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2019 Visiting Ministers


They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 

May 26, 2019 – Epworth Chaplain, Melody Johnson

Memorial Day Weekend
Continental Breakfast, 10am

Our 2019 season opens Memorial Day weekend with our Epworth chaplain, the Rev. Melody Johnson, as the preacher for the day. Melody begins her fifth season serving as the Epworth chaplain.  A graduate of Duke University and Duke Divinity School, she is a fourth generation United Methodist pastor. She has served local churches in both North Carolina and Michigan and presently directs a program of pastoral care for a consortium of retirement communities and hospice during the winter months. Born at Epworth, she and her husband, Dr. Phil Johnson, call Wah Win Ga home at Epworth.


June 2, 2019 – Rev. Jim Pollard

Forest Hills Presbyterian Church – Grand Rapids, Michigan

Our preacher for the day will be the Rev. James Pollard, pastor of Forest Hill Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A graduate of Western Theological Seminary, Jim has previously served churches in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Harbor Springs, Michigan. Jim is passionate about missions, and has served on many mission trips. He is the father of three adult children, and recently became the groom of Barb.


June 9, 2019 – Rev. Matthew Ruffner

Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church – Dallas, Texas

The Rev. Matthew Ruffner comes to Epworth as preacher of the day from Preston Hollow Church, Dallas, Texas, where he has served as senior pastor since 2015. A graduate of Presbyterian College and Columbia Theological School his ministry has included serving as a chaplain at Emory University Hospital and working as a consultant for the Cousins Family Foundation. Currently he serves on the board of Austin Seminary and was honored in both 2015 and 2016 with the Zick Preaching Award. Matthews and his wife, Sarah, are the parents of a son and daughter.


June 16, 2019 – Dr. Ted Campbell

SMU Perkins School of Theology – Dallas, Texas

Dr. Ted Campbell is an associate professor of church history at Perkins School of Theology. He is in great demand across the nation as both a preacher and teacher. His great love is to interpret Wesleyan history and culture. A United Methodist minister, he graduated from Lon Morris College, the University of North Texas, Oxford University and Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Claremont School of Theology, Duke Divinity School, Wesley Theological Seminary and served as president of Garret-Evangelical Seminary. Ted is married to Dale Marie, and they are the parents of two daughters. This is the first Sunday of Vespers and Musings, with Vespers at 8:30 p.m. Sunday and Musings at 10 a.m. Monday.


June 23, 2019 – Rev. Michael McCain

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – Little Rock, Arkansas

Epworth welcomes home the Rev. Michael McCain. Michael was raised at Epworth and calls our community one of the greatest blessings of his life. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and  presently serves as associate rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock. Michael, his parents and sisters call Comfort Kit cottage their Epworth home.


June 30, 2019 – Dr.  Steve Eason

Morava Memorial Sunday 

First Presbyterian Church – Richmond, Virginia

Epworth welcomes Dr. Steve Eason back to the Epworth pulpit. A Presbyterian (USA) pastor, Steve’s ministry has included being a local church pastor, a pastoral counselor, a coach, an author and a consultant. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, he has served churches of all sizes in his 40 years of ministry. From 2002 to 2015, Steve served as senior pastor of the Meyers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, the third largest church in the denomination. Steve serves as a consultant to Macedonian Ministries, coaching pastors of all denominations, and  has served as an interim pastor. He is married to Catherine and they have three grown children and four grandchildren.


July 7, 2019 – Bishop Robert Hayes

Colwell Memorial Sunday 

The Woodlands UMC – The Woodlands, Texas

Bishop Robert Hayes, a native Houstonian and a third-generation United Methodist minister, returns to Epworth from his home in Texas. A graduate of Huston-Tillotson College, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University and Drew University, Bishop Hayes served as pastor of three local churches and as chaplain of Wiley College before being elected to the Episcopacy of the United Methodist Church in 2004. His service as an Episcopal leader was to the Oklahoma Conferences for 12 years before retiring in 2016.  He now serves as bishop in residence at Woodlands United Methodist Church in the Woodlands, Texas. He and his wife, Dee, are the parents of three adult children and two grandchildren.


July 14, 2019 – Dr. Dave Davis

Nassau Presbyterian Church – Princeton, New Jersey

Dr. David Davis comes to Epworth from Princeton, New Jersey, where he has served as senior pastor since 2000. A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Seminar, David teaches at Princeton as a visiting lecturer in preaching. David is married to Cathy, a Presbyterian minister, who currently serves as associate dean of students at Princeton Seminary. They are the proud parents of two children.


July 21, 2019 – Chaplain Dr. Barry Black

Founders Memorial Sunday

United States Senate – Washington D.C.

Epworth welcomes Rear Admiral Barry Black, chaplain of the United States Senate, back to our pulpit. Dr. Black was elected to the position of chaplain of the Senate following 27 years of serving in the United States Navy, retiring as chief of the chaplains. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, he is an alumnus of Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Palmer Theological School, Salve Regina University and Alliant International University. Among other books, he has written an autobiography, “From the Hood to the Hill.” He is married to Brenda, and they are the proud parents of three adult sons.


July 28, 2019 – Bishop Thomas Bickerton

Larry Saksa Memorial Sunday

United Methodist Church New York Conference – White Plains, New York

Epworth welcomes Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton for his second visit to our pulpit. A native of West Virginia, Bishop Bickerton serves as the Episcopal leader of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church. Prior to that appointment, he served as the Bishop of West Virginia for 12 years. His passion for ministry includes not only local churches but missions. He has been active in Volunteer-in-Mission teams all over the world. Educated at West Virginia Wesleyan, Duke Divinity School and United Theological School he received an honorary doctorate from West Virginia Wesleyan. He and his wife, Sally, are the parents of four adult children.


August 4, 2019 – Bishop Laurie Haller

Hoover Rupert Memorial Sunday

United Methodist Church Iowa Conference – Des Moines, Iowa

Bishop Laurie Haller returns to Epworth from Iowa where she serves as Resident Bishop in the United Methodist Church.  Laurie began her ministry in 1982 as an Associate Pastor at the Ludington Methodist Church and has preached from our pulpit often. A graduate of Wittenberg University and Yale University Bishop Haller has studied not only Theology but also Sacred music. She has served  local congregations while always being very active in the larger church. Laurie was senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, Michigan, at the time of her election to the Episcopacy. A prolific writer, her articles and essays have appeared in many publications. She is married to Gary, a retired United Methodist pastor, and they are the parents of three children and two grandchildren. The time for Vespers changes to 8 p.m. this Sunday.


August 11, 2019 – Dr. Tom Long

Candler School of Theology, Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Thomas Long is the bandy professor of preaching emeritus at Candler School of Theology at Emory University.  A Presbyterian minister, Dr. Long has served churches in Georgia and New Jersey.  His passion for 40 years has been to teach preaching not only at Emory but also at Erskine Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary and at Princeton Theological Seminary. A prolific writer, Tom is the author of many articles in periodicals, textbooks on preaching and worship, collections of his sermons, biblical commentaries, and served as senior homiletics editor of the New Interpreter’s Bible. We welcome him back to Epworth.


August 18, 2019 – Dr. Tim Knauff

Christ Lutheran Church – Valparaiso, Indiana

The Rev. Tim Knauff comes back home to Epworth from Valparaiso, Indiana, where he serves as senior pastor of Christ Lutheran Church. A fourth-generation Epworthian, Tim grew up in Wah Win Ga and Wah Te Sen cottages. For several years he spent summers at Sandpiper cottage, caring for Tom Rogers. Tim is a graduate of DePauw University, the University of Illinois and the Lutheran School of Theology. Awarded the prestigious Eli Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant, Tim and his family have just returned from a sabbatical in Europe and Africa. He and his wife, Amy, are the parents of three sons.


August 25, 2019 – Rev. Carla Aday

Country Club Christian Church – Kansas City, Missouri

The Rev. Carla Aday, senior pastor of Country Club Christian Church, Kansas City, Missouri, comes for her first visit to the Epworth pulpit. She is a graduate of the Yale Divinity School, where she was  honored with the Mersick prize for effective public speaking and preaching.  Carla has a passion for teaching as well as missions in the church and  has led 20 mission trips both internationally and domestically. She and her husband, Dave Ehman, are the parents of three adult children and proud grandparents of five. This is the final Sunday for Vespers and Musings.


September 1, 2019 – Epworth Chaplain, Melody Johnson

Labor Day Weekend

Continental Breakfast, 10am

Epworth’s chaplain, the Rev. Melody Johnson, will preach the final worship service of the season.