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.


James Christy retired in 2007 as the senior pastor of Green Street UMC in Piqua, Ohio.


M. Kenneth Morris retired in 2010 from the United Church of Christ. He is currently serving as an interim pastor at Brooklyn Heights UCC in Cleveland.


Robert Henderson is part-time retired in Glastonbury, Connecticut. He maintains a small pastoral psychotherapy practice and teaches Jungian psychology at a local hospital. He and his wife, Janis, are co-authors of a three-volume book, Living with Jung: “Enerviews” with Jungian Analysts.


Geoff Piper is a Military and Family Life Counselor at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington. He continues to provide grief support services through a local funeral home and has authored four books published on Kindle.


R. Karl Watkins retired from the Iowa Annual Conference in 2014 and now lives in Yankton, South Dakota. He has been serving as pastor of the Crofton United Church of Christ in Nebraska since October 2016.


Buff Coe retired July 1, after 40 years as a United Methodist pastor. He also taught the Worship and Sacraments class at the two-week intensive Course of Study School of Ohio at MTSO in August.

Michael Morris began serving his fifth year at St. Paul UMC in Memphis and his 41st year in full-time ministry in the Memphis Annual Conference in July 2017. Mike and his wife, Cindy (Hastas), will celebrate their 40th anniversary in August 2017. They have two daughters and three granddaughters.


Robert Bloomquist
passed away in February 2015 after serving 35 years in ministry. He received his D.Min. degree from McCormick Theological School in 1986 with a specialty in Parish Development. He is survived by his wife, Gloria, son, Joseph, and grandchildren.


Brad Martin and his wife, Sherry, adopted their 10-month-old son Caleb in March 2017. Caleb is adored by his big sister Leah and loved by four adult siblings.


Lawrence Michael Cameron is currently serving the 145-year-old Union Church on the south side of Chicago after being called to pastor this historic church in the fall of 2013. “I fondly remember my days at Methesco and know that the M.Div. earned there gave me a solid and wonderful theological education from whence I have been guided by for the past 30-plus years of ministry.”

Richard Thewlis is beginning his third year at Garrettsville UMC in East Ohio and has been an adjunct professor of Religious Studies at Hiram College since the fall of 2010. He will celebrate his 30th year of ordination on Dec. 6, 2017. He and his wife, Jill, will celebrate their 36th anniversary in September 2017. “Wishing happiness and goodness to all MTSO alums and faculty. I would love to hear from anyone from the olden times! Valete!”


Mary Soderholm
passed away in July 2017.


Bruce Smith admits to “flunking retirement.” In addition to coordinating two ongoing programs for the Episcopal clergy in Columbus, he serves on the Board of Directors of Bexley-Seabury Seminary Federation (Chicago) and Episcopal Retirement Services (Cincinnati). He is an active member of the Columbus Metropolitan Club and the Columbus Torch Club. He and his wife, Susan, a retired Presbyterian pastor, have lived in Clintonville since 1996, and both often preside and preach at Sunday worship in congregations in the Columbus area.


Carol Layton is retired but has found a niche filling in as a preacher at local churches in Colorado. She adopted an adult daughter and gained two grandchildren in the past year.

Rebeka Maples published a collection of prayer-poems, Praying with Light: In Candlemas and Starless Nights, through Wild Goose Publications. She has had other poems published in Winter: Liturgical Resources by Ruth Burgess (2016).


Karen Nelson retired as a United Methodist elder on July 1, 2017.


Nancy Millwater retired from active ministry on April 30, 2017. The last church she served was Lees Creek UCC in Sabina, Ohio.


Joi Miley-Beacham is a special education coordinator and continues community outreach volunteerism through the social action organization Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.


Mary Torok serves as director of faith formation at St John’s UCC in Downtown Columbus.


Ebenezer Appiagyei led eight men and women leaders on a missionary and cultural immersion trip to Ghana. He hopes to return in May 2018 after completing his Juris Doctor degree at the University of Akron School of Law in December 2017. “Ministry has been a joy and fruitful. Thanks to the excellent education and community inbuilt while in MTSO.”


Mary Vandersommers (Blencowe) and her husband, Aaron, have been serving with Global Ministry UMC in Kinhasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, since January 2016. Their ministry is ecumenical and multilingual (mostly French) and is regularly showcased on their blog,


Cheryl Douglass has completed 3 1/2 years in the adolescent care unit at the Maryhaven main campus. She performs dual diagnosis assessments on adolescents ages 13-18 to provide them with the appropriate level of care for substance abuse and mental/behavioral health issues. She also travels around the state to assess referrals placed in county JDCs and is building a network with area and statewide agencies and hospitals for families who are required to use private insurance as required by the court in their county.

Leslie Taylor was a panelist at Mills College on “Exploring Intersections: Christianity and LGBTQ Experience” with two other clergy in the Berkeley, California, area.


Christina Fetherolf completed her Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union with a dissertation “Lamenting Abuse: Reading Psalm 22 as a Response to Intimate Partner Abuse.” She is currently an adjunct professor of religion at Wittenberg University and teaches online as an adjunct professor for the Pacific School of Religion.

Kristen Wall-Love was appointed to extension ministry as of July 2017 and is currently serving as director of adult spiritual formation and membership at Asbury UMC in Salisbury, Maryland.

Julie Pimlott was commissioned as a United Methodist deacon in June 2017 and has accepted a chaplain position with Heart to Heart Hospice.


Rebecca Guthrie was commissioned as provisional deacon in June 2017. She has been appointed half-time at First UMC of New Hartford, New York, as congregational care specialist and half-time in extension ministry providing pastoral care at Bethany Village in Horseheads, New York.

Ken Schoon has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in liturgical studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where he will begin studies in the fall. “I’m very excited for this opportunity to study liturgy and draw connections between Christian worship and the practice of ministry.”


Clay Sherrod has passed the LPCC examination and earned an independent counseling license. He is beginning the journey of opening a private practice.


Paula Napier was commissioned by the West Virginia Annual Conference and appointed to Canaan UMC in Charleston, West Virginia, the first missional congregation in the conference. Canaan UMC serves the inner city community with a food pantry, clothes closet, soup kitchen, preventive exercise care, community garden, Boy Scouts, backpack food ministry, shoebox ministry, dresses for international school girls, monthly talent show, songwriters’ stage and local job fairs. “All this is accomplished with only 50 active members and much reliance on the Holy Spirit. Praise God!”

Aimee Anderson is the associate pastor at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church and resident chaplain at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, both in Columbus.


Katie Kuntz-Wineland recently began serving as development assistant at Bittersweet Farms, a nonprofit organization serving adults with autism in Whitehouse, Ohio. She also works as the biography editor for Harvard Square Library, an online library of Unitarian Universalist history based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.