AC 2023 Profiles of 2024 General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegate Candidates
GENERAL/JURISDICTIONAL CONFERENCE 2024 CLERGY PROFILES
|JOHN HATTON||LOLETUTH KALZ||BRYAN LANGLANDS|
GENERAL/JURISDICTIONAL CONFERENCE 2024 LAY PROFILES
GENERAL CONFERENCE 2024 CLERGY PROFILES
I am a child of our Living God. I was baptized and raised in Preston Highway UMC. My discipleship began there under the witness of Norma Henry and Eustace Gordon. And since that first acceptance of grace and known presence of God in my life, I have sought the ways of God through study and devotion. I was graduated with a BA in Philosophy from the University of Louisville. I received an M. Div. in the Pastor/Teacher track from Southern Baptist TS in May 1990. I have been appointed to serve in the Owensboro, Hopkinsville, Bowling Green, Louisville, South Central, and Bluegrass districts. Jim and I married in 1986 and have to some degree or another raised five children. We’ve been blessed with six grandchildren, three sons-in-law, and a daughter-in-law. My present role is in disciple-making and pastoring Harrodsburg UMC in the Bluegrass District. I have learned how to love through some amazingly difficult situations.
I continue being grounded by my conversations with God. I have been witness to the work of God where I am appointed as well as in short mission opportunities in the Global South, Mideast, and Eastern Europe. My hope is for the church to grow in its capacity to love, to move more and more believers to discipleship, and more people to belief. As we seek the power of God to overcome evil in this world I hope for each, that we grow into the likeness of Christ. About the global church, I listen well to God. If elected to represent you, I ask that you pray for my faithfulness to do and say what God asks of me.
As a person elected by you I will bear the responsibility not only as a delegate, but also as a leader who will walk side by side with you in our local churches, creating spaces for healing and hope. Regardless of which decisions come from General Conference, my role as an ordained Elder is to invest myself in bringing spiritual leadership to our church for the sake of people inside and outside of the UMC, for the sake of my family and for the sake of you. If elected, I promise to give myself to the duties of my election and finish the work God began in me for our church.
My name is John Bowling. I was ordained as a Deacon in the Louisville Annual Conference in 1990 and an elder in 1993. I am a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College and Candler School of Theology. I have served congregations in Kentucky since 1991. I am currently serving Highland UMC in Fort Thomas (appointed in 2012).
What you need to know about me is that I am committed to the United Methodist Church and Wesleyan theology. I consider myself theologically mainstream, as I am in full alignment with our 25 Articles of Religion. I believe the Wesleyan way is a way of openness to the leading of God’s Spirit (as the Spirit is never idle). It is time to reevaluate and possibly reconfigure some of our denomination infrastructure, but currently the greatest challenge to the UMC is inclusivity.
I am personally committed to inclusivity. My commitment is not based on politics or what is or is not popular, but rather through Bible study, prayer and reflection over several years. I pastor a congregation that has an all-inclusive Welcome Statement, and I would like to represent the Kentucky Annual Conference as one who would help open the door to all people for full inclusion into our denomination and our congregations – regardless of sexual orientation (that includes marriage, serving in various capacities, and pursuing ordained ministry). I served 12 years on the Board of Ministry and 8 years on the Conference Finance team. I believe I not only bring 30+ years of pastoral experience, but level-headedness and fresh hope toward a less frazzled future. I am committed to the United Methodist Church and would be honored to represent Kentucky and help move us forward with integrity.
From my baptism to my call to vocational ministry, I have been blessed by numerous witnesses of grace and generosity. These diverse expressions of United Methodism have stirred me to a deeper commitment to Christ and the Church. After 10 years of pastoring in churches, I now have had the honor of living out my calling by serving as your Conference Treasurer, Director of Administrative Services, and Benefits Officer since 2018.
In this role, I’ve worked closely with our Conference’s churches, clergy, and teams, including: Board of Trustees, Council on Finance and Administration, Board of Pensions, Good Samaritan Ministries, and others. We’ve shared in celebrations and worked through challenges, all for the sake of the Kingdom. I’ve also worked alongside our United Methodist partners at Wespath and GCFA. Like in Kentucky, we are celebrating the possibilities of our Connection and navigating the headwinds of our financial, stewardship, and administrative life – together.
As a delegate representing Kentucky, I would continue the conversations I regularly have with other AC Treasurers and our Conference Teams to: invest in our shared mission, support local churches, practice wise financial stewardship, advocate for clergy health and benefits, and secure our retirement obligations. Our administrative life can, should, and does support the churches’ mission and clergy’s callings. I would advocate for the same at the Jurisdictional and General Conference levels of the church. I would value listening, compassion, boldness, and courage as we strive to embody God’s calling and vision for the Church.
In this season of denominational and Conference discussions concerning mission and vision, finances and budgets, benefits funding and retirement plan proposals, and legislation and other administrative matters, I would be humbly honored to offer my experiences and heart to represent you and our unique Kentucky perspective in these discussions.
It is with a hope-filled and faithful heart that I submit my profile for the delegation this year. Jesus is strongly calling me to remain United Methodist and serve the Kingdom of God within the denomination I have grown up in and am proud to be a part of. My priorities for ministry in the upcoming years are: 1) Church planting throughout Kentucky. 2) Advancing a renewed commitment to making disciples of Jesus Christ who participate in the means of grace; including a life committed to regular worship in community, a commitment to a small group for Christian accountability, participation in mission and ministry, study and enjoyment of Scripture, prayer, and a commitment to partner with the Holy Spirit in making new disciples. 3) Fostering a Church culture where everyone is invited to grow as a Christian leader while also carefully mentoring those who feel a call to vocational ministry. 4) A life of patience and prayer that supports the work of the Spirit and ministry of the Word as renewal and revival continue to spring up throughout Kentucky. My hope would be to support episcopal candidates and legislation that would advance these strategic priorities.
I have served on two previous delegations as a Jurisdictional Conference delegate and enjoyed the process of working with my sisters and brothers as we prayerfully discerned God’s will for legislation and future bishops of the denomination. I grew up in the United Methodist Church and my father was an Elder in our conference. I have lived and served throughout Kentucky in rural, suburban, and urban areas and understand the uniqueness of our Kentucky context. My alma mater is Asbury Theological Seminary, and I am completing my eighteenth year in pastoral ministry.
Rev. Dr. Loletuth Kalz grew up mainly across Western Kentucky as a UM pastor’s child and is a fourth-generation Methodist pastor in Kentucky. She is a graduate of Lindsey Wilson College (BA), Duke Divinity School (MDiv), and Wesley Theological Seminary (DMin) where her research focused on embracing intergenerational leadership to support the missional work of the church. She serves at First UMC in Madisonville, where she is the Co-Lead Pastor alongside of her husband, Rev. Dr. John Kalz. Prior to coming to Madisonville, she served as an Associate Pastor at Christ Church UM in Louisville and Pastor of Trinity UMC in Covington. She has served in ministry internships in Colorado, North Carolina, and Kentucky and as a mission intern with the UMC in North Macedonia, Europe. She has led trips and participated in various missional relationships across the United Methodist connection in Serbia, North Macedonia, Thailand, and Poland. Loletuth has served on CF&A, BOM, and currently serves on BOP of the KAC. She has served on District Administrative Teams in the districts she has been appointed. She also has three children, nine-year old Emily, and six-year old twins, Lucas and Eliza.
Loletuth is passionate about the mission of the UMC in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Her experiences of ministry have instilled in her the belief that one of the best ways for the church to work at fulfilling this mission is to be in relationship with people different from ourselves, whether that be from people of different cultures, ages, races, or points of view. Through these relationships we are able to learn how to better articulate the good news of Christ in ways people will understand and respond, so as to witness to the power of Jesus to transform and make new.
I grew up in Virginia Beach, spending as much time as I could surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. I have an AMAZING wife named Amanda and four INCREDIBLE kids (ages 17 down to 3). I graduated with a B.A. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill. I received an M.Div and a Th.M from Duke Divinity School, and a D.Min from Wesley Theological Seminary. I currently serve as the Assistant Vice President for Student Life, Campus Minister and Senior Adjunct Professor in the Religion Department at Georgetown College.
I have served as the Associate Pastor at St. Luke UMC in Sanford, N.C., and as the Pastor for Mt. Gilead UMC in Scott County, KY. In 2012, I launched a United Methodist missional community in Georgetown, KY called Movement that focused on multiplying disciple-makers and Christian community development. I have served on the New Church Development Team for the Frankfort/Bluegrass District and currently serve on the Bluegrass DCOM.
I did not grow up United Methodist. I was loved into the UMC by my classmates in seminary. Since becoming a United Methodist in 2001, I have continued to grow in my appreciation for the Methodist movement and our Wesleyan way of walking with Christ. I believe in the primacy of discipleship, of learning to be a disciple who is equipped to make disciple-makers, and I love the Wesleyan small-group approach. I hope to be part of an inclusive UMC where same-sex orientation is not a barrier to full inclusion in the life and leadership of the Church, where chastity and lifelong monogamous fidelity will continue to be the expectation regardless of sexual orientation, and where celibacy is voluntary and not mandatory for anyone. If elected, I would wholeheartedly seek to thoughtfully and prayerfully represent you while voting on the important matters at hand.
My name is Chris Lewis and I am an ordained elder, currently serving as the associate pastor at Hopkinsville First United Methodist Church. I also have had the privilege of serving at Onton UMC while I was a provisional elder and at Bethlehem UMC (Lewisport) as a licensed local pastor. Being United Methodist is something that has been a part of my story since birth, growing up at the former Hazelwood UMC in Louisville and being formed in my faith by events at Camp Kavanaugh, summers at Camp Loucon (including one summer on staff), and even the first few Winter Blitzes in Owensboro. I also earned my Bachelor of Arts from Kentucky Wesleyan College. I am one among many who have come to faith in Christ through the people, pastors, and ministries of The United Methodist Church, and so it is with great humility that I submit my name for consideration as a delegate to the upcoming General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
We in the United Methodist Church find ourselves at a crossroads during this season. The decisions that will be made at the upcoming General and Jurisdictional Conferences will have a profound impact on our future. I believe it is of the utmost importance that we continue to be a church that reaches out and welcomes all, while at the same time finding our grounding in the entirety of Scripture. If we believe that the local church is the most significant area through which disciple-making occurs, then decisions made at the General and Jurisdictional Conferences must be made with the local church in mind.
As someone deeply vested in the United Methodist Church, I would approach the great responsibility of representing you and the Kentucky Annual Conference with humility and gratefulness.
B.A. in music Asbury College 1995
M.Div. Lexington Theological Seminary 1999
Ordination in KAC: Deacon 1999; Elder 2001
I am a cradle Methodist, born and raised in the Kentucky Annual Conference. I consider myself theologically orthodox and socially progressive. At Asbury College in the early ‘90s I was considered liberal. Then at Lexington Theological Seminary I was considered more on the conservative side.
I greatly appreciate my diverse theological background. I have friends that are Traditionalists and Progressives. I find that we all work well together and help each other see things from different perspectives and through differing lenses. I truly believe that we are better as the body of Christ as we embrace the diversity and discover the infinite ways that the Holy Spirit is working in our midst.
When I was 17 my father came out of the closet as a gay man. I have had 40+ years of wrestling with my own beliefs and the doctrines of our denomination. I have come to a place of peace now. For me the gift of sexuality is to be shared in a covenantal loving relationship. Promiscuity and infidelity are sin. Yet, I would allow the covenant of marriage to be available to both heterosexual and homosexual partners.
It grieves me to see our beloved United Methodist Church splintered. We can accomplish so much more in mission to our communities and the world when we work together. The Jesus in me greets the Jesus in you. May we take hands and work together for the Reign of Christ in this world?
I would be humbled and honored to serve our conference as a delegate to the 2024 General and/or Jurisdictional Conferences.
My earliest memories of faith formation happened in and around Flemingsburg First UMC. From third grade until I graduated high school, I spent at least one week each summer attending Aldersgate Camp; it was there where I gave my life to Jesus, solidified a call into ministry, worked summers and weekends during college, worked twice as program director, and met my wife. I cannot imagine where I would be on my spiritual journey without camping ministry.
In my early 30s, I earned an M.A. in Christian Education and was ordained a Deacon in the Kentucky Annual Conference. I just completed my 6th year serving as the Director of the Eastern Kentucky University Wesley Foundation. I have spent 10 years as a certified coach with Spiritual Leadership Incorporated coaching various teams from local churches to Conference Directional teams. I also serve as our Conference’s Chair for the Order of Deacons and have served on the KYUMC Board of Ordained Ministry for 3 years. I live in Wilmore with my wife, Sarah, and two kids, Allie and Elijah.
As an ordained clergy in covenant with the Kentucky Annual Conference, I have done my best to faithfully lead and serve in the roles to which I have been entrusted. I am committed to remaining UMC and as part of the delegation, I would do my best to be a faithful representative, voting in a way that honors the best interest of our Annual Conference.
The signature on my emails reads: “Leadership is disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb” (Tod Bolsinger/Ron Heifetz). I adopted this quote five years ago not knowing that COVID-19 and a discernment process were in my future as a pastor. It was impossible not to disappoint people in either situation. The 18- to 24-month season of the pandemic stretched pastors and laity in new, surprising, and unwanted ways. There was no such thing as a contented church member or pastor as we worshiped with or without social distancing, masks, disinfectants, or livestreaming.
I also have not met a single pastor who enjoyed leading his/her church through a discernment process. Every pastor and lay person entered discernment with strong opinions, thoughts, and expectations, yet the very nature of discernment is being “open to God saying something different from what we expected” (Practicing Discernment Together, Fendall, et al.). Discernment can give clarity, but can also be disappointing.
As we prepare for the long-awaited postponed 2020 General Conference, most of us are bracing for more disappointment. We will be disappointed by legislation that brings change (or not), leaders that lead (or not), and language that offends or affirms or neither.
I am finishing my seventh year as pastor of Wilmore United Methodist Church. God has been faithful to this church, which decided not to vote for disaffiliation, and is healthier on this side of the pandemic and the discernment process. Through my work with Wilmore UMC, my DMin studies in organizational leadership, and chairing the conference’s Higher Education Team, I am learning how to lead, communicate, and (most importantly) disappoint people with grace and truth. If my experiences can be helpful to the delegation, then I humbly submit this profile.
Thanks for taking time to consider whom you will be supporting to represent the Kentucky Annual Conference at General Conference. These are important moments to choose leadership prayerfully. Quite frankly, being a delegate to Conference has not been a role that I have considered in my 18 years of ministry. In this new season, however, I feel compelled to throw my name in for consideration and trust my friends and colleagues to select those who you feel will best serve us.
Three distinct calls shape my story. The first is a call to Kentucky, where I have been since 1990 as my wife Susan, a native of Northern Kentucky, and I raised our three kids. A second was to Asbury Theological Seminary, where I discovered that I am Wesleyan to the core and that our theology beautifully addresses the important questions of our generation through grace, truth, and holiness based on a relationship of love, not a list of dos and don’ts. And thirdly, I have a distinct call to The United Methodist Church, which adopted me with arms open wide after college and has nurtured me and my family in ways I can’t fully describe.
I serve as one of the pastors at Lexington FUMC and have been active in the Conference having served previously on the BOM and currently on CFA, Chair of the Lexington District DCOM, and President of the Nathaniel Mission Board of Directors. If selected to serve as a delegate, I will work to integrate the perspectives of all persons into this new expression of United Methodism in a way that honors our past, brings healing to our present, and offers hope for our future.
I’ve been a pastor in the UMC since June 1991. I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1992. I’ve served in mainly small membership churches. I’ve been married to my wife, Nissa Shannon, for almost 17 years and together we have six adult children. Before I answered God’s calling into ministry I worked at the Methodist Children’s Home and as a Social Worker for the State of Kentucky. I currently serve on the Board of Pensions of the Kentucky Annual Conference.
My heart is broken over all the things we are going through as United Methodist. Through the discernment process I’ve discovered some things about myself. I have always been conservative in my beliefs both politically and theologically. What I discovered about myself was I’m not as far right as I thought I was.
I believe that marriage is between and man and a woman only. I can’t find scripture that says otherwise. The discernment team at HUMC was created with people who all didn’t think alike on all the issues. In fact, there was one lady whose beliefs on certain subjects were completely different. But the crazy thing is we disagreed, but we still love each other and get along.
I serve in a rural community, and Hardinsburg and Talbert Chapel are two of five churches that decided not to disaffiliate from the UMC. Because we chose to stay, I’ve received phone calls, emails, and in-person questions about my integrity as a pastor.
I politely tell them the reason I stayed is because I still believe in the UMC and God hasn’t given me permission to leave yet. Some may think I’m naive, but I still believe God can help us discover a plan where we can all serve God faithfully in the UMC.
Owensboro District Superintendent
Education: Kentucky Wesleyan (BA, ‘85) Emory/Candler (M-Div., ‘88) Wesley Theological (D-Min., 2000)
Connectional Service: Board of Ordained Ministry, Conference Relations Committee (Chair), Cabinet rep on Board of Pensions, DCOM, KWC Trustees, Candler School of Theology Alumni Board, Children’s Homes Board Member (past Chair), Conference Children & Poverty Task Force, Foundry Christian Community Center Board, Micah Mission Center Board
For 38 years, by the grace of God, I have served the UMC as a pastor of youth; small, medium and large churches; and twice now as a district superintendent. Currently, I serve as the Owensboro DS. I am a “cradle” UM who remains hopelessly hopeful about the future of the UMC. This season of disaffiliation has been heartbreaking. Our culture does not believe people can have deep disagreements on important issues and still remain in community, but one of the reasons I am grateful to be a UM Christian is we believe it is not only possible, but a requirement for witnessing to the deeper love of Jesus that holds us together in community. I want to be a part of a UM church that lifts up our historic, sacramental belief in One Table where all are welcome, where all are seeking God’s sanctifying grace. I have great pride, respect and love for the global witness of the UMC and have had the great privilege to experience that global witness firsthand in Africa (Zimbabwe, South Africa), South America (Brazil), and Israel. I believe that ministry is most vital at the local church level and that context always matters when discerning the most effective way to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I would consider it a deep honor and privilege to serve as a Jurisdictional Conference delegate.
I am an Elder serving as Lead Pastor of Watkins UMC in Louisville since 2020. I previously served as Associate Pastor at Settle Memorial UMC in Owensboro.
I am proud to be a part of The UMC. I experienced a call to ministry while attending Florida Southern College, a United Methodist school in Lakeland, FL, where I was active in campus ministries and the Chapel Band. I also served on the Leadership Team at Warren Willis UM Camp.
After receiving my undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, I completed my M.Div at Duke Divinity School. While attending Duke, I served as a Licensed Local Pastor. After graduation, I became a Provisional Elder, serving as Associate Pastor at Suntree UMC in Melbourne, FL.
I am a Fresh Expressions Pioneer, and a graduate of the Generative Church Leader Academy, a program focused on traditioned innovation. I have attended the Exponential Conference, focused on church planting and forming vibrant expressions of worship for future generations. I currently serve on the Board of Ordained Ministry and the National Alumni Council for Duke Divinity School. I am currently participating in the Compelling Preaching Initiative, an ecumenical cohort through Calvin Theological Seminary. I believe excellent preaching can breathe new life into the local church.
I am passionate by Jesus’ invitation to the Open Table and I believe God is still working in our midst within the UMC. I seek to lean into the unfinished work of God in our journey together, which includes learning and growing from those with different perspectives. I wholeheartedly seek to cultivate a welcoming church for people of all theological opinions.
I am married to Rev. Molly Shoulta Tucker, a Pastor in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). We have an almost 2-year-old son and an energetic border collie, Cliffe.
The Lord led my family to Pikeville United Methodist Church during the formative years of my faith. While at Pikeville UMC, God used the pastors, laity, and ministry of our church to invite me into ministry and the United Methodist Church.
I studied at Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary, interning with the Isaiah Project in 2011 and 2013. I served Memorial in Elizabethtown as an assistant and executive pastor from 2014-2019. Since 2019, I have been appointed to St. James UMC in Bowling Green. I was ordained as an Elder in 2021. In addition to my local ministry, I am grateful to serve the Conference on the New Church Development Team and the Board of Ordained Ministry, in addition to other Conference and District teams.
Christian Conferencing is a means of God’s grace vital to our Wesleyan tradition, and it is consistent with historical practices that have empowered the ministry of the local church for two millennia. While we often desire for Conferences to end conversations, God’s grace is experienced as we continue conversations through the discipline of conferencing. The General Conference is our opportunity each quadrennium to articulate the current conversation and equip our other Conferences to continue the conversation. The Jurisdictional Conference is our opportunity to elect leaders who will shepherd those conversations as they shepherd the church. This work, done well, empowers the ministry of our local churches.
Regarding the conversation of human sexuality and gender, I support legislation that articulates the diverse perspectives in our denomination while empowering and protecting contextual ministry for Conferences, churches, and clergy. Regarding our doctrinal standards, I am thankful these are well-protected and regularly affirmed, and I will support legislation and leaders that will do the same.
GENERAL/JURISDICTIONAL CONFERENCE 2024 LAY PROFILES
I have been a Kentucky United Methodist for 24 years. Even though I went to church every Sunday, it wasn’t until I went to college that my faith started to grow. Since accepting Jesus and being baptized in 2017, I have served as the Kentucky East District Young Adult delegate (2018 & 2023), the Morehead State Wesley Foundation delegate (2019-2022), and the Young Adult Member on Mead Memorial United Methodist Church’s Administrative Board (2020-present).
The UMC’s mission, connectional ministries, and global witness are all policies and practices I fully believe in. A practice that I learned during my time at MSU was “Each One Reach One.” This idea has the potential to not only meet each of the missions and ministries of the church but is a way of connecting and spreading the love of God just by one person connecting to another.
Beyond growing in my faith, I enjoy studying history. If there is one thing that studying history has taught me, it is the need for conversations. If conversations are not had, then divisions occur. What we do at conference is a time for our faith to grow and conversations to be had for the betterment of the denomination and believers worldwide.
The connections, conversations, and declarations of faith we undertake and encourage do God’s work and build his kingdom. Through connecting, conversing, and worshiping together we build stronger bonds not just of camaraderie but of siblings in faith. For the church to grow, I believe everyone has a choice to make based on how God leads them and peacefully moving forward while accepting others’ choices. I am honored and excited for whatever part I may play in helping strengthen and unite the church following God’s plan, whatever it may be.
The United Methodist Church must renew its commitment to evangelism. While our churches do many good works, our dedication to go out into all the world and share the Good News of Jesus Christ has waned. As Kentucky’s lay delegate to General Conference, Sean Deskins will advocate for churchwide changes to the UMC that will emphasize equipping, encouraging, and enabling our laity and clergy to live out the Great Commission and to better align the church’s limited resources to achieve this objective.
The UMC has not had a major restructuring in decades. With three General Conferences between 2024 and 2028, now is the perfect time to evaluate our church governance, recommend changes, and take action to modernize the structure of the UMC. As a lay delegate to General Conference, Sean Deskins will advocate for reforms concerning:
- Churchwide general boards and commissions.
- Clergy itineracy, appointments, the role of bishops, and giving local churches a stronger voice at the table.
- Increasing laity involvement in the United Methodist Connection.
Sean Deskins is a lawyer who has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of those who have been wronged. Deskins will utilize his legal knowledge and experience, along with the skills he has gained from representing the Louisville Bar Association in the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, to draft, campaign for, and advance legislation to accomplish positive reform in the UMC.
Deskins is a lifelong United Methodist. He grew up, was baptized, and confirmed at Pikeville UMC. Deskins was active in U of L’s Wesley Foundation and served in one of Kentucky’s first Hispanic ministries, Un Rayo de Esperanza on Preston Highway. Deskins and his wife, Ashley, have been members at St. Paul and Middletown, and he now serves as lay leader for St. Matthews UMC’s River City Campus.
My wife and I were married in Duncan’s Chapel Methodist Church, where our children were baptized and joined.
I have served in most all the local church lay positions including lay delegate to the Kentucky Conference, district director of lay servants, member of the conference’s laity and resolution committees.
The homosexual issue arose in Versailles UMC in 2019 with our Leader’s expressed concern for homosexuality leadership; we were invited to attend a Wesley Covenant Association meeting. Over 200 clergy and lay persons heard the WCA president speak misinformation as to why UMC should join with WCA.
In early 2022 there was increased encouragement toward our church’s disaffiliation; meetings were held and disaffiliation was being considered.
A small group of concerned Versailles members met by Zoom, due to the pandemic, researching and sharing disaffiliation information. Our conference lay leader and other church leaders joined with us, sharing, and discussed websites, the UM discipline, various books, and scriptures relating to disaffiliation. Courage and determination were built; we would do all we could to curtail misinformation and attempt to save our Versailles church.
Through much prayer and discernment, the Holy Spirit seemed to be speaking; we shared being awakened from sleep with thoughts to be recorded, shared, and implemented with members of our church.
Our District Superintendent’s unwavering support and guidance enabled us to bring in key resource speakers, provide relevant emails and messages, home visits, and phone calls to members.
The result was that the church conference disaffiliating vote failed by five votes!
Our former membership is now split, but there is good news. We are now rebuilding our Versailles United Methodist Church while another independent church is being planted in our community!
As the daughter of a KAC elder, I have had the opportunity to be discipled by many different UM congregations. I have been shaped and formed by our beloved Aldersgate Camp and our conference-organized ministry events such as Winter Blitz. I have been honored to participate in the launching of two different UM church plants (Embrace & River City UMC) as well as serve as a worship leader for different UM churches, retreats, and events. In 2021, I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with a master’s in theological studies and spiritual formation. Currently, I am a certified candidate for ministry and still discerning whether I will serve our conference as a lay or clergy person. Regardless, my deepest desire is to continue living out my calling within the embrace of the UMC in Kentucky.
Many within our conference have chosen to remain United Methodist with great trepidation. They aren’t sure of what the future holds and therefore are unsure of their participation in it. I believe that the UMC can live into a future that truly celebrates Christian orthodoxy as a gracious guide for our worship and devotion to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as opposed to “upholding” orthodoxy in order to exclude, deny, or minimize participation in the life of the church from those God has called. As a delegate I will engage theological differences not as battle to be won but as conversations and relationships to be explored — allowing our shared faith to seek understanding in community under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I believe these types of conversations will lead us not to conclusions but to the heart of Christ. It is from that place that I long to work for the future of the kingdom and the UMC’s participation in it.
I have been a lifelong member of Settle Memorial UMC My confirmation was in 1963. My love for Christ and the church has been, and continues to be, nurtured by the caring, loving members of my church family. The slogan “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors” is an expression of love for everyone, one that I strive to live by every day.
I became active in my MYF group at Settle Memorial in the 7th grade and spent summers and fall retreats at Camp Loucon. My junior year in high school I was honored to be selected as one of two delegates from the Louisville Annual Conference to attend the National MYF Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. As an adult, I have continued to support and provide leadership to our youth program at Settle Memorial. I still serve on the Loucon Training and Retreat Center Committee.
As an adult member of Settle Memorial , I have served as Chair of the Finance Committee, Legacy Gifts Committee, Missions Committee and Visioning Team. I have also served on the Staff Parish Relations Committee and have served as a lay delegate to Annual Conference for the past 16 years. I was instrumental in bringing Upward Basketball to Settle Memorial and was on the team that initiated a connection with a UMC congregation in the Czech Republic.
I have always strived to listen twice as much as I talk and to “seek to understand before being understood myself.” The life of Christ and his teachings and actions have always guided me, and the UMC has been fundamental to my spiritual foundation. If selected as a delegate, I will prayerfully strive to preserve and build a stronger UMC that is inclusive of all of our brothers and sisters.
Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ! My name is Teddi Cheryl Moore. I am a fourth-generation Methodist and made a confession of faith at a Billy Graham Crusade the summer I turned 12. As a lay person, I have served my local church to the best of my abilities as a Sunday School teacher, Youth Ministry leader, Vacation Bible School volunteer, Congregational Care Chair, United Methodist Women, Certified Lay Speaker, as well as South Central District Emergency Response Coordinator.
My whole faith walk has resonated around the words of the Christian standard, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” So prayerfully that is how I live my life, trying, sometimes falling short, of trusting and obeying. As a Registered Nurse, I also trust and obey in my professional life, particularly what Jesus called the Greatest Commandment, “To love God with all my heart, body, and soul” as well as the second-greatest commandment, “To love my neighbor as myself.” Each person I encounter is a beloved child of God and deserves to be treated with love and respect. Period.
Hello. My name is Rhonda Mucker. I am a member at Brandenburg United Methodist Church in Brandenburg, KY. I sing with our Praise and Worship team. I am on the mission team and certified to assist communities after emergencies. I am a grandmother of 4. My oldest granddaughter is also active at BUMC. I am the youngest daughter of 2 retired UMC pastors.
I have been raised in the church my entire life and never strayed. I wake up daily with God on my mind, and Jesus in my heart. I believe that all situations and concerns should be addressed with love as well as firmness. In my opinion, our churches are losing membership due to our lack of showing and giving love with our corrections. We can be firm and still show compassion and caring for anyone who is struggling with a burden. I pray God's peace and abundant blessings on everyone.
My name is Charlotte Shepard and I have been a member of Brandenburg United Methodist Church for over 20 years. I am a retired Educator who also served as a Special Needs Coach, and Special Olympics Coordinator. My time is spent serving my community at Meade County Clothes Closet/Food Pantry, Board member for Habitat for Humanity, and Meade County Extension Board. God has called me to serve on the Praise and Worship team, Mission team, and Conference Mission team. I approach all decisions and situations with God in the forefront. Prayer is powerful and it can change things for our conference. I will consider all people for our conference. I will consider all people when making decisions for our conference. I pray we all never forget, WE are His. Thank you for your consideration.
Emory University, expected 2025, (MDiv).
Western Kentucky University, 2022, (BS).
I am a proud United Methodist. Even when I wasn’t seeking the UMC, faithful Methodists sought me out. Now, I feel like I am in a place where God is calling me to give back to the church that has raised and formed me. As a Young Adult Equalization Delegate at last year’s Annual Conference, I felt called to United Methodist polity.
Two of my passions have been Jesus and growing in love and grace and competitive speech and debate. I attended WKU on a scholarship for debate and ended my senior year as second-best in the nation. Additionally, I led WKU’s Student Government as the Speaker of the Senate. Holy conferencing is the unique combination of my gifts in ministry and debate, and I trust God has grown them so I can serve as a faithful delegate.
I believe in the UMC’s mission, connectional ministry, global witness, and Wesleyan theology. Every person deserves to experience the good news and grace of Jesus Christ, which takes place in word and action. I have experienced this through being on leadership at the WKU Wesley (2019-2022), serving as a Ministry Intern at Scottsville UMC (2020-2022), working at Camp Loucon (2019-2022), assisting the Conference Worship Team (2023-present), and being a part of the Board of Laity’s Young Adult Leadership Lab (2022-present).
I am filled with hopeful excitement for God’s work in the UMC and thankful for whatever part I get to play in building God’s kingdom. Let us build bridges of grace and unity. I support extending graceful exits post-General Conference, while moving forward to be the church God is calling us to be. This opportunity is an honor, and I am excited to build a stronger and more united church.
Paul Wesslund has been a United Methodist for 38 years, joining Metropolitan Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., in 1985 then moving to St. Paul United Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1995. Paul has filed for delegate out of a strong belief that Christianity should be active in today’s world on such issues as environmental protection, racial justice, and Methodist Church inclusiveness, as well as encouraging general kindness and civility.
While at Metropolitan Memorial, where he was married in 1986, he served on the communications committee, and at St. Paul United Methodist he has been a Sunday School class leader, Discipleship Team leader, and chair of the Administrative Board. He is currently a member of the St. Paul Communications Team, and is an organizer of a group of St. Paul members, called Christian Action, that focuses on issues of protecting the environment, on racial justice, and providing information sessions to the congregation on issues related to disaﬃliations, United Methodist Church sexuality issues, and Lighthouse Churches.
For most of his professional career he has worked in communications for electric cooperatives, first in Washington, D.C., with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, then from 1995 to 2015 as editor of “Kentucky Living” magazine in Louisville. He retired in 2015 to spend more time writing, and has published a book, “Small Business, Big Heart,” about two St. Paul members who ran a restaurant they owned according to Christian principles. He has also published an accompanying scripture-based study guide. His wife, Debbie, sings in the St. Paul choir and heads the church Discipleship Team. They have a daughter, Emma, who lives in Washington, D.C., where she works in hotel management and acts in local community theater.
I am a lifelong United Methodist and a member of Christ Church in Louisville. I serve as the Benefits Administrator for the Conference, where I’ve been on staff since 2009. I’m married to a public-school teacher and we’re the parents of two great kids. In my role on staff, I’ve worked alongside the Board of Pensions, CF&A, Trustees, camps, and other ministry teams as well as related closely to clergy and churches. In these partnerships I see God at work and hope for the future.
I would be honored to elect our episcopal leaders. Leaders that can help us propel our denomination into its next life. I see this opportunity as more than jurisdictional work. My years in the UMC and on staff have prepared me to be of service to fellow members of the delegation. From pension plan changes to creating LGBTQ-inclusive language and everything in between, there’s legislation and conversation that I am willing to hear, digest, and speak into with an open heart and open mind. There will be hard conversations around creating paths for churches to exit the denomination. Through my work and these relationships, I understand why we need grace-filled exits, but also know that “grace-filled” must apply to our clergy, churches, and conferences.
Every day I see the impact our church has on our communities. I also see a church and a world that is broken and in need of healing, welcoming the stranger, and loving others as Jesus loved us. I am staying UMC and am excited for our opportunity to weave together the UMC’s foundational values with its vision for a better tomorrow. Our future is ripe with potential and as the UMC is getting ready for its next phase, I look forward to being a part of it. #BeUMC