I am glad to have this opportunity to tell you how delighted I am to be the new pastor of Williamsport United Methodist Church and how much I am looking forward to serving our Lord Jesus with you in your community!
In many ways, it feels like coming home! I met my wife, Debbie, in the WUMC church office and we just celebrated our 29thanniversary. When we met, she was a member of WUMC and worked as the Church Secretary and also as the District Superintendent’s secretary. In 2004, she returned to WUMC as your Church Administrator.
We have two grown children, Beth (married to Jason) and Kevin (married to Emily), and a granddaughter, Eleanor (Ellie), who just finished kindergarten. Beth and Jason were married at WUMC. Beth, Jason & Ellie attend La Plata UMC and their new pastor (and neighbor) is Pastor Susan!
Given Debbie’s history here, I find that I am coming to this new appointment with a much greater degree of familiarity with the church that I am coming to serve than is usually the case in our itinerant system. Also, I have already had the opportunity to meet and work with some of you in various District and Conference activities.
I am very excited by the kinds of ministries that Williamsport is doing, especially your intentional efforts to engage the surrounding community with the love of Jesus Christ. It is my hope and prayer that we will be able to continue to build on this momentum, even as we get to know each other as pastor and congregation and seek to discern together what God has in store for the next chapter in the story of Williamsport U.M.C.
While the process of getting to know each other will unfold over the course of months and years, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself.
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent most of my formative years (including high school and college) in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I am an Eagle Scout and enlisted in the U.S. Navy just a few weeks after my 17thbirthday. Enlisting at the very end of the Viet Nam era made me the fourth generation of my family in a row to serve during time of war – though none of us were ever in combat and I am the only one who left the continental United States. I was an electronics technician, working in communications and cryptography while serving aboard an ocean-going tug in the Atlantic Fleet.
I earned my B.A. at Western Kentucky University in History of World Religions, my M.Div. at Vanderbilt University, and my Doctor of Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary. These experiences included study abroad with the University of Wisconsin’s College Year in India program and with the Graduate School of the World Council of Churches in Switzerland.
In over 30 years of pastoral ministry, I’ve served churches in Kentucky, Berkeley County, WV, and Harford and Washington counties in Maryland. My passion is helping people to grow deeper in their discipleship to Jesus Christ through preaching and teaching. At the District and Annual Conference levels I have served in task forces facilitating local churches in the areas of strategic planning and conflict management, and currently serve on the District Committee on Ministry and the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. For many years I have been involved with the Network of Biblical Storytellers international. I recently completed a two-year Financial Leadership Academy, and the Upper Room’s Spiritual Formation Academy.