The Rev. Dr. James G. Mentzer currently serves as President of the United Methodist Foundation of New England which is based in Hampstead, NH. This organization has provided financial services and educational programs that promote faithful stewardship to the churches, boards, and agencies of the New England Annual Conference since 1991. In this capacity, he offers church finances, stewardship, legacy gift planning, and personal financial management presentations at conference, district, and local church events, as well as personal consultations with interested individuals.
Rev. Mentzer is an ordained elder in the North Carolina Conference with nineteen years of experience serving the local church. Prior to entering ordained ministry, Rev. Mentzer worked for more than two decades in both the public and private sectors – including twelve years in the financial services industry as a financial planner.
Rev. Mentzer is a native of Bolton, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. in history from Allegheny College (Pennsylvania) in 1971, an M.A. in history from Duke University in 1972, his Masters of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in 1999, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia in 2009. He is married to Jo Ann Warren Mentzer, a retired registered nurse. They have three adult children and one grandson.
4U Worship Team
4U Worship Team is a Christian ministry team that grew out of a music ministry that brought original and contemporary Christian music to the Catholic Church in Hopedale and Milford Massachusetts. In their past 10 years of service to Catholic Church, the group has grown to be a global mission team and missionary work bringing music, worship and service to many Christian faith based communities. These missions include medical missions to Haiti, a musical mission of Spiritual Encouragement to the people of Ireland in 2011, Spiritual Retreats, music and witness for praise and worship events, small missions of “House Church” in area homes, and even a Seder Supper.
4U Worship Team's mission is to: - Glorify the Lord through the gift of music - Lead Others to a deeper relationship with Jesus - Respectfully break down boundaries that divide the Community of Believers - Yield constantly to the dynamic workings of the Holy Spirit.
Learn more about 4U at their Facebook page and their website, where you can hear their beautiful music!
Reverend Dr. Bryan Stone
Bryan Stone has served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Boston University since January, 2011 and as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism in the School of Theology since 1998. He has a background in new church development, urban pastoral ministry, and faith-based non-profit development. His most recent books are A Reader in Ecclesiology, Evangelism After Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witnessand Sabbath in the City: Sustaining Urban Pastoral Excellence, co-authored with Claire Wolfteich. His research, publishing, and teaching interests are in the areas of evangelism, congregational development, urban ministry, ecclesiology, theology and popular culture (including especially film studies), Christian pacifism, and Wesleyan, liberation, narrativist, and post-liberal theologies. Bryan and his wife live on campus at Boston University where they serve as faculty-in-residence in the Warren Towers dorm.
Reverend Varley Silva
Reverend Varley Silva is the pastor of Koinonia Assemblies of God, who worships at the SWUMC building on Sunday evenings. Pastor Varley was born in Brazil and has been married to Erley Silva for 22 years. They are the parents of three children: Ernabe, Deyse, and Ernany. They came to America in April of 2000 after hearing the call of God to become a pastor. Reverend Silva started the Koinonia Assemblies of God on February 2, 2003.
Zack Hunt Zack Hunt is a writer, blogger, and speaker living in Bristol, Connecticut with his wife Kim. An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, Zack spent the past several years as Director of Student Ministries at Covenant United Methodist in Cordova, TN before moving to Connecticut. He is currently a graduate student at Yale Divinity and blogs at The American Jesus, a site dedicated to all the silly, absurd, serious, crazy, depressing, hopeful, tragic, and strange things that make up the phenomenon that is American Christianity. His first book, The Scandal of Holiness: Dirty Hands, Unclean Lips, and the Power of Redemptive Embrace, will be released soon.
Zack will be speaking about the importance of passing our faith on to the next generation. He says, "I am deeply passionate about youth ministry and am convinced that the ongoing health of the church depends upon inspiring the next generation of Christians to continue to answer the call of Christ to incarnate the good news of the gospel in and for the world. "
Reverend Laura Everett
The Rev. Laura E. Everett serves at the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, the state ecumenical network of 17 Orthodox and Protestant denominations, congregations and individual Christians working together for a vibrant, hopeful witness of our oneness in Christ in our local churches, on Beacon Hill and with our neighbors of other faiths. A graduate of Brown University, Ms. Everett received her Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. A pastor in the United Church of Christ, Laura blogs about denominational identity, Christian unity (and disunity), and social media at www.RevEverett.com and on Twitter at @RevEverett. Connect to the ministry of the Massachusetts Council of Churches at www.facebook.com/Masscouncilofchurches . Committed to building relationships with churches across the Commonwealth, Rev. Everett is aiming to guest preach and teach in every county in Massachusetts this year.
Reverend LaTrelle Easterling
Rev. Easterling has served the Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s historic South End for the past four years. She will transition from the church to her new appointment as District Superintendent by September 24, 2012. Previously, Rev. Easterling served as pastor of Pearl Street UMC in Brockton, MA, and Old West Church, United Methodist in Boston, MA. She was born and raised in the United Methodist Church, and received her call to ministry while a member of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, where she was ordained a deacon in 1995 and an elder in 1997. She attended Boston University School of Theology, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2004 with a Master of Divinity, transferring into the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church that same year. She is a published author and frequent teacher and speaker.
Her ministry includes being an active member of the community and the Conference, serving on the District Committee of the Metro Boston Hope District, the Board of Ordained Ministry of the New England Conference, the Board of Directors of the Hattie B. Cooper Community Center, and the Anna Howard Shaw Board at Boston University School of Theology. In 2012, Rev. Easterling served as Delegate to the General Conference and the Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church. She serves on the Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Multi-Ethnic Center Board, and is also a member of the Programs and Arrangements Committee for the 2016 Jurisdictional Conference.
“LaTrelle already has a deep connection with the Metro Boston Hope District. Through her local church, district and conference work, and community involvement, she has contributed significantly to the spirit of the district,” Bishop Weaver said. “I am grateful to the District Committee on the Superintendency for their discernment and affirmation in this process, and to Rev. Easterling for her commitment to serve Christ and the Church in this new role.”
Reverend Rene Perez
Rev. Rene Perez has served as the Superintendent of the Central Massachusetts District of the New England Annual Conference since 2011. He graduate from Temple University in 1995 and received his Masters of Divinity at Drew University. The sermon he will deliver in South Walpole this Sunday is called “The Spirit of Fearlessness” as he urges us to be courageous and bold.
Rene was born in El Salvador, Central America. His parents brought the family to New York in 1983. In 1988, he met his wife Wanda when her father became the pastor of his United Methodist Church in Hempstead, NY. Rene and Wanda married in 1991. They have three children: Kayla, 18; Isaías, 14; and Ezekiel, 12.
In 1993, God called both Rene and Wanda to serve as co-pastors of a small church in Philadelphia, PA. When they first arrived, the church had dwindled to about 25 people in worship and was in need of healing and growth. When they left six years later, the congregation had grown to about 90 people in worship.
In 2000, Rene was appointed as a Director of Church Multiplication (Congregational Development) and Latino Ministries for the Eastern PA conference. His mission was to work in leading the Annual Conference in starting nearly 20 churches throughout the whole conference, strengthening the Latino Ministries, and developing a system for identifying, recruiting and equipping church planters. They organized training events for the redevelopment of churches, restarting some and multiplying others, and began training a cadre of coaches in Natural Church Development and in clergy support. They also created a Racial-Ethnic Ministries Team that worked in Cultural sensitivity and strengthening relations among all ethnic ministries and pastors in their Conference.
In 2008, Rene was appointed as Senior Pastor of Lititz United Methodist Church, a church of about 450 youth and adults in worship attendance (there were about 100 children also who participated in Sunday School and Children’s church). He served Lititz UMC until coming to New England in July. During his time at LUMC they faced many challenges, including a steady decline during his first 1 1/2 years as their pastor. By the second year the church began to grow again. They now hold three worship services, have establish a new discipleship process, began to establish a strong prayer ministry, continued emphasizing the importance of small groups, and the importance of living out their mission statement of “leading people to Christ and equipping believers for ministry.”
In his letter of introduction to pastors and Staff Parish Relation Committee Chairs Rene wrote, "as I begin my ministry as district Superintendent in the New England Conference, I not only understand the struggles of faithful Christians who live on the edges of fading congregations, but I also understand some of the basic principles and strategies that will help many of them THRIVE. My hope is that during the next few years God will help us THRIVE, and bless us in such a way that we will experience God’s presence through our own spiritual growth, the growth of our congregations, and a fervent desire to serve God by serving others.”