I was born and raised in Moline, Illinois as the youngest of three children. We were always very active in First United Methodist Church (now part of Moline Riverside) and I was an officer in the youth group, member of the youth choir and accompanist for the children’s choir throughout high school. I received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois, Urbana. After a year of selling health insurance I answered the call to ministry.
I received my Master of Divinity from The Methodist Theological School in Ohio. During my time there I served one year as children’s worship leader for the Korean Fellowship in Columbus and interned for one quarter at the United Methodist Church in Berea, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland.) My interest in music has led me to play flute in bands through college and then occasionally in churches for special music. I play piano, organ, hand bells and sing in choirs as I am able.
I enjoy travel and mission work. I have traveled for education and mission work to the Holy Land, India, Pakistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Other travel outside the US has taken me through much of northern Europe including a trip to see the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany. I have been on several mission trips all over the United States to help with rebuilding, renovation and flood relief. I am currently credentialed by UMCOR as an ERT (Early Response Team) and Spiritual and Emotional Care Team. Both need to be renewed every three years and this fall is the time for that. Hopefully, those renewal opportunities will be in place by the time I need them.
I currently serve as registrar for the Vermilion River District Committee on Ministry and am trained as a candidacy mentor. I currently have no mentor responsibilities but may be asked to do that in the future. It involves monthly meetings and sometimes a short retreat. I have been a Rotarian for 12 years, 8 in Galva and then 4 in Fairbury. I especially like to participate in events that take us out into the schools to help raise community-minded leaders.
One of my passions for ministry is to interact with the community and reach out to neighbors in need. I am currently treasurer of our ecumenical assistance fund for Fairbury. As another example, to mark my 25th anniversary of ordination as an Elder, I asked my congregations to mark the event with outreach to our community. From that desire was born a weekend of worship and service which still is taking place four years after leaving that community. We helped the Senior Citizen’s Center, a day care center and many individuals with everything from painting, to yard work, to cleaning out storage sheds to replacing worn parts of a handicapped ramp. Plans were begun in Fairbury to do “Church Outside the Walls” the first Sunday in June, but that has all been put on hold due to the COVID-19 restrictions on interacting with others.
Other passions in ministry include leading worship, biblical preaching, leading Bible studies, offering people new ways to grow spiritually, enabling laity to find their ministry, and stewardship. I feel our Lay Servant training experiences are an asset to our common ministry in the UMC and hope many members will tap into those opportunities. I have taught several classes over the years and hope to have more opportunities to do so. I have also been involved with the Walk to Emmaus, Chrysalis and Journey.
Two years ago, I completed the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation which was a wonderful experience. The first year is dedicated to deepening one’s own life in Christ. During the second year, the focus shifts to outward aspects of leadership while continuing to engage in spiritual practices of body, mind, and spirit in the context of a supportive community. I had wanted to do this for some time but waited until an academy was meeting within a reasonable travel distance. I was to do a project taking something I have learned and passing it on in the second year. I was led to design and implement a retreat setting called “Opening to God” which was open to laity and clergy within our conference. It was held at East Bay Camp and received so much positive response that a second one was done 18 months later at Little Grassy Camp. I hope to put another one together in 2022. I am part of the design team for the IGRC 5 Day Academy in the spring of 2021, serving as music/worship leader.
I live alone at this time, though I am a cat lover and will surely adopt a cat soon after the move. My two brothers, sisters-in-law, two nephews and partners, three great nieces, and one great nephew all live in Moline. One nephew, wife, and daughter live in Ankeny, IA. The fourth nephew lives in Edwardsville, KS. I try to spend time through the year visiting with as many of them as possible, especially at holiday times. I look forward to being part of your family–the community and the church of Orion.