You can contact Mid-America Center for Ministry:
- Mailing Address: P.O. Box 104685, Jefferson City, MO 65110
- Phone: 573-635-1187 or 573-355-5119
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie Robb LeSieur
Leslie became Director of Educational Ministries in December 2015. She has been involved in work with medical, human service, and nonprofit organizations and she looks forward to using all of these experiences and skills to ensure MCM continues and expands its remarkable programs. She has degrees in Communications and a Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Non-profit Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia. For over eight years, she was the Administrator of the Northeast Area of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
When she is not working, she spends time with her husband J.D., their sons, Austin and Renner, and extended families. They enjoy spending time at the family farm, hunting, fishing and playing.
Rev. Jerry Albright is the Executive Director of Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska. Before entering ministry full time, he was a nursing home administrator for 25 years. Jerry began his ministry as an elder in the First Christian Church in Sioux City, IA. He entered the Upper Midwest reading and study program for licensed lay pastors in 1985. He served the Cleghorn, IA Christian Church as a minister from 1989 until 1996. During this time he also attended Morningside College in Sioux City, IA where he studied religion, history and classical literature. In 1996 Jerry entered Phillips Theological Seminary in Enid/Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he graduated with a master of divinity degree in 2001. Prior to graduation from Phillips, he completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Counseling and Mediation Center in Wichita, KS. He was ordained in 2001 at Bethany Christian Church in Lincoln Nebraska. Jerry is the past president of the board of Cotner College Commission. He is also a member of the State Ecumenical Executives group.
Course: Church History
Rev. David Avery graduated from William Jewel College in 1970. His final year of college was spent as a student at the University of Andhra, Andhra Pradesh, India. He spent four years in the U.S. Navy as a radioman, three years assigned to a communication station in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He received a second bachelor degree (journalism) from the University of Missouri in 1976 and worked ten years as a reporter and editor in various newspapers and magazines in Missouri and Iowa. Avery received a call to ministry in 1986 and attended Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN, graduating in 1990 with a master of divinity degree. He served churches in Indiana and Iowa, and taught basic philosophy at Des Moines Area Community College (Boone, IA, campus). In January 1998, he became pastor of Community Christian Church, Jefferson City, MO. He retired from full-time ministry at the end of 2014. He and his wife, Suzan, have three daughters and four grandchildren.
Course: Mission of the Church
Dr. John Bracke lives in Columbia, MO. He retired as the Martha McCall Egan Professor of Biblical Studies at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO, where he also taught a class in church administration.
Course: Administration and Planning
Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder is an an author, ordained minister and biblical scholar. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in Speech Pathology/Audiology from Howard University; a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary, and Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in Religion from Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Crowder was a Fund for Theological Education Dissertation Fellow, Wabash Center for Teaching Fellow and Louisville Institute Summer Grant recipient. She has contributed to numerous publications including Soundings in Cultural Criticism: Perspectives in Culture, Power and Identity in the New Testament; True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, and The Journal of Feminist Studies. She is writing a book on womanist ideas in motherhood and serves on the Editorial Boards of ON Scripture and Feasting on the Gospels. Stephanie frequently blogs for The Huffington Post.
Dr. Crowder is married to Rev. Dr. William E. Crowder, Jr., Pastor of Park Manor Christian Church. They have two sons who love tennis, basketball and football.
Rev. Clem Graham, lives in Neosho, MO. He is a graduate of Tulsa University (1960) and Phillips Theological Seminary (1965) with a year at the Presbyterian seminary in Edinburgh, Scotland. He also has a degree in counseling psychology (1990) from the University of Oregon. He is a retired minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), with service as both associate and senior pastor in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Oregon and Missouri. He also served as a camp administrator and in ecumenical service as director of Tulsa Youth Ministry. He has worked extensively in youth ministry and authored educational materials for youth.
Since 2001, he has taught college courses in western civilization, world and middle eastern religions, introduction to philosophy, critical thinking, the history of Christianity, and the life and teachings of Jesus. Several of these have been online. More recently he began teaching classes in the virtual world, Second Life. He is married and has two daughters and five grandchildren. He has an interest in the natural sciences with an abiding concern for the tension between religion and science.
Course: Introduction to the Old Testament , World Religions
Rev. Dr. Trish Greeves was ordained a United Church of Christ pastor in 1989 after many years as a lay leader and teacher at Emmaus United Church of Christ in Vienna, Virginia.
She enjoyed a sixteen-year pastorate with Union Congregational UCC, Elk River, Minnesota from 1990 to 2006. She received the Murdale Leysath Award For Outstanding Woman Clergy, Minnesota Conference, in 2001. Prior to the pastorate in Elk River, Trish filled several interim positions at churches in Minnesota and Virginia. After leaving Elk River, Trish served a four-month sabbatical interim at First Congregational UCC in Minneapolis during the fall and winter of 2006-07.
She recently retired after seven years as Contextual Studies Coordinator and adjunct instructor for church life and leadership with United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She served as an instructor for the Leadership Development for Ministry (LDM) Program co-sponsored by the Minnesota Conference, UCC and the Minnesota Valleys Presbytery of the PCUSA from 2007 to 2011 and as co-leader of the Multiple Paths Pastoral Formation training sponsored by the UCC Northern Plains Conference from 2010-2012.
Rev. Michael Johnson is a Midwest (Illinois/Indiana) native. He earned his B.A. in biblical studies and philosophy from Milligan College (TN) and attended Vanderbilt Divinity School and the Vanderbilt Graduate School of Religion, where he completed all Ph.D. work but a dissertation in systematic theology and process philosophy. He retired in 2010 to Lafayette, Indiana, from a 28-year pastorate with a Disciples congregation in Illinois. He has also served pastorates in North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana and Indiana.
In retirement he has served as a regional elder with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana and has led community seminars and church classes, including “Understanding Saul Alinsky,” “Handling Diversity and Conflict as Christians”, “Listening to the Five Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, John…and Paul”, and “Understanding – and Overcoming – the Liberal/Conservative Divide”. In addition to supply-preaching and public speaking, he enjoys creative writing of all kinds, his six grandchildren (and their parents), U.S. history and politics, and sports when his teams are winning.
Course: Proclamation of the Word
Rev. Robert Kemp--Baird, is an ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Bob studied music education at The University of Akron. His post-graduate studies include a Master of Sacred Music at Scarritt Graduate School and an M.Div. at Vanderbilt Divinity School, both in Nashville, TN. Bob has served churches in Kansas City, Western Illinois and Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky as Associate Pastor, Minister of Music and Worship and Pastor. Presently he is senior pastor of one of the most unique churches in America, Daytona Beach Drive In Christian Church. His wife Linda is an ordained minister serving with Hospice of Volusia/Flagler. They have one son, Drew.
Dr. Andy Mangum received his BA in 1992, and his MA in 1994 from West Texas State University (now WTAMU). He received his M.Div. from Brite Divinity School in 1998. He completed his D.Min. in 2009 at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He now serves as senior minister of First Christian Church in Arlington, Texas.
Rev. Barbara Minton is an ordained minister presently serving as pastor with Berea Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Henry County, Kentucky. She has also served congregations in Texas and Missouri. Before her ordination she served alongside her husband (also an ordained minister), living and ministering in Switzerland and Germany for sixteen years, from 1966 through 1982. Other short-term international ministries of the couple include teaching one semester in Seminario Biblico Evangelico de Cuenca in Ecuador; providing classes with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Mombasa, Kenya; and most recently working across the border in Mexico with Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries in Los Fresnos, Texas, a Disciples ministry. In Missouri, Minton served on the Ozark Lakes Area Department of Ministry and on the Mid-America Regional Commission on Ministry.
She was ordained in 2001 after receiving an M.Div. in1995 from Lexington Theological Seminary. She holds an M.A. in Parish Counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, granted in 1992. Her B.S. in Education comes from Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, 1966.
Course: Overview of the Bible
Dr. Katrina Palan has been in ministry since 1995. She served the Church for ten years as a commissioned minister, holding positions in youth ministry, singles ministry, chaplaincy (2 years at Wesley hospital in Wichita), and as an interim pastor while attending Seminary.
Katrina graduated from Friends University in Wichita, KS with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy in 1998. From there she attended Phillips Theological Seminary earning a Masters of Divinity in 2001. Katrina started teaching in community colleges in 2002. She has taught face-to face classes, blended of online and in class, remote (students in class & video students in another location) and for the last six years, online. Katrina teaches Religion, Philosophy and Ethics classes.
After Seminary, Katrina accepted a call to a congregation in Ottawa, KS. After serving for four years, she and her husband moved back to the Wichita area where her Interim ministry began. Katrina continued to do Interim pastorates around the Wichita area and teach in two local community colleges.
Rev. Palan and her husband, Paul, have four adult children and eight grandchildren. Their kids live in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Tucson, Arizona; Nuevo, California and Lincoln, Nebraska. Katrina and Paul moved to Nebraska to do an Interim in Omaha. They now live in Lincoln where Katrina serves as the Intentional Interim Regional Minister for the Christian church (DOC) in Nebraska.
Course: Education and Leader Development
Rev. Margot Trusty Pickett was ordained at Third Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis in 1978. A few years later she received full standing in the United Church of Christ. From 1979 to 2004 she served as a pastor of UCC churches in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. In 2004, she became the first director of the Pastoral Leadership Development (PLD) program in the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. PLD is an alternative educational track for those in the conference who are called to ordained ministry but cannot complete a traditional educational track, i.e., a bachelors degree and M.Div. In 2014 the Southern Conference partnered with MCM so that PLD students are now taking online classes through Mid-America Center for Ministry.
Course: History and Polity of the United Church of Christ and Introduction to the New Testament
Dr. Nancy TannerThies is a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is the proprietress of Sapattu, a small retreat center near Jefferson City, Missouri. She and her husband, Roger, teach classes there and provide space for personal spiritual retreats. She also provides Spiritual Companionship for individuals.
TannerThies’ educational background includes a B.S. from the University of Houston, a Masters in Religious Studies and a D.Min. from the University of Chicago.
She has congregational experience and has also served on the regional staff of the Christian Church of Mid-America. During her time on regional staff she assisted a variety of conflicted congregations. She also was a practicing Intentional Interim Minister for a number of years. She did training for the Interim Ministry Network for more than 15 years. She and her husband were trained as family mediators and had a private mediation practice for more than seven years.
The TannerThies’ blended family includes four married children and six grandchildren. They also have two nephews and three godchildren that they think of as grandchildren.
Courses: Introduction to Mid-America Center for Ministry, Utilizing Conflict, and Spiritual Development.
Dr. Ed Taylor is pastor of First Christian Church in Gibson City, IL. Ed has earned a B.S. from Western Illinois University, an M.Div. from Lexington Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Taylor has previously served as a pastor in Nebraska and Iowa, director of stewardship with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and executive director of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. He has a passion for stewardship issues of land, economy and community.
Dr. Bill Tenny-Brittian is an author, speaker, coach, and consultant on all things church growth. Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he has served as both a church planter and a church transformational change agent in churches literally from coast to coast. He is the editor and publisher of Net Results magazine and the managing partner of 21st Century Strategies. As a church consultant and coach he’s become known as the go-to guy when you have to grow the church and make a significant impact on the community.
Tenny-Brittian has written eight books, including The Apprentice Workbook, Prayer for People Who Can’t Sit Still, Hitchhikers’ Guide to Evangelism, and Effective Staffing for Vital Churches. His current writing project, If You’re Going to Herd Cats, You’ll Need a Bigger Mouse, is a guide to creating and implementing a vision so compelling that churches just have to grow! In addition, he co-hosts the online church transformation show Church-Talk.tv. And in his spare time, he raises Old English Sheepdogs, plans his annual Christmas display, and plays with his grandchildren.
Courses: Pastoral Leadership and Evangelism
Dr. Kris Tenny-Brittian most recently served as the Northeast Area Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Mid-America where she worked to effectively reach and serve the pastors and leadership of over ninety churches in the twenty-seven northeastern counties of Missouri, so that those congregations can effectively reach and serve their communities and beyond.
Besides Missouri, she has ministered in small and large churches in inner-city, suburban, town, and rural settings in Georgia, Kansas, and Washington state. She’s been a church administrative assistant, director of youth and children’s ministries, associate pastor, solo pastor, church planter, senior pastor, and Associate Regional Minister. She has also served as a consultant, coach, and seminar leader; has founded two community helping agencies; and has facilitated the start of a number of ministries and self-help groups. Since 2000, Dr. Kris has been a part of the leadership team of the Bethany Fellowships, a ministry of the Higher Education and Leadership Ministries unit of the Christian Church that provides mentoring and spiritual leadership development for recently ordained Disciples serving in congregational settings. She is also the founding director of FlipMyChurch.com, co-president of the National Evangelistic Association, and co-host of the weekly radio program Church-Talk on BlogTalkRadio (Tuesdays at 10am).
Course: Christian Ethics
Rev. Darrell Lynn Vandervort was born and raised Geneva, Ohio. He was raised in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In 1975, Darrell began his education at Bethany College in West Virginia. While at Bethany he filled pulpits in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Darrell finished his BA in religious studies in 1979, and began studies at Lexington Theological Seminary. While there, he served churches in Mayslick and Shelbyville. He graduated in 1983 with his M.Div. with a focus in pastoral care. He was ordained on June 6, 1982, in his home church in Geneva. The next month he began his first pastorate in Akron, OH. He has served congregations in Kentucky, and since 2000, in Warner Robins, Georgia. He serves as the chair of the commission on ministry for the Georgia Region of the Christian Church, and has directed junior and Chi Rho. He and his wife, Marsha, have four children and three grandchildren.
Course: Pastoral Care
Dr. Ken Watson a Missouri native, was born in Joplin and grew up in Warrensburg. He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who has taught courses for Mid-America Center for Ministry since 1981. He piloted the first online course for the school in 2010. Dr. Watson retired from active ministry in 2007 after 43 years. At his retirement, he was serving as Associate Minister of First Christian Church in Columbia, Missouri. During his 13 years of service there, he developed one of the first computer labs for Christian education and provided leadership in education, outreach and mission, membership development, and worship.
Dr. Watson holds a B.A. in Psychology from Central Missouri State College (now University of Central Missouri), a D. Min. from Lexington Theological Seminary, and an M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He served pastorates in Missouri, Kentucky and Iowa before moving to Columbia, Missouri in 1978. From 1984-1994 he served as associate regional minister for the Christian Church of Mid-America with primary responsibilities in leader development, Christian education, and overseas ministry relationships as well as providing staff oversight for the regional commission on ministry. He and his wife now live near their grown daughters and grandson in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
Courses: History and Polity of the Disciples of Christ