and 7 years at the Oscoda UMC and the Oscoda Indian Mission.) 

In the 1994 album, Going Public, the Newsboys sing a song called “When You Called My Name”:

When You called my name,

I didn't know how far the calling went,

When You called my name,

I didn't know what that word really meant,

When I recall Your call, I feel, so small.

When I answered the call into the ministry, I really didn’t know how far that calling went and that’s probably a good thing.  Had I looked too far into the future I would have been overwhelmed.   Had I looked to my own strengths I would have faltered.  I just kept taking one step at a time trying to be faithful and during this pilgrimage found the Lord has been faithful to me.   There have been ups and downs on this journey, but the Lord has blessed me and I hope, through Christ living in me, has blessed others.

[(FE) - FL 1991, PE 1992, FE 1996]

1991 Owosso: Burton, Carland; 1996 Iron Mountain: First; 2004 Davisburg; 2011 Sault Ste. Marie, Algonquin; 2014 Oscoda UMC and Oscoda Indian Mission

Cynthia A. Skutar

First UMC, Grand Ledge

“Barn’s burned down. Now I can see the moon.”

As I ponder how to capture the essence of thirty-two years in ministry as a pastor, there is so

much I could say. But my heart keeps leading me back to this quote. Walking as spiritual companion to others is a journey of deep faith through what is life-giving and life-draining, through our best selves, through dazzling light and depth of darkness. Step by step, it has been a journey of letting go, of emptying, opening, and turning my soul to the Light. So often in ministry God’s Light may seem eclipsed as if nothing is happening. And then, God’s love and light rise in the toughest and least expected moments to shine beautifully, to glow both within and between us, and in all its beauty, to take my breath away.

To my husband, my partner, my friend, Jerry, how can I ever thank you for your undying love? To every single person with whom I have served, those who taught me what it means to love deeply, and those who pushed me to the edge of my patience and forgiveness, I thank you. And to the Spirit of God, whom Kenneth Boulding eloquently named, “the burning Oneness binding everything,” I fall on my knees in awe before You. As I take my leave, I wish you all…peace to your journey.

[(FE) – D 1987, FE 1990]

1988 Hersey; 1992 Kalamazoo: First (Assoc); 1997 Three Rivers: First; 2000 Muskegon: Lake Harbor; 2004 Coldwater; 2010 Mt. Pleasant: First; 2013 Grand Ledge: First


Willie F. Smith

Conant Ave UMC, Detroit

The writer of Ecclesiastes aptly penned “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” My season has come. My time to retire from full time ministry

in the United Methodist Church is here. I am so appreciative of the love displayed to my wife Dianne, and myself throughout the years of my ministry. Dianne had a very important part in all of my ministry efforts. I officially served two charges, St James UMC in Westland, Michigan, and Conant Avenue UMC in Detroit. Prior to those appointment I served as a District Superintendent Appointment at Peoples UMC for 6 months. Each step on my ministerial career was a journey of growth and spiritual renewal. The members of these congregation help me tremendously as I waded through the waters of leadership. I also was blessed to be a part of the Michigan Conference Design Team who created one conference in Michigan. I was a trainer for the Policy protection Team as well as an instructor in the Lay Servant Ministry Program, teaching the Polity and the Preaching classes. I thank the Bishop and my District Superintendent for having faith in my ability to effectively lead each charge I was appointed to. We, Dianne and myself, are anxiously awaiting what God has in store for us as we journey on this road called life. Blessings and thanks for the journey and the wonderful memories we have accumulated along the way.    

[(FE) - PL 2008, PE 2011, FE 2014]

2008 Westland: St. James; 2015 Detroit: Conant Avenue

Kathryn S. Snedeker

Traverse Bay UMC

By good fortune, I grew up in the bucolic village of Dixboro, a community minutes from Ann Arbor. If Dixboro had “blocks,” our home was about two blocks from the Dixboro UMC. It was

the church of my grandparents, it was the church that would be the center of my family’s life, and it is the “little” country church that has inspired nine people into ministry. By the age of eleven, I knew I was called to the ministry.

I graduated from Albion College and went directly to seminary. Rev. Susan Defoe Dunlap, my candidacy mentor, offered wisdom that served me well in my ministry. She advised that leaving the Midwest for graduate school would broaden my perspective, and (at that time) if a woman wanted to be considered equal to her male colleagues, she needed to attend a seminary of distinction. I attended Duke University Divinity School.

My first appointment was to the Flushing UMC as the associate pastor to Rev. Maurice Sharai. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. His standard of “Anything worth doing is worth doing well” became the mantra for my ministry.

My greatest joys have been the children and youth in every congregation, working with the schools, and starting a Children’s Education Endowment. I served Christ with four grace-filled congregations in 35 years and loved every one of them. My husband and colleague, Rev. Dr. Hal Ferris, has been my support and hope throughout. My gratitude to Hal is beyond words.

[(FE) - PE 1984, FE 1987]

1985 Flushing (Assoc); 1988 Dearborn: Good Shepherd; 1996 Saginaw: First (co-pastor); 2002 Saginaw: First; 2016 Traverse Bay

Donald E. Spachman

First UMC, Greenville; Turk Lake UMC/Belding UMC

What a privilege my family and I have had in serving with six different United Methodist congregations in Michigan over the past 38 years. In every place 

we have found that you are faithful followers of Jesus who have challenged us to grow. Your love has inspired us and given us courage through difficult times. We will never forget your very literal presence with us when we faced car accidents, incarceration, divorce, and many health emergencies. You were the hands and feet of Jesus in our lives. You showed us what it means to be the Body of Christ. Saying “Thank You” seems hardly enough, but we still feel compelled to share our gratitude, so “Thank you!”

Shelly and I are looking forward to having more time to care for our aging parents together and to visit our daughter Amy, son-in-law Matt, and granddaughter Doxa in Rochester, New York. Our plans are to retire to Clare, Michigan so that we can be near our son Ben, daughter-in-law Jillian, and son Chris who can help care for us when we are the “aging parents.”

Again, we are very grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Michigan area. We look forward to continuing that relationship in retirement and what new opportunities for ministry we will meet together in the coming years. “The best of all is, God is with us!”

[(FE) – D 1982, FE 1984]

1982 Grawn; 1992 Shepherd/Pleasant Valley; 1997 Shepherd; 2004 Keswick; 2010 Hastings: First; 2014 Greenville: First, Turk Lake/Belding Cooperative Parish


George R. Spencer

Houghton Lake UMC

Rev. Spencer was born in Flint, Michigan to Rev. George E. and Sharon Spencer of the Detroit Annual Conference. He attended Nazarene Bible College, in Colorado Springs, where he

graduated in 1987 with a major in Biblical Studies and a focus in New Church Development. He went on to complete the advanced course of study at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. in 2007

Ordained an Elder in the Church of the Nazarene in 1989, he served new church starts in: Colorado Springs, Warrenton Oregon, and Springwater New York. In 1996 he returned home to the Detroit Annual Conference, becoming an Elder in Full Connection in 2007. He pastored New Hope United Methodist Church in Shelby Township from 1996-2010, Trenton Faith in Trenton from 2010-2016, and is retiring from Houghton Lake United Methodist Church where he has served since 2016.

Rev. Spencer taught a course in Church Planting during the winter term at Nazarene Bible College from 1990-1992. He was a member and/or chairperson of the New Church Development Team of the Detroit Annual Conference from 2000-2010.

At the General Conference level, Rev. Spencer has been a member of the National Network of Congregational Developers, and has served as an advisor to the Bishop Rueben Job Center for Leadership Development at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Rev. Spencer is married to Donna Spencer, who retired from her position as a Credit Union Branch Manager in Troy, Michigan in 2010. They have four adult daughters who reside in Michigan and Indiana with their families.

[(FE) – FL (recognition of orders, Church of the Nazarene) 1997, AM 1999, PE 2005, FE 2007

1987-1995 Warrenton Church of the Nazarene, Warrenton, OR; 1995-1996 Springwater Church of the Nazarene, Springwater, NY; 1996 Trans to Detroit Conf, Hope, Mount Vernon; 1999 North Central Macomb Regional Ministry: Mount Vernon, New Hope, Washington; 2002 New Hope, Mount Vernon; 2002 New Hope; 2010 Trenton: Faith; 2016 Houghton Lake


David K. Stewart, Sr.

Salem UMC, Pigeon

Thirty-seven years ago, my family and I, looking like the Beverly Hillbillies with a barrel full of garden tools and a rocking chair strapped to our U-Haul, left the UP headed for Asbury

Seminary. The decision to do so followed 19 years of running from the call to ministry, which I received at an E Stanley Jones Ashram when I was 16. Involvement in a teen boys’ small ministry group had prepared my heart to receive this call. Desiring worldly success kept me from it too long.

The past 34 years of ministry serving in seven different appointments, some multiple churches, has been a rich experience. Whether they were in farm fields, a suburban inner-city context, or small towns, ministry has been fulfilling. The one constant that has guided me has been John Wesley’s admonition, “You have nothing to do but to save souls!”. Evangelism and the follow up of discipling believers in small groups has, not unexpectedly, driven me. Experiences in ministry, be they going on an undercover mission trip to Pakistan and Qatar, ministering cross-culturally in Wayne, ministering to the Recovering Community, or helping individuals, whether youth or adults, deepen their relationship with Jesus, has never been dull. One unexpected joy has been mentoring individuals who have gone on to become pastors themselves.

I conclude with two questions: Have you received Jesus as your Savior? And secondly, have you been filled with The Holy Spirit? God always wants to give us more of Himself. We have but to ask.

[(FE) - PE 1985, FE 1989]

1986 Peck, Buel, Melvin; 1990 Plymouth: First (Assoc); 1991 Beaverton: First, Dale; 2000 Wayne-Westland: First; 2008 Hale: First; 2013 Pigeon: Salem


Paula M. Timm Potrykus

Oak Grove UMC

I was 24 years old when I had my first appointment of three churches on the eastern shore of Maryland while attending Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC full time. I came

back to Michigan in 1990 to begin my appointive time in my home conference.

There were few clergywomen then. Congregations were not always receptive. But God wanted me, and I have held tight through all the ups and downs.

I want to say thank you to those who have gone ahead and blazed the path. I am thankful for my precious clergy dad, from whose shadow I benefitted. I deeply value those who offered support along my journey. Thank you. God bless you for your love and care.

May God bless and guide those of you who will continue to provide spiritual leadership and pastoral care to all God’s people, as the church blazes her way forward into the ever-unrevealed future.

Peace be with you.

[(FE) - PE 1990, FE 1993]

1990 Hillman, Spratt; 1992 Flint: Court Street (Assoc); 1994 Redford: Lola Valley; 1997 Leave of Absence; 1997 Grand Blanc: Phoenix; 2001 Royal Oak: St. John’s; 2004 Harbor Beach, Port Hope; 2011 Oak Grove

Dominic A. Tommy

Central UMC, Lake Odessa

I am grateful to God, the leadership of Michigan Area Conference, and many local churches for giving me the opportunity of pastoral ministry in the United Methodist Church 

within the West Michigan Conference. Prior to immigrating to the United States in 1983, I served churches in Nigeria as pastor and itinerary evangelist with Christian Faith Mission of Nigeria.

In the USA, the call to full-time ministry was on hold during my college and seminary years. In 1997, I re-entered part-time ministry with the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. I served as local pastor while attending seminary. Retiring as full elder in the United Methodist Church and having a privilege of onward service for the Lod in the United Methodist Church is a joy and testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness.

My family is grateful to many UMC congregations (past and present) that gave us opportunities of serving Christ among them. Appreciations also to the leadership of the Michigan Area for the support, training, many privileges of serving in various connectional ministries. Last, but not least, the support of District Committees on Ministry, the Board of Ordained Ministry, mentors, and many district superintendents that I served under for their leadership. Their support and prayers have enabled me to reach this milestone of retirement from active ministries. I am grateful!

[(FE) – PL 1997, FL 1999, PE 2000, FE 2003]

1997 Grand Rapids: First (DSA) (Assoc); 1997-1999 Grand Rapids: First (PTLP) (Assoc); 1999 Olivet (Assoc); 2000 Alto/Bowne Center; 2002 Berrien Springs/Arden; 2006 Stanwood: Northland; 2014 Hopkins/South Monterey; 2017 Lake Odessa Central


Philip A. Tousley

First UMC, Bad Axe; Minden City UMC; Ubly 

I answered the call to ministry in my early thirties. Asked at a Board of Ordained Ministry Retreat to describe my call, I mentioned the poem Footprints 

and stated that my journey towards ministry included some drag marks as well. Having seen parsonage life up close, I didn’t want to go there.

I was breathtakingly wrong about what I thought ordained ministry would be. In my selfishness, I was very concerned about what I thought I would lose; it never occurred to me that there could be so much to gain.

I always wanted to be a cowboy, so God sent me to Colorado, where I helped with cowboy camp meetings. This was my first appointment, and the place where I got my first horse.

I always wanted to go back to the UP, so God sent me to Menominee, where I used my horse to reprise the circuit riders. While there, I married into a loving family who has a passion for ministry and a deep love for the church. I am proud of them all.

Finally, I always wanted to live in my own rustic home with a horse, so God sent me to Bad Axe, where I was reunited with family. Laurie and I are building a house on a piece of the old McQueen farm, three miles east of the Tousley homestead.

I want to thank all those who encouraged me in my ministry, especially my wife Laurie. Her support has made all the difference. Those in ministry can become discouraged and forget how blessed we are to serve God. But God is with us. And “that”, to quote John Wesley, “is best of all.”

[(FE) - PE 1993, FE 1995]

1998 Transferred to Detroit Conf from Rocky Mountain Conf; 1998 Menominee: First; 2011 Bad Axe: First, Minden City, Ubly



Colleen T. Treman

Mount Hope UMC, Lansing

[(FD) – DM 1984, FD 1997]

1985 Trans from West Ohio conf; 1985 Muskegon: Central, Director of 

Christian Education; 1990 Muskegon Lakeside, Director of Christian Education; 1990 Kalamazoo: First, Coordinator of Children’s Ministries; 1998 Leave of Absence; 1998 Sturgis (Deacon) (LTFT ½); 2008 Lansing: Mt. Hope (Deacon) Children’s Coordinator (LTFT ½); 2015 Transitional Leave


Susan J. Trowbridge

First UMC, Battle Creek

[(FE – D 1987, FE 1990]

1993 Peace/Quimby (DSA); 1994 Trans from Detroit conf; 1994 Peace/Quimby (LTFT ¾); 1998

Peace; 2005 Leave of Absence; 2014 Munith and Stockbridge (LTFT ½); 2019 Battle Creek: First (LTFT ½)


Gary S. Wales

Lawrence Ave UMC, Charlotte

The greatest, and, also the most humbling, experience of my life has been to declare the overwhelming glory of God and the complete truthfulness of His Word as a pastor in the United

Methodist Church. God is infinitely greater than my best words. His Word is more beautiful than I can possibly convey. But for 33 years I have tried to use my words, love, and life to proclaim His glory and truth. Despite my best efforts, He is more majestic, lovely, beautiful, and perfect in every way, than I have ever been able to say. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)

[(FE) – D 1988, FE 1990]

1987 Fife Lake/Boardman; 1994 Otsego: Trowbridge; 2008 Kingsley; 2013 Charlotte: Lawrence Avenue

James J. Walker

First UMC, Belleville

I really began to become aware of God’s moving in my life when a wise judge gave me the choice of going to prison or going to college. God’s prevenient grace was wonderfully illustrated

in my own life, “a brand plucked from the burning.”

While in college, I met people who seemed to me to be primarily followers of Jesus Christ. I saw lives that put service to God ahead of personal gain. I felt a prompting to join those Christ followers and commit my life to Him. I lived in a house with other Christian men and each year we covenanted with each other to live in community and to engage in ministry as our highest priority. This community has had a deep and lasting impact on my life and ministry.

My call to ministry took me to Asbury Theological Seminary. While there, I met my spouse and partner in ministry, Susan. Our first child Moriah was born while we were in Brown City. She had profound disabilities and, although she lived to fourteen, her development never progressed beyond two to three months. Her life deeply affected our churches, her caregivers, and us. Somehow God used her helpless condition to stir people’s hearts toward God and to receive His love. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

God’s working in my life, and the lives of others, amazes me. God’s love has always surprised me. I am thankful for all the loving people that I have met in my ministry.

[(FE) - P 1985, FE 1987]

1985 Lansing: Christ (Assoc); 1989 Trans to Detroit Conf, Brown City: First, Immanuel; 1996 Utica (Assoc); 1998 Wyandotte: First; 2007 Belleville: First


Steven L. Woodford

Counselor, Veterans Administration

My privilege and greatest honor is to have served Christ, His Church, and the UMC as a pastor, a hospice/hospital chaplain, a VA pastoral counselor, and an Air Force Chaplain.

In the Air Force, as a lamp illumines one’s path (Psalm 119), chaplains are referred to as the ones who provide “a visible reminder of the Holy.” Whether ministry occurs in a hospital patient’s room, around a bed in their home with family, helping a veteran navigate the traumas of wars long forgotten by most, sitting quietly with a new Gold Star family, triaging on a field of battle surrounded by cries for help, praying at the field hospital with severely wounded soldiers, conducting a worship service in the field with impressionable, young airmen struggling to make sense out of chaos, or in one of our UM churches at Sunday morning worship, to be tasked as one of the ones who “reminds us to remember” is a rare calling indeed.

A WWII Royal AF pilot once told me they call their chaplains “Sky Pilot because chaplains are closer to God.” I’m not so sure about that, but the status with which the military hold their clergy is special. I will never take for granted the special trust and honor bestowed upon me by the UMC and the AF. Nor will I overlook the 40 years of physical, emotional, and spiritual support from my wife and best friend, Ann, whose years of encouragement have been instrumental.

[(FE) - PE 1996, FE 1998]

1996 Reese; 2000 school; 2001 Chaplain, Spiritual Care Coordinator, Heartland Hospice (¶335.1); 2002 Vassar: First; [2007 called to active duty chaplaincy]; 2008 Readjustment Counselor, Veterans Administration


Timothy B. Wright

New Life UMC, Lakeview

Living out my pastoral vocation has been a journey into new life.  Christ’s resurrecting power has been active in bringing about new life in the midst of ordinary and extraordinary moments in 

church life. A few that come to mind are: evaporating maple syrup, lowering coffins into the ground, worshiping, late nights at homeless shelters, laughing, visioning, doing dishes, sacred fires, hard conversations and meetings.  Those moments live with me as I journey ahead.

Yet it is the relationships with the people I have journeyed with which are of immeasurable value and I carry close to my heart.  The new life Christ has birthed in and through these relationships has woven these people into who I have become.   Thanks be to God.

I am excited to discover where God leads Paula and me as we transition into a new stage of our lives.  

[(FE) – PE 2005, FE 2008]

2005 Horton Bay/Charlevoix: Greensky Hill; 2013 Grand Rapids: Northlawn; 2018 Gladstone: Memorial; 2019 Lakeview: New Life


Deane B. Wyllys

First UMC, Owosso

The summer of 1975 was undoubtedly the most important time in my life. It was during that summer that Jesus Christ changed my life and called me to follow him, and it was during that

summer that I met the love of my life, Nancy Rice.  Nancy and I were married the summer of 1976 and embarked upon an amazing and grace-filled journey of school, raising sons, and falling in love with those whom God entrusted to our care in the churches that we served.

We have been blessed with some incredible churches and people.  Our journey began June 15, 1983, when I was appointed to the Ontonagon South End Circuit, which included the White Pine, Bergland and Ewen UMC’s, along with the Trout Creek Presbyterian Church.  After serving there for four and a half years we were appointed to the Marine City UMC, February 1988.  In June of 1992 we moved to Gladwin First UMC, where we served for ten years.  After a two year leave of absence we were appointed to the Commerce UMC, where we lived for fourteen years.  Our last stop was with the folks of Owosso First UMC in 2018.

For thirty-seven and a half years God’s grace has proven sufficient for every step.  It has truly been an honor to serve alongside some wonderful and loving lay people.  We will always cherish the memories and friendships that we have made along the way.

[(FE) – PE 1981, FE 1985]

1983 White Pine, Bergland, Ewen; 1988 Marine City; 1992 Gladwin: First; 2002 Family Leave; 2004 Commerce; 2018 Owosso: First


Julie A. Liske

Director, Circles Grand Rapids

JULIE A. LISKE [(FD) – D-1994, FE-1996, FD-2008, RD-2020]

1994 Transferred from Detroit Conf; 1994 Portage: Chapel Hill (Assoc); 1997 Appointed to 

Extension Ministries (¶344.1.b,c) Chaplain, Clark Retirement Home; 2001 Wayland; 2003 Leave

of Absence; 2004 Other Valid Ministries (¶335.1d) Chaplain, Spectrum Health (LTFT); 2005 Leave of Absence; 2006 Kalamazoo: First (Assoc); 2010 Deacons Appointed within UM Connection Structure (¶331.1b) Executive Director, United Methodist Metropolitan Ministry of Greater Grand Rapids (LTFT ¾) and Grand Rapids: Trinity (Deacon, Assoc) (¼ time); 2015 Deacons Appointed within UM Connectional Structure (¶331.1b) Executive Director, United Methodist Metropolitan Ministry of Greater Grand Rapids (¾ time) and Chapter Director of Circles Grand Rapids (LTFT ¼); 2016 Deacons Appointed Beyond the Local Church (¶331.1a) Director, Circles Grand Rapids


2021 Michigan Annual Conference