Bishop announces hiring of second church development associate

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner announces the hiring of Sharon L. Washington of Rocky Mount, N.C. as the second-hired Associate Director of Church Development. She was chosen by Indiana Conference Director of Church Development Mark Gough following a panel interview in June and joins Ed Fenstermacher, who was chosen to be an Associate Director of Church Development this past spring. She begins her new position on July 15 and will be based in the Jeffersonville- New Albany area of Indiana.

According to Gough, she will be serving the southern part of the state but will serve the complete conference with her expertise and experience. She is fluent in Spanish and will be working with the Hispanic team of church development. She also has experience in cross culture church plants.

Since May 2006, Washington served as an associate pastor of the World Tabernacle Church, a five-year-old, independent, evangelical congregation with more than 1,500 members, in Rocky Mount, N.C. and assisted in establishing a new church start in a marginalized community. Previously, she served as chaplain at Grady Memorial and Piedmont Hospitals in Atlanta, Ga., and was pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista en Espanol Bethel, a church start in Bluefields, Nicaragua. She served as a pastoral intern with Eastern Seminary at Iglesia del Barrio, a United Methodist church start in Philadelphia and was a short-term missionary in Mexico.

Prior to her call to pastoral ministry, she worked in pharmaceutical research and development for AstraZeneca in Newark, Del. form 1992 to 1999.

She graduated from Duke University at Durham, N.C. in 1992 with a B.S. degree in Engineering and from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) in 2002 with a M.Div. degree. Eastern is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA.

According to Gough, Washington is a lay person who wishes to move toward ordination in The United Methodist Church. Upon her hiring, he said, “I am so very excited to have Sharon Washington as part of our Church Development staff. Her experience with church planting, her fluency in Spanish and her heart for culturally diverse ministry will bring a fresh wind to the conference.”

Conference Church Development seeks additional associate directors

The new Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church seeks additional ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS FOR CHURCH DEVELOPMENT, who will develop and implement the conference strategic plan for church development, with a focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. These positions may be part time or full time and are in addition to the two associate directors who have already been hired. The conference is seeking diversity in culture, race, gender, and age. Lay or clergy. Master’s degree preferred. Competence in “best practices” of church growth and revitalization required. (Click for position description and application for employment form.) Letter of interest, application form, and resume must be sent electronically to Applications received by Thursday, July 23, will be given first consideration.


Online registration for Indy hosted FOCUS 2009 closes TODAY, July 9

Online registration for the July 21-24 FOCUS 2009, the premiere event for people engaged in ministries with young children which will be held in Indianapolis, closes TODAY, July 9. Sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Focus 2009, held every four years, is the training event for local church staff and laity involved with children’s ministries, including Sunday school teachers and weekday ministry staff, district and conference staff, coordinators of children’s ministries and clergy.

Begun 30 years ago in response to the International Year of the Child, the theme for Focus 2009 is “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,” based on Psalm 139. For more information or registration details, please visit the Focus 2009 Website at or contact Melanie Gordon.