INDIANAPOLIS – The Rev. Dr. James Bushfield, director of connectional ministries, is pleased to announce that the Rev. Jim Byerly will serve as the new Associate Director of Disaster Response for the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church effective January 1, 2015.

Byerly currently serves as the pastor of Rockdale United Methodist Church, West Harrison, Ind., and will continue to serve there in addition to this new role. He is also the current volunteer chairperson of the Conference Disaster Response Team. In this new position as one of the associate directors in the Indiana Conference, Byerly will focus specifically on developing volunteer teams of United Methodist leaders in each of the ten emergency response areas across Indiana. 

Indiana is the leader in the North Central Jurisdiction providing financial support for disaster relief in our area. Hoosier volunteer teams consist of hundreds of concerned United Methodists, who give countless hours of their time to help the victims of disasters.  Since the formation of the new Indiana Conference, we have relied on a small team to lead a very large effort within our state. 

Dr. Bushfield remarked, “Rev. Byerly will actively recruit more than 100 new volunteers, who will work to prepare our districts and congregations to respond in the event of a disaster in their area. These volunteers will be well-trained in a nationally recognized program of response and will be certified as responders.”

Byerly attended Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., where he received a Bachelor of Science. He received his Master of Divinity at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. He and his wife, Kathy, have two grown children, Scott (Melissa) Byerly of Merrillville, Ind., and Timothy (Christina) Byerly of Greenfield, Ind.

To learn more about how you or members of your church can be trained as a volunteer, please contact Rev. Byerly at