Staff

Rev. Jeff Gannon Senior Pastor

Rev. Jeff Gannon

Raised under a big Montana sky, Pastor Gannon’s curiosity about the world around him began early. After graduating from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, he made his way to the Midwest through St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. Jeff’s ministerial career began early, as a lay leader in Montana and a student pastor in southeast Kansas. He served as Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church in McPherson, where he met his wife, Meredith. For five years, Jeff was pastor of Bethel UMC in Wichita, before helping to found Chapel Hill.READ MORE

Jeff effectively weaves together spiritual development and tools for emotional healing within his sermons, and through many years of counseling, ministry and care to individuals, couples and families.

 “I experience God’s love …”
… in the person of Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus is the human face of God and whenever someone, the name, spirit and power of Jesus, shares unconditional love, I experience God’s love in poignant ways.

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
… Jesus Christ, and through the lives of others. Whenever I am the recipient of forgiveness offered, joy shared, patience extended, love demonstrated, and peace lived, I always have a fresh encounter of, and new experience with, God’s love.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

The whole of God’s activity in the world is summarized in “3:17” of the Old and New Testaments:

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

“God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved.” – John 3:17

Contact him at jgannon@chapelhillwichita.org

Rev. Dr. Jerry Vogt Pastor of Congregational Care

Rev. Dr. Jerry Vogt

Pastor Jerry’s roots in Wichita run deep, as a 1960 graduate of Friends University. From there his studies led him to a master’s of divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Phillips University, where he received his doctorate of ministry. Jerry’s service to the church is extensive. He has served as senior pastor to three Kansas United Methodist congregations — in Leawood, Garden City and at Asbury UMC in Wichita. For seven years he was Executive Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Wichita, and was Wichita District Superintendent from 1992 to 1996. Jerry and his wife, Christine, are the proud parents of three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.READ MORE

“I experience God’s love …”
… through Jesus my Savior and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
… the testimonies and the lives of others.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Rev. Dr. Ben Staley Staff Chaplain

Rev. Dr. Ben Staley

As Pastor of Congregational Care and Staff Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Ben Staley brings to Chapel Hill a wealth of experience and wisdom. “I love to study the Bible, leadership, spiritual formation, and reaching our culture in relevant ways with the love of Christ on the front lines of daily life.”  READ MORE

“My wife Denise and I have been married for over 43 years and we both grew up in Michigan. We love leading couples retreats and doing ministry together. Our son, Ryan,  is a counselor in Manhattan, Kansas and married to Carissa. They have two young children. Our daughter, Rachelle, leads a ministry as Superintendent of Youth and Young Adults for the Friends Church  in the northwest region of the country.”

Dr. Staley enjoys reading the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henri Nouwen, Oswald Chambers, Len Sweet, and James Bryan Smith. He also enjoys completing “projects with my wife for the family, local and global missions, college football (Michigan) and WSU athletics, and fishing!”

“I experience God’s love …”

…..”by the grace He gives to live beyond my own abilities in life and ministry and His gifts including those of His Spirit and the gifts of family and friends in my life.”

“God’s love is shared with me through …”

…..”those that have let me come into their lives and trusted me at some of their most difficult and darkest times. To be present there with them is an honor I never take lightly. Their care and support have also come to me as expressions of God’s love.”

Favorite Verse(s):

“And it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12: 1, 2

Contact him at: benstaley220@gmail.com

Shirley Lowe Receptionist

Shirley Lowe

contact Shirley Lowe at slowe@chapelhillwichita.org 

Debie Marklevits Director of Chapel Hill Preschool

Debie Marklevits

Debie strongly believes that preschool is an important developmental milestone in a child’s educational journey. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Wichita State University, and brings over 20 years of elementary educational experience to Chapel Hill as the Director of Chapel Hill Preschool. “I dreamed of becoming a teacher since I was five years old. My dream has been fulfilled over the past twenty years having taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade and a First/Second Grade Multi-Age Class.  I have also been an Assistant Director at a preschool.”   READ MORE

“I love interacting with young children and seeing “light bulb” moments occur.  I am excited to utilize my diverse educational abilities as the Director of Chapel Hill Preschool.”

When not at work, she enjoys reading a variety of books, scrapbooking, spending time with her family, cheering on the Green Bay Packers (Go, Pack, Go!), watching Wheel of Fortune, and “cuddling with our adorable Miniature Schnauzer, Mayzie.”

Debie’s husband, Jim, is retired from the U.S. Military, and “he is my Greatest American Hero.” Her children, Sierra and Bryce, are also avid readers!

“I experience God’s love …”
…”when I see a sparkle in a child’s eye, as they are a gift from God.  As an adult, I have so much to learn from a child’s inquisitive mind.  Children are amazing teachers! Others have shared God’s love by lifting up my family and reaching out to embrace us during the good times and the bad.”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Contact her at dmarklevits@chapelhillwichita.org

Laura Fuller Director of Nursery

Laura Fuller

Native New Yorker Laura Fuller first came to Chapel Hill in 2005. She felt drawn to the message of grace and the experience of receiving communion each week. Laura has served as nursery director for more than eight years. She holds a bachelors degree of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in Spanish from the University of Oklahoma. Laura works full-time in marketing and stays busy with her four children. READ MORE

“I love the simplicity of the children’s Bible lessons and that Jesus loves me and all of us.  God has a plan for me and I must trust in him always.”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 

Raegan Brane Co Director of Children's Ministry

Raegan Brane

Raegan Brane has been a Chapel Hiller since the beginning.  Her grandpa was the first Director of Finance and her grandma stood up with her as she became a member of Chapel Hill in 2005. She started volunteering in children’s ministry in 2002 and was mentored by her predecessor Stacy Clark to step in to the role as director in 2007. She married Matt Brane, who she met at Chapel Hill, in 2008. Raegan resigned as director in 2011 with the birth of her twins. She is now back as Director of Children’s Ministry with Assistant Director, Allison Roth.  READ MORE

Raegan is a Jayhawk and Shocker! She did her undergrad with a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas and her Master’s in Public Administration from Wichita State University. Most importantly, she lives her life by Luke 10:27 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” It was not until she began to learn and experience what this verse meant that she began to fall in love with Jesus and truly find herself…created in the image of God.

My Prayer for the ministry of Chapel Hill Kids ~

A place to experience and fall in love with Jesus!

Worship and teaching that allows kids to come alive!

Every child is seen, accepted, and knows they are made incredibly unique and special in the image of God!!!

Allison Roth Co Director of Children's Ministry

Allison Roth

Allison Roth is so happy to be on staff at Chapel Hill! She has attended church here since the age of 11. She participated actively in youth group and volunteered as a preschool Sunday school teacher in college under both Stacy Clark and Raegan Brane. Allison holds a BA in Education from Wichita State University Majoring in Early Childhood Development. She also earned an MS in School Psychology from Fort Hays State University. READ MORE

After teaching integrated pre-kindergarten for 6 years with Wichita Public Schools, she decided to stay home with her daughters and work part-time for the church. Allison loves sharing God’s GREAT BIG LOVE with the children of Chapel Hill and using her education background to help grow our children’s ministries. She is married to Matt and they have two little girls Ella (3) and Piper (1). In her free time, Allison enjoys reading, running/exercising, going to the zoo with her daughters. She also likes to eat out with friends and see movies or binge watchTV with her husband.

I experience God’s love . . .

When I see children love one another, and show effortless kindness to others.

God’s love is shared with me through  . . .

Family, friends, and the community of people that support me in times of need and celebrate with me in times of joy.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. –Philippians 4:6

Contact her at aroth@chapelhillwichita.org

Eric Hauck Director of Youth Ministry

Eric Hauck

Eric loves learning and being reminded of God’s truths that He offers us in His word and through others. He puts a lot of energy into seeking wholeness and understanding of himself through counseling and prayer. His favorite devotional book is “God Calling” which he has read over and over again through the years.

Eric enjoys doing anything with his two boys. “Being a dad is one of my greatest joys,” he says. Traveling and experiencing the world we live in, writing, performing, touring, and teaching music as well as worshiping and leading in worship are also things he enjoys doing. He is very active and does a variety of different activities including soccer, throwing pottery, hunting, hiking, and riding his motorcycle. READ MORE

“I experience God’s love …”

…”when I finally sit still & focus on my Heavenly Father in prayer, I feel and sense His presence and whisper saying ‘I am with you…I understand you…lean into Me & look to Me…I am the Source of your identity and Love.'”
…”through the words, prayers, and gestures of love of God’s people in my life.”
…”through miracles & answered prayers – that I could never make happen on my own.”
…”in worship.”

“God’s love is shared with me when…”

…”others reach out with texts, emails, letters, phone calls, hugs & words of encouragement, listen to me when I need to share my emotions and thoughts, show up in my life in unexpected times, generous gifts of money, stuff, and helpful service with random projects or needs, and PRAY for me and my family through times of great crisis & pain.”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

Isaiah 43:1 – But now, this is what the Lord says—
   he who created you, Jacob,
   he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Luke 1:37 – NOTHING is impossible with God.

Abigail Cook Director of Adult Ministry

Abigail Cook

Abigail Cook moved to Wichita in the summer of 2015 from Pasadena, California, where she worked as an event planner at Fuller Seminary. Prior to her time in the Golden State, she graduated from McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta. There she learned more about what it means to follow Jesus and practiced a “life together” with a handful of others through whom God’s love became real for her. While at McAfee, she fell in love her husband, Jacob, and together they became passionate about the life group experience. Abigail likes to travel, eat vegetables, and drink good, fairly-traded coffee. Her most recent adventures include her two children, Judah and Eleanor, with another one on his way. READ MORE

“I experience God’s love …”

Through my kids and family, through true, honest Christian community. I also love to move when I pray. In fact, I often do yoga to focus my mind and breathe into God’s love.”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. –John 1:1-5 NRSV

Contact her at ACook@chapelhillwichita.org

Dr. Jen Stephenson Director of Celebration Choir

Dr. Jen Stephenson

Massachusetts native Jen Stephenson has performed nationally and internationally in a wide range of opera roles and concert engagements. As a featured soloist, she has performed with L’Orchestre et les Chanteurs de Saint Eustache of Paris, France; Nei Stëmmen of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; The Classical Music Festival of Eisenstadt, Austria; the Prentice Chorale of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Lawrence Opera Theatre of Lawrence, Kansas; and the Westfield Festival Chorus of Westfield, Massachusetts. Additionally, she has sung professionally with Alabama’s Highland Consort, the Richard Zielinski Singers, and New England’s Novi Cantori. Stephenson has sung leading roles with Opera du Perigord, Utah Lyric Opera, and New Century Opera. Favorite roles include Elvira (Don Giovanni), Magda (The Consul), Gertrune (The Twilight of the Gods), Mother (Hansel and Gretel), Frasquita (Carmen), and Manuelita (La Périchole). READ MORE

In addition to her work on stage, Dr. Stephenson has worked behind the scenes as an operatic stage director with the Lawrence Opera Theatre, Harrower Summer Opera, Druid City Opera Workshop, the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, and Tabor College Opera, which she founded in 2015. In the summer of 2015, she was the recipient of the prestigious National Opera Association Stage Director Internship. Equally comfortable as a conductor, Stephenson has served as chorus-master for the Wichita Grand Opera, the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, and the University of South Florida Opera Workshop, and has conducted operas and musicals for The Actors Charitable Theatre, Arts in Motion, and the University of Alabama Opera Theatre.

Dr. Stephenson holds degrees from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Westfield State University, The University of South Florida, and The University of Alabama. Recently, her dissertation was named the first place winner of the National Opera Association’s biennial Dissertation Competition. Currently, she serves as Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Vocal Studies, and Director of Opera at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas.

“I experience God’s love…”

Through the gift of learning and teaching, and through my relationships.

“God’s love is shared with me through . . .”

The comfort we feel in the presence of a friendly face.

Favorite verse or passage:

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22-25 (NKJV)

Contact her at JStephenson@chapelhillwichita.org

Josh Melcher Director of Praise Team

Josh Melcher

The son of a United Methodist Minister, Josh Melcher was raised in church (somewhat literally) and has been involved in ministry from a young age. Ministry and music have always been hand in hand for Josh, whose family sang together every chance they had. After high school, Josh ended up at Southwestern College in Winfield, where he participated in music of all kinds, led a worship outreach team, served on the leadership team and was a member of 9 Lives improv troupe. READ MORE

 

With a degree in history, Josh followed God’s lead into ministry at First UMC in Wichita. While in full time ministry there, Josh led the youth choir and young adult ministries. He also helped to create Mead’s Corner, a coffee shop ministry of FUMC. Josh was also instrumental in launching NEXT which became The Gathering, a Sunday evening worshiping community that meets at Mead’s Corner.

Josh joined the Chapel Hill staff in 2015 as the interim worship leader but soon became a permanent member.  He and his wife Jennifer married in 2015 and welcomed Amelia to the family in September, 2016.  Josh and Jennifer love playing and singing together and hope that music is as important to their new family as it has been to each of them.

I experience God’s love…

When I’m in nature, hiking, camping, or hunting.  When I’m singing and playing music.  Through service and community.

God shares His love with me through…

My loving family and wonderful community of friends.

Favorite verse or passage:

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.  For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:20-21 NIV

Contact him at JMelcher@chapelhillwichita.org

Rich Bruhn Assistant Director of Praise Team

Rich Bruhn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

contact him at RBruhn@chapelhillwichita.org

Christina Kukuruda Executive Director of Operations

Christina Kukuruda

Now semi-retired, Christina Kukuruda spent nearly 40 years in the aerospace industry, serving in various leadership roles most of her career.  She grew up in Southern California, met her husband Jerry there, then moved to Wichita in 2001 for an opportunity to work for a private company in the Midwest. They have three married daughters and four grandchildren who live in Southern California and Lexington, Kentucky.  Christina continues to consult for a family-owned aerospace and defense distributor in Los Angeles, which she refers to as her “Gigi Gig” – the name her grandchildren gave her.  This allows her to see her West Coast family monthly, so she’s not ready to give that up soon. READ MORE

Christina served on various lay committees including chairing Chapel Hill’s SPRC committee and the Strategic Vision Team prior to accepting the position of Executive Director of Operations as an unpaid staff member for the church.  It’s been her pleasure and privilege getting to know the staff even more in her new role and being part of the team committed to inspire and assist Chapel Hill reach its full potential and fulfill its mission.

“I experience Gods’ love…”

From the moment I wake up each morning to a husband who embodies God’s vision for marriage. Through family and friends who show up and know just what to do or say. And from strangers who have an impact in big ways and small that they don’t even realize.  Simply put, He surrounds me with his love each and every day. So I have to do is notice.

“I share God’s love with others by…”

God has uniquely gifted me in areas of relationship, hospitality and leadership. He consistently presents me with opportunities to use these gifts to bless Him and His people. I experienced great joy befriending and mentoring young adults whom he has brought into my life; many have become an extension of our family. It was exciting to watch Him work through me in business, showing teams of people what servant leadership looks like, and how they can experience success without compromising Christian values.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“‘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.'”  Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

Early in my career I received a beautiful chestnut suede briefcase from a group of business colleagues. When I looked inside they had left this scripture verse for me. I claimed this promise and He’s blessed me and my family beyond my wildest expectations.

Contact her at ckukuruda@chapelhillwichita.org.

 

Julie Hey Finance Manager

Julie Hey

Julie Hey grew up a farmer’s daughter in a small town in Western Kansas. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Fort Hays State University before moving to the ‘big city’. Julie spent 16 years in Procurement with Hawker Beechcraft. It was there that she met her husband Brad, and they are blessed to have a beautiful son, Sutton Jack. Upon his arrival, Julie decided to take a hiatus from Corporate America and become a full-time, stay-at-home mom. What started as an identity crisis of sorts resulted in a true blessing of being present for every moment of a new child’s ever-changing world. READ MORE

Brad and Julie felt completely at home at Chapel Hill from the first time they walked through the doors. After becoming more involved in different classes and groups through the church, Julie felt something of a pull to be here even more. The cards definitely fell into place, and she loves being able to work at Chapel Hill in a position that is fun and doesn’t even seem like a job to her!

Julie loves to read, travel and go to estate sales.  Another favorite is to find amazing ‘hole in the wall’ places to eat.

“I experience Gods’ love…”

In the everyday beauty of life.  Even in the chaotic and trying times, there is so much to be thankful for!

 “God’s love is shared with me through…”

All things about nature; and the innocence, joy and laughter of my son.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Contact her at jhey@chapelhillwichita.org

Sam Smith Director of Marketing and Communications

Sam Smith

A recent transplant to the Midwest, Sam Smith is a third-generation Californian. He grew up near Los Angeles, then moved to the Bay Area, settling in San Francisco for some 18 years. When his fiancée Carmen got a call to become professor of flute at Wichita State University and principal flute of Wichita Symphony, they got married, loaded a truck, and drove across the country to Kansas.READ MORE

Sam has enjoyed several careers. Once an aspiring professor of classical languages, he left graduate school and worked as a paralegal in construction litigation to pay for a part-time career as classical violist and choral musician. He spent the next six years as a marketing and communications professional, working with the San Francisco Film Society and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he served as director of communications.

As a musician, Sam has performed, recorded and toured with leading professional ensembles from the San Francisco Bay Area such as the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. He has also sung in churches for many years, including the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, the Oakland Cathedral of Christ the Light, and the National French Church, where he sang five services a week as cantor. Here in Wichita, he has performed with the Wichita Symphony Chorus and University Congregational Church choir.

In addition to work and play, Sam has more than 10 years of non-profit board leadership experience. Board service includes the San Francisco Civic Center Community Benefit District, the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy (producer of the Grammy Awards), and Schola Cantorum San Francisco, serving as board president for four years. He earned a B.A. in classics and history from USC and an M. Phil. in classics from King’s College, Cambridge University, with further graduate work at Stanford University. He loves California, the movies, jazz, smart books, dapper hats, looking at buildings, riding his bike, fast cars, long trips, the National Parks, chile verde and the desert South West.

I experience God’s love . . .

in the great warmth of my loving family, my many wonderful friends and my wife, Carmen. I also feel it in the beauty of language, music and other arts, and, especially, in the natural world he created.

God’s love is shared with me through. . .

my gift for making music. It is in the playing and singing of sacred music, which helps others find a path on their spiritual journeys, that I feel God’s spirit pulse within me.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

Psalm 23.

Contact him at ssmith@chapelhillwichita.org

Kellie Ochsner Coordinator of Worship, Welcome and Care Ministries

Kellie Ochsner

Kellie and her family moved from Iowa to the Wichita area in 2006. They walked into Chapel Hill one Sunday and immediately knew this was going to be the place they called their church home.  “God’s love was evident throughout the service and this is where we wanted to be,” she said. READ MORE

Kellie has degrees in Economics and Business Administration from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.  She has previously worked for the Maytag Company in marketing and also for Hawkeye Bank as Credit Card Coordinator. Born and raised in Aurora, Nebraska, she was baptized as an infant in the United Methodist Church there. Her family includes her husband, Doug, and two daughters. In her spare time she enjoys walking outside with friends, bike riding, reading, and working out at the YMCA.

“I experience God’s love …”
… “especially when singing a hymn and when being outside in nature.  I feel loved especially when I can share a big laugh with my family and friends.  I love a good laugh!”

Favorite Verse or Passage:

John 9:1-11 – “I love this story because the disciples assume that the man became blind because of something he or his family had done wrong.  Jesus points out though, that the man had done nothing wrong to deserve his blindness.  Jesus restored the man’s sight and demonstrates that even in hardships, God’s glory can be revealed.  This story is meaningful to me because too many people believe they are not loved by God because of hardship they experience in their lives.  It reminds me that hardships will come to all of us, but by allowing God to work with us through our difficulties, we can show the glory of God.”

Contact her at kochsner@chapelhillwichita.org

Jeremy Fredin Director of Audio/Visual

Jeremy Fredin

Jeremy Fredin grew up in Wichita. He started college with a football scholarship to Coffeyville Community College, and ended with studying film at Huntington University in Indiana. In 2006, he and his wife Kellie were married. They now have two children, Liam and Nora.

Jeremy has spent the majority of his life in the Methodist Church. He grew up going to Asbury UMC, and spent six years at First UMC in Wichita, where he served as Director of Technology. READ MORE

When not playing chauffeur for the kids, he Kellie I love to try new restaurants in town. When not watching the kids plays sports (basketball, soccer and swimming), Jeremy enjoys playing board games and watching movies.

“I experience God’s love …”

When I’m sitting around a table with others. Sharing life, and food, with others creates a common bond that brings people together, and reminds us that we are not all that different.

“God’s love is shared with me …”

When I listen to the passion, hopes and dreams of others. Seeing what affects other peoples’ lives and how gives me a broader understanding of how God and the world works.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. John 4:18

Contact Jeremy at jfredin@chapelhillwichita.org.

Jay Robinson Custodian

Jay Robinson

Jay taught psychology and coached football, first in Shelbina, Missouri, and in Kansas. He was a district manager for Equitable Insurance for 23 years. Jay earned a bachelor of science in education from the University of Kansas and a master’s in guidance and counseling from Northeastern Missouri State (now Truman University). He and his wife spent many years raising their family in nearby Conway Springs, where they attended the First Baptist Church, before moving to Wichita in 1984. It wasn’t until Chapel Hill was formed that they found a congregation to call home. READ MORE

“I experience God’s love …”
… through family and friends, and also through prayer time.

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
… the men’s group at Chapel Hill every Wednesday.

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Phillipians 4:13

Rev. Dr. James Bryan Smith Pastor-In-Residence

Rev. Dr. James Bryan Smith

James Bryan Smith hold a masters of divinity from Yale University Divinity School, and doctor of ministry from Fuller Seminary. He is a theology professor at Friends University and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Christian Spiritual Formation Institute at Friends University. READ MORE

A founding member of Richard J. Foster’s spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré, Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. In addition to The Apprentice Series, Smith is also the author of A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (with Richard Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven and Room of Marvels. Jim and his wife Meghan are parents of Jake and Hope.

Rev. Jennifer Herndon Deacon-In-Residence

Rev. Jennifer Herndon

Jennifer Herndon was born in Wichita and raised in Mulvane. She earned a BA in Psychology at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, and completed her Master of Divinity at Saint Paul School of Theology. While in Seminary, she pastored a small church in Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon graduation she returned to Wichita, taking a position as a Hospice Chaplain with Hospice Care of Kansas.

Today she continues to serve the renamed Gentiva Hospice Kansas as Manager of Chaplain Services. As an ordained Deacon in the UMC, her passion is for ministry with those facing death and dying, grief, and those dealing with Alzheimers Disease and other memory issues. READ MORE

“I love Barbara Brown Taylor and Henri Nouwen. Both are Christian authors who have profoundly touched me over the years with their writings. I enjoy studying the New Testament, especially the Roman context of the time period, and I enjoy studying issues related to death, dying and grief. I’m also interested in spiritual care of people living with dementia and Alzheimers.”

Jennifer and her husband Mark have three sons and two daughters, as well as a dog and a tank of fish. “I love to go for walks, garden, camp in our little pop-up camper, read (I enjoy lighter reading, such as John Grisham and other similar fiction authors), scrapbook, go to movies, and most of all, spend time with my family and animals.”

“I experience God’s love …”
…through people (my husband and family, friends, church family, patients), animals (especially our own pets), nature, music (Be Thou My Vision, and His Strength is Perfect, are my two guiding songs), quiet time, prayer time — it amazes me every day all the many different ways God can help me feel his love!

Favorite Verse or Passage:

This has been my guiding verse since I was 20 years old.
“Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Contact her at: revjenlynn@cox.net

Rev. Dr. Lisa Wiens Thompson Pastor-In-Residence

Rev. Dr. Lisa Wiens Thompson

Lisa grew up in Oklahoma and graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, earning undergraduate degrees in Sociology and in Advertising.  After serving in campus ministry and youth ministry, Lisa attended The Divinity School at Duke University earning a Master of Divinity degree in 2002. She completed her residency by serving two years of Clinical Pastoral Education Chaplaincy, one year each at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC and at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX.  READ MORE

Following a return to Oklahoma, Lisa served church congregations in Mounds, OK and Schulter, OK before moving to Kansas in 2007 to serve Belle Plaine United Methodist Church. She married her husband Zach that same year.

While in Oklahoma Lisa began work on her Doctor of Ministry at SMU. With a focus on Health and Wholeness through Theology of the Body, Lisa graduated with Honors. She maintains a passion for the area of Health and Wholeness and wants everyone to know they can be a part of it, regardless of age, disease, or fitness level!

“I experience God’s love …”
…when I celebrate, serve, and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.  It is the perfect reminder of wholeness and the foundation for our whole being as a church and as the Body of Christ.  “Make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world until Christ comes in victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet…”  This is an amazing sending forth each week to remind us about what it means to be the Body of Christ.  Listen for it. Listen for the call to wholeness.  It is there, given to us freely by the God who loves us beyond measure!

“God’s love is shared with me through …”
…so many unexpected ways.  Theologically I know it is present in the sacraments of communion and baptism… more day to day is when my baby boy wakes up smiling and babbling and my girls don’t want to go to sleep yet because they want one more kiss or story.  They are miracles and it is an amazing gift to have these blessings as my children.  (Even when I’m a frazzled stressed out mom of three!)

Favorite Verse or Passage:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. ” – Romans 12:1-2

Contact her at ldwthompson@gmail.com