INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner welcomed the 32 members of the new Indiana Conference Center staff on Monday, Jan. 4 during a one-day orientation session for all center employees.

This was the very first day of conference employment for five of the staff members. Other staff members either continued in their previous positions or have come onboard as conference employees since the former Indiana Area staff moved into the third-floor suite in late-October at 301 Pennsylvania Parkway on the south edge of Carmel.

The office was open for service on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

At the same time, nine of the ten new Indiana Conference District Centers opened for service across Indiana from Laporte to Evansville. The new Southeast District Center in Columbus opened temporarily at First United Methodist Church in Columbus instead of its intended United Way location. A massive fire gutted the United Way of Bartholomew County building on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, which housed 37 not-for-profit and government-related agencies including the Southeast District Center.

Shortly before Christmas, Coyner announced the hiring of six new staff at the new Indiana Conference Center. At that time, the conference hired two benefits assistants Linda Eskew and Sherry Austin. The conference also hired four conference assistants including: Roscel Carandang, Brenda Gross, Glenda Peery and Kathy Stanley.

Since then the conference also hired Carla Johnson as conference center receptionist.

Continuing their employment with new conference responsibilities are Diana Barnett, former bookkeeper of the Indiana Area office and now conference accounting/database clerk; Elsie Miller, former office manager and database assistant in the Bloomington Conference Center and now conference database coordinator; and Doug Anderson, former part-time superintendent of the Michiana District and now part-time associate director of Church Development.

Opening remarks

In his opening remarks, Coyner reminded all staff members that the mission of the Indiana Conference is “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” He told staff members that he and they, form the new conference by:

  • Living like a disciple of Jesus by following the Three Simple Rules;
  • Creating a staff environment based upon healthy Christian spirituality;
  • Offering to everyone who calls or who comes into this Conference Center a spirit of hospitality and helpfulness;
  • Keeping in mind our mission of making disciples.

He further said to the staff, “You will play an important part in our achieving the mission by supporting, connecting, resourcing and administering for the more than 1,200 congregations and the ten districts that comprise our Indiana Conference.”

Each member of the new staff received a copy of Bishop Ruben Job’s book Three Simple Rules, which outlines the three principles John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, used with his members – do no harm, do good and stay in love with God.

Coyner also invited all staff members to attend the Center’s weekly devotions on Tuesday mornings, in the Bishop’s Office conference room.

Who’s who

The new conference staff is sectioned into five areas each with its own director. They include: Connectional Ministries, directed by James Bushfield; Financial Services, directed by Jennifer Gallagher; Communication, directed by Dan Gangler; Church Development, directed by Mark Gough and Administrative Services, directed by Brent Williams.

Employees serving in these five of areas include:

Administrative Services

Ruth Ellen Needler, assistant director; Austin and Eskew, benefits assistants; Carandang, Gross, Johnson, Peery and Stanely, conference assistants;

Connectional Ministries

Associate Directors Brian Durand (Youth/YA/Campus), Sandy Harlan (Clergy Services), LeKisha Reed (Missions/Advocacy), Ian Hall (Outdoor Ministries) and Nick Yarde (Outdoor Ministries);


Communication Assistant Erma Metzler;

Church Development

Associate Directors Anderson, Steve Clouse, Ed Fenstermacher and Sharon Washington. These associates are now deployed to four areas of the state to work with district centers.

Financial Services

Camp Business Manager Hall, Data Base Manager Miller and Accounting/Data Base Clerk Barnett. Yet to be employed is a controller.

Bishop’s Office

Continuing in their service are the members of Bishop Coyner’s staff, who serve adjacent to the Conference staff. They are David V.W. Owen, executive assistant to the bishop; Michelle Cobb, Rejuvenate project director; Ed Metzler, secretary; and Lisa Timmerman, conference assistant.

Jean Brindel, former development director of North Indiana Conference camping and now conference development director. Brindel now serves as a project director in the bishop’s office. She works from her home in Noblesville.

Barnett, Gangler and Erma Metzler are now part of the Indiana Conference staff rather than members of the Indiana Area staff.

The address of the Indiana Conference Center is 301 Pennsylvania Parkway, Suite 300, Indianapolis, Indiana 46280. The phone number is 317-924-1321. Detailed information about the Conference Center staff is available on the conference Web site at

See district center employees list.

Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner (far left) welcomed and led the entire Indiana Conference Center Staff in a morning orientation session as they came together on Monday, Jan. 4.

“You will play an important part in our achieving the mission by supporting, connecting, resourcing and administering…”

– Bishop Mike Coyner, welcoming the members of the new Indiana Conference Center staff.