MAHONING VALLEY DISTRICT
And the stories go on and on and on…
On Sunday, May 21st, many of the clergy and laity stopped by Canfield UMC for the Open House Farewell Celebration hosted by the District Superintendency Committee. I have been blessed to serve as the superintendent of the Mahoning Valley District and over the past eight years our lives have been stretched, challenged, uplifted and joined together. As people stopped by Canfield UMC to visit, I found myself recollecting story upon story of how our lives intersected together:
▪ Rev. Dawan Buie, Hawa and their daughter, Aliyah, moving into the district and the blessing I had of baptizing Aliyah at Centenary/Mahoning UMC.
▪ Pastor Elaine Weaver sitting beside her husband, Walt, as he faced his cancer battle in 2009 and how her family, George and Ginny Schrenkengost, surrounded her with love as she walked through the valley. And now, she serves as the Sebring UMC pastor.
▪ George and Trudie Lee’s video blessing of remembrance and the welcome they gave to Debbie and I as we came into the district.
▪ Russ Libb’s warmth and hospitality as pastoral leader and friend whose love for the Lord emanates from all that he says and does.
▪ Rick and Brigitta Oaks as they reflect the love of Jesus in all that they say and do. Rick’s leadership among the district and conference has enriched so many lives.
▪ Bonnie Mallory, SPRC chairperson of Grace UMC, and the amazing witness of leadership she provided for the church as they transitioned to a new pastoral ministry team.
▪ David and Sherry Cann and their moving from the Bahamas to the “warmth” of Ohio and the witness their love gives to all.
▪ Kathy Kramer, administrative assistant, and her tireless work as she worked beside me in overseeing the district.
▪ Barbara Beach as she tirelessly worked throughout the district and conference as District co-lay leader. The video remembrances collected for the farewell will be cherished forever.
▪ Bonnie, Hannah and Emma Virden who became family as we grew together over these past eight years and took selfies at every opportunity.
▪ Pastor Cindy Figley who resisted the call to ministry for many years and who, finally, said yes to the call and now is serving Negley UMC with such grace and love.
And the stories go on and on and on…..
I consider it a privilege to have served as your district superintendent and cherish the many memories we have experienced together as clergy and laity serving the Lord. Looking back, I can see some truly mountaintop moments AND some deep valley journeys, too.
Yet, in all things we have been rooted in the amazing grace and love of a God who isn’t finished with us. I am reminded
of the words from Acts 4:13 when Peter is challenged by the authorities for the work he has done. The leaders recognized Peter simply as a “follower of Jesus.” I pray that as you draw memories of our eight years together you will be able to say, “he was a follower of Jesus.”
My friends, I pray that as you welcome Rev. Abby Auman as your new District Superintendent, and her family, that you will extend the same love and warmth and understanding you did for me. She will love you and guide you into greater vitality and ministry in the coming years.
Be encouraged always,
Dan and Debbie Bryant
The Mahoning Valley District Office:
Rev. Dan Bryant
4580 Canfield Rd, PO Box 11260 Youngstown OH 44511
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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