UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

INVITE.  NURTURE.  SEND.

Dr. Tom Smith

Senior Pastor

tsmith@middletownumc.org

Rev. Nancy Tinnell

Associate Pastor

ntinnell@middletownumc.org

Rev. Abbi Long

Assistant Pastor &

Director of Student Ministries

along@middletownumc.org

Youth Ministry

Heather Smith

Associate Director of Children's Ministries

hsmith@middletownumc.org

Children’s Ministry

Dale Mowery

Director of Music & Worship

dmowery@middletownumc.org

Worship Ministry

I came to Middletown UMC as Sr. Pastor in June of 2012. The path that brought me here took me across Kentucky, into Georgia, then back to KY. I have pastored churches of all sizes, every one of them filled with people who inspired, challenged and helped transform me into the person I am today.  I have been truly blessed.

   

Cathy and I married in 1979. We have two sons, Adam and Aaron. Aaron and his wife, Amanda, are the parents of our two granddaughters. Family is very important to me and I love to spend time with all of them.


I attended Kentucky Wesleyan College where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree.  I graduated there in 1986.  From there I moved to Georgia where I attended Emory University, Candler School of Theology for my Masters of Divinity.  It was in 2000 that I decided, for some crazy reason, that I should get a doctorate degree. In 2003 I received my Doctor of Ministry degree from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.


I love to travel. I have made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land several times and love to take people there for the first time. My travels have included outrageous things like going fishing in the Amazon and traveling to Alaska in February to see the Northern Lights. 


I also like to play golf, which I do quite badly.  Cathy and I like to go to movies. I guess my two favorite movies would be Caddyshack and The Blues Brothers.


My favorite book of the Bible is the Gospel of Luke. My favorite theologian would be Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Currently I serve as Associate Pastor for Discipleship (missions, outreach, adult education).  Middletown UMC has been my place of service since 1980, when I began as the Minister of Music.  My ministry spread beyond music and worship in 1997, when I was ordained in the Order of Deacons, a second clergy order in our denomination.


I earned B.M.ED. and M.M. degrees at the University of Louisville.  I did theological study through United Theological Seminary and loved every minute of it.  I don’t regret my music degrees, since they served me well in my ministry.  When my singing voice began to decline, God granted me opportunities to speak my praise of Jesus Christ through teaching and preaching.  I am blessed to be a witness.


L.G. and I were married in 1983 right here at MUMC.  His father had been a United Methodist minister in the Virginia Annual Conference, and L.G.’s faithfulness to the church was an important factor in our relationship.  Trudy, his mother, was like a mother to me, and I still miss her.  Our twin sons, Geoff and Jordan, were born in 1983 and baptized in this church.  L.G.’s daughter Claire and her husband Rob Warford, along with children Abigail and Ryan, live in Oldham County, so all of my immediate family are nearby.


I love listening to music of all kinds.  I read and write poetry.  In recent years, I have developed an interest in the spiritual application of visual art.  A highlight for me in recent years was hosting a poetry/music evening at The Rudyard Kipling in Old Louisville.  If I ever get to do that again, I hope you will come!

The path to ministry was a curvy one for me, but I took a leap of faith two years ago to begin the process for ordination in the United Methodist Church. Prior to this big move I taught special education to students in elementary and middle school. Though I loved my students, I felt God calling me to a vocation in full-time ministry. I am thrilled to work here at Middletown United Methodist Church with the students in middle and high school. They bring me energy and keep me excited about my choice!


I am married to Brennan and we have two young girls, Lily and Hannah. They are very busy, growing up too fast. The decision to go into full time ministry meant setting down my prior education in teaching and beginning a Master’s of Divinity at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I enjoy being on campus and use their amazing library like it is my best friend!


Student ministry is such a vital part of the church. I cannot imagine doing anything more important than forming disciples while they are still young in their faith.

Kelly McDonald

Office Manager

kmcdonald@middletownumc.org

Service Opportunities

I received my degree in Psychology and Child Development from Western Kentucky University.  I have worked with children with emotional and behavior disabilities at Seven Counties and with children with developmental delays through First Steps. I was working at First Steps when I felt God calling me to ministry with children.  I worked as the Associate Director of Children’s Ministry here at MUMC before I became Director of Children’s Ministry.

 

I am married to my high school sweetheart, Tim and we have 3 beautiful children.  Hannah attends Manual high school where she is in the MST (Math, Science and Technology) magnet program, Hailey attends Noe middle school where she is in the Performing Arts magnet program and Hayden attends Wheeler Elementary and enjoys soccer and tae kwon do.  They keep me busy but I love it and wouldn’t change a thing.  When I am not driving them around to their numerous activities, I enjoy reading and running.  I completed my third half marathon last spring. 

I am always amazed by the directions life takes me. Stick me in a new place or give me a new project and I am one happy camper. Change has always been exciting for me, so whenever something new gets thrown my way, I jump at the chance. Lately, my life has been full of change. My husband, Myself & our 2 children purchased a new home in LaGrange, KY. We have some of the nicest neighbors you'll ever meet! We also adopted a cat named, Murphy. He's got to be the most unusual cat I've ever been acquainted with; where most cats are naturally graceful animals, Murphy is by far the clumsiest.

 

Along with our new home, I also graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sullivan University (April, 2013) with my Bachelors Degree in Human Resource Leadership. Graduation has been a long time coming, and one of my proudest moments. While I greatly wish that I had graduated when I was fresh out of High School, I think that by graduating later in life I have a greater appreciation for the work that went into earning my degree. I also value the life lessons I was able to provide my children as they watched their mom struggle to better herself, and ultimately celebrate such a huge accomplishment. Now that school is out, I'm hoping to pick up some of the hobbies that I have let slide and as well as tackle the huge pile of books that I've been meaning to read.

Susan Smithson

Director of Leisure Activities

susansm@middletownumc.org

Leisure Ministries

I am a precious, fun loving, child of God! My job lets me play and praise at the same time.   I have served as Director of Leisure Ministries here at MUMC for the past 15 years.  Prior to that, I served as Chairperson for the Leisure and / or Family Life Committee for several years.


My roots are in Bracken County KY where I was raised on the family farm.  Two of my brothers and a sister still live near the home my grandfather built and where my mother still lives.  One of those brothers and my sister carry on the farming operations.  We were all taught the value of hard work and the importance of putting God first in our lives.  From the age of about 9 or 10, we were all expected to contribute to the farm daily (365 days a year).  I would arise at 5:30 or 6:00 to feed calves, get ready to catch the bus for school at 7:30 and dive into it again when I got home at 4:00 in the afternoon. During the summer the chores would consume much of the day, but we always found time for some fun too.  Upon graduation from high school, I attended the University of KY planning to enter the physical therapy program my junior year.  When that didn’t work out, God placed a brochure in my lap one Sunday at church.


That brochure was promoting a Leisure Ministry degree program.  I had never heard of leisure ministry but felt that God had placed the brochure in my hand for a reason.  Being “true blue”, I decided to pursue a degree in recreation and leisure studies at UK with intentions of going on to seminary for my masters in leisure ministry.  God had other plans and introduced me to my wonderful husband Mark during my junior year at UK.  I knew as surely as God had placed that brochure in my hands that He had brought our paths together and I couldn’t go to another city while Mark finished his degree in Lexington. Other doors were opened and I was offered a teaching assistantship to continue my studies at UK in the area of therapeutic recreation.  After Mark graduated in May of 1984, we were married in July.  He began working in Louisville in August and we have been here since.  I worked at a nursing home until our first son Andrew was born in 1987.  Gregory was born in 1991 and Chay followed in 1993.  I stayed home with the boys and volunteered my services here at the church until coming on staff.  Chay was entering kindergarten when the SPPR made the decision to split what had previously been a shared Youth Ministry/Leisure Ministry position.  I applied for the Leisure Ministry position and have been serving in that capacity since 1998.


My guiding dream for the leisure ministry is to have the potential for this facility to reach untold numbers of un-churched or under-churched realized as participants live out Jesus’ message to love God and love others and bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I’ve been on staff at MUMC as the Director of Worship and Music since January 2009.  I’ve had the privilege of being in ministry since 1982 serving churches in Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Indiana.


I graduated from Asbury University in 1984 with a B. A. in Music Education.  Before that, I graduated from Shawnee Elementary & Middle School, Badertscher School of Driver’s Education (maybe the most important school I’ve attended), and Bluffton High School.  Since Asbury I’ve attended Auburn University where I studied Choral Conducting.  WAR EAGLE!  

I’m blessed to be married to the love of my life, Joanie (why she said “yes” I’ll never know but I am so thankful and blessed that she did).   We have 7 wonderful kids, 4 perfect grandchildren (2 more by the end of 2013), and 3 dogs.  Yes, Christmas time is great…expensive, but great!!


With 7 kids, 4 grandchildren and 3 dogs who has time for hobbies??!!!  Just sayin’.

 

My favorite story in the Bible is “Jesus Walks on the Water” found in Matthew 14:22-32.  “Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’”  (vs. 29-31)

 

In essence I think Jesus is asking Peter, “Why did you take your eyes off of me and look at the waves?  Keep your focus on me and I will protect and guide you.”  In the last several years, “Keep the Focus” has become my personal motto.  I am so thankful to know that Jesus is right there to catch me…to catch us, when we take our eyes off of Him and become consumed by the waves of our circumstances.  We must keep our focus on Him and allow Him to lead us and to save us. 

Vernon Cherrix

Pianist

vcherrix@gmail.com

I will reach a milestone in 2014.  50 Years serving in music ministry with the last 18 years at Middletown United Methodist Church.


After receiving my Bachelor of Music Degree from Peabody Conservatory of the John Hopkins University, I served in the US Army.  Following my military service, I continued my studies at the School of Church Music at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary earning a Performance Certificate in Piano Performance & a Masters Degree with a double major in piano performance & church music.


Returning from teaching in Asia, I was accepted in Doctor of Musical Arts at the Cleveland Institute of music on a full tuition scholarship.  After a year there, I accepted a teaching position at Bluefield College, where Nancy Chung Chien, my student when I was teaching in Taiwan, & I were married.


We moved to Virginia Beach several years later where I acquired a Masters Degree in Teaching/Administration from Regent University.  Our sons, Josiah Lin & Simeon Lee were born there.  We returned to live & teach in Taiwan for several years, only to return to Louisville KY where I completed my doctoral studies at SBTS & taught in the music school of the University of Louisville, retiring in 2012.


It continues to be my pleasure to serve as pianist at Middletown, where I continue to have the support of both the choir & the congregation.

I have a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Music (Piano Studies) from West Virginia Wesleyan College. I served as the Children and Youth Minister for 5 total years at 2 different churches before starting my family and staying at home. During my eight years at home, I volunteered as the Director of Sunday School and as an assistant director of a Contemporary Choir at my last church (Middletown UMC in Maryland!).

 

I have been married for almost 16 years to Jeff, whom I met at the beginning of my freshman year at Wesleyan. We have 4 children: Ashleigh, who will be a 6th grader at Crosby Middle School; Garrett, who will be in 4th grade at Hite Elementary School; Eva, who will be in Kindergarten at Hite; and Madelyn, who will be in the 3 day 3s program here at MUMP. Ashleigh loves horseback riding and tennis, Garrett is becoming a very good ice hockey player and loves Legos and his Nintendo DS, Eva is my little gymnast and loves playing with cars and baby dolls, and Madelyn is a little dancer and loves playing. They keep me very busy, but I still somehow find time to run (I completed my second half marathon this past spring) and scrapbook.


Someday, I hope to get back to music roots and start teaching piano lessons again and performing here at MUMC.

Mike Howser

Director of Communications

mhowser@middletownumc.org

Media Ministry

Upon leaving the United States Army and returning to Indianapolis in 1992, I entered the Army Reserves while beginning work in a bookstore.  Little did I know, that would be the start of a 20-year career in retail regional management and the place where I would meet my future family.  I came to Louisville in 1993 with my new wife Lisa and daughters Stephanie and Staci.  This was actually a return to Louisville for Lisa and the girls, who attended Middletown United Methodist Church in the late 80’s and early 90’s.


We were a “retail family”, Lisa being in management for Barnes & Noble and later on, Borders Bookstores, and myself on the road working for a variety of big-box and mall retailers from Gateway to FranklinCovey over most of the country east of the Rockies.  I also spent a great deal of time lending my computer technical skills along with sound, video, and light engineering to our church.  When our first grandson was born, Lisa took a step back from full-time management to be “Grammie” and last year, I had the opportunity to step sway from retail and begin serving His church full time.  I formed a company that provides technical and production support to churches and individuals that still operates today.  We knew this would be a step in the path, and we are so excited that God has opened the door to MUMC.


Lisa and I enjoy four grandchildren, Ben and Dylan to our daughter Stephanie and her husband Matt who live right here in Middletown, and Caitlyn and Taylor to our younger daughter Staci and her husband Zach who live in Boca Raton, FL.  Besides spending time with the kids we enjoy going to the movies and dining out with friends.

Growing up in a musical family, I have been influenced by hearing and taking part in music all my life.  My Mother & Dad produced a weekly radio program on station WIEL in Elizabethtown, KY, called “Chapel of the Air” , on which my Mom and Dad sang gospel hymns as Mom accompanied on the organ, & Dad offered an inspiring word.  When I was  in elementary school, they had me read the local birth announcements.  I was involved in band for eight years, a ladies’ octet, a vocal and instrumental ensemble and was organist at my church at age 14-17.


IUpon completion of my Diploma in Nursing, and State Board Exams, I worked as a Registered Nurse in the Coronary-Intensive Care Unit at KY Baptist Hospital until 1977 when I was inspired to return to school to study music.  I was accepted with a music scholarship to Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY, and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music; Organ Performance.  While at GC, I was privileged to collaborate with a fellow student in writing the original score for a musical theatre production, “RAZZAMATAZZ” , for which he wrote book & lyrics.  It was performed two nights on campus for both students & faculty, to rave revues.  The head of the Theatre Department commented that it could play “off-Broadway”!


After GC, I returned to Nursing full-time, going to Baptist Hospital East in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit while working free-lance as organist in many Churches in Louisville, and southern Indiana.  I continued to study organ at UofL with Melvin Dickinson, & Ron Boud for piano.  Since then, I have taken part-time positions at several churches in the Louisville area, and came to MUMC in the fall of 2008 at the request of Dan Benjamin, then organist, to “help out in Handbell choir just for Christmas!” Well, I have been here ever since.  I began playing keyboard for the Praise Team, joined the  Worship Choir.  I feel that God put me in the right place at the right time to step into the organist position when it became vacant in November, 2010.


I hope I can always use the love of music God has given me.  I feel most fulfilled when I am making “a joyful noise” to the Lord.  I am so thankful for my MUMC family, and am blessed to be a part of such a caring and encouraging fellowship.  As J.S. Bach wrote at the end of each composition: “SOLI DEO GLORIA”, “To God alone be the Glory.”

Rebecca Decker

Organist

Jennie Pepoon

Business Administrator

jpepoon@middletownumc.org

Facilities

A long time ago, in a county not so far away…..begins my story.  My first home was in Centerfield, Kentucky in Oldham County.  My parents were serving at Mount Tabor United Methodist Church.  From the beginning, the church has played a significant role in my life.


As the PK (Pastor’s Kid), I was often asked to sit in committees and councils as the youth representative.  So from early on, I 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 me to figure out that the medical field and I were not going to get along well.  So, I switched to business and found a better fit.  Just as I began to contribute to the working world, I met my future husband, Dale, at a church potluck dinner.  (I told you the church had always been significant in my life!)  We just celebrated 30 years!!


Following graduation, Dale took an IT position in Florida where eventually our son, Josh, was born.  Our next move took us to Indiana and I began working for our church as their financial secretary.  That is when I discovered my ‘perfect fit’!  All of the church knowledge that I had acquired through the years was an asset every day.  In addition to Indiana, I have served churches in Ohio and Virginia. 


Throughout my career, I have personally witnessed God’s faithfulness.  When I was offered the position at Middletown UMC, it was an answer to prayer.   We are once again experiencing Kentucky and discovering all that the Louisville area has to offer – especially the food!!  We are also able to spend time with my parents and our son in the Greater Cincinnati area.


It is exciting to see God reaching the community through this congregation.   I look forward to experiencing the great things God has planned for us.

Rev. Scott Woodburn

Assistant Pastor

swoodburn@middletownumc.org

I answered the call to full-time vocational ministry when I was 18 years old. I was born and raised in Sacramento…. Kentucky, a small town of 536 people, located 35 minutes south of Owensboro Kentucky.


I graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies. During my study at Kentucky Wesleyan I played four years of college baseball, served as an Isaiah Project intern at three different locations, and participated in campus ministries.


I served PRP UMC in Louisville Kentucky from June 2012- August 2013. I am a full time student at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and I will graduate (fingers crossed) in May of 2014.


I am engaged to Shelby Timm who I met during my time at Kentucky Wesleyan College. I love my family and I’m head over heels about my niece who is 2 years old (and the prettiest girl in the world).


My hobbies are watching sports (I bleed Blue), playing Golf, corn-hole, and ping pong. I love to watch movies, reading, and occasionally playing video games.

Rev. Buddy Coleman

Pastor of Congregational Care

info@middletownumc.org

In the ministry of Congregational Care, we seek to bring the church to those unable to attend

worship services or other ministries in the church.  This goal is accomplished through prayer,

visitation in the home or hospital, sending greeting cards, weekly devotionals, & providing

help to those experiencing various needs in addition to support groups, transportation, etc. 


Additional service is provided as opportunities are made known.

Amy Bishop

Director of Children’s Ministries

abishop@middletownumc.org

Children’s Ministry

We have moved across the country from South Dakota to Oklahoma, to Nebraska and in 1984 to Kentucky.  I’ve been married to Dan for 44 years and we have three daughters who all live in the area.  Now, we are so blessed and have six wonderful grandchildren that we enjoy so much!


Next to my family, the best thing in my life has been working as Director of the preschool for the past 29 years!  I feel like I help minister to all ages (little adults and big kids)!  I truly love MUMP and everything about it!  I will be retiring the end of this school year (2013-2014) to spend more time with my family and to do some traveling.  It will definitely be a “bitter/sweet” thing!


Aside from spending time with my family, I love any kind of sport - watching or participating!  I was especially proud of my 85 year old mother from South Dakota who won a gold medal at the National Senior Olympics this past summer in Cleveland!

Kyle Carden

Assistant Youth Paster

Youth Ministry

Music has always been my best expressive context.  I’ve been playing piano since I was six and participated in worship groups from high school on.  I’ve had the opportunity to lead and learn from several worship teams over the years, most notably five years at High Street UMC in Muncie, IN.  I am thrilled to be have found another dynamic and loving congregation in Middletown UMC to share and grow with and look forward to where God is leading us every week!


My passion beyond music is for connecting with and understanding people.  I graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, IN in 2007 with a bachelors in Psychology, specializing in Developmental Studies and Counseling.  My hope is to always be a reflection of Christ’s love to the world and to provide an outlet for others who want to serve and develop their musical talents to find their own expression of worship.

 

When I’m not frolicking about the Connection Center, I spend my days wrangling my two boys: Kaemon and Callister, alongside my wife Desire’.  Much of our time is spent on playgrounds or watching cartoons, but when I can, I love to read, grill, fence, watch movies, and play all manner of games. 

Eric Wuertemberger

Ignite Worship Leader

Eric Wuertemberger

I have been married for 44 years this May 10th to a wonderful husband named Bob and have two beautiful daughters.  Amy is living in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a naturalist in charge of Woodland Mound Park in the Anderson area that overlooks the Ohio River. One of her jobs is teaching children all about the wonders of nature. She graduated Cum Laude from Florida Southern University with a double major in Biology and Criminology. Carrie is the Lead Two’s Teacher at the Child Development Center. She attended Wilmington College and Criminology was her major, but she discovered that she loves teaching young children.  Carrie also assist me in the office in the afternoons. She is the mother of my three grandchildren, Peyton, Camryn and Rylee. All three have attended the CDC.  Rylee is in the Three’s class.  I love children, nature, books, music, cooking and being with my family.


My objectives personally are the education of children in a Christian environment and teaching in ways to prepare children for the future. I have always known God wanted me to teach children in a Christian setting. He has always opened doors for me and my family. When I was looking for a job in the Louisville area, I checked the local Sunday paper ads and the first ad that I seen was the one for the Middletown United Methodist Child Development Center for Lead Teacher in the Pre-K room. When I called the director, Debbie Snow, informed me that she was relocating to another city in Indiana the very same time that I was relocating here to Louisville!


For 14 wonderful years I have been the Director of the CDC and consider our school to be a ministry to my church, Middletown United Methodist.  The CDC is providing a loving Christian foundation the children’s future lives are built upon.


My dream is to live happily ever after with my family and friends near me and to ALWAYS be close to God (hopefully in Naples, Florida)