General Conference/Jurisdictional Delegates - Clergy


Clergy General/Jurisdictional Delegates

Armando Arellano

Armando Arellano, Firelands: Henrietta UMC

I served on the Board of Ordained Ministry for one quadrennium and currently serving as the chairperson of the Commission on Religion and Race. I was elected as an alternate delegate to the 2008 General Conference. Humbled to be elected as a delegates to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.

The key issue our denomination facing at the present time is how to reverse the decline of our membership.

My other vision is that our church becomes the choice for all people seeking a place in the Kingdom of God.

Gary George

Gary George, Assistant to the Bishop

I have been honored to serve at every point of our United Methodist connection including service as a clergy delegate to four previous General and Jurisdictional conferences.

In my opinion, the most critical issue confronting the Church is becoming more passionately focused and committed in carrying out its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our collective attention, resources and efforts need to be increasingly aligned as we faithfully and lovingly respond to God's calling to serve the present age.

I embrace the reality Jesus Christ transforms persons, the Church, and the world.

Dan Bryant

Dan Bryant, Mahoning Valley: District Superintendent UMC

Mahoning Valley District Superintendent (2009-present), 2012 GC Delegate; Director with GBGM: former chair of Church and Society Committee; Transitional Church Ministries; Racial Harassment Task Force;. Key Issue facing denomination is “relevance” in a world becoming disillusioned, divisive, fractured, adversarial and fear-filled. Jesus Christ’s love is relevant and he exemplifies what we need in our local church and beyond our walls. My passion/vision is sharing his love to those both within/beyond the walls. We are challenged to be “vital congregations” and “faithful followers of Jesus” and I seek to share my authenticity, compassion, love and trust in God’s grace to others.
Delaine McGhee

Delaine McGhee, Firelands: Grafton UMC

Presently serving: District Board of Ministry, Conference Boar of Ordained Ministry, Conference Commission on Religion and Race, North Central Jurisdiction on Religion and Race, General Commission on Religion and Race, and serving Grafton UMC.

Key Issue: How to love one another, in spite of ethnicity, race, culture, economic status, gender etc., as intended through the redemptive work of Christ on the Cross.

Passion/Vision for the Church: For the Church to be released from bondage to be THE Church of Jesus Christ that we proclaim but cannot seem to attain. That the Gospel would be clear, not manipulated for comfort hearing.

Scott Walsh

Scott Walsh, Western Reserve: Conneaut New Leaf

Scott has served as clergy in the East Ohio Conference since 1998. A graduate of The Beeson Institute and The New Church Start Academy, he presently serves in the Western Reserve District leading a Vital Merger at New Leaf U.M. Church in Conneaut. He attended Malone University, University of Mount Union, and graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary. His mantra is "Life is good, Eternity is better - get ready for both!" Toward that end, he pursues his passion to reach as many people as possible with The Good News of Jesus Christ.

Scott Walsh

Gary Henderson, North Coast: United Methodist Communications

I am a respected leader with 29 years of pastoral experience. Served as Secretary of the Annual Conference – Conference Board of Ministry – Annual Conference re-structure committees - Chairperson Pastors Association, Chairperson of Jurisdictional Elections Committee. Delegate to the 2000 and 2004 General Conference. Taught in Schools of Christian Mission. A global citizen with experience in more than 70 countries. Executive Director of Global Health Initiative of the United Methodist Church. I am a monastic at heart. The achievement of unity in the midst of diversity is a key issue close to my heart and the plight of the poor.
Clergy Jurisdictional Delegates
Karen Oehl

Karen Oehl, Mid Ohio: District Superintendent UMC

Leadership - Chair, Camps Commission and Leadership Recruitment (Nominating). District Missions, Superintendency, Strategy, Education. The big issue for today is how we move into tomorrow: clergy and lay leadership; the relationship between the global and North American church; identifying with a gospel of grace that brings wholeness and justice to humanity. While I love the denomination as a whole, I have a passion for how our particular identity can be a means of grace for each local church and each person in the neighborhood. Connection needs to overcome contention so that we can be conduits for the life-giving work of Christ.

Michael Grant

Michael Grant, Mahoning Valley: Poland UMC

I have been privileged to be a part of the last two delegations, and I would love to have the honor of serving again. I serve on Congregational Vitality, the HCI Team, and Chair the Mahoning Valley DCOM. I believe that our church is at a critical juncture. There is a lack of trust in the bureaucracy, and a disconnect with the local church. There is also a lack of accountability by the church leadership to the Discipline. I would seek to bring accountability back and return us to a church that can once again change the world for Christ.

Andy Cal

Andy Call, Firelands: Oberlin First UMC

Lifelong UM, parsonage raised, 12 years lay staff at Westlake, currently pastor at Oberlin First. Conference leadership includes lay delegate to General Conference in 2012, two years on program committee and past chair of worship task group. The UMC needs to better understand our increasingly global nature and make space to celebrate and utilize our diversity. Our best days are ahead of us if we face the future with hope and joy at what God is doing in us and through us. We must work to be thoughtful and open to share Christ effectively with our rapidly changing world.

Benita Rollins

Benita Rollins, Tuscarawas: TW Dist. Superintendent UMC

Leadership experience - District, Community, Conference and General Church Boards and Task Forces; Trained consultant - Bill Easum. SBC-21; UMW Mission U/Schools of Christian Mission; Director of Alumni/Church Relations at MTSO (2007-2012). District Superintendent (1993-1999 and 2012-present). Delegate to Jurisdictional Conference (1998, 2000, 2004, 2008); first reserve delegate to General Conference (1992); delegate to General Conference (1996).

Issues facing the Church: Connecting to the UMC revival that is "already and not yet"; embrace all Globalization of the church - it's impact on structures and leadership development/deployment
Vision: To equip and inspire transformation that makes and matures disciples of Jesus Christ.

Katherine Dickriede

Katherine Dickriede, Western Reserve: Mentor UMC

Leadership: Ordained Deacon in East Ohio; Ministry with youth and adult discipleship; UMVIM teams national and international; Board of Missions Chair; Chair 3Cs Mission; Member of CCOM

Key issues facing the denomination are inclusiveness in the church and the Church's relevance in the world, understanding that faith in Jesus Christ is about more than moral values and being a good person. Faith in Jesus is about hope, forgiveness, grace and transformation.

My passion is for Christ followers to claim their faith story and share it with others.

Chester Harris

Chester Harris, Tuscarawas: Dueber UMC

  • Parish Minister: 40 years
  • Directed Short Term Mission Teams to Haiti(10), Costa Rica, Mexico(2), Sierra Leone(2), Mississippi(2), West Virginia
  • Chp: District Missions, Conference Hunger Task Force, Evangelism, Hispanic Task Force, EOEF, Community Coalition Against Violence
  • Board of Global Ministry, Urban Task Force, Delegate-2 Jurisdictional Conferences
  • Good News/Confessing Church
  • Writer: “Emphasis” Preaching Journal
  • Presenter: “Just War,”” Homosexuality,”(5X)”Trinitarian Faith”(Malone University)
  • Adjunct Lecturer: The Evangelical College of Theology, Sierra Leone
    • Preserving unity without compromising theological integrity is a critical issue.
    • Genuine church growth, reaching all God’s people with redemptive love.
Clergy Reserve Delegates
Cara Costello

Cara Stultz Costello, Tuscarawas: North Canton Faith UMC

The UMC has the potential for a unique witness in the world. Diversity has been seen as the enemy of community. Uniqueness is God’s created gift. Power and pride need to be excused from the conversation. Because of I AM I am an advocate for the story behind each person’s perspective; a “bridge –builder” in the midst of on-going discernment; and a passionate, process-oriented facilitator of deeper understanding, value and compassion. When we, held together by Jesus, come to the table with all our blessed diversity, the world will follow suit and we will all be closer to the kingdom.

Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown, East Ohio Conference: Conference Staff UMC

During twenty years of ministry and as the Director of Congregational Vitality for the East Ohio Conference, I have learned that connecting people together and networking is the key to helping pastors and churches to accomplish shared goals and missional purpose. I believe the future of our denomination will be built upon our connection with Christ and each other.

I would be honored to represent East Ohio at the upcoming General and Jurisdictional Conferences and contribute to the legislative process as we seek to move forward as a denomination.

Thomas Snyder

Thomas Snyder, Mahoning Valley: Newton Falls/Pricetown UMC

I have pastored five charges since 1992, and have served as Spiritual Director for Emmaus, Chrysalis and Kairos events since 1996. I believe the key issue for our denomination into the future is to recover our Wesleyan heritage and witness, by focusing on the primacy of Scripture and the reality of a unified Gospel of salvation/transformation for sinners concurrent with serving the social/physical needs of our world. My passion for the UM Church is to help it reclaim its witness of the transforming power of a relationship with Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit through testimony, deeds and servanthood.

Cynthia Patterson

Cynthia Patterson, Canal: Northampton UMC

I am passionate about the places where the UMC has regained our roots as a relevant movement. I love seeing people living and growing in their faith and living out that faith by sharing the love of Jesus to a hurting world. I think a key issue we face is learning to live again as a movement.

I have attended the last 3 General/Jurisdictional Conferences. I currently serve as the Conference Secretary and have served in East Ohio for 30 years in the local church and in District and Conference positions. I am an Ordained Deacon
Steven Bailey

Steven Bailey, North Coast: District Superintendent UMC

Past Chair of CCFA and Board of Communications; Past member of Conference Personnel Committee; Restructuring Task Group; 28 years of pastoral ministry; D.Min. - Pastoral Counseling. “We are called to make and mature disciples – inviting others to share the adventure of faith in Christ. To do so we must also be advocates for justice and opportunity for all people. We must rediscover our passion, courage, and sense of mission in this new age. I am a unifier and take a common sense approach to issues.”

General Conference Delegates - Laity

Lay General/Jurisdictional Delegates
Jessica Vargo

Jessica Vargo, Endorsed: CN, Church/Charge: Copley

Life-long United Methodist active in the church at all levels. Called to EOC as the Conference Treasurer thirteen years ago and is committed and passionate to grow the church. Jessica was GC/JC delegate in 2008 and 2012. Past Delegation Chair in 2008 and first woman to chair Finance & Administration Legislation Committee at GC 2012. Current Vice President of the General Council of Finance and Administration. She is a proven leader and effective communicator seeking to represent East Ohio in best way possible.

Holly Grant

Holly J. Grant, Endorsed: MV, Church/Charge: Poland

I am an attorney with experience in interpreting laws and regulations. With hundreds of resolutions to be addressed, my legal experience will be beneficial. I previously served as a delegate and am prepared for the work and prayer that is required. I attend Poland United Methodist Church. I work in the children's programs, lead a Bible study, help in Grief Share ministry, and attend Disciple and UMW. The Lord has given me many opportunities to share His love, for this I am thankful. I welcome the chance to talk with you and, if elected, I desire your prayers.

Kay Panovec

Kay Panovec, Endorsed: CN, Church/Charge: Northampton

Concerned about the future of the UMC, I believe it is time for bold and decisive action regarding our church and its impact in the world. My life has been transformed by the power and love of Jesus Christ lived out though the people of the UMC. An active member of the church, my experience includes working in 5 local churches with youth, children and adult ministries within East Ohio, served as conference communicator for 13 years, & worked with annual conferences throughout the US and churches worldwide. I have a unique perspective that will help move the church forward.

Allen Laferty

Allen Laferty, Endorsed: MO, Church/Charge: Crestline First

Married 35 yrs. wife Sherrill; Business owner-34 years; U.S. Army veteran; Local Church-currently SPRC chair, Past Local Lay Leader, Finance chair, S.S & Bible Study teacher; District-currently Strategy team, Leadership committee, Past District Lay Leader 6 yrs.; EOC- currently serving on Board of Ordained Ministry, Leadership committee; Past Associate (3 yrs) and Conference Lay Leader, Board of Laity 12 yrs.-chair 5 yrs.; National-vice chair (4) Association Annual Conference Lay Leaders, General Conference Delegate 2008 & 2012; Served Local board of Habitat for Humanity, currently Crestline Village Council; Mission trips to Mississippi, Haiti and Russia
Brian Sheetz

Brian Sheetz, Endorsed: NC, Church/Charge: Strongsville

Conservative? Liberal? Progressive? Time to move beyond labels and have real conversation about real issues in the Church. We have been in a steady decline my entire life yet many want to rearrange the deck chairs. I'm committed to the future of the denomination and we need to make decisions to ensure that future. Executive Director, East Ohio United Methodist Foundation; Finance Chair, North Coast District; active in finance, stewardship, missions and building committees and washing dishes at Strongsville UMC; committed to strengthening the church through young clergy and leadership development.

Martha Banks

Dr. Martha E. Banks, Endorsed: CN, Church/Charge: Woodland

Dr. Martha E. Banks is a research neuropsychologist and former professor at The College of Wooster and Kent State University. She is a retired clinical psychologist. She is a Certified Lay Servant, Social Action Chair for the Canal District UMW, 2013-2015 member of Annual Conference, and member of EOC’s SBC21 Implementation Team, CORR, and BMCR. She received the 2014 East Ohio CORR-ageous Leadership Laity Award. Dr. Banks was President of the Society for the Psychology of Women. Her leadership, 200+ presentations, and 100+ professional publications on women, trauma, and health care have been recognized with an APA Presidential Citation.

Lay Jurisdictional Delegates
KAthy Palmer

Kathy Palmer, Endorsed: OV, Church/Charge: Shadyside Lincoln Avenue

An active member of Lincoln Avenue UMC, served on all committees of the church, Small Group leader, VBS Director. In 2010 I became District Director of The Lay Servant Ministry. Currently serving on East Ohio Conference Lay Servant Ministry team, Annual Conference Daily Proceedings In 2008 and 2012 was a Marshall at General Conference. In 2012 was elected Lay Delegate to Jurisdictional Conference. It is extremely important to have spirit-filled delegates for General and Jurisdictional Conference(s), therefore, I feel blessed to have an opportunity to answer this call by becoming a candidate for election for the East Ohio Conference.

Yammy Kuntz

Tammy Kuntz, Endorsed: FL Church/Charge: Lodi

The East Ohio Conference UMVIM Coordinator and is on the UMVIM board for the North Central Jurisdiction. She serves the Firelands District as Peace with Justice Advocate and Youth Work Mission team leader. Local church responsibilities include choir director, UMW vice president, and youth co-leader. She is on the board of directors of United Christian Ministries at Kent State University where she works as an Assistant Professor in Music Education. Her favorite mission sites include the Akron-Canton FoodBank, Midwest Mission Distribution Center, and Manos Juntas Mission in Rio Bravo, Mexico.

Don Burdsall

Don Burdsall, Endorsed: MO Church/Charge: Cardington First

I was raised as a Methodist and have continued into adulthood. My wife and I raised our family as United Methodists. I have held positions of UMM president, Chair of Finance and SPRC and have taught youth Sunday School. I am a retired teacher. I have also served as a volunteer with Boy Scouts and presently volunteer with 4-H. I am the Mid-Ohio District Lay Leader which means I also am on the Conference Board of Laity and several District committees. This is my ninth year as a member to East Ohio Annual Conference.
Linda Crowell

Linda Crowell, Endorsed: NC Church/Charge: Aldersgate

As a lifelong Methodist, I have experienced God’s blessings in a variety of ways through serving at all levels in the United Methodist Church. Local Church: Church Council Chairperson, Choir Member, Bible Study teacher, United Methodist Women; District: Committee on Ordained Ministry, Certified Lay Servant, United Methodist Women; Conference: Council on Ministries, Board of Pensions, United Methodist Women, Bishop’s 3Cs, Religion and Race, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, 2008 General Conference Delegate, 2012 General Conference Reserve Delegate; Jurisdictional: 2012 Conference. General Church: United Methodist Publishing House, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21ST Century. Retired Social Work Professor, author, coach.

Lynn Carper

Lynn Carper, Endorsed: TW, Church/Charge: Malvern
Certified Lay Servant for 17 years, At-Large Conference Delegate 7 years, Congregational conference delegate 6 years, active in Emmaus (8 teams including Lay Director) and Kairos Prison Ministry (4 teams), EOEF Board 15 years, Treasurer of District Lay Servants, lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, currently on Trustees committee, Sunday School Teacher, Worship Leader and Lay Leader, have served on SPR, Finance Administrative Board, and worship committees, always looking for new ways to share Jesus with those I meet every day.

Betty Wilson

Betty L. Wilson, Endorsed: OV Church/Charge: Irondale/Hammondsville

Member over 50 years. Lay Speaker 40 years. Served various local church, district and conference committees. Delegate to Jurisdictional Conference (4), General Conference (1). Served as local/district lay leader and Lay Speaker Director. I teach Bible studies, Sunday School, Pioneer Clubs (Coordinator) and District Lay Servants School. Taught Conference Lay Speaker Schools. I am a wife, mother and grandmother. I believe in the word of God, the Bible, and the Wesleyan perspective contained in the Discipline and adhere to the Discipline. I know Jesus as my Savior and stand on His word for all decisions within life and the church.

Lay Reserve Delegates
Conner Prusha

Connor Prusha, Endorsed: WR Church/Charge: Chardon

I'm Connor and I'm a 15 year old Sophomore at Chardon High School. I currently serve as the Chaplain of CCYM, I am a member of my DYC, and I am a regular youth group attendee. I intend on becoming an ordained minister within the East Ohio Conference after I graduate high school and get my bachelors degree. I feel a very strong call into ministry. I am very interested in church politics. General and Jurisdictional Conference would give me a great insight, allowing me to learn even more and understand how our church is run. God bless you all!
Maggie Jackson

Maggie Jackson, Nominated from the AC floor, NC Church/Charge: Celebration

I have served all levels of the church: Local Church - Chairperson of Church Council, United Methodist Women; Conference - Committee on Episcopacy, BMCR, Former Chair of Funding & Evaluation, Delegate to General & Jurisdictional Conferences 2000 (Delegation Chair), 2004, 2008, 2012; General Church - Africa University Board of Trustees, Methodist Theological School Board (former board chair), Chair of North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy. I will retire June 30, 2015 from Cleveland State University after 38 years of service as a professor and director of the School of Social Work. I love the Lord and it would be an honor for me to represent East Ohio.

Susan Achberger

Susan Achberger, Endorsed: NC Church/Charge: University Circle

Cancer clinical trial research coordinator at Cleveland Clinic; life-long United Methodist; EOAC delegate-at-large 3 yrs.; active member of University Circle UMC; Staff Parish Committee member 1.5 yrs.; Administrative Council member 1.5 yrs.; Outreach Committee member 5 yrs.; BS chemistry and MBA healthcare management from Baldwin Wallace; MS biochemistry Michigan State University; member of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) International’ member of Iota Sigma Pi national honor society for women in chemistry; age 32 and interested in increasing the involvement of young people.

Iris Andrews

Iris Andrews Endorsed: TW Church/Charge: Union Avenue

I presently serve on the Conference Health & Welfare Committee, Board of Directors of Flat Rock Homes, Conference UMW Dean of Mission U (formerly know as School of Christian Mission), UMW Executive Committee; local church Worship Committee Chair, Vocal Choir, Bell Choir, Building Ministries Team, Lay Servant; Copeland Oaks Spiritual Life Committee, Crandall Worship Committee; General/Jurisdictional Delegate, North Central Jurisdiction Nominations Committee.

Allie Wainwright

Allie Wainwright , Endorsed: CN Church/Charge: Akron First

I believe missions, action, and service are vital to serving God and the community. In addition to serving as a delegate to YAC and Annual Conference. I have been on the Conference Council on Youth Ministries since 2010, working on the Missions Design Team and Youth Service Fund. I am youth volunteer coordinator for the Annual Conference Worship Committee and Ohio delegate for Youth 2015 Design Team, planning mission opportunities for the national event. I founded “Connecting Youth through Mission, Action, and Service” to raise funds for service projects and create opportunities for youth to share their mission experiences.