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Phil Rowley and his family moved to Louisville from San Diego. They had been thinking for years that they should move out of California, and finally decided to take the plunge before his oldest daughter started high school. He bought a tiny vintage trailer and just set out across the country with no real destination. They looked at many different places, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and just happened to land in Louisville on their way to somewhere else and immediately fell in love with the city.
His path into serving at churches started through music. Phil had been a professional musician for many years, playing with everyone from well known artist, to wedding bands, top 40 bands, jazz bands, musical theater, you name it. He was hired by a church in San Diego as they were starting a contemporary service. Over the next few years that contemporary service grew to where they were doing three services every week. He kept staying busy playing gigs around town as many as 8-10 per week, but found himself growing to be less and less satisfied doing those gigs. Phil started to realize that the church gig was his favorite part of the week. The worship leader noticed a change in him and started fostering his interest. She asked Phil to organize special events for the church and eventually asked him to fill in for her. Her and her husbands support lead to him to being a worship leader.
Karen Smith has two beautiful daughters, Amy and Carrie as well as three grandchildren – Peyton, Camryn and Rylee. All three grandchildren have attended the CDC where Karen is the Director.
Her passion is the education of children in a Christian environment and teaching in ways that prepare children for the future. She has always known God wanted her to teach children in a Christian setting and says God has opened doors for her and her family. When Karen was looking for a job in the Louisville area, she checked the local Sunday paper and the first ad that she saw was for the Lead Teacher at the Middletown United Methodist Child Development Center. Needless to say – she got the job and has ascended to the Director position.
For 18 years Karen has been the Director of the CDC and considers our school to be a ministry to her church, Middletown UMC. The CDC is providing a loving Christian foundation the children’s future lives are built upon.
Her dream is to live happily ever after with her friends and family and to ALWAYS be close to God (hopefully in Naples, Florida someday). Karen’s goal is to one day write a book about her amazing experiences with the children so that everyone would always appreciate the hope, joy and happiness that all the children bring to the world.
God called Mona to serve in spiritual formation in the local church almost 38 years ago, however, God called her to lead, teach, and love children long before then! Mona is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and has served churches in Iowa, Illinois, and Tennessee. She received her Master of Christian Education degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois. Her BA is in elementary education.
Mona and her husband, Ken, met at Wesley Foundation at the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and were married in 1979. They have grown daughters. Melissa, and her husband, Matt, live in western Washington State and have a ten-year-old daughter, Madelyn, and a four-year-old son, Marcus. Kimberly and her husband, Joe, live south of Chicago with their two-year-old son and their cats, Gabby and Elphie. Mona and Ken currently have two cats, Penuche and Oreo.
She was born and raised on a farm in Iowa. Mona likes college football (Go, Hawkeyes!) and the Chicago Cubs. She and Ken enjoy exploring new places together, reading, spending time with their family, cooking, and playing card and board games. Mona’s favorite Scriptures are Philippians 4:4-7 and John 14. It fills her heart and says it is comforting to know she may take anything to the Lord and that He is making sure she has a home with Him someday.
Rick Smith was born and raised in Louisville’s west end. He is married to Donna F. Smith whom he dearly loves. He found his way to MUMC from his life long friend Charles Shepherd, the head custodian.
Most of his life he has spent working with the public. From being a delivery driver, to working with mentally disabled adults, to working in an assembly line machine shop, to shipping/receiving. Rick has always loved his jobs and loves working here at MUMC.
Personally, Rick is passionate about his two grandchildren – whom him and his wife take care of. He is a christian and was raised to love one another and to treat people fairly.
Charles hasn’t filled out his bio yet. Don’t be like Charles…
Kevin Vest is originally from New Market, Tennessee, a small town between Knoxville and Gatlinburg. After graduating college, he moved to Louisville to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Kevin grew up in a small Southern Baptist Church and was always fascinated by music, especially the piano. He received a piano for Christmas when he was 12 years old and started lessons – eventually leading him to play at his church. In his high school days his family changed churches – one that was short an organist. The Director of Music asked if he wanted to give it a shot and he has been playing organ in churches ever since.
Professionally, Kevin’s greatest passion is helping people. Whether it is through leading the organ during worship, helping someone with a personal problem, or figuring out a technical solution to an issue at his day job. Personally, his greatest passions are his kids, Matthew and Michaela. He loves watching them grow into loving, Christ-filled teenagers that are eager to serve and help others.
Growing up he always wanted to be a medical doctor and was actually a pre-medicine major his first two years of college before changing his major to religion and psychology.
If there was one thing Kevin wished people understood about him, it is that he is off-the-chart introverted. Social situations are not his forte but if you get him chatting in close quarters he is nice as can be.
Vernon was born in Baltimore, Maryland and first came to Louisville to study piano performance and church music, earning a Masters degree in 1975. Almost 20 years later he returned to Louisville to finish his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1997.
He began to play for junior church when he was 10 years old, and has continued to serve as a church pianist for over 60 years. Along the way Vernon acquired a second Masters in education/administration. Later, he served as the headmaster for the Agape Christian School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he also taught kindergarten.
As a church pianist, it is his goal to present high quality music in worship and to draw congregations beyond music excitement to the spiritual truth of the text of each arrangement.
She has been married to her husband Chris for 21 years and they have three awesome children; Kylie, Cassidy and Alex. Kristen is involved with her children’s sports and enjoy watching them play field hockey, lacrosse and soccer. She also loves and adores her dog Barkley!
Kristen has taught preschool for over 10 years and is now entering her fifth year as Preschool Director of MUMP. She knew after her first day of teaching here, that this is where she was supposed to be. She believes that God brought her here because he has a bigger plan for her.
Jane Ryan was born in Glasgow, Kentucky but has lived in Louisville for 70 plus years. She worked at UofL NROTC for many years before becoming a stay at home mother when her daughter was born.
In 1980 she was blessed when she desperately needed a job. The minister at her church, Aldersgate UMC, spoke to the Louisville Conference Treasurer who needed a new secretary – she was hired. Jane worked for the Louisville Conference for 16 years before it was merged with the Kentucky Conference and became the Kentucky Annual Conference in 1996. She worked in the Conference Treasurers Office for 30 years and retied in 2010. She worked with 6 Treasurers and 6 Bishops over the years and was given a chance for a part-time job at Middletown UMC doing financial work like she had done for so many years.
She says the opportunity to continue serving the Lord like he had prepared me to do for so many years seemed like a good opportunity. It is amazing how the Lord works. Her goal in life was to be an Airline Stewardess and travel the world. But the Lord had other ideas for Jane. She met a wonderful man, got married and has served the Lord in many capacities over the years.
Lynelle Flora was a “Navy Brat” and had the opportunity to move around quite a bit. She came to Kentucky by way of: Pittsburgh to Rhode Island to Cuba to Maine, and back to Pittsburgh after college. She finally landed in Kentucky in 2014 when her previous job in logistics relocated her to Eminence, Kentucky.
Her grandfather is a retired Methodist Pastor and her mother has been the Minister of Music in a Methodist Church as long as she can remember. She has grown up with church as the center of her life and very happy to be part of the work here at MUMC.
Professionally and personally, Lynelle is most passionate about the church. She sites “Hymn #558 – We Are The Church,” and says if you have not sung/read this hymn, you should! She says God’s people are absolutely amazing. She gets very emotional seeing individuals with their unique gifts and personalities coming together to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Lynelle prefers to be outdoors – going on walks, riding bikes, kayaking, camping and taking road trips just about anywhere. Her german shepherd, Mable, goes on every adventure.
If she could be any fictional character she would choose Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Polifax. Emily Polifax is an elderly lady who sought more meaning for her life and accidentally became a CIA spy. She is an unassuming and hilarious woman who is full of wonder and relishes in wacky adventures.
Jennie Pepoon’s first home was in Centerfield, Kentucky in Oldham County. Her parents were serving at Mount Tabor United Methodist Church. From the beginning, the church has played a significant role in her life.
As the pastor’s kid, Jennie was often asked to sit in committees and councils as the youth representative. So from early on, she learned about the United Methodist Church from the inside-knowledge that later would be a blessing in my career.
It didn’t take long in college for her to figure out that the medical field was not for her. So, she switched to business and found a better fit. Just as she began to contribute to the working world, Jennie met her future husband, Dale, at a church potluck dinner.
Following graduation, Dale took an IT position in Florida where eventually their son, Josh, was born. Her next move took them to Indiana and she began working for their church as their financial secretary. That is when Jennie discovered her ‘perfect fit’! All of the church knowledge that she had acquired through the years was an asset every day. In addition to Indiana, Jennie has served churches in Ohio and Virginia.
Throughout her career, she has personally witnessed God’s faithfulness. When she was offered the position at Middletown UMC, it was an answer to her prayer.
Andy Stearman is originally from Louisville (Go Cards!). He attended Eastern Kentucky University and graduated in 2014 with a degree in Broadcasting & Electronic Media. He never in a million years thought he would work for a church, much less the one he grew up attending. Rev. Nancy Tinnell officiated his wedding in 2017 and informed him of an opening – a few months later he started working at MUMC.
Professionally, Andy is most passionate about producing a quality product – whether that be graphics, videos, pictures, social media engagement, etc. Personally, he is most passionate about music and travel (16 countries and counting).
As a kid, Andy wanted to be a professional basketball player. That dream was short lived as he realized he was short and unathletic. When not working, you can most likely find Andy playing guitar and going to concerts with his wife Abbie. If he could have any superpower it would be the ability to turn invisible, but only when people aren’t looking.
Kristen Furches is originally from Upstate New York. She then lived in Virginia for 7 years after undergrad before God called her to full-time ministry, which led her to Belmont University in Nashville for a graduate degree and then on to Louisville and MUMC. In 6th grade, her piano teacher asked if she wanted to learn how to play the organ; a year later, she was hired as the organist at the Lutheran church down the street and has been a musician ever since.
Professionally, Kristen is most passionate about ‘the singing church’ and the deep roots the church has that can be found in our worship. Personally, Kristen loves to read and loves the peacefulness of being out in nature, even if it’s just sitting on her front porch watching the sunset, or in the backyard around the firepit.
As a kid, Kristen always wanted to be a mathematician. In undergrad she took coursework on the side in math, philosophy and symbolic logic. If she had not been called to ministry she probably would have pursued degrees in philosophical logic or methodology and taught at a university.
When Kristen is not working she is exploring the adventure of her life with her fiancé and his son, fixing something around the house, gardening, or playing with the dogs.
Emily Allen is from Louisville – yes a Louisville native! And she proudly proclaims, Go Cards! She has always been involved in the church growing up in VBS and youth group. When she was in college she served as a Children’s intern and felt her call to ministry during college.
Professionally, Emily is most passionate about seeing the “ah ha” moment in the life of young people – those moments where they see God acting in their loves and in the world. Personally, she is most passionate about her Chicago Cubs!
When Emily was growing up she wanted to be a chef – her youth minister in high school actually took her to see Emeril Lagasse cook on Good Morning America when he came to Louisville. When Emily is not working she is most likely at the Louisville Zoo with her 3 year old son William. And don’t you dare go to Emily’s house and leave dirty dishes in her sink, as that is her number one pet peeve!
Trent is originally from northeast Indiana and got to Kentucky by way of Atlanta, GA. After graduating from college at Huntington University, he attended seminary at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. While in Atlanta he co-founded a new United Methodist Church called Eastside Church and spent 4 years as the Assistant Pastor of Worship and Discipleship. Trent met his wife Katie at the church plant, they worked together for two years and they joke that their first real argument was over Advent readings. Katie is also an ordained elder in the Kentucky Conference and in 2015 they moved to Kentucky to pastor churches here. Katie is currently serving as the head pastor of Buechel UMC.
Professionally, Trent is passionate about church being a welcoming and inclusive space, especially for young people. He gets excited when those who have felt disconnected or unwelcome in church find a place of welcome. Personally, he’s passionate about his family, the Indianapolis Colts, running, and camping!
When Trent’s not working, he enjoys spending time with Katie, running or hiking at the Parklands of Floyd’s Fork, exploring different parts of Louisville, playing piano, camping, gardening, or playing with their dog Wendell.
Nancy Tinnell is from Louisville, KY and grew up at Bethany United Methodist Church. In addition to Methodism, music was a constant in her life. Singing in the church led her to leading worship in church, which led to ordination and full time ministry.
The second half of her ministry has been spent serving in discipleship and spiritual formation ministries. She organizes our small group ministries and some of our missional efforts. Professionally, her passion is teaching the Bible and working with our Mobile Medical Ministry. Personally, she is most passionate about reading and reflecting. Someday she hopes to put those reflections on paper.
If Nancy was a fictional character, she would want to be Jane Eyre – the protagonist of the novel “Jane Eyre” by the English writer Charlotte Bronte. This character is described as passionate and strongly principled, values freedom and independence, has a strong conscience and is a determined Christian.
If Nancy could choose any superpower it would have to be the ability to time travel – just think about those vacations!
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He was raised in the church and some of his first memories are of participating in VBS and Christmas plays at First Methodist Church in Henderson. As an adult lay person, he served in essentially all the local church boards and committees and was trained as a Stephen Minister and Stephen Ministry Leader. His Stephen Ministry experience is what led him to finally answer the call to ordained ministry.
Professionally, Lee is most passionate about being present with those who need the assurance of God’s love in order that they might have restored hope. Personally, he is most passionate about his faith and personal relationship with Jesus.
As a kid, Lee wanted to grow up to be a Commanding Office of a submarine. He served in the Navy for many years before beginning his career as a pastor. Don’t show up late to an appointment with Lee, as his number 1 pet peeve is tardiness. That probably goes back to his days in the military. If Lee could be a fictional character he would choose Horatio Hornblower – a Napoleonic Wars era Royal Navy officer who is the protagonist of a series of novels by C.S. Forester.
We welcome and encourage children to get started with music at a young age. Throughout the year the kids are invited to perform in front of the congregation during our services. We offer children’s chimes and children’s choir. The kids always enjoy both of these activities so consider signing up for either today! Contact our Children’s Minister, Mona Walker, if you are interested.
Friday Fellowship is designed for 3rd-5th graders and their families to meet together two to four times a year for fun fellowship opportunities! For more information about dates and activities, please contact our Children’s Minister, Mona Walker.
Our way of keeping children connected and engaged through fun and educational activities. Begin the night with Children’s Hand Chimes from 6:30 to 7:10pm for rhythm, music, and fun. This is a great way to get children involved in music at an early age through an instrument that is fun and easy to learn. This is open to children in grades 1 through 8. From 7:10pm to 8:00pm is spiritual formation time where kids have the opportunity to learn real stories and lessons from the Bible. Contact our Children’s Minister, Mona Walker, for more information.
The Worship Choir leads every week in the 8:30am and 11am sanctuary worship services and for special seasonal worship services. They also prepare a programmatic concert each Christmas to share the story of the birth of Christ with the church and the community. They rehearse on Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 8:00pm in the Choir Room, located in the lower level. No experience is necessary, only a love of music and a love of Jesus, and the desire to share both with the church!