Alumni & Friends

Alum News

Enjoy catching up with old friends. To share news of milestones in your life or ministry, or to simply provide updated contact information, please visit our update page. If you are reporting a death, please include a photocopy or link to a published obituary for verification.


Calvin King is working on “Project Nuf” (“Fun” spelled backward). He has founded a company and is writing children’s stories with a mission of sharing happy stories from Planet Nuf, helping children know each is enough.


Kenneth Morris retired from ministry in 2010.


Margaret Barno has moved back to the Piney Woods of East Texas where she worked for 11 years for the Texas Department of Health and volunteered as director of religious education and filled in for the pastor periodically prior to retiring on disability in 2000. She continues to write book reviews for the Galveston County Daily News. Because of the progressive nature of her cervical dystonia, her voice is very soft, and she prefers communicating via email.

Ronald L. Figgins Iris retired in 2006 to singing, praying and teaching to the glory of God. He began farming in 2009 and volunteering in the church and community to build the sustainable kingdom of God in both.

James Kuse and his wife, Kathleen Barber, are active in the Ocala First UMC Community Outreach Program and Interfaith Emergency Services of Marion County, Fla. Jim’s ministry included 25 years in the East Ohio Conference and the past 18 years with the Florida Conference.


Rob Atchley has been appointed wing chaplain for the Florida Wing of the Civil Air Patrol/United States Air Force Auxiliary. He has served as a chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol since 1999.


Stan Dunk is completing 28 years as director of pastoral care at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton. He also has been a national Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care manager for 10 years, with deployments including the World Trade Center, Katrina and the crash of Comair 5191 in Lexington, Ky.

Timothy Farabaugh has had his first novel published. In Search of Revenge and Respect is set in western Pennsylvania between the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. The main character seeks revenge for the death of his parents and tries to earn the respect of the father of the girl he loves. His previous books are Ministry to and with the Elderly and Lay Pastoral Care Giving.

Patricia Lawrence retired in 2011. She and her husband, Richard (class of ’73), both are retired now.

Carol Mays and two other poets have just published Mystical Poems by Three Contemporary New England Writers. The book is available through a number of outlets worldwide, including Amazon. It also has been provided to the Dickhaut Library.

Geoff Piper is now director of bereavement services at Mountain View Funeral Home, Lakewood, Wash, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a part-time private practice, and gramps to two children. He also has published an e-book on Kindle, Stress Is an Option, Not a Requirement: Choose Stress-Free Living.


Steven Miller retired in 2009 after 35 years in pastoral ministry in the Florida Conference.


Mike Selleck has served eight years as the director of the Office of Connectional Ministries for the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

In addition to his full-time appointment at First UMC of Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., Gary Wedgewood is a part-time staff counselor with the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee.


James Gysel retired in 2011 yet is still active in ministry. He serves as a chaplain to Albion District clergy; serves as a trustee for MTSO; consults with pastors and churches; produces a weekly radio program, Faith Forum; and engages in local hospital chaplain ministry.


Bill Byrd has written Basic Budgeting: You Can Do It! It’s available both in hard copy and as an e-book.


Hal Noble, who is retired and living in Alabama, wants to share this message: “I remain deeply grateful for the theological education I received at MTSO, which is directly related to the professionalism of each professor and instructor. Methesco prepared me for many years of challenging and fruitful ministry and mission in the United Methodist Church.


Paul Wehner retired in 2006. During his ministry, he pastored a congregation in Council Bluffs, Iowa, served as a family therapist with the Veterans Administration and later worked at the Vet Center in Springfield, Ill. He assisted in developing the state of Illinois World War II Veterans Memorial. “Methesco was a joyful, educational and affirming program that empowered my ministries throughout these years.”


Mary (Horn) Soderholm has retired and is living in Oscoda, Mich., where she is still preaching, teaching, and doing weddings, funerals and conference camping.


Phyllis Cole-Dai has helped to organize Fast for the Earth, begun by Brookings, S.D.-area residents who are sorely troubled by the environmental devastation being wrought in their name by the fossil fuel industry and their financial and political supporters ( The fast began Aug. 1, and the goal is to have at least one person somewhere in the world fasting for the Earth every single day until the Earth is once again treated with respect.


Betty Howard has opened Betty Howard’s Caring Counseling Services, a private practice office in Westerville.

Elaine Mikesell and her husband, Alan, spent nine days on a mission trip to El Salvador, where they helped complete and activate an official partnership between the Northwest Association of the United Church of Christ and the Lutheran Church of El Salvador. The church in San Salvador, though a small and financially poor congregation, supports a daily soup kitchen, a collegia (private school for grades 1-9) and a dental and medical clinic.


Lori Burdette-Steel has been appointed pastor of the Trinity UMC in Mt. Gilead.


David Hess is celebrating five years as chaplain of the Indiana Veterans’ Home.


Neldon “Ned” Adams is now retired and one of five retirees in the local congregation of Christ Church United Methodist in Tucson, Ariz. “And, we’re all busy.”

John Cordes, who serves Solebury UMC in New Hope, Pa., has been elected president of the Delaware Valley Interfaith Council.


Joseph Branch has been hired as the program manager for Columbus Area Inc.-Bell Africentric Theraputic Community Residential Treatment Center.

Lynda McClanahan has a new exhibition of contemporary oil enamel folk paintings at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. “Visual Learning: Connecting Readers to Art” runs July 8-Sept. 30 on the second floor of the Main Library. Her work also can be seen at


Ellis “Hap” Itson and his wife, Kathy, are now living in Brodhead, Wisc., where Hap is pastor of Brodhead UMC. Hap is now a member of the Wisconsin Conference.


David MacDonald was appointed university chaplain at Ohio Northern University effective July 1, 2012.


Melany Chalker’s church, Concord UMC in Michigan, birthed the Open Door Free Store in the fall of 2010 and served more than 7,200 different guests from nine surrounding communities our first year. Everything is free to everyone all the time.

Elaine Turner is now serving at Amboy UMC in Conneaut and the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Ashtabula.


Virginia Lohmann Bauman was officially installed as senior pastor at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church in Columbus in March 11. St. John’s is a historic urban church affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

Susan Brown and her husband, Jerry Krueger, have returned to the East Ohio Conference from Texas. Susan is senior pastor of Canfield UMC, and Jerry is serving Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Youngstown. and


Ebenezer Appiagyei held a sacred and secular leadership seminar in Rwanda and Burundi in August. Three hundred pastors and community leaders attended. He also has started a nonprofit organization called Make a Difference International, whose mission is to empower children, especially girls, through education in Rwanda and other developing countries.

Gunnar Cerda is serving as the manager of pastoral care for Grady Memorial Hospital, part of the OhioHealth system in Delaware. He recently had an article “A Theology of Pastoral Care” published in the March 7, 2012 edition of PlainViews, a journal of healthcare chaplaincy.


Patrice and William Brewer’s daughter, Phaedra Elise, was born July 7. Patrice is serving Church of the Redeemer in Cleveland Heights, and William is serving Mt. Pleasant UMC in Cleveland. and